Forming a Behavior Plan
Teachers find students with problem behaviors very difficult to manage.
Students who are disruptive have a negative effect on the classroom
atmosphere, which is one that should be focused on educational pursuits, not on
a few students who want to rob others of their education. Although educators
want to focus on positive interventions, for example, rewarding positive
behaviors and giving praise rather than punishments, sometimes interventions
that are both positive and negative are appropriate.
Some students with very negative behaviors do not catch on to a positive
behavior plan right away, but these are the students that often crave structure
and routine—they need absolute rules in place that have very clear rewards and
punishments attached. For example, a rule could be stated in this way
(remember to state rules in positive terms):
- Complete all assigned class work.
- Reward: Ten minute computer pass
- Punishment: E-mail or phone call to parent
Often, students who have behavior problems are focused by working on
hands-on projects, such as creating charts or graphs or slide shows. It might be
a good idea for teachers to pair students who are more focused with those who
present behavior problems or if not enough computers are available, enforce
time limits, share computers with other teachers (send four students to two
other teachers and return the favor sometime.), or send a few students to the
media center. Have a conduct card available—if it can be sent by e-mail to other
teachers and then to the parent, that would be ideal—so that the students’
behavior can be monitored, especially when s/he is visiting other classes.
Monitoring lets the student know how s/he is doing, so make certain a printable
copy is also available for him/her.
Punishments are easy to give out; they include detentions, parent contact,
removal from the program and other undesirables that foster the idea that
school is a negative place. Rewards increase self esteem, but many teachers find
themselves unable to provide rewards that they feel are appropriate or
sanctioned by the school. For example, giving students candy is frowned upon,
and costly as well. Some rewards may include: free computer time, positive
phone calls or e-mails home (although sometimes parents think this is a prank or
an intrusion!), time to listen on music devices such as an Ipod, time to play with
a handheld video game. Avoid using free homework passes—this gives the idea
that homework is a punishment, something to try to keep away from!
Try to develop a positive behavior plan and see if it is successful. Clues
will include: a more relaxed, happier classroom atmosphere and fewer teacher
headaches and gray hairs!
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