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Discipline with Dignity

This course is designed to equip educators with classroom skills, techniques, and structure that will enable them to spend less time dealing with behavioral problems and more time on positive interactions with students. It also furnishes administrators, teachers, parents, and management teams with information and a basis for setting school-wide policy. This approach helps children develop their self-esteem while giving them the tools and encouragement necessary for making responsible decisions in their lives. The underlying belief of this discipline approach is that all students' dignity must be enhanced and preserved, regardless of their behavior. This is therefore a three-tiered approach to behavior management: prevention, action, and resolution. Course participants will become knowledgeable and skilled in the use of strategies connected to these three tiers.


Carlow University ED 688 • Madonna University EDU 5830.08 • Mercy University EDUT 519

The required text for this course is Discipline with Dignity: How to Build Responsibility, Relationships, and Respect in Your Classroom, Fourth Edition, by Curwin, Mendler, Mendler

ISBN: 978-1416625810







Graduate participants earn 3 semester hours of graduate credit and will receive a transcript from one of our partner institutions below. Professional development participants will receive a certificate of completion for 45 hours of professional developments credit for face-to-face classes and 60 hours of professional development credit for online classes.

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Course Schedule

  • 2/13/24 - 5/14/24
  • 4/9/24 - 7/9/24
  • 6/11/24 - 9/10/24
  • 8/13/24 - 11/12/24
  • 10/8/24 - 1/14/25
  • 12/10/24 - 3/11/25

Session 1: Discipline With Dignity Framework

Objective: Participants will become more aware of in-school factors and identify or create school-based methods that will address each one.

  • In-School Causes of Misbehavior
  • Times Have Changed (Obedience - Responsibility)
  • Discipline With Dignity Goals
  • Criteria for an Effective Discipline Method
  • Ineffective Methods of Discipline
  • Building Blocks of Responsibility

Session 2: Three-Dimensional Discipline: Prevention Dimension

Objective: Participants will learn several methods of discipline prevention other than rules and consequences.

  • Methods of Welcoming Students
  • Teaching Students Methods of Self-Control
  • Acceptable Substitute Outlets in the Classroom
  • Instructional Methods that Engage Students

Session 3: Developing Classroom and Schoolwide Social Contracts

Objective: Participants understand the social contract process.

  • Developing a Framework of Values and Principles
  • Developing Effective Rules
  • Options for Student Involvement
  • Developing Effective Consequences
  • Ensuring Knowledge of the Social Contract
  • Practice in Creating a Social Contract

Session 4: Three-Dimensional Discipline: The Action Dimension

Objective: Participants learn how to defuse problem situations in a manner that protects the offending student's dignity, the educator's authority and the class' integrity.

  • Choosing the Best Consequence
  • Developing an Attitude of Professionalism When Provoked
  • Avoiding Power Struggles
  • Handling Confrontation
  • Using Privacy, Eye Contact, Proximity
  • Using the Insubordination Clause

Session 5: Three-Dimensional Discipline: Resolution - Dimension Methods

Objective: Participants learn strategies for working with difficult students.

  • Attitudes and Beliefs for Working with Difficult to Reach Youth
  • Developing an Attitude of Professionalism When Provoked
  • Negotiating Methods
  • Behavior Modification
  • Unconventional Methods of Discipline

Session 6: Basic Needs and Behavior

Objective: Participants will identify the five basic psychological needs and see how they are related to the child's behavior. 

  • Identifying Basic Needs

Session 7: Basic-Needs Strategies Part One: Resolution - Dimension Methods

Objective: Participants will understand school and classroom practices that make students feel welcome and important in class.

  • Belonging/Significance Strategies
  • Student Survey

Session 8: Basic-Needs Strategies Part Two: Competence/Mastery

Objective: Participants will understand how acting-out behavior is a cover for feelings of intellectual and academic inadequacy. 

  • Competence/Mastery Strategies
  • The Relationship Between Discipline and Motivation
  • The Relationship Between Discipline and Instruction

Session 9: Basic-Needs Strategies Part Three: Power/Autonomy; Virtue/Generosity; Fun/Enjoyment

Objective: Participants will understand three basic needs and identify school/classroom activities that address each one.

  • Power/Autonomy
  • Virtue/Generosity
  • Fun/Enjoyment

Session 10: Schoolwide Discipline

Objective: Participants will understand issues as networking with community resources, involving parents meaningfully in the discipline program, and guidelines for developing a school-based Discipline with Dignity plan.

  • Developing a School-Based Discipline with Dignity Plan
  • Networking with Community Resources
  • Meaningful Involvement of Parents
  • Assess in-school causes of misbehavior
  • Create school-based methods that will address in-school causes of misbehavior
  • Develop methods of welcoming students.
  • Explain how to teach students methods of self-control.
  • Determine how to establish substitute outlets within the school or classroom so that students express their feelings and frustrations in acceptable ways.
  • Design instructional methods associated with student engagement.
  • Develop a framework of values and principles.
  • Develop effective rules.
  • Create options for student involvement.
  • Explain the difference between consequences and punishments.
  • Explain the concept of fair and not equal
  • Develop basic diagnostic methods
  • Assess strategies for defusing power struggles
  • Use P.E.P., the Action Dimension
  • Participants will understand how the hostility cycle works
  • Describe the mediation process
  • Determine non-aggressive methods of effectively dealing with difficult student behavior
  • Analyze the five basic psychological needs that are at the core of a child's decision to either behave or misbehave
  • Assess the need behind the misbehavior
  • Analyze how the basic need for belonging affects behavior in the classroom
  • Identify several strategies you can use in the school/classroom to enhance a sense or feeling of belonging among students
  • Analyze the relationship between classroom behavior and academic performance
  • Identify specific motivational classroom practices for building hope in discouraged learners
  • Analyze the relationship between motivation and discipline
  • Explain the ten conditions for motivated students
  • Explain how the needs for power and independence influence behavior
  • Generate ideas about how to enhance the need for virtue/generosity in an educational setting
  • Identify specific methods of fun that can be integrated within the curriculum
  • Identify specific school principles that guide decision-making.
  • Identify community resources that can assist in working with students.
  • Complete the final integration project.
Partner Universities

Our Partners are well-established regionally and nationally accredited colleges and universities, recognized for academic excellence and their commitment to teachers.

Important Information

Online 3-graduate credit courses are 13 weeks in length.

On-site weekend courses are held Friday evening from 6:00pm-9:00pm and Saturday/Sunday, 8:30am-5:30pm.

Weekday courses are Monday-Friday from 8:00am- 6:00pm.

It is the responsibility of the student to check with their state, county, district, or school to ensure that all requirements are being met by the course you're taking.  

Check the Partner Universities page for specific university information as well as course numbers which are specific to the university partner. 

Students are required to purchase their own textbook, the information for which can be found here. If no book is required it will be specified on the list. We have copies of many of the textbooks should you wish to purchase directly from TEI. 

Professional development (PD) participants receive a certificate of completion from TEI for 45 hours of PD credit for face to face classes and 60 hours of PD credit for online classes. These certificates are mailed within one week of the end of the class and reflect the course title, dates of attendance, and credit hour information. 

Student Academic Integrity
Participants guarantee that all academic class work is original. Any academic dishonesty or plagiarism (to take ideas, writings, etc. from another and offer them as one's own), is a violation of student academic behavior standards as outlined by our partnering colleges and universities and is subject to academic disciplinary action.