by James Green
When I think about proper actions to take in regards to responding to student actions I start to think about overall classroom management techniques. For example, to have students be at their best and have them exhibit good behavior there needs to be clear rules and procedures in place. A teacher must stay on top of this at all times. Having a high level of “Whititness” is key. Another key to this is really knowing all of your students well. Being able to forsee problems and misbehavior before they might occur is very important. The ability to be aware of everything going on in the classroom all of the time is so important. You really need to have eyes in the back of your head.
Part of this classroom management is swiftly reinforcing positive behavior and correcting negative behavior exhibited by students. I feel that a teacher should take a similar approach to both of these. For example, as a teacher you start out small and subtle and build on those actions when necessary. So, when a teacher first notices a student starting to talk to his friend sitting beside him during a quiet time a teacher could give a stern glance focused on that student. A teacher could also quietly walk over and whisper in the students ear to remind him that the behavior isn’t acceptable. The same kind of thing goes for reinforcing positive behavior. A teacher could start out small by giving a thumbs up or quietly thanking a student for being a good influence in class or asking a really good question. A good thing do is contact a student’s parents to let them know their child has exhibited great behavior and been a good influence in class. This can be done with a call or a note home.
Obviously, it’s a little trickier to try to get misbehaving students back on task. If a student keeps misbehaving a teacher will need to “ramp up” their actions. A teacher must keep in mind though they need to maintain their cool when doing this. As we know, teachers are always modeling behavior. If a stern glance or verbal warning doesn’t work a teacher may need to stop class and confront a student or students verbally. If this doesn’t work, putting a student on a time-out might be something that will work (these are actions appropriate for teaching 1st to 3rd grade, the level I plan to teach). A teacher could also put a student on detention. An action that can be very effective to curb poor behavior is contacting a student’s parents. Alerting parents to their child’s negative behavior can be a very useful technique. If all of these steps still aren’t correcting a student’s negative behavior at some point the principal should be alerted. The idea with a teacher “ramping up” their actions is that they are giving a student many chances to improve their behavior and get back on track.
A teacher can use a token based point system to track behavior and to use as a system to reward students. What I like about it is that it gives students a chance to quickly correct their behavior even in the span of one day. One way to do it is for each student to have a sheet titled “Daily Recognition Form” as discussed in chapter 7 in the Art and Science of Teaching. Students earn points for positive behavior and lose points for negative behavior. If a student gets off task they will lose points. If they improve their behavior they will have the chance to earn those points back though all in the same day.
Below is a flowchart I have created with actions I would like to take to help reinforce positive student behavior and actions to curtail negative student behavior:
Reference: The Art and Science of Teaching. Robert J. Marzano. 2007