Three Basic Premises to Dealing with Or Avoiding Problem Behaviors
in the Classroom
Dr Kathie Nunley, 2017
Teachers are frequently
concerned with how to manage problem behaviors in the classroom.
Classroom management books workshops, and seminars are very popular.
I've always subscribed to the idea that if the curriculum and teaching
methodology in the classroom is working, classroom management is
largely, a non-issue.
There are three main
premises to keep in mind when setting up your school or classroom
in order to avoid problematic behaviors.
First, make sure you
tell students what behaviors you are expecting or what behaviors
they need to exhibit rather than telling them what not to do. For
example, “be here before the bell,” as opposed to “don't be tardy”.
Or "remain quiet during teacher instructions" is preferable
to "no talking."
Secondly, make sure that
you are providing consequences for following the rules as opposed
to consequences for not following the rules.
Lastly, and perhaps most
importantly, the people in your building need to put a lot of thought
and discussion into ensuring that being inside the school and inside
the classroom is a more positive experience than being outside the
room. Extra time in the classroom should never be used as a punishment.
Having to stay in during lunchtime, stay in during recess, or stay
in after school, as a punishment for misbehavior indicates that
the general consensus is that being in school or in the class is
less desirable than being outside the class. If ISS or in-school
suspension seems to be a greater punishment than out-of-school suspension,
why? What is going on in the building that makes it so uncomfortable?
What can be done to change that?
Again, the overarching
philosophy in a school building should be one that is positive,
encouraging, and promoting positive emotions. This means spending
the majority of our behavior managment time and effort outlining
our expectations, providing consequences for those students who
follow rules and meet expectations, and making sure that for every
student, being in-chool and being in-class is preferable to be outside
of the building. This is accomplished by providing students with
choice, a sense of control, and a safe place to explore personal
best practices for learning.
Dr Kathie Nunley is an educational psychologist, researcher and
author of several books on parenting and teaching, including A Student's
Brain (Brains.org) and the best selling, "Differentiating the High
School Classroom" (Corwin Press). She is the developer of the Layered
Curriculum® method of instruction and has worked with parents and
educators around the world to better structure schools to make brain-friendly
environments. In addition, her work has been used by the Boeing
Corporation, Family Circle Magazine, the Washington Post, and ABC
her: Kathie (at) brains.org