Thursday, August 4, 2011

Classroom Management: 23 Psycho-Educational Tips for Correcting and Redirecting Behavior

1.Do not label the student, e.g., “You are such a messy sloppy!”

2.Disapprove the behavior, not the child. Avoid using messages that refer to the child’s character, for example,

• You are always messing up.
• Can’t you do anything right?
• You seem to enjoy fooling around and acting silly with your friends.
• You never listen!
• You always have an excuse for not bringing your homework.
• You have no respect for anyone.

In these kinds of messages, global and absolutistic words like “always,” “anything,” “never,” and “anyone” imply the idea that the child’s behavior is an inherent trait, like having brown eyes, and it is not going to change.

3.Provide warmth and an accepting atmosphere that communicate your basic acceptance of the child as a person even when you disapprove of the child’s behavior.

4.Use eye contact, say the child’s name, and use pleasant words.

5.Stay cool, do not display emotion, and remain calm and business-like.

6.Stay close to the child (at a desk’s length), avoiding giving reprimands across the room. It is always better to correct the child in private.

7.Begin on a positive note. Before correcting the child, let her know that you like some aspect of her behavior, current or past, or let the child know of something that she is doing right, for example, “Wow, you worked hard to wipe your desk clean. All that you have to do now is to remove these two small spots here,” or “You need help in handling the subtraction step in long division. All the other steps are correct.”

8.Avoid vague statements, for example, “This is sloppily written” or “Be nice to Justin.” Vague language is subject to different interpretations. The child needs to know what he is doing poorly.

9.Avoid using negative directions that tell the student what not to do, for example, “Do not make noises” or “Do not hit other children.”

10.Describe what you want the child to do in positive terms. Use positive wording, that is, telling the child what he should do rather than what not to do. For example, “Raise your hand to talk” instead of “Do not call out the answers!”

11.Use positive direction by guiding the student towards a more appropriate behavior. Give the child an alternative behavior, for example, rather than saying, “Do not color on your desk,” say, “You can color on this paper, not on your desk.”

12.Do not use correction and rewards together. Reward the child and leave it like that. You can correct the behavior later.

13.Use direct statements (e.g., “I need you to keep your voice low”) rather than questions (e.g., “Would you please keep your voice low?”). A question implies that you are giving the student a choice.

14.Do not ask, “Why did you do that?” “Why” questions only lead to an excuse for the misbehavior.

15.To express disapproval for an unacceptable behavior, you can make a statement that point out the effect of the behavior on you, or your feelings about the behavior. Then, provide an acceptable alternative. For example, “Nicki, when you leave your seat without permission, I get distracted. When you return to your seat and raise your hand, I will listen to what you have to say.”

16.Give the student examples of behaviors you would like the child to work on. Give specific examples of what you mean by __________ (e.g. behaving in the line or sitting straight).

Giving Warnings

17.Give only one warning and state the warning only once, or use the three-warnings, then penalty technique.

18.Do not reissue, coerce, or give a different warning.

19.Count aloud to five before administering the consequence.

20.Deliver the warning in as a calm and positive manner as possible.

21.Include in the warning a clear statement about what the child must stop doing, and what will happen (consequence) if the disruptive behavior continues.

22.Do not argue with the student.

23.After the penalty, ask the child what she learned from the mistake and what she can do differently the next time to avoid making the same mistake.

Related Articles…

Child Behavior: Winning Compliance Using the Language of Praise and Encouragement

Child Discipline Management: Guidelines to Improve Compliance with Our Requests and Commands

Behavior Management: Enforcing Rules and Consequences

To read these articles, click on "My Articles/Child Guidance Skills," and then click on the article's title.


Of Interest to Teachers and School Staff...

All Behavior is Communication: How to Give Feedback, Criticism, and Corrections that Improve Behavior. To preview this book on Amazon, click here.