Good discipline flows from a positive school ethos, Raymond Robertson, the Education Minister, told the conference.
"A positive school ethos is associated with such factors as good discipline, a sense of identity and pride in the school, a welcoming environment, high expectations, positive teacher and pupil relationships, good staff and pupil morale, and effective leadership," Mr Robertson said.
There were "no instant solutions". Soundings over the past year had indicated that "a balanced and considered approach" was best, he said. "Schools need to look broadly at how they motivate pupils. They need to provide clear positive incentives for good social behaviour."