Sample Answer: I believe that students must be held responsible and accountable for their actions, and that the ground rules and consequences for acceptable and non-acceptable behavior should be clearly established from the first day of school. My discipline philosophy is founded in the belief that proper discipline will not only facilitate learning but it will also improve relationships and the level of respect between students. Discipline can also help children to be more self-directed and realize a level of accountability in life that will serve them when they reach adulthood.
Personally, I believe that negative behavior can be reduced or even eliminated if a teacher offers the student an environment that stimulates them and respects them. For very young children, I believe that the time-out system of discipline is effective because it not only ends the negative behavior by isolating the child into a time-out chair, it also gives the child time to reflect on their behavior without being summarily punished. Because time-out lasts for just a few minutes, the child is often able to correct his or her behavior and rejoin his classmates with a new attitude.
Tip: For reasons that are obvious, there is no cookie-cutter answer to this question. Your answer should be based on your style of teaching, the grade you will be teaching, and any past experience that you have with disciplining children. What the interviewer wants to see with this answer is that you do have a plan in place, and that you know the importance of discipline in the educational system. Provide a plan for action and back up your plan with clear examples. It can be helpful to learn all you can in regards to the discipline philosophy the particular school district follows and to tailor your answer to show your compliance with this philosophy.