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“My Rabb has taught me and perfected my ta’leem [education], and my Rabb has disciplined me and perfected my tarbiyyah [discipline].” (Hadith)

Effective classroom management is the basic principle of effective classroom practice. The Muallim/ah teaches discipline just as much as he teaches other subjects. Children expect to learn discipline. They want to live harmoniously together, become very much like others, and have rules by which to live by. They learn best in a classroom in which there are rules and standards to follow.

Self-discipline, then, is our aim, and we are expected to teach it. Precisely the same is in teaching any subject matter, mere telling (lecturing) is not enough. What works for one child may fail with another.

Preventive measures will put a stop to most forms of classroom misbehaviour. Some of these will occur in spite of the Muallim/ah’s best efforts, but it is noteworthy that there is a low incidence of them in classes with good Muallim/ahs. Since most children are very energetic, a Muallim/ah should keep everyone profitably busy all the time at substantive work. If every learner has something purposeful to do every minute, there will be fewer cases of misbehaviour than if he is expected to sit still and do nothing! Extra work of any nature, provided it can be done without disturbing others, should be available for learners who finish their work before others do. Learners must therefore be directed (without interrupting the Muallim/ah) to start with this extra work as they have a few minutes of spare time.

Not all of the physical discomforts can be avoided. For example, a Muallim/ah cannot easily correct a home situation in which children seldom take baths or where the house-keeping is untidy. But he can do something concrete about re-seating learners so that they are more comfortable, ventilating the room, sending home people who are showing signs of illness, stopping children from injuring or teasing others.

Above all else, a Muallim/ah ought to do plenty about his own dull methods. In the first place, he/she must get empowered. Then only will he/she be updated with a wider variety in the madrassah program and in the methods that he/she should be able to use with great success.

Different effective methods always help to stimulate and challenge the children.

The Muallim/ah can also allocate some duties and responsibilities to his/her learners. Each member of the class should have a responsibility in the class. These responsibilities should include things like opening the windows, distributing notes, turning the lights on and off, cleaning the board etc.

Finally, the Muallim/ah should accept apologies and ensure that promises are kept. He should display an attitude of trust and then the children will react favorably to a belief in their abilities and worth.

A few common tips which work reasonably well:
1. Don’t say “shhh” or “please be quiet class”. No child takes it to refer to himself because he usually thinks it refers to another.
2. Pick out offenders and call them by name. “Ismail, you have work to do” is one way to bring an offender back to his job.
3. Don’t turn away from the class to grin or turn your back to the class to work, but look over everyone every few seconds. And look them straight in the eye!
4. Speak distinctly and clearly to the class so that the learners at the back can hear. Look at them more often than at learners closer to you and project your voice.
5. Never punish a whole class! Offences are the work of individuals.
6. Avoid setting up a ‘spy’ system. Don’t appoint a child to report incidents to you when you must leave the class for a few minutes.
7. Select disciplinary measures for its effect upon the individual and not on a basis of expediency. Make the disciplinary measure fit the circumstance.
8. Avoid loss of personal control, and always calm yourself before reprimanding a child.
9. Never give madrassah work as punishment.
10. Give an offender the reason for any action taken.
11. Never threaten punishment and then fail to carry it out.
12. Don’t humiliate a child in either public or private.
13. Don’t force apologies. Accept a self-initiated apology without using the opportunity to reprimand the child.

Sometimes children commit serious offenses without willful intent, they simply do not think about the consequences of their actions, or they are experimenting to see just where the boundaries lie. When encouraged by “successes” (getting away with it) they become repeaters. Fairly severe disciplinary measures by the Muallim/ah may be called for, if the learning of acceptable limits is to become permanent.

How far can Muallim/ahs go in administrating punishment? In most madrasah systems, certain forms of corporal punishment are being administered and this is totally illegal by law and greatly disliked by Shariah too! When the child sees that he is in the wrong, he recognizes the justice of his punishment and only momentarily gives evidence of resentment. There is the familiar example of a mother slapping her two-year-old child’s hand as he reaches for the hot stove or for her ornaments and saying, “Don’t touch”. The child usually cries for a short time but retains no permanent emotional injury.

Some of the more drastic forms of punishment which may have to be administered by an Muallim/ah are as follows:
1. Dismissal from the classroom may be used for persistent repetition of disorderly conduct however, one should be careful NOT to deny the child of his rights to education.
2. Sending a child to the Muhtamim/Principal should be reserved for serious incidents in which the discipline of the entire madrasah is affected. A Muallim/ah who sends a child to the Muhtamim for some misdemeanor in his own class is admitting to the entire class that he is unable to cope with the situation, and he is simply inviting a loss of prestige.
3. Scolding a child is a severe punishment used very rarely. Its effectiveness depends upon its being discriminately used. This should never be done in front of the class.
4. Cutting out play time may be used as punishment especially for children who have wasted away their time when they should have been doing their work.
5. Expulsion from madrassah is the most extreme measure possible and is not to be resorted to where there is an alternative.

In spite of an Muallim/ah’s best efforts to prevent disturbing incidents, there will arise many irritating, and sometimes damaging situations and antics which call for punishment, correction and teaching. Punishment is necessary to supplement constructive guidance and must be adjusted to the individual and not the situation. The mildest forms of what the child may consider punishment are often effective when the offense is not a serious one. Some illustrations of what the Muallim/ah may do to correct a minor misdemeanor are as follows:
1. Nod his head at a child, register surprise or an enquiring look, frown, or remove an object that is the centre of the child’s attention. From these actions the child understands that the Muallim/ah is disapproving of some behavior.
2. Pass a note or point his finger or nod his head so as to indicate what the child is to do as a replacement for the disapproved activity.
3. While demonstrating or making notes on the chalkboard, he may enlist the assistance of an inattentive or misbehaving child.
4. Give a child work which changes his lack of attention to active participation. (‘Do’ is more effective than ‘Don’t’)
5. Re-seat an offender or move his ‘friend’ to the opposite side of the room, or in some way isolate him where he cannot further distract the attention of classmates.
6. Remove temporarily from a learner a privilege which he has abused
7. Detain a child to remain after madrassah to finish the work not done.
8. Temporarily ignore the ‘show-off’, but later assign him productive classroom work.
9. Keep a watch over the entire class every minute or so in order to prevent misbehaviour before they start.
10. Firmly say ‘NO’ or ‘STOP’ to what is likely to become a more serious action.
11. Without losing his emotional composure, show his annoyance or disgust. He does not ‘blast’ his learners or go into abusing the child, but he is sharp and firm, flatly rejects a proposal, or is indignant.
12. Ask the child to report after madrassah when he mildly reprimands the child or investigates the cause of the behavior. He also explains to him the reasons for madrassah regulations.

1. The best punishment is to postpone their dismissal time. This has great effect on them.
2. Even though not a punishment, but ongoing Tarbiyyah is most effective for discipline and best to avoid situations for punishment.
3. Regular consultation with the parents has also proven to be a great help.
4. Giving problem children responsibilities with proper supervision also has much therapeutic effect.

1. As far as possible, control your anger. The senses are unbalanced at the time of anger. Do not pass any judgment at this moment.
2. When angry the nature of the person erupts and its evils are not apparent. Experience shows that the controlling of anger is always good. On the contrary, not controlling it has harmful consequences
3. When angry, never hasten in any speech or action. In a few days moderation will be achieved.
4. Never mete punishment when angry. Only do so after the anger has cooled and one had pondered over the action carefully.
5. Punishing during anger has been prevented in the Ahadeeth.

When angry with someone, go away from there or move that person away. Then drink cold water. If anger is severe, then ponder that ALLAH also has some rights over us. We continuously commit errors, yet he forgives us. We should do the same to this person. What will be our condition if ALLAH has to take retribution from us?

1. Remember that advising a person when he is distressed is never beneficial. It is always harmful. His grief remains in the heart. Excess of grief causes depression which in turn leads to many illnesses.
2. To severely reprimand someone for an act that is permissible in Shariah is against the etiquette. This could be done gently.
3. The aim should be to warn the listener of his faults, in order that he understands easily. The best is to reply with facts that are acceptable to him.