What are the core principles underlying this model or approach to behaviour management?

The Assertive Discipline model of classroom behaviour management was developed by Lee and Marlene Canter in 1976 and since then it has evolved and developed into a model which is still used widely in many schools today.

There are a number of similarities between this model and that of Skinner's Behaviour Modification, although there are also some significant differences. These are most evident in the use of punishment as well as positive reinforcement when dealing with classroom behaviours. Assertive Discipline is a very structured and systematic approach to all areas of classroom management, in which the teacher is always in charge and in control.


Canter identified 3 ways in which he believes a teacher can respond to any situation in a classroom environment. These are
  1. Non-Assertive - teachers who are non-assertive often react in a passive, inconsistent timid manner. They fail to let students know exactly what is expected of them, make threats but are unable or unwilling to follow through with them, and will choose to ignore problem behaviour rather than deal with it.
  2. Hostile - teacher's in this category often respond to student behaviour with anger or aggression, losing their temper when they feel that the class is not under their control. They may threaten their students and tend to use 'put downs' a lot in their classroom when dealing with inappropriate behaviour.
  3. Assertive - clearly communicate with students in their class. Students are aware of rules, expectations and consequences that may apply. Limits are set and these teachers are willing and able to enforce them consistently in their classrooms

Dealing with Classroom Management
The Assertive Discipline model states that both Teachers and Students have rights in the classroom

  1. A teacher has a right to teach, just as a student has a right to learn
  2. Good teaching involves the development of trusting, personal teacher-student relationships
  3. Teachers have the right and responsibility to put in place rules and expectations that clearly define what children are required to do. These will include both acceptable and unacceptable behaviours. These rules need to be enforced consistently without discrimination or bias.
  4. Students do not automatically self regulate without guidance therefore teachers have the responsibility to teach children to follow rules consistently throughout the school day
  5. Teachers have the right to expect support and assistance from Principals, School Administration and Parents
  6. Teachers need to use a hierarchy of discipline in their classroom that is appropriate for the year level that they teach
  7. An assertive teacher is more effective than a non-assertive or hostile teacher