can be classified into two general strategies, preventative and reactive
classroom management. (Lane, Menzies, Bruhn, & Crnobori, 2010) The teachers first
responsibility is to prevent undesirable behavior and when this does not work,
he/she implements the reactive approach to lower troublesome or unacceptable
behavior. But in many cases this is not so and this results in an increase of
behavioral problems in the classroom.
® Reactive classroom management strategies, are strategies used by teachers to respond to undesirable
behavior in the classroom. This strategy includes teacher warnings, scolding,
office referrals, loss of privileges, detention, suspensions and expulsions.
The reactive approach is the more common approach in schools. Keep in mind that
this approach has a deteriorating effect on student behavior. (Rachel
® Preventative/ Proactive classroom management strategies, are strategies used by the teacher to prevent behavioral
problems in the classroom. For example, the rules, procedures and good
teacher-student relationship implemented in the classroom. Some strategies that
can be implemented are:
o Reinforce and celebrate good behavior. It is easy to teach a
student what not to do but rewarding a student when he/she does something right
help in reinforcing new behavior. For example: let students who behave well
during class to put their names in a ajar and at the end of the week, there is
a drawing prize. Make sure to always praise good behavior. (preventative
strategies for classroom management, n.d.)
o Provide thorough and consistent classroom structure. The more
structure there is the more likely it is for students to stay on track.
Structure and planning takes time but the clearer everything is the easier the
class will flow. For example: make sure everything is prepared before the
students enter the classroom. (preventative strategies for
classroom management, n.d.)
o Develop effective classroom rules and consequences. When
rules and consequences are specific and consistent the more effective they will
be. These rules show the students what is expected of them rather than what they
are not supposed to do. For example: discuss consequences beforehand, so that
students know what awaits them if they behave in a certain way. (preventative
strategies for classroom management, n.d.)
o Have a zero tolerance rule. If the students are not supposed
to yell the answer through the class, make sure that they follow the rule no
matter what. If a teacher lets a shouted answer pass because it is correct,
students will start to shout the answer to try their luck. (preventative strategies for classroom management, n.d.)
Apart from these for
preventative strategies there are many more that can be implemented within the
classroom to prevent or lower undesirable behavior.
approaches to classroom management
approach, the teacher uses one of the following operations to increase or
decrease desirable and undesirable behavior by adding or removing stimuli.
These operations are part of skinners research on behaviorism. In the following
illustration, a diagram can be seen concerning his research on conditioning and
the results that occurred.
Figure 1. skinner’s operant conditioning (Operant conditioning, n.d.)
Reinforcement is the repercussion/consequence
following a behavior, leading to the likeliness of increasing this behavior in
the future. Reinforcement can be split into two categories, positive and
negative reinforcement. They are both used as some sort of reward for the students
and they both increase positive behavior. (Landrum & Kauffman, 2006)
Positive reinforcement, is when the teachers adds something that the students like
when they exhibit positive behavior in the classroom. For example, letting them
listen to music when they are done with their assignment or praising their
efforts when they do something right. (Landrum & Kauffman, 2006)
Negative reinforcement, is when the teacher removes something that the students
find unpleasant. In many cases it is mistaken with punishment. For example,
telling the students that if they finish the assignment that was given to them
in the appointed time, they will not receive their usual homework. If the
promise of their reward makes the students more productive then we are talking
about negative reinforcement. (Landrum & Kauffman, 2006)
Many teachers do not
believe in positive reinforcement because they do not believe in rewarding a
student for something that is expected of them, for example, working quietly on
an assignment. Other claim that reinforcement is like bribing the students
which is not the case. Reinforcements are given to bring desirable change in
the classroom among the students. It can be compared to getting a paycheck,
your paycheck is reinforcement for doing your job. The question now is, how likely do you think
it is, that someone will exhibit appropriate behavior for doing their job without
receiving a reinforcement? (CEHD(college of education and
human development, 2016)
Apart from keeping
student behavior in check, reinforcement should be used to capture and inspire
students to learn. Reinforcement should be used frequently by teachers to
sustain a positive learning environment and to encourage suitable classroom
behaviors. (CEHD(college of education and human development, 2016)
Punishment is a
repercussion/consequence following a behavior, leading to the likeliness of
decreasing this behavior in the future. It should be used in the classroom to
lessen undesirable behavior. With punishment, the consequence is followed
immediately after the undesired behavior has taken place. Just like
reinforcement, punishment is split into two groups, positive and negative
punishment. (North Shore Pediatric Therapy,
Positive punishment, is
when the teacher presents the consequence immediately after the undesired
behavior has been exhibited. For example, reprimanding a student in front of
his/her classmates for eating in the classroom or walking through the classroom
without permission. (North Shore Pediatric Therapy,
Negative punishment, is
when a something that the student loves is removed for a period of time, until
his/her behavior improves. For example, being removed from the school soccer
team or taking away a student’s phone. (North Shore Pediatric Therapy,
Punishment should be
executed with care and should not be used to single a student out or punish a
student with challenging behavior because of a disability. Something that
should be taken into consideration is that punishment affects everyone in
different ways. For example, when you give Student-X extra homework because she
misbehaved, she will make sure not to repeat that behavior again. On the other
hand, Student-Y will not care about his punishment and will continue to
misbehave. So the punishment has to fit the student. (North Shore Pediatric Therapy, 2012)
Some examples of
Loss of recess time
Loss of other
What to do when behavior/discipline problems arise
Schools wanting to improve discipline
and behavior problems school-wide are encouraged to follow these guidelines. They
Introduce a school- and community-wide
commitment build and sustain acceptable student behavior not only in school but
at school sponsored events (parties, excursions etc.)
Make the expectations clear to the
students on how their behavior should be.
Establish behavior rules and
procedures together with the students and make parents, caregivers, community
etc. aware of them.
Work towards knowing the students
personally (their interests, plans and activities).
If the school has implemented and
assessment system, make sure to adapt it to the unique school situation. Only take
out what fits with the school overall.
§ Should make themselves more available to the students. Should
be more involved in the everyday school life of the students and have more
personal interactions with the students and teachers alike.
§ Support teachers with the decisions that they take when
discipline/behavior problems arise in their classrooms and encourage them to
handle these situations as best as the can on their own.
§ Organize staff activities and workshops where teachers are
able to develop their classroom managing- and disciplinarian skills. (Cotton, 2017)
Classroom level (the teacher should):
Share high expectation with the students
and stick to them
Give the students clear rules and
expectations and inform them to follow them.
Give clear consequences for
Implement class rules from the first
day of class.
Teach students how to monitor their
Make sure to keep a swift pace when
giving instructions and also be sure to make smooth transitions between activities.
Give students feedback and
reinforcement when necessary.
Develop opportunities for students
with behavioral problems, to experience success with their learning and also
their social behavior.
Identify and work with students who lack
personal effectiveness and help them achieve an internal sense of control.
Use humor to increase the students
interest and decrease tensions within the classroom.
Remove materials that may be distracting
to the students.
When discipline problems arise
Take quick action, do not let
behavior that goes against school and classroom rules go unattended.
Establish reinforcement schedules
for the students that are misbehaving
Teach misbehaving students self-control
Teach misbehaving students prosocial
skills (self-awareness, cooperation and helpfulness)
Place students with behavior
problems into peer-tutoring plans, either as a tutor or tutees.
Use punishments that fit the
problem. The punishment should help students improve their behavior.
Use counceling services, counseling
should help in establishing the cause of the misbehavior.
Use in-school suspension programs
which serve to guide, support, plan for change and build skills for the student
Build a contract together with the
misbehaving student about his behavior and what will be done to improve and be
sure to follow through with the terms of the contract.
Use home-based reinforcement (either
from the parents, sibling, aunt etc.) to increase the school-bases agreements
and directives that are implemented.
disciplinary and behavior practices
It is important to know
about procedures that work with students who are having disciplinary/behavior
problems but it is more important to know about procedures that are
ineffective. Some of them include:
Unclear and useless
rules. Through research it was
observed that it is very important to have and implement clear and useful rules
not only for the students but for the teachers as well.
Ignoring misbehavior. A student’s behavior and attitude is deeply affected when
teachers ignore transgressions of the school and classroom rules.
Vague or inconsistent responses
from the teacher concerning misbehavior. Teachers who are inconsistent with steadfastness of the rules or respond
inappropriately to misbehavior are more likely to make the students discipline/behavior
problems increase rather than decrease.
Out of school
Punishments that are
outrageous and do not lead to behavior improvements. An example of this is when
teachers, punish their students publicly in front of the whole class. (Cotton, 2017)
systems are procedures implemented either by the teacher or the school in order
to manage the behavior of the students. The goal of these systems is to help
and make students aware of their negative behaviors. These systems consist of
rewards and punishments. The behavior system gives the school and teacher an
overall view of their students’ behavior. (Boschen, 2015)
A few examples of
behavioral assessment systems are:
Behavior charts (students get a sticker each day if they behave accordingly
and if they do not they do not receive any stickers.)
Reward coupons (students receive a coupon every time they behave well. At
the end of the week, they get a prize depending on the amount of coupons that
Color coded cards (students receive a colored card ranging from green (good
behavior) to red (bad behavior).)
Clip placards (Moving clips with student names on
them to different colored placards that signify different levels of behavior.) (Weigle, 2017)
And so on…
With these systems students get a
reward depending on their behavior. Many teachers believe that these systems
are godsend because they help them manage their students better and it also
helps the students reflect on their behavior at the end of the day. A quote
from a teacher (who uses one of these systems) to her students every year “MY goal is not to get you IN trouble, my
goal is to keep you OUT of trouble.” (the best behavior management
sysrem i’ve ever used, 2013)
Others, parents and teachers alike
think that these charts only work for a period of time. Many students work
because of their intrinsic motivation and these behavior systems work towards
increasing a students’ extrinsic motivation. At first students participate because
they will receive a reward but over time these rewards are will no longer be
enough to manage the students. Apart from this, these systems work toward
shaming and damaging a student’s self-confidence which can result in a lower
academic performance and increase their behavioral problems. (Hurley, 2016)
Ineffective behavior management
You might ask yourself, but what
happens when all these behavior and discipline practices do not work or become
ineffective? In many cases the above mentioned strategies and techniques are
enough to make a student think twice about his/her behavior. On the other hand,
students with serious behavior problems, meaning that they are resistant to
interventions that are introduced, need more extensive and intensive, resources
and support. (Bear, 2017)
The strategies and techniques that
are implemented will remain the same as the above mentioned practices but will
be applied more intensively. So, instead of using these strategies to handle
every day issues that may arise, these techniques will be used in a more
frequent and systematic fashion. For example: decreasing the size of the
classes or using extra assistance in the classroom. (Bear, 2017)
The services and supports have to be:
Comprehensive, working towards
implementing multiple risk and protective factors.
Broad-based, where every area of the
student’s life and self is worked on; mental health specialists, educators,
community, family etc.
Rigorous, maintained over time and
kept to with consistency.
Individualized, focused on the
individual student and not as a group.
These interventions, not only
supports students with behavior problems but also students who have no history
of behavior problems but still exhibit these problems. The focus is to prevent
crisis, intervene and respond, especially in cases where violence occurs.