Lifelong Learner & Reflective Practitioner

Lifelong Learner & Reflective Practitioner

Let's Transform Our Schools Into TRUE Professional Learning Communities

Let's Transform Our Schools Into TRUE Professional Learning Communities
In Your School- Do all stakeholders subscribe to the belief that EVERYONE has something to learn and EVERYONE has something to teach? This blog can help you gain insight on how to facilitate this transformative mindset with your faculty!

Jun 13, 2013

Revisiting Behavior Management

Here are some good "key points" related to classroom management. I shared these with my teachers in this week's Monday Memo, but you could also include this content in the Discipline section of your faculty handbook.

Always remember that- in students’ eyes- Calm = Strength and Upset = Weakness
This is why it is so very important for teachers to NEVER lose their tempers with students. Anger feeds anger, and it ALWAYS escalates the problem! So please remember to always keep your behavior interventions low-key.

Say what you mean and mean what you say when it comes to behavior expectations. Be fair and consistent. Effective teachers act and ineffective teachers react!

Don’t argue with a student….NEVER- EVER- EVER! A good rule of thumb is to present yourself as the “dispassionate cop.” Think about movies that you have watched where a police officer pulls over a person for speeding. The cop calmly says, “I need your license and registration, please.” The person gets all excited and begins ranting, “But what did I do officer?” The officer quietly takes the documentation and begins writing on his pad. The person then yells and insists, “I wasn’t speeding! If I was, it couldn’t have been more than a couple of miles over the speed limit!” The officer calmly takes the documentation to his car and states “I’ll be back in a minute” as he walks off.” The officer comes back with a ticket and the person is furious- losing total control- and attempting to insist that they did nothing wrong and yelling "Are you kidding me?" The officer simply hands the ticket over, smiles- says “Have a nice day” and walks off. Ask yourself: Do I get caught up in arguing with students, or do I act like the dispassionate cop? Along these same lines, remember this good rule of thumb: Never argue with a skunk. Even if a student’s behavior stinks, we have to be the trained professionals. If you argue with a student- you’re going to lose (even if you win). You will be the one who comes out stinking and everybody will know it.

Research has shown that instructional planning and pace of teaching are often the originating source of discipline problems. So PLEASE be mindful that we cannot separate discipline and instruction. They are too closely related!

When addressing a behavior issue with a student, ever violate the 3” Be’s” if you desire to have a positive outcome and not interrupt learning: Be positive, be brief, and then be gone. Example: Johnny is throwing his pencil in the air and catching it instead of working on his assignment. Calmly and quietly, walk over to Johnny, lean down and discretely whisper to him, “I would hate for you to get in trouble so please stop doing that and get to work”, then immediately walk off.

Take a proactive approach to managing student behavior by referring to “PEP” – privacy, eye contact, and proximity.

Articulate your expectations on a regular basis and in a positive manner and then follow through with them in a consistent fashion. To work effectively, consequences have to be definite, but they don’t have to be damaging.

Be cognizant of the difference between corrective discipline and supportive discipline. Supportive discipline is aimed at teaching the student appropriate behavior and supporting them so that they can learn to be successful. It is low-profile, positive, and it focuses more on visual than verbal re-directing. Corrective discipline is public, punitive, and it does not focus on teaching appropriate behavior. Research by Wang, Hartle, and Walberg suggests that the #1 problem in schools is corrective discipline- how much time and energy is spent on it. It interferes with the flow of instruction and it typically escalates behavior issues.

When teachers refer students to the office, they send a silent- but very powerful- message to their students. The message is, “I can’t handle this student.” Administration is always willing to assist you, but please do not give away your power easily. Remember too that once you send the student to administration, you are saying to us that “you can’t handle the student” and if this is truly the case we are more than happy to handle the situation for you. However, once you refer a student to us- that student is ours and the choice of how to handle the situation with the student is no longer yours.

The very best teachers are the ones who “mean business” without “being mean”

In the most effective and safe schools, this is the formula for dealing with student discipline: Primary approach is proactive, secondary approach is supportive, and the least used approach is corrective. In the least effective and safe schools, this formula is backwards. The primary approach to handing discipline is corrective, the secondary approach is supportive, and the least used approach is proactive.

Discipline is like taking a bath. It MUST be done every single day in order to be effective. If you do not do it consistently, you might be able to get away with it for a day…possibly even two days, but that’s it!

Telling is not teaching! Behavior- just like academics- must be explicitly taught to students.

At this school, we are not a “tell them, nail them, then jail them” school. We are about doing the right things for kids!

We know how very hard each and everyone of you are working, and we understand the huge challenge that student discipline can sometimes be. We want to support and encourage you in any way that we can, and we strongly believe that equipping you with the knowledge of the most effective strategies is the best way to support you. These are some good approaches for managing student behavior. Please have a discussion with your grade level this week about the content of this section of the Monday Memo. Be willing to look within and honestly self-assess.