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3 Managing Motivation to Learn Course Resource Book


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Third in the series of courses in the PRIME teacher training program, this course presents contemporary theory and lots of practice in classroom management methods and techniques. This resource book …

Third in the series of courses in the PRIME teacher training program, this course presents contemporary theory and lots of practice in classroom management methods and techniques. This resource book presents hundreds of useful ideas teachers can readily take immediately into their classroom to experience positive change where it's needed.

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  • 1. Pragmatics Predictability Performance Perception Practical Resources Recognition Realia Resolve Relevant Imagination Investigation Inclusion Insight Integrated Multiple Mystery Motivation Media Intelligences Meaningful Energy Enthusiasm Extension Engagement Enriching C O M M U N I C AT I O N I N E N G L I S H A Modern Approach to Facilitating the Acquisition of English as a Foreign Language Managing Motivation to Learn William Tweedie Part 3 of the PRIME Teacher Training Program
  • 2. Managing Motivation to Learn Course Resource Book William Tweedie © 2005 - 2010 Kenmac Educan International & William M Tweedie TABLE OF CONTENTS 2
  • 3. MANAGING MOTIVATION TO LEARN.............................................................................................................2 COURSE RESOURCE BOOK.............................................................................................................................2 WILLIAM TWEEDIE........................................................................................................................................2 REVISED AND EXPANDED COURSE OUTLINE..................................................................................................4 GOALS AND OBJECTIVES................................................................................................................................4 INTRODUCTION............................................................................................................................................6 STUDENT MOTIVATION AS CRITICAL TO LEARNING SUCCESS ........................................................................7 MOTIVATION, ATTENTION AND LISTENING, SETTING AND ACHIEVING PERSONAL GOALS..............................9 TEACHING (THE CATALYST FOR LEARNING), CONTROL, HEALTH, EVALUATIONS...........................................24 TOP 6 KEYS TO BEING A SUCCESSFUL TEACHER............................................................................................41 A PRIMER ON BEHAVIOR MANAGEMENT (ROAMING THE CYBER-HALLWAYS WITH A FORGED PASS)..........................................................................42 FOR NEW TEACHERS: WELCOME TO THE PROFESSION! ...............................................................................47 BEHAVIOR MANAGEMENT CHECKLIST.........................................................................................................51 TIPS FOR BECOMING AN EFFECTIVE AND WELL-LIKED BEHAVIOR MANAGER ...............................................54 GIVING AND GETTING RESPECT ...................................................................................................................................................................63 MANAGING BEHAVIOR VIA TEACHING STYLE ..............................................................................................73 COMPETITIVE VS. COOPERATIVE LEARNING FORMATS................................................................................77 WHEN MISBEHAVIOR OCCURS IN GROUPS .................................................................................................81 CLASSROOM MANAGEMENT.......................................................................................................................83 THE USE OF PERSONAL CHOICE IN CLASSROOMS.........................................................................................87 HOW TO DEAL WITH DISRUPTIVE STUDENTS...............................................................................................88 TEACHING IDEAS THAT WORKED: BEHAVIOR MANAGEMENT ......................................................................90 THE TOP 5 LIST............................................................................................................................................99 ON THE WEB: CLASSROOM MANAGEMENT...............................................................................................102 REMEMBERING YOUR GOAL: THE ART OF COMPROMISE .................................................................104 POSITIVE DISCIPLINE.................................................................................................................................109 ANSWER KEY FOR 10 LEVELS OF REINFORCEMENT ACTIVITY......................................................................115 THE ART AND CRAFT OF MOTIVATING STUDENTS......................................................................................117 QUOTATIONS ABOUT MOTIVATION ..........................................................................................................119 Articles are the property of the authors and copyright owners. Permission is granted for reproduction. Please cite the authors and source. 3
  • 4. Revised and Expanded Course Outline I. PRIME Task 1. a. Relationship between Multiple Intelligences (MI) and Motivation i. How do we learn? ii. Gardener’s MI Theory - Whole Group Activity iii. MI ↔ Motivation - practical application – Your story II. Setting the Stage a. Goals and Objectives i. Personal and Group Goals ii. PG / CG Objectives III. Process Framework a. Expectations b. Routines c. Structure i. Part 1 ii. Part 2. iii. Evaluation / Feedback d. Consequences IV. Managing Motivation a. Global Challenge b. Sample Lesson c. Overview i. What is it? ii. What are the needs that drive Motivation? iii. Reasons for importance, it’s absence, and behaviors associated with high academic achievement iv. Seven Strands/levels of Engagement V. Attention Training a. Need b. Activities – Simple/Individual → Complex/Group Lunch Break – Classroom Management Profile (CMP) task VI. PRIME Task 2 – Review and CMP VII. Goals and Objectives task – Small Group Activity VIII. Behavior Management Tips – Small Group Activity IX. Behavior Management Checklist (BMC) a. Checklist of General Strategies – individual Activity b. Personal Management Plan – Small Group Activity Goals and Objectives Facilitator’s Personal Goal (PG) To deepen my understanding of the concept of Motivation and the dominant factors in the challenge of managing it. Facilitator’s Course Goal (CG) To create the awareness of some elements, styles, strategies, and techniques in Managing Motivation (MM) that will help SCT facilitators of learning positively affect their students’ motivation to learn 4
  • 5. Facilitator’s Objectives Facilitator’s PG – 1. to provide opportunities for facilitators of learning to share their knowledge and experience with Motivation challenges 2. to learn new strategies that have been used successfully in this SCT context Facilitator’s GG – 1. to present current research and evidence of practice on the topic of Motivation 2. to provide opportunities for facilitators of learning to develop and practice new styles, strategies and techniques in Managing Motivation 3. to provide opportunities for facilitators of learning to begin developing personal and professional MM plans 4. to establish mechanisms to continue to assist facilitators of learning with Motivation issues My Personal Goals and Objectives __________________________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________________________ 5
  • 6. Introduction This book is the product of fifteen years of combined research and practice in the field of classroom management, as it is traditionally defined (behaviour management is a better representation and the title of this book, Managing Motivation even better, in my opinion, for professional facilitators of learning*1). It presents some of the best approaches and ideas regarding the myriad array of factors that make up this complex topic including cognitive, metacognative, social, and psychological. It is complex. However, facilitating learning effectively is not to be taken lightly and understanding human behaviour is at its core. It is most likely the most important area that a good facilitator must continually undertake in which to broaden and deepen understanding. If one begins with the notion that teachers do not manage classrooms, that they manage people, then one is taken beyond the physical boundaries of rooms to the limitless possibilities in the human mind and spirit. There, one can begin to understand and affect behaviour, guiding it in such a way that ideally is demonstrated in a complete engagement in the most important human activity – learning… for each student. I hope these resources and this course provide you with some insight and help you to help your students become more excited about being in your classroom or wherever you are helping them become better learners. Have fun! William M Tweedie 1 Personally, I would like to have the label “Teacher” eliminated from the English lexicon. 6
  • 7. Student Motivation as Critical to Learning Success,2340,en_2649_37465_15481523_1_1_1_37465,00.html Successful learning depends on good instruction and the ability to store knowledge, but also on how students approach the process of learning, according to a new OECD report (30/09/2003) drawing on a study of 15-year-olds in 26 countries. Learners for Life - Student Approaches to Learning provides evidence that students with strong motivation and a belief in their own abilities are able to take better control of their own learning, and that this helps them to perform much better at school. These findings suggest that education systems need to concentrate not just on providing sound instruction but on helping students develop attitudes and habits that allow them to manage their own learning effectively, both at school and beyond. The findings cover Austria, Australia, Belgium (Flemish Community), Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Korea, Luxembourg, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Scotland, Sweden, Switzerland and the U.S. The report draws on data gathered under the year 2000 round of the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), which assessed the knowledge and skills of 15-year-olds in 43 countries. Within PISA, students were asked about four aspects of their approaches to learning: motivation, self-related beliefs (i.e. self-confidence), learning strategies, and whether they prefer co- operative or competitive learning situations. The report groups students into four clusters, according the learning approaches that they say they use. The strongest learners can be characterised by effective learning behaviour as well as habits and beliefs that foster learning. Students in this cluster are especially likely to use strategies employing comprehension: "evaluation" and "control" strategies. They are also likely to have especially high confidence in their ability to achieve even difficult goals (self-efficacy), to put in a large amount of effort and persistence and to be interested in reading. In Finland, Norway and the United States, 28% of students fall into the cluster of strong learners, while in the Flemish Community of Belgium and in Switzerland only 23% of students make this category (see Figure 1). Students rated as the strongest learners in terms of these characteristics perform, on average across countries, 63 score points or nearly one proficiency level on the PISA scale higher than students in the "weakest learners" category. The report shows not just that students who are well motivated, for example by an interest in reading, are more likely to reach higher levels of literacy, but also that self-confident students do better, and in particular that students who report applying effective learning strategies tend to take better control of their own learning. Such students think more actively about what they need to learn and monitor their own progress, rather than relying on teachers every step of the way. In addition to achieving better results at school, they are better equipped to become lifelong learners, i.e. to continue learning beyond the close supervision of the classroom. The report shows striking similarities in the relationship between various learning approaches and student performances across OECD countries, despite different cultures and education systems. Schools in most countries have at least some pupils who lack confidence, are poorly motivated, and have weak learning strategies, indicating that the main task is for individual schools to address these issues among their weakest students. The report also shows that, across countries, students tend to show higher confidence in reading than in maths. Despite these similarities, however, there are also differences across countries. Danish students have the highest level of confidence in both their reading and their mathematical abilities, while Korean students have the lowest level of confidence (see Figure 2). 7
  • 8. The report also notes differences in the approaches to learning among different groups of students: • Although boys perform less well than girls in reading literacy, they have some overall advantages as learners. For example, they are more confident than girls of succeeding in learning tasks, even where they find them difficult. On the other hand, girls think more of their reading abilities, and have a greater interest in reading. • Students from more advantaged social groups are also stronger as learners, and in particular have much greater confidence in their ability to succeed. • Immigrant students, despite performing significantly less well in reading than native students in most countries, do not have generally weaker approaches to learning. In most countries their approaches are similar, and in Australia and New Zealand, immigrant students display stronger motivation, self-confidence and learning strategies than students born in those countries. Overall, the report's findings suggest that there are big educational gains to be made from strengthening student approaches to learning. About a fifth of all differences in student literacy performance are associated with variations in such approaches. Educational reforms may need to reorient education systems to ensure that teachers consciously point students towards effective learning strategies, and help them to build the confidence and interest needed for them to adopt such strategies. This may require teacher training to be changed to ensure that teachers understand how to foster positive learning approaches among their students as well as how to impart knowledge. 8
  • 9. Motivation, Attention and Listening, Setting and Achieving Personal Goals Motivation is an inner state of need or desire that activates an individual to do something that will satisfy that need or desire. Because motivations derive from needs or desires internal to the individual, others cannot "motivate" an individual but must manipulate environmental variables that may result in an increase or decrease of motivation. Motivators exist on a continuum from intrinsic to extrinsic, describing the relationship of the goal to the activity necessary to secure it. Intrinsic motivators are goal and activity related; while extrinsic have little relationship to the goal or task. Both types of motivators can be effective. Intrinsic motivators have the advantage of constancy; in other words, once an individual identifies the activity necessary to achieve the goal, it remains constant. Extrinsic motivators, on the other hand, involve prior assessment of the environment each time in order to determine the activity needed to achieve the desired end. But if an individual is unable to identify the necessary "trigger" activity, extrinsic motivators are the logical first-step. Purpose of Motivation Strategies The primary purpose of motivation strategies is to develop or to trigger an inner desire for beginning or completing an activity. Advantages of Motivation Strategies One advantage of motivation strategies is their applicability. They may be applied in a variety of contexts including school, work, and personal affairs. In addition, they may be used for any subject or task. Another advantage is their flexibility. Motivation strategies may be modified to meet the needs of a particular individual, subject, or task. They may be used in combination to form an effective motivational program. Specific Motivation Strategies Some motivation strategies are intended for use by students, others are relevant to instructors, and some may be applied by both students and instructors. Students may benefit from the sense of control, health concerns, self-talk, support systems, personal goal chart, and motivation and class attendance strategies. 9
  • 10. Instructors might incorporate the student needs, relevance, make learning active, make teaching the catalyst for learning, level of task difficulty, and knowledge of evaluation results strategies into their course work and activities. The anxiety and voice tone, creating interest, changing attitudes, and desire to learn strategies are appropriate for both students and instructors. It is important to remember that no one strategy is more powerful than others and that the strategies are interrelated. The effectiveness of the strategies varies by individual and situation. Though we tend to concentrate on those conditions to which we are most responsive, when one condition is out of our control, we should attempt to manipulate another condition. Student Needs This strategy, from Hoxmeier (1987), is based on Maslow's (1943) model of human needs. Maslow identified five needs and arranged them into a pyramid, with the lower levels representing the most powerful needs. At the lowermost level are physiological needs, or basic needs for food, water, sleep, and shelter. The next level of needs relates to security. The need to belong is the third level. Love and self-esteem occupy the fourth level of needs. The need for self-actualization is the uppermost level. The needs are prepotent; meaning the stronger needs at the bottom must be met before the weaker needs toward the top can be fulfilled. Needs may emerge and subside at various times. Obviously, basic physiological needs should not be used as motivators, but the needs for security, approval and self-esteem, and self-actualization can. The goal is to make learning responsive to these student needs. The following paragraphs explain how this may be accomplished. Need for Security The need for security includes the ability to satisfy basic physiological needs, safety, financial security, job security, and technological competence. Making learning responsive to student needs for security may be accomplished in two ways. Use of Fear • Fear is counterproductive. One should avoid the use of fear in attempting to motivate students because it undermines their need for security and it is often too ambiguous to be of help. Instead, one should identify the ways in which a student feels insecure and then attempt to foster the student's sense of security by providing him/her with concrete actions that will bring about that sense of security. • As an example, consider a student who is insecure about his/her work because of his/her memory abilities. Instead of telling him/her "You will fail this class unless you improve your memory," instruct the student in a variety of memory strategies that target the particular memory task at hand. Emphasize the Positive 10
  • 11. • Students need to feel secure of their capabilities and performance. Design assignments that draw from and build on these strengths. Students are more motivated to do things they feel they have a chance of successfully completing. Need for Approval and Self-Esteem The need for approval and self-esteem involves the desire to be valued as a member of a group and as a human being. We seek recognition and admiration of our skills and abilities. Making learning responsive to student needs for approval and self-esteem may be accomplished in three ways. Praise • Instructors can motivate students by praising even small accomplishments. However, one should avoid insincere praise and judgmental comments. Use specific comments like "Your use of examples to illustrate the main points in your paper is great" rather than "Your paper is good." Students usually can see right though such trivializing praise. Structure • Instructors can provide students with the structure needed for success. First, provide simple and clear instructions for completing a task. Second, break down large assignments into smaller, more manageable tasks. Then develop a structured plan of action for completing each mini assignment. Avoid using tricks or gimmicks. As students gain proficiency, they can learn to impose structure themselves. Remind Students of Successes and Goals • Reminders about past successes or future goals can be powerful motivators. Instructors and students alike can keep track of academic and social successes in the form of a journal; record the date and nature of each success. Use a journal or poster to record short-term and long-term goals, and refer to the list often for inspiration. Try to link the task at hand with one or more of the goals, and emphasize how completing the task will lead toward fulfillment of a goal. See Setting Personal Goals below. Need for Self-Actualization Motivations may arise from an individual's need for self-actualization, or one's need to express creativity and live up to one's potential. There are two ways to make learning responsive to the student's need for self-actualization. Create Anticipation • Motivate students to learn by creating anticipation. This strategy is not unlike the movie industry's use of "trailers" for motivating people to see a movie or Paul Harvey's radio show that tells "the rest of the story." In the classroom, the instructor can preview a subject and encourage students to ask what will happen next or develop an explanation beforehand. Create a sense of suspense to motivate learning. Students can learn to create anticipation themselves by using past lectures and required readings to anticipate what will be covered next in a lecture. Creative Structure • Develop unique and creative methods of presenting important concepts. For example, reinact important war-battles or role-play critical events in history. Or, give students the opportunity to apply their knowledge in creative ways. Have them act as teachers or tour guides and present new information in creative ways. 11
  • 12. Attention and Listening Background Information on Attention and Listening Attention is the ability to concentrate mentally and observe carefully. Listening refers to applying oneself to hearing something. One must pay attention in order to listen effectively, but attending is also important when doing other tasks like reading, writing, taking tests, and reviewing information. The quality and quantity of attention is vital to the learning process. The process of attending influences the ability of the student to move new information from sensory memory to short-term memory. One must maintain attention through rehearsal in order for information to be moved into short-term memory. Purposes of Attention and Listening Strategies The primary purpose of attention strategies is to provide a non-medication alternative to improving concentration and attending. The strategies for improving attending and listening may be applied in a number of academic situations, such as: • during lectures • while doing assigned readings • during individual study sessions • when completing homework assignments • during group study sessions • while taking tests Advantages of Attention and Listening Strategies Attention strategies are helpful in a number of respects. Academically, improved attending skills can positively impact a student's performance in note taking, class participation, reading, following directions, completion of assignments, group learning, exam preparation, and exam taking. Students with selective attention or ADD have an impaired learning process. Therefore, strategies designed to aid in attending are vital to their academic success. Socially, improved attending skills can positively affect a student's self-image and self-esteem as he/she begins to appreciate his/her strengths and weaknesses. This, in turn, may impact a student's willingness to participate in group activities, performance in group activities, sense of organization and control, and ability to behave appropriately in unstructured situations. Basic Health Needs Since the inability to pay attention may be caused or amplified by poor health, it is important that students attend to basic health needs. This strategy is a good "first-step" to addressing attention and listening difficulties because it is fairly straight-forward, it is probably one of the easiest strategies to implement, and it may address one of the fundamental causes of attention deficits. Health is an ongoing, continuous process. One cannot be concerned with good health one week but not the next. Therefore, it is important that good health habits become a part of each student's routine. The following facets of basic health needs should be discussed and evaluated with students. 12
  • 13. Sleep • Is the student getting adequate rest and sleep? • Does the student have a sleep routine or is he sleeping erratically? Diet • Is the student eating two or three balanced meals a day? • Is the student overindulging in junk food, cigarettes, or drugs and alcohol? Physical Conditions • Has the student's hearing and vision been checked? • Has the student been evaluated for attention deficit disorder? • Has the student been screened for affective, neurological, or chromosomal disorders? • Does the student seek immediate medical attention for even minor illnesses? Fitness • Does the student exercise regularly? Mental Health • Does the student meet adversities calmly and rationally or stressfully and irrationally? • Does the student confront or avoid reality? • Does the student worry excessively? • How does the student handle stress? Self-Image A student who has difficulty paying attention and listening often performs poorly in school and social settings; this, in turn, may negatively impact his/her self-image. A student's image of him/herself can greatly affect the learning process. Find more information about self-image in the Eliminating Internal Distractions section. The following tips may be used by instructors, advisors, counselors, tutors, and parents to help a student improve his/her self-image. Numbers 7 through 14 are from Coleman (1993, p. 90-96). • Help the student identify his/her assets. • Encourage the student to constantly remind him/herself about those assets. • Heighten the student's awareness of his/her ambitions and goals, both long-term and short- term. • Help the student to develop a realistic plan of action for reaching his/her goals. • Encourage the student to constantly assess his/her progress toward goals, including why or why not the goals have been reached. • Congratulate and reward the student for completing tasks or reaching goals, and encourage the student to do so for him/herself as well. • Take notice of and praise good behavior, including learning behavior and social behavior; positive reinforcement is important for young learners as well as college students. • Use "descriptive" praise instead of judgmental comments; for example, one might comment that a student's research paper "makes good use of examples and statistical data" rather than "this is a great paper." • Avoid belittling or humiliating comments, and avoid comparing the student and his/her progress to other students. • Provide the student with clear and simple instructions about a task; use as many senses as possible. 13
  • 14. • Practice social skills with the student. • Provide the student with social or academic situations in which he/she will be successful. • Limit the number of decisions the student has to make. • Discuss the student's problems in private. Monitoring of Learning Behaviors and Outcomes Self-Monitoring of Learning Behavior • Direct the student in evaluating his/her learning behaviors, offering feedback on the "correctness" of his/her evaluation. • The student will either become confident in his/her ability to evaluate himself/ herself, or the student will become aware of his/her incorrect assumptions. Self-Monitoring of Learning Outcomes • Direct the student in maintaining written records of how tasks were completed, grades for tasks, professor comments, grade point averages, etc. • Help the student learn to link inputs and outcomes for each task. • Efficient learners are always aware of their academic standing. Attention Training Activities Concentration You should direct students to reinforce only good concentration strategies. In other words, don't reinforce learning behaviors that represent poor concentration strategies. Students should also be aware of and analyze barriers to concentration and sources of distractions in their study areas. Poor Concentration Habits The following list describes poor concentration habits that students should become aware of and attempt to change in order to improve concentration. • Changing to a different learning activity because of an inability to concentrate on the task at hand. • Choosing study areas or seats in the classroom with known distractions. • Jumping into a task without understanding directions, considering the purpose of the task, or relating the task to the course as a whole. • Vigorously debating with the instructor in class or avoiding class participation altogether. • Doing other things, or thinking about doing other things, when one sits down to study. Conditions Necessary for Concentration The following list outlines conditions necessary for concentration. • Eliminate external and internal distractions. • Make sure you are healthy and rested. • Address organizational and time management needs. • Avoid daydreaming about things you want to do by scheduling time to actually do them. • Avoid anxiety about things you have to do by making a list of them to complete later. • Fully understand the purpose, instructions and expectations of the task at hand. 14
  • 15. Memory and Yoder (1988) present a six-part guide to improving concentration. Each part corresponds to the goals of the strategy, and a specific course of action for addressing each of these goals is given. • Insure understanding. o Read or listen to instructions and directions carefully. o Know the expectations that must be met. o Seek clarification from the instructor if necessary. o Do not begin a task until all instructions and expectations are fully understood. • Maintain interest in the subject matter. o Develop an interest in the course by talking with other students who enjoyed the class or are majoring in that subject, by reading magazine articles, or by watching television programs related to the subject. o Develop an interest in the task by previewing the material to find points of interest to you, by focusing on main points rather than details, or by looking for general principles and broad generalizations. o Avoid daydreaming about things you would rather be doing by setting aside time in your schedule to do these things. o Arrange for variety in studying by working on one course or task for a short period of time or by varying the activities in each study session. • Have a purpose. o Relate the task to specific short-term or long-term goals. o Consider a target at which to aim, such as a completion date, a level of quality, a level of improvement, or a grade. • Maintain a pattern of attention. o Be aware of good and bad concentration habits. • Transform good procedures into habits. o Document the use of concentration strategies and the academic outcomes of using them. o Always work in your designated study area that is free of distractions. o Study at similar times every day to develop a routine. • Reward productivity. o Treat yourself to a reward when you practice good concentration habits. 60-Second Synopses Strategy Huffman's (1992-1993) 60-second synopses strategy is used in tandem with Memory and Yoder's (1988) guide to improving concentration. It is a group activity to introduce, reinforce, and apply the concentration-improving tips. The 60-second synopses strategy has several advantages. First, it is an active process that requires the use of a number of skills such as reading, writing, speaking, listening, application of information, analytical processing, and cooperation. Second, it is an interactive process, allowing students to interact with and learn from one another. Third, it is an efficient process, exposing students to a large amount of information in a short time. Finally, the strategy may be modified to meet students' needs. For example, tutors may work one-on-one with a student covering each of Memory and Yoder's (1988) strategies over several weeks. And, once concentration strategies have been presented and discussed, students may practice developing 60-second synopses for other material, both written and oral. The steps in the 60-second synopses strategy are as follows. • Divide the group into pairs or groups of three students. • Assign each group one of the six sections of Memory and Yoder's strategy for improving concentration. • Each group then reads and annotates its assigned section. What are the main points of the section? How do the suggestions relate to personal experience? 15
  • 16. • Each group then organizes its information and develops a plan for presenting it to the rest of the class. There is a 60-second time limit for the presentation. • Each group makes its 60-second synopsis presentation. The group members may take turns or may select a spokesperson. Encourage presenters to use anecdotes and testimonials. • After each group presentation, the class evaluates the strategy and adds more examples and personal experiences related to the strategy. • When all group presentations are done and all strategies have been assessed, the floor is open for students to share additional strategies they have used to improve concentration. • The class then discusses in what situations certain strategies would be most or least effective. • Each student writes a journal entry relating the strategies to upcoming course assignments. • Students are encouraged to evaluate their level of concentration throughout the semester. Jigsaw II Group Activity The jigsaw strategy is used to develop the skills and expertise needed to participate effectively in group activities. It focuses on listening, speaking, cooperation, reflection, and problem-solving skills. • Listening - Students must listen actively in order to learn the required material and be able to teach it to others in their original groups. • Speaking - Students will be responsible for taking the knowledge gained from one group and repeating it to new listeners in their original groups. • Cooperation - All members of a group are responsible for the success of others in the group. • Reflective thinking - To successfully complete the activity in the original group, there must be reflective thinking at several levels about what was learned in the expert group. • Creative thinking - Groups must devise new ways of approaching, teaching and presenting material. Directions for the jigsaw strategy are given below. Define the group project on which the class will be working. • Randomly break the class into groups of 4-5 students each, depending on the size of the class, and assign a number (1 to 4-5) to students in each group. • Assign each student/number a topic in which he/she will become an expert. • The topics could be related facets of a general content theme. • For example, in a computer class the general theme might be hardware and the topics might be central processing unit (student #1), memory (student #2), input devices (student #3), and output devices (student #4). • Rearrange the students into expert groups based on their assigned numbers and topics. • Provide the experts with the materials and resources necessary to learn about their topics. • The experts should be given the opportunity to obtain knowledge through reading, research and discussion. • Reassemble the original groups. • Experts then teach what they have learned to the rest of the group. • Take turns until all experts have presented their new material. • Groups present results to the entire class, or they may participate in some assessment activity. Attention Training Attention training techniques differ from other attending strategies because they allegedly produce permanent increases in memory capacity (Herrmann, Raybeck and Gutman, 1993). Research with normal adults, however, indicates that the techniques are more effective for specific tasks rather than attention in general. Among brain-damaged patients, results are more encouraging but, again, it is likely that confidence and task-specific skills are affected rather than general attention capacity. Herrmann, Raybeck and Gutman (1993) describe several attention training techniques. 16
  • 17. • One attention training method involves practicing listening for faint sounds or looking for dim lights. This method targets one's ability to sustain attention. • Another technique entails practicing doing two things at once in order to increase one's ability to divide attention. • A third method involves picking out details in visual images or sounds in music in order to hone one's ability to detect details. • Another technique involves practicing concentrating in distractive environments in order to increase one's ability to resist distractions. • An alternative to the attention training methods is simple practice; select a situation in which you want attention to improve and then place yourself in that situation repeatedly and practice paying attention. Setting and Achieving Personal Goals A goal is an objective or an end result of one's actions. A goal may be something one works toward or something one would like to improve upon (Michaels, et al., 1988). Short-term goals, such as passing a test or doing well in a contest, are sought over a relatively short period of time, while long-term goals, such as finishing college or succeeding in a certain career, take longer to accomplish. Personal goals encompass a variety of life's endeavors, including academic performance, career achievements, and personal fulfillment. Setting and achieving one's personal goals requires self- monitoring. Examples of academic goals are given below. Strategies for setting and achieving general goals, course and study goals, and career goals are then discussed. Examples of Academic Goals Academic goals do not only include passing a test or earning a certain grade on a project or in a course. A variety of goals related to self-awareness, time management, test taking, writing, study habits, and other aspects of academics may guide students along the path of academic success. The following sample of academic goals is from Michaels, et al. (1988, p. 80-86). Goals Related to Self-Awareness, Self-Monitoring, Self-Advocacy and Problem Solving • I will use grades and test marks to monitor my success in a specific course. • I will identify specific strategies I may use and use those strategies in a consistent manner. • I will realistically evaluate my performance on a specific task and then give myself praise or criticism as that performance warrants. • I will actively involve myself in the learning process by constantly checking information being processed to determine if it makes sense. Goals Related to Test Taking • I will develop an ability to relax before taking tests in order to avoid test anxiety. • I will listen and/or read all directions carefully before beginning an exam. • I will plan an exam budget so I can best monitor and use my time wisely. • When taking essay tests, I will outline what I will say before I begin writing it. • I will save tests when they are returned to use as study guides for future exams. Goals Related to Time Management, Task Attack, and Task Follow-Through • I will estimate the amount of time a given assignment should take. • I will compare actual task completion time with my initial estimate. • I will schedule specific daily study times prior to exams in order to successfully learn materials. • I will work steadily and in a sustained fashion for a given time period (specify ______). • I will task analyze long-term assignments in order to break them into manageable short-term tasks. 17
  • 18. • I will decide which of many tasks should be completed first. Goals Related to Study Habits • I will select the main ideas or key points from written paragraphs. • I will study in a distraction-free environment. • I will focus on how newly acquired information relates to previously learned material. • I will use a previewing strategy when reading textbook assignments. • I will use a tape recorder to record class lectures. • I will keep notes and assignments in an organized manner. • I will use mnemonic devices and memory techniques to assist recall and retrieval. Goals Related to Writing • I will demonstrate an ability to write clear, concise, coherent sentences. • I will use a proofreading technique to monitor my written expression. • I will learn to use a word processor in order to edit and correct my written material. • I will use a tape recorder to aid in my retrieval of lecture materials and using the tape I will write down the key ideas to study. • I will use the spelling check with my word processing program to monitor and correct my spelling errors. Goals Related to Reading • I will gain main idea and key information from a textbook chapter. • I will use the context to gain the meaning of unfamiliar vocabulary words. • I will demonstrate an active involvement in the reading process by using a visual imagery technique while reading. • I will use textbooks on tape. • I will use a reading preview strategy to aid comprehension. Goals Related to Mathematics • I will learn to appropriately use the resources available on campus to upgrade my math skills. • I will seek out peer tutoring on campus for difficult mathematical concepts. • I will use my math textbook to locate the solutions to difficult math problems. • I will complete homework assignments in a timely manner. • I will use a calculator so that difficulty with math facts will not impede my ability to solve complicated problems. Goals Related to Social Skills • I will appropriately ask for help or assistance from a fellow student. • I will appropriately ask for help or assistance from an instructor. • I will demonstrate appropriate listening skills. • I will monitor my feelings. • I will appropriately engage in class participation. • I will demonstrate an ability to stand up for my rights. 18
  • 19. General Goal-Achieving Strategy Adapted from Aune and Ness (1991), the following goal-setting worksheet helps individuals plot a course of action for achieving a goal. It breaks the goal into several parts, making the goal more manageable, and it delineates time frames for finishing each part. Goal-Setting Worksheet GOAL: Objective 1 Steps to reach Objective 1 Time frame 1. 2. 3. 4. Objective 2 Steps to reach Objective 2 Time frame 1. 2. 3. 4. Objective 3 Steps to reach Objective 3 Time frame 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. GOAL: Improve next test score by one letter grade Objective 1: Steps to reach Objective 1: Time frame: Take better lecture 1. Read assignments before class 1 hour per day notes 2. Take vocabulary list to class 3. Take Xeroxed copies of illustrations to class 4. Ask questions during class 5. Review and reorganize lecture notes Objective 2: Steps to reach Objective 2: Time frame: Meet with instructor 1. Schedule weekly appointment 1 hour per week 2. Review notes and readings before meetings 3. Have specific questions ready 4. Take notes during meeting Objective 3: Steps to reach Objective 3: Time frame: More effective test 1. Make up practice questions 3-4 hours per week preparation 2. Try visual association and mnemonic strategies 3. Work with study group 4. Short, frequent reviews 5. Start preparation two weeks before test Course and Study Goals Strategies 19
  • 20. In education, goals are important for guiding one's work. Setting out specific course and study goals helps to motivate one to learn. Developing a realistic plan of action for achieving those goals helps one to avoid procrastination, unnecessary stress, and failure. Walter and Siebert's (1993, p. 50-61) approach to setting and achieving course and study goals is summarized below with some additions. Consider how information about the course may be obtained. • Potential sources of information are: the instructor, academic advisor, course syllabus, course schedules, assigned course materials, course outlines, other students who have taken the course or instructor, class discussions, and student manuals and programs. Set a realistic goal for the course. • In most cases, the goal students set are a particular grade for an assignment or for the entire course. • Be realistic when setting a course grade or an assignment grade as a goal. Consider the following factors when setting grade goals: • Do I have previous experience in or knowledge of this subject? • Am I interested in this subject? • How similar or different are my preferred learning style and the instructor's teaching style? • How does the way the course is graded compare with my preferred way of demonstrating understanding? Determine what types of tasks are required to achieve the goal. • Attending classes? ... How many? • Participating in class? ... In what manner? • Reading the assignments? ... How many? How carefully? • Taking lecture notes? ... How completely? • Writing papers? ... How many pages? How many references? What style or format? Expository or interpretive? • Taking tests or quizzes? ... What minimum scores are needed? • Completing special projects? ... What are the requirements? Set up a study schedule to accomplish each of the required tasks. • Factors to consider when planning a study schedule include: o What steps are involved in each task? o How much time will it take to complete the steps of each task? o When must each goal be completed? o How much can I reasonably expect to do in the time I have? o How much daily work must I do to finish the tasks on time? o Are there specific requirements for completing the tasks? o How will I be required to demonstrate that I have achieved the goals? Record your progress toward completing tasks and reaching your goal. • One way to record progress is with a calendar. o Purchase or design a daily, weekly, and/or monthly calendar. o Think of a short description of each step required to complete each task for achieving the goal. o Record the brief description in the appropriate place on the calendar based on the due dates you identified in the previous step. o Cross off each step and task as they are completed. 20
  • 21. • Another way to record progress is with a check list. o Specify each task (or the corresponding steps of each task) required to achieve the goal. o Prioritize the tasks in order of importance and ease of completion. o Determine when each task (or step) should be completed. o Record when each task was actually completed. o Record how you will reward yourself for completing each task. o Record whether or not you rewarded yourself for completing a task. o Record whether or not you rewarded yourself for achieving the goal. o Evaluate your actions against your success at achieving the goal. o A sample check list might look like this (Walter and Siebert, 1993, p. 56): Example Check List for Passing English Test Study Behavior Due Date Date Reward Yes/No Completed 1. Read Chapter 1, generate questions and Sept. 2 . . . answers, write summary 2. Read Chapter 2 (same as #1) Sept. 5 . . . 3. Read Chapter 3 (same as #1) Sept. 9 . . . 4. Read Chapter 4 (same as #1) Sept. 16 . . . 5. Read Chapter 5 (same as #1) Sept. 23 . . . 6. Generate questions from today's class and Sept. 1 . . . take practice quiz 7. Same as #6 Sept. 3 . . . 8. Same as #6 Sept. 5 . . . 9. Same as #6 Sept. 8 . . . 10. Same as #6 Sept. 10 . . . 11. Same as #6 Sept. 12 . . . 12. Same as #6 Sept. 15 . . . 13. Same as #6 Sept. 17 . . . 14. Same as #6 Sept. 19 . . . 15. Same as #6 Sept. 22 . . . 16. Same as #6 Sept. 24 . . . 17. Same as #6 Sept. 26 . . . 18. Generate questions from old test Sept. 10 . . . 19. Make up and take practice test for Ch. 1, 2 Sept. 7 . . . 20. Make up and take practice test for Ch. 3, 4 Sept. 17 . . . 21. Make up and take practice test for Ch. 5 Sept. 24 . . . 22. Make up and take practice test from all Sept. 27 & 28. . . sources of questions 23. Meet with study group to make up practice arrange . . . test 24. Take exam Sept. 29 . . . 25. Achieve goal: Pass exam . . . . Reward yourself for completing tasks and reaching goals. • Rewards might include things like taking a walk, watching a TV show, going to the movies, having a sundae, taking a nap, reading a magazine, or calling a friend. • Take your reward whenever a task is completed on schedule. • Do not reward yourself if a task is not completed on time. • The reward for achieving the goal should be "bigger" than the rewards for completing each task. 21
  • 22. Career Goals Strategies Guidelines for assessing one's career interests are quoted from Jewler and Gardner (1993, p. 164-174). When setting career goals, one must consider life goals, personal interests, personal skills, personal aptitudes, personality characteristics, and work values. Opening Questions • In general, what kind of work do you want to do after finishing your education? • What career fields or industries offer opportunities for this kind of work? • What role will college play in preparing you for this work? Will you be required to attend college in order to enter that career field? • What specific things do you plan to do to enhance your chances of getting a job when you graduate? • Do your career goals seem compatible with your other life goals and values? • Is it likely that you will need to transfer to another college in order to get the education you need for your career (Jewler and Gardner, 1993, p. 164)? Consider Your Personal Interests • Take a standardized inventory or test with a career counselor or guidance counselor. • Look through college catalogues for courses that sound interesting. Write down several of them. Note why each course interests you. • Make a list of all the classes, activities, and clubs you enjoyed in high school or since then. Note why each activity interested you. • Write down any activities outside class that you intend to pursue at college (Jewler and Gardner, 1993, p. 166-167). Consider Your Personal Aptitudes • Aptitudes refer to inherent strengths that form the foundation for skills. Aptitudes may be genetic or learned at an early age. • The following table will help to identify personal aptitudes on which you might try to build your career goals. Personal Aptitude Place an asterisk (*) next to your strengths. Place an "x" next to your weaknesses. Place a question mark next to the aptitudes you are not sure about.”?” (Jewler and Gardner, 1993, p. 168) People with strong aptitudes in abstract reasoning can interpret ___ Abstract Reasoning poetry, solve scientific problems in their heads, and solve logic problems. People with strong verbal reasoning can talk through problems ___ Verbal Reasoning easily or can understand the problems more easily when they hear them described than when they see them on paper. People with strong aptitudes in spatial relations are able to ___ Spatial Relations understand the physical relationships between two- and three- dimensional objects or designs. People with strong aptitudes in language usage are able to write ___ Language Usage and speak effectively. People with strong mechanical ability are able to physically ___ Mechanical Ability manipulate the parts of a machine to make it work. People with strong clerical ability are able to do detailed general ___ Clerical Ability office work efficiently and to organize records or accounts. People with strong numerical ability are able to solve arithmetic ___ Numerical Ability problems easily. ___ Spelling People with strong aptitudes in spelling are able to understand 22
  • 23. and remember patterns and details. How would you prove you possess your strongest aptitudes? How do they relate to your current skills? • Take a personality assessment, such as the Myers-Briggs Inventory, to determine your personality characteristics • Write down ten words that you would use to describe yourself. Ask a close friend or relative to write down ten words that describe you. How do the lists compare (Jewler and Gardner, 1993, p. 169)? 23
  • 24. Teaching (the Catalyst for Learning), Control, Health, Evaluations Three strategies that make teaching the catalyst for learning are teacher as artist, teacher as technician, and teacher as role model (Hoxmeier, 1987). Teacher as Artist With the "teacher as artist" strategy, the instructor becomes the verbal designer of knowledge in order to motivate students. With this approach, the instructor utilizes a variety of acting techniques, forms of expression, and imagination to involve students in the learning process. Acting techniques include body movements, voice projection, non-verbal forms of communication, and role playing. Humor, whimsy, contentedness, pleasure, and concern are forms of expression that may be employed as catalysts for learning. Imaginativeness involves calling into play all of the senses when conveying knowledge. Teacher as Technician The "teacher as technician" strategy involves teaching to maximize learning. Several approaches may be used individually or in combination to enhance motivation to learn. • Structure course work according to the following scheme: review previous work, preview today's work, teach today's work, practice today's work, review today's work, preview tomorrow's work. • Seek precise examples for main points. • Stimulate interest by emphasizing the value of the new information or by linking it to previous knowledge or personal experiences. • Develop the ability to improvise. • Give students breathing spaces. • Give students the opportunity to ask questions. • Give students the opportunity to answer questions. • Give students the opportunity to share personal experiences. • Be sensitive to students' learning patterns. Teacher as Role Model With the "teacher as role model" strategy, the instructor demonstrates, through everyday practice, the appropriate behaviors that make an effective and motivated learner. The following suggestions help the instructor to become a good role model. • Share personal experiences as they relate to the subject matter. • Demonstrate a love of learning, teaching, and the subject matter. • Demonstrate the relevance of the information by emphasizing the value of the information and its relationships to existing information. • Show students various ways to approach the course material. • Show human feelings. Sense of Control • Motivation levels may be intricately linked to one's sense of control over various aspects of his/her life. Highly motivated persons often have effective time management skills, are organized, have well defined personal goals, and are in control of physical and mental well- being. 24
  • 25. Health Concerns Achieving and maintaining high levels of motivation are difficult if an individual is in poor physical or mental health. It is important that one get adequate rest, exercise, and nutrition. One should seek medical attention when ill and professional assistance for sensory deficits. Mental health must be monitored to avoid excessive stress, anxiety, or depression. Individuals can learn relaxation and coping techniques, and they should be familiar with professional counseling services available at school or work. Knowledge of Evaluation Results One of the most neglected areas of motivation intervention is precise knowledge of evaluation results. A common student question is "How am I doing?" Students need to understand clearly and precisely how evaluations were determined and why they received a particular score. Instructors should explain what was done well on an assignment and what is needed for improvement. The more specific the form of evaluation, the more motivational it is for students. Simply reporting a number grade or a letter grade is one of the worst methods of evaluation. That approach offers no positive reinforcement and no guidelines for future reference. Written or oral comments are vastly superior and should always accompany number and letter grades. Relevance, Active Learning, Task Difficulty, Anxiety/Voice Tone Relevance (Make Learning Useful) Often times, students are not interested in a course or lecture because they fail to recognize how the material is relevant to their lives or career plans. This disinterest may translate into a lack of motivation for attending class, taking notes, completing assignments, or participating. Instructors can improve student motivation by making learning more meaningful (Hoxmeier, 1987). Students, under the guidance of facilitators, also can work to increase their own motivation levels by identifying the relevance of course material. Three ways to do so are to emphasize the value of the new information, to establish information links with previous knowledge, and to thoughtfully design assignments. Value of Information One way to make learning more meaningful is to stress the value of the new information. New material may be important socially, economically, culturally, morally, or ethically. The following strategies may be used by instructors and students alike. Instructors may point out how new information is of value to them personally or to a social group, while students may search for the value of the new information in some facet(s) of their own lives. "W" Questions • Consider the value of the information by answering the five "W" questions. Why is the information of value to me or to someone else? What aspects of it are valuable? Where (in what situations) is it valuable? To whom is it valuable? When is the material valuable? Time Frame • Remind others or yourself about the values of the information in the long-term versus the short-term. Is there a difference? Why? 25
  • 26. Contextualize • The instructor can describe active situations in which the information was used and he/she can encourage the students to do the same. Make it a group project, or have students keep individual journals over the semester or year. Information Links Instructors or facilitators can help students to link new information with prior knowledge and/or experiences. This motivates students because it aids in establishing the value of information and it is easier to register and recall information associated with existing knowledge. Prior knowledge may derive from other courses, assigned readings, work experiences, social experiences, the media, family, etc. The following strategies help to establish information links. Journals • Encourage students to keep journals in which they record some number of pieces of new information and link them to prior knowledge. They should identify the sources of the prior knowledge if possible. Journals may be kept on a daily or weekly basis. Group Projects • Form small groups of students for establishing links between new and existing knowledge and identifying sources of prior knowledge. Each group may present its results to the rest of the class. Linkage Posters • Have students work individually or in groups to design "linkage posters" with new information and the prior information to which it may be linked. Assignment Design This strategy is intended for use by instructors. Its goal is to help instructors plan effective assignments that stress the relevance of the work rather than assigning "busy work." The guidelines listed below assist the instructor in designing assignments that make learning more meaningful. When designing an assignment, the instructor should ask him/herself the following questions:  Is the assignment worthwhile? In what ways is it?  Does the assignment seem worthwhile to the students?  Are links to prior knowledge gained from required readings or other sources clear?  Does the assignment allow students the opportunity to consider and evaluate the relevance of the work?  Is the assignment clear to the students?  Is the assignment definite?  Is the assignment reasonable?  Does the student know how to prepare the assignment?  Does the student have the necessary skills and background to successfully complete the assignment? 26
  • 27. Make Learning Active Student motivation may be increased by making learning more active. This is especially true for kinesthetic learners. Activity improves motivation because in encourages students to use more senses and it increases student involvement. The strategies outlined on the following cards are intended for use by instructors and students alike (Hoxmeier, 1987). Often times, active learning is a cooperative effort between the two. The strategies vary in the amount of instructor intervention and student independence. Direct instruction involves more instructor intervention than discovery strategies. It may be the preferred strategy for difficult learning tasks or physical skills. The phase-in, phase-out method described below is from Singer (1978). Direct Instruction: Phase-In, Phase-Out Method Instructor: Introduce the skill or task to be taught by using description or action. Instructor: Explain the specific steps of the skill or task. Instructor: Demonstrate how the skill works. Instructor and Student(s): Work together on an example of the skill or task. Instructor: Formulate a similar example or problem. Student(s): Apply the new knowledge. Student(s): Restate and explain the basic components of the skill or task. Discovery Strategies: The Problem Method Discovery strategies involve more student involvement than direct instruction. They may be the preferred strategies for critical thinking or problem-solving tasks. The problem method outlined below is from Loomer, Kuhn, and Turner (1977). 1. Learner becomes aware of a problem. 2. Learner defines and delimits the problem. 3. Learner gathers evidence to help solve the problem. 4. Learner forms hypothesis of solution. 5. Learner tests hypothesis. 6. Learner solves the problem or repeats steps 2-5. Level of Task Difficulty The level of difficulty of a task is closely related to anxiety levels and may enhance or inhibit motivation. For best results, the task should be started at an appropriate level of difficulty and the level should be raised a little at a time. If raised too dramatically or started too high, students may become overwhelmed, unsuccessful, and unmotivated. If raised too slowly or initiated too low, students may become bored and loose motivation. A number of factors should be considered when selecting an effective starting point or rate of raising task difficulty. These include student preparation, student capabilities, student interest level, the skills required to complete the task, the nature of the task, and the time allowed for completing the task. 27
  • 28. It is helpful to allow for student feedback related to task difficulty. Give students the opportunity to express questions and concerns about initial levels and rates of increase of task difficulty. Ask them to relate these to their own learning styles, capabilities, and levels of preparation. Anxiety and Voice Tone Some level of anxiety, here defined as concern about a learning task, is necessary for learning to occur. Without anxiety, few people would be motivated to complete assignments or to learn. When one considers the relationship between attention and the learning curve, one can see that anxiety and arousal need to be moderately high for learning to occur. In other words, tension and anxiety increase motivation up to a point. However, if anxiety and arousal are too high, too much energy is directed to dealing with the anxiety and learning is inhibited. In sum, then, moderate levels of anxiety may act to motivate individuals to complete learning tasks. The point at which anxiety becomes counterproductive varies by individual. Anxiety may be created by setting deadlines for completing tasks, by increasing the level of difficulty of a task, or by setting goals for specific levels of performance. Such anxiety may be self-generated or imposed by others. Tone of voice is another form of motivation. Pleasant tones have the greatest positive impact on learning. For unresponsive individuals, slightly unpleasant tones may be effective motivators; however, there may be undesirable side effects. Neutral tones, in most situations, have little to no influence on motivation. Self-Talk, Support Systems Self-Talk Self-talk refers to the process of bringing our attitudes to a conscious level. It is what we say to ourselves and it reflects our self-esteem. Self-talk can be negative, positive, or neutral. Learning to engage in encouraging self-talk is an effective motivating strategy. An individual must be his/her own best friend, and to do so involves recognizing one's assets and reminding oneself of them. Students may be exposed to the positive self-talk process by an instructor or facilitator. As they become more proficient in the strategy, they may continue to practice it on their own. Some suggestions for implementing positive self-talk are outlined below; they may be modified to suit individual needs. • Compile a list of individual assets or successes. o The assets could be related to social skills, time management, organization, note taking, communication skills, and work experience. State the positive attributes as clearly and precisely as possible. For example, instead of stating "I have good social skills," say "I am an attentive and compassionate listener." • Select a format for documenting the individual assets or successes. o Some people may choose to simply write a list of the attributes. Other may wish to design a poster, develop a journal, or make a tape recording. Encourage creativity in expression. Utilize as many senses as possible. • Develop a daily routine of referring to the individual assets or successes. o Set aside a special time(s) every day for referring to the list and reminding yourself of personal assets. One need not review the entire list every day. • Make it a habit to refer to the asset list during emotional lows. o Remind yourself that successes have been accomplished in the past and more will be accomplished in the future. • Internalize the asset list so that it may be recalled without the documentation. o Commit the assets and successes to memory so that they may be recalled while walking to an exam or driving to a job interview. • Continually update the list to include new assets that develop as you mature and experience new successes. 28
  • 29. Support Systems Sometimes people can't seem to motivate themselves on their own. At other times, self-motivated people falter and need help getting back on track. In these cases it is important to know where to get help when the need arises. Establish a motivational support system at home, at school, and at work. The support system may be as simple as a "buddy system" with a reliable friend or colleague. It may be more complex, encompassing a number of individuals from different aspects of one's life to whom one turns in different situations. People in the support system may be sources of motivational strategies or they may be role models. Check the following sources for motivational support. • family members • guidance counselors or advisors • coaches • resident assistants and directors • faculty members • class mates • peer or professional tutors • religious leaders • civic leaders • work colleagues • friends Creating Interest An important means of increasing motivation is to create interest in a particular learning task or topic. Unfortunately, this may be easier said than done. Methods for creating interest will vary significantly according to personal preferences, personal experience and background, and subject matter. Seven suggestions for adding or creating interest in a task are listed below. For additional information, refer to the Changing Attitudes section of this page. Novelty Get motivated to complete an ordinary or mundane task by adding a little novelty to it. Do the activity backwards. Use a partner or role reversal. This strategy is particularly useful in the initial period of presentation of a task or topic. The task of learning minerals or rocks for geology lab provides a good example of the use of novelty. Students assemble into groups of three to five. Each student in the group is given a different rock and he/she thinks of a name for the rock. Then the students, speaking for the rocks, engage in a conversation that emphasizes the rocks' characteristics. "Hello Bonnie Basalt! You are really dark in color and have small minerals." "That's true Granny Granite. You are much lighter in color than me and you have larger minerals. I really like the pink feldspar in you." Variety Another strategy is to obtain information about the task from a variety of sources. Different perspectives on a subject often help to generate interest. A topic may not seem interesting as it is presented in a book but may be interesting in another format. Don't rely solely on text books or lectures for information, but supplement them with magazine articles, newspaper articles, television shows, radio programs, conversations with students, conversations with other experts or knowledgeable people, museum exhibits, etc. For example, to 29
  • 30. learn about the major battles of a war one might read novels, watch movies, attend reenactments, or talk with participants or their descendents. Relevance A third strategy is to recognize how the task is relevant to one's personal experiences and knowledge base (see the Relevance section of this page for more information). Tasks often become more meaningful when one ties them to existing information. Meaningful tasks enhance motivation. For example, relate math geometry equations to your summer job as a construction worker or your experience in ordering carpet or wallpaper. Apply new knowledge about sibling relations from psychology to your own family experiences. Relate geology landscape studies to your farming knowledge. Personalize Making new information personal helps to create interest in uninteresting subjects. Try relating the new information to matters of personal concern. For example, relate what is learned in history class to current political issues with which you are concerned. Relate what is learned in biology class to your opinions about abortion or euthanasia. Relate new sociology information to personal family issues. Actively Use Knowledge Make active use of new knowledge in order to develop and maintain interest in it. Ask questions of yourself, your classmates, and your instructor. Anticipate the next steps in the course. Talk about the new information with friends, family, and classmates. Think about it during that extra free time while walking to class or waiting in line. Write about the new knowledge in a journal, or make up a story using the information. Apply Knowledge Create interest by applying new knowledge learned in one course to another course. Apply new knowledge from school to your job, or new knowledge from your job to school. For example, apply knowledge from chemistry class to the study of rock and mineral composition in geology class. Apply information from history class to a political science course. Information from persuasion may be applied to a marketing course. Work with Others Form study groups or less formal meetings with classmates to discuss new information. Other students often are able to offer new perspectives on information that may be more interesting to you than those presented in class. Other students may share personal experiences related to the new knowledge that you find interesting. Attitudes, Class Attendance, Desire to Learn Changing Attitudes Attitudes greatly influence motivation. Poor attitudes about tasks often translate into lack of motivation. Similarly, positive attitudes usually enhance motivation. Happily, attitudes are plastic and malleable; they can be changed. The following paragraphs offer suggestions for changing attitudes in order to improve motivation. 30
  • 31. Attitudes about Task Content When one encounters tasks considered to be uninteresting, a red light should go off. Because it is difficult for most people to get motivated to learn things that they don't find interesting, special efforts must be made to increase interest levels. One way to maintain motivation for completing uninteresting tasks is to constantly remind oneself of the long-term and short-term benefits of completing the task. How will it help in achieving personal goals? How will it lead to further successes? Other strategies for developing an interest in task content include obtaining information from a variety of sources, tying new information to old bodies of knowledge, making new information personal, actively using new knowledge using new knowledge in other classes, working with others, and adding novelty to mundane tasks. In addition to disinterest, lack of motivation may derive from tasks whose content triggers strong negative emotions. For example, a student may have trouble completing a geography assignment about a country in which he/she had a extremely negative experience. In this case, one might attempt to break up the event or experience associated with negative emotions, identify positive aspects of it, and focus on those more positive components. Finally, tasks with morally upsetting content may lead to low motivation levels. This differs from the previous situation in that it involves task content that counters fundamental moral or ethical ideals. For example, it may be difficult to complete a task related to euthanasia if one is strongly opposed to and offended by it. Of the three hindrances to motivation related to task content, this is probably the most difficult to address with learning strategies. Attitudes about Task Type Some people consider certain types of tasks distasteful or they may consider themselves inept at those tasks. Consequently, those people may lack motivation for starting or finishing the tasks. For example, some students strongly dislike speaking in public and will avoid courses or assignments that involve this type of performance. Some instructors believe they are not good at writing grant proposals and they avoid the task. One of the first things to do in this case is to evaluate as objectively as possible individual performance in the specific task(s). It could be that individuals have an inaccurate perception of their abilities to successfully complete a certain task(s). Poor performance may be due to other factors than lack of ability, like lack of preparation or state of health. Set up a mock situation that calls upon the individual to perform the task(s), or use questionnaires to identify mitigating circumstances that may influence one's performance in real-life tasks. For example, a student may feel he/she is a terrible test-taker. This perception may be based on past failures. Another thing one might try is developing a list of reasons why the task is worthwhile. It is often the case that an individual will be motivated to perform a distasteful task because his/her grade or job depends on it. In other cases it is necessary to relate task completion with long-term goals of graduating from school or getting a promotion. Something instructors can do is structure courses so that they include a variety of tasks or they provide for student choices among tasks. For example, give students the choice of turning in a written research paper or giving a formal speech to the class. Write exams with a variety of questions, like multiple choice, fill-in, and essay. Motivation and Class Attendance It is sometimes difficult to get motivated to attend class when one is tired, when one is uninterested in the course, or when one has an early class and isn't a morning person. The following strategies may help one to get motivated to attend class. 31
  • 32. • Identify ambitions or goals that may be fulfilled through success in the class. • Focus on the positive aspects of the course; avoid dwelling on negative aspects. • Picture yourself being successful. • Use strategies to Create Interest in the subject matter. Desire to Learn To improve one's chances of academic success, develop a driving motive or an intense desire to learn. The following strategies may help to accomplish this. • Identify ambitions and goals for the long-term and short-term that can be fulfilled through success in school. • Develop a realistic plan for your life. • Picture yourself being successful. • Read biographies of people who succeeded despite adverse conditions. General-Purpose Learning Strategies for Monitoring Monitoring refers to thoughtful assessment and self-regulation of one's behavior. Monitoring encompasses a wide range of activities, including assessment of one's approach to learning, one's actions and habits, and one's beliefs and goals. Monitoring is related to metacognition. Defined as "the deliberate conscious control of one's own cognitive actions" (Devine, 1987, p. 239), metacognition is being aware of one's processes of perceiving, organizing, and using information. Metacognition appears to positively influence one's thinking ability, but it cannot occur without self-monitoring of some sort. Purposes of Monitoring Strategies Monitoring strategies are intended to provide students with an assessment of various aspects of the learning process: learning style, study habits, exam preparation, and exam performance. They also help students evaluate their own personal character, including their strengths and weaknesses. Monitoring strategies can improve metacognition, which is turn may positively impact academic and job performance. Advantages of Monitoring Strategies Monitoring strategies are simple to use and flexible, being easily modified to specific student needs or course organization. They may be completed by students on their own or with the help and input of a facilitator. Other advantages of monitoring strategies are listed below. • Monitoring increases student awareness of personal learning style and study habits. • Monitoring encourages students to take responsibility for their own learning. • Monitoring provides guidelines for developing courses of action for improved academic performance. • Monitoring strategies are applicable to real-life situations, like job interviewing. Specific Monitoring Strategies Several monitoring strategies are described and illustrated in this page. The modality strength (preferred learning channel) strategy allows students to assess their learning styles. The exam debriefing and self-monitoring exam check list strategies provide evaluations of exam preparation and exam performance. The study habits assessment targets study habits in general. Causal attribution helps students to evaluate cause and affect relationships. The self-description strategy aids in preparation for job interviews. The health assessment addresses mental and physical health issues. 32
  • 33. Several assessments and questionnaires may be repeated periodically by the student in order to monitor changes and improvements in those behaviors. For example, the study habits, health, time management, stress, test anxiety, and memory assessments may be taken after each term to track the effectiveness of strategies used to improve in these areas. Causal Attribution The causal attribution strategy helps students evaluate cause and effect relationships by presenting them with scenarios and outcomes and asking them to attribute causes. It encourages students to take responsibility for their actions and to avoid making excuses that do not accurately reflect the situation. Because it uses fictional scenarios, students are distanced enough that they do not become defensive, but because the scenarios are realistic, students can relate to them to some degree. The strategy should be introduced and monitored by a facilitator. The following are examples of non-academic and academic scenarios that illustrate causal attribution. Non-Academic Examples Mr. Brown has trouble starting his car. Why? NOTE: Few people have trouble starting this car. Mr. Brown has trouble starting most cars. Choose one answer below. • a. Mr. Brown does not know how to start the car. • b. There is something wrong with the car. • c. Mr. Brown is the wrong person for the car, and the car is wrong for Mr. Brown. Mary laughs at the comedian. Why? NOTE: Most people laugh at this comedian. Mary laughs at few comedians. Choose one answer below. • a. Mary just finds it easy to laugh. • b. The comedian is funny. • c. The event is due to both of these. Sue is afraid of the dog. Why? NOTE: Few people are afraid of the dog. Sue is afraid of few dogs. Choose one answer below. • a. Sue has a phobia of dogs. • b. The dog is ferocious. • c. Sue and the dog just didn't hit it off. Answers to the non-academic examples are: 1) c, 2) b, and 3) c. Academic Examples George is failing math class. Why? NOTE: George does not do his homework and skips class. Other students are passing the course. Choose one answer below. • a. George is not good in math. • b. The instructor does not teach very well. • c. George does not put enough effort into the class. Sandy cannot stay awake in history class. Why? NOTE: Other students stay awake in history class. Sandy cannot stay awake in her other classes. Choose one answer below. 33
  • 34. • a. Sandy does not get enough rest. • b. The instructor is boring. • c. Sandy does not like history. Jamaal misses chemistry class at least once a week. Why? NOTE: Jamaal is in a fraternity, plays football, works on the yearbook, and tutors other students. Other students do not miss chemistry class. Choose one answer below. • a. Class attendance is not required for the course. • b. Jamaal is overextended, participating in too many extracurricular activities. • c. Chemistry class is boring. Juanita does not get along with her instructor. Why? NOTE: Other students get along with the instructor. Juanita gets along with other instructors. Choose one answer below. • a. Juanita's instructor is mean and unfriendly. • b. Juanita and her instructor are not suited for each other. • c. It is difficult to get along with Juanita. Answers to the academic examples are: 1) c, 2) a, 3) b, and 4) b. Assessments and Activities Health Assessment Physical health and mental health are critical to success in school and on the job. As discussed elsewhere, physical and mental well-being are essential to good memory, time management, note- taking, attention, and a host of other tasks needed for top-notch academic and occupational performance. The following questionnaire (based mostly on Walter and Siebert, 1993, p. 191) provides an assessment of physical and mental health considerations for students and employees. Questions may be modified or added to fit specific needs. It is important to provide follow-up to the assessment, so that specific concerns related to health may be addressed and additional information may be provided: ____ There are all kinds of pressures on me that I hadn't expected. ____ I have taken a realistic look at all the dangers I'm exposed to at college/work. ____ I know that feeling depressed and suicidal is normal for college students. ____ I can recognize signs of addiction to alcohol and other drugs. ____ I realize that a regular routine of sleep and sleep is critical to maintaining physical and mental health. ____ I recognize the importance of having a balanced diet. ____ I know that young adults are frequently not honest with each other about possible exposure to AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases. ____ I can recognize the sophisticated techniques used by cults to recruit vulnerable college students. ____ I sometimes think of dropping out of school and going back home to live because life would be less of a hassle. ____ I can recognize behavior that constitutes sexual harassment, and I am familiar with my school's or employer's policy against sexual harassment. 34
  • 35. Self-Description The self-description assessment (from Payne and Associates) uses "words that describe you" to help students prepare for job interviews. The goal is to identify self-descriptive words and to relate them to the characteristics required for the job. It is important that the student be honest when doing this assessment, recognizing faults and praising assets. Instructions for the self-description strategy are as follows. Underline all the words that describe you in the list that follows below. From the list of underlined words, circle fifteen that would make you a good worker. From the list of circled words, place an asterisk (*) next to the five that would make you an outstanding worker. Select from the word list below. active accurate adaptable aggressive alert ambitious bold broad-minded business-like calm capable careful cautious charismatic cheerful clear-thinking clever competent competitive confident conscientious considerate cooperative creative curious determined discrete eager easy-going efficient emotional energetic fair firm flexible forceful friendly flexible forceful friendly good-natured healthy helpful honest imaginative independent industrious intelligent jealous likeable logical loyal mature nervous obliging open-minded optimistic organized original outgoing outspoken patient pleasant prompt poised polite practical precise purposeful quick quiet realistic relaxed reliable resourceful responsible self-confident self-controlled sensible sensitive serious sincere sociable stubborn tactful teachable talkative thorough thoughtful tolerant trusting trustworthy stable steady understanding versatile warm wise wishful wholesome Now list the five outstanding characteristics (those with an * beside them) in order of importance to the job you are searching for or a job you would like to have. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Evaluate your use of the self-description strategy. Have I been honest in my evaluation? Yes ____ No ____ 35
  • 36. Have I underestimated myself? Yes ____ No ____ Have I overestimated myself? Yes ____ No ____ Study Habits Assessment It is often the case that students have unrealistic conceptions of the appropriate amount of time to spend studying and the most efficient ways of spending that time. For example, for every hour spent in class it is suggested that students spend two hours studying outside of class for that subject. That time should be spent reading assignments, reorganizing or reviewing notes, developing study aids like flash cards or outlines, completing homework assignments, and meeting with study groups. To increase awareness of study habits, students should be encouraged to evaluate the amount of time they spend on different tasks and the effectiveness of the tasks themselves. This assessment may be done verbally, with the student being prompted by a facilitator to answer specific questions about his/her study habits, or it may be done in writing, using a questionnaire like the ones given below. The questions may be tailored to fit specific student needs or course organization. The amount of time spent on different tasks may be measured in absolute or, as in the first questionnaire, relative terms. Study Habits Questionnaire # 1 For each of the following questions, consider how often you do each of the activities. Rate the amount of time spent on each activity on a scale from one to four, as indicated below. 1 2 3 4 Almost never Less than half the time More than half the time Almost always ____ Do you study outside of class each day? ____ Do you keep up to date in your assignments? ____ Do you review regularly what was covered in each course? ____ Do you write down all assignments for each class in a special section of the notebook? ____ Do you survey a chapter (check the headings, introduction, and summary) before reading it in detail? ____ As you read an assignment, do you have in mind questions that you are actually trying to answer? ____ Do you try to get the meaning of important new terms as you read the chapter? ____ Do you recite to yourself at the end of each section of the chapter? ____ Do you keep a well-organized notebook with sections for assignments, vocabulary, and lecture notes? ____ Do you keep a calendar for listing the due dates of major assignments? ____ Do you know what will be covered on each exam? ____ Do you make specific preparations for exams? ____ Do you study what you get wrong on a quiz or test? Study Habits Questionnaire # 2 Answer "yes" or "no" to the following questions about study habits. 36
  • 37. ____ I am trying to be a more efficient and effective learner. ____ I am aware of the benefits of asking good questions as I read, take notes, and study. ____ I believe that my intelligence is revealed more in the questions I ask than in the answers I give. ____ I believe most lectures can be viewed as a series of questions and answers. ____ I know how to spend less time studying by concentrating on developing practice test questions. ____ I am able to use lecture notes for exam preparation. ____ I usually look for possible test questions and answers as I read. ____ I usually study as though I am practicing to take a test. Questions with "no" responses are areas where the learner may need to improve study habits. Time Management Self-Evaluation and Spacing Reviews / Activities There are two aspects of self-evaluation. One is to determine if the student has poor time management skills and their consequences. Two surveys for evaluating this are provided: a reflective survey and a quantitative survey. The other aspect is to evaluate progress toward improving time management skills. Evaluate Progress toward Improving Time Management Skills Once students have identified that their time management skills are deficit and that it is affecting their work, and once they have initiated some compensatory strategies, it is very important to evaluate two things: the effectiveness of the strategies employed, and progress toward improving time management skills. Do this over at least a two-week period. There are several ways to evaluate the effectiveness of the particular time management strategies employed. The first thing to do when one feels the strategies aren't working is to consider if this is because one is trying to do too much. Have you "bitten off more than you can chew?" Do you have unrealistic expectations of the number of classes and activities you can handle? Are you trying to keep up the schedule you established in high school? This may not be feasible in college. Use journals or color-coded schedules to evaluate time spent on academics versus social events. Ask the opinion of an impartial third party, like a coach, advisor, instructor, or tutor. If one still feels the schedule is realistic and the strategies are the problem, try using other time management strategies To evaluate one's progress with time management strategies, consider how one planned to spend time and how that time was actually spent. Use two copies of the weekly schedule; one copy is the planned schedule and the other is a record of how time was actually used. Compare the two after a few weeks. Did you accomplish all you set out to do? If not, why not? Was the schedule unrealistic? It could be that the time required to complete tasks was underestimated, that unexpected activities were assigned, or that one is trying to do too much. Or, it might be the case that study times were put-off for non-academic activities. If so, what types of non-academic activities were done during scheduled study times? Did you spend twice as many hours studying outside of class as were spent in class? If not, why not? What academic consequences resulted? Another approach is to use just one copy of the schedule. Each time a task is completed by the scheduled time, check it off. If one ends up with a lot of checks, one is probably managing time efficiently. If there are few checks, one is not managing time well. Why not? Was the schedule unrealistic? Or did you forego studying for other activities? Spacing Reviews and Activities 37
  • 38. Learning occurs in spurts. The best way to use study time is to work for short periods of time on different subjects or tasks. Spacing reviews and activities is important because it helps to maintain interest and concentration. It also enhances comprehension and retention of the information covered. The attention span of most people is 20 to 30 minutes. Therefore, study time should be divided into half-hour sessions for working on different activities or subjects. Switching from one subject to another avoids boredom and daydreaming. Mixing up activities helps everyone process information in a variety of ways. To avoid forgetting information that is uninteresting or unfamiliar, the student must review periodically. "Retention begins anew each time a memory is fully re-registered. Review often until you recall at the level of accuracy required; subsequently, you may review less frequently as long as you continue to recall adequately. It is wise if your review involves some of your original registration manipulations, such as strength, attribute, association, and retrieval structure. - Prevents loss from decay, distortion, interference, suppression, and unlearning" (Herrmann, Raybeck and Gutman, 1993, p. 110). Consider the following example. A student sets aside three hours to study one night. Because studying for six half-hour sessions is much more effective than studying for three straight hours, the student plans this study schedule. Notice that different activities are mixed up in the plan. • 6:30-7:00 -- History: Preview Chapter 6 and read first section • 7:00-7:30 -- History: Review and reorganize today's lecture notes • 7:30-8:00 -- Psychology: Make flash cards for Chapter 3 • 8:00-8:30 -- Reward: Watch favorite TV show • 8:30-9:00 -- History: Read second section of Chapter 6 • 9:00-9:30 -- Physics: Preview tomorrow's lab assignment • 9:30-10:00 -- History: Read last section of Chapter 6 and review The following tips can help students to space reviews effectively, to enhance encoding of information into memory. • Develop a plan of action. o Develop a plan for studying, considering what must be done and how much time one has to do it. o Any combination of these activities may be included in the study plan: complete reading assignments, complete lab assignments, complete homework problems, meet with the instructor or tutors, meet with study group members, reorganize or recopy lecture notes, review information in the notes and the readings, and prepare study aids (flash cards, practice questions, visual aids, etc.). o The activities selected will depend on the task(s) to be accomplished (e.g. exam preparation, preparation for class), the nature of the information, and personal learning styles. • Budget the time. o Estimate how long it will take to complete each of the activities in the study plan. o Organize your hours to include ample time for completing the activities, relaxing, and sleeping. o Daily and weekly grids are effective means of budgeting time. Examples are given elsewhere in this page. o Make up a schedule and stick to it. Allowing for rewards or considering how your goals will be fulfilled by sticking to the schedule are good ways to get motivated. • Space reviews. o Break the study time into manageable amounts of time to avoid boredom and loss of concentration, and, in turn, to improve encoding. Sessions lasting twenty to thirty minutes are best. o Mix up activities (outlining, reviewing, organizing, etc.) so that the information is processed in a number of ways. 38
  • 39. o Studying for six half-hour sessions is much more effective than studying for three straight hours. • Repetition. o Encoding is enhanced when one reviews the material several times. o The key to making repetition effective is to space the reviews so different material is covered in consecutive review sessions. o Or, mix up the activities so one is processing the information in a variety of ways in each study session. • Use spare time wisely. o Short periods of "down time" between classes or before meals may be used effectively as review sessions. o Use such opportunities for simple tasks, like flipping through flash cards or working a few math problems. Evaluate Initial Skills: A Reflective Survey Students should answer the questions in this initial evaluation as honestly as possible. Fill in the blanks or check the answer that best describes one's behavior. I spend _____ hours per week studying outside of class. I spend _____ hours per week sleeping. I spend _____ hours per week relaxing, recreating, and participating in social events. I spend _____ hours per week in extracurricular activities. I spend _____ hours per week at a wage-paying job. For every hour in class, I spend _____ hours studying outside of class on average. I am late to a meeting, to class, to work, or to an appointment _____ times a week. On average, I am _____ minutes late to meetings, class, work, or appointments. When I am late, I feel __________________________________________. I have been late to an exam in the last year. ___ Yes ___ No I spend more time on __________________ courses than __________________ courses because _____________________________________________________. I use short periods of "down time" (between classes, before meals, etc.) to do simple academic tasks like review notes or write flash cards. ___ Yes ___ No I use short periods of "down time" (between classes, before meals, etc.) to do simple nonacademic tasks like paying bills or cleaning. ___ Yes ___ No I have a semester planner. ___ Yes ___ No I have a monthly planner. ___ Yes ___ No I have a weekly planner. ___ Yes ___ No I work better under pressure. ___ Yes ___ No I check my planned schedule or syllabi for upcoming assignments: ___ Everyday ___ Twice a Week ___ Once a Week ___ Every Two Weeks I would describe myself as a procrastinator. ___ Yes ___ No I have done poorly on assignments (papers, tests, speeches, etc.) in the past because I did not spend enough time on them. ___ Yes ___ No I have done poorly on assignments (papers, tests, speeches, etc.) in the past because I did not start them early enough. ___ Yes ___ No 39
  • 40. The most time consuming course this term will be ____________________________ because _______________________________________________. _________________ class is going to require _______ hours of work each week. _________________ class is going to require _______ hours of work each week. _________________ class is going to require _______ hours of work each week. _________________ class is going to require _______ hours of work each week. _________________ class is going to require _______ hours of work each week. Some ways I can use short periods of down time are: _________________________________________________________________________________ I am going to make a semester, monthly, or weekly planner for the upcoming term. ___ Yes ___ No Now examine your answers to these questions. What does it tell you about yourself? Are there aspects of time management you hadn't thought of before? Are there aspects of your time management habits that need to be improved? Evaluate Initial Skills: A Quantitative Survey Indicate how often the following statements describe your behavior by writing the appropriate number. This questionnaire is from REFERENCE. Never Occasionally Often Always 1 2 3 4 1. ___ I feel I have to "cram" before an exam. 2. ___ My homework is usually turned in on time. 3. ___ I think I usually get enough sleep. 4. ___ I pull all-nighters before mid-terms and finals. 5. ___ I plan to go out with friends a couple of nights a week, and usually spend the amount of time with them that I originally planned. 6. ___ When I'm working on a paper, I put off writing until a few days before it's due. 7. ___ I often cancel social activities because I feel I don't have enough time. 8. ___ I generally get my papers in on time. 9. ___ I find myself making a lot of excuses to my instructors about why my work isn't done. 10. ___ I feel comfortable about how I use time now. 11. ___ I always feel that something is hanging over my head, that I'll never have enough time to do the work assigned. 12. ___ I often feel tired. Score A: Add up the numbers for questions 1, 4, 6, 7, 9, 11, and 12. Score B: Add up the numbers for questions 2, 3, 5, 8, and 10. If score A is greater than score B, you are probably a procrastinator. If score A is less than score B, you manage your time well. If the scores are equal, you may procrastinate at times, but procrastination is not a habit. 40
  • 41. Top 6 Keys to Being a Successful Teacher The most successful teachers share some common characteristics. Here are the top six keys to being a successful teacher. Every teacher can benefit from focusing on these important qualities. Success in teaching, as in most areas of life, depends almost entirely on your attitude and your approach. 1) Sense of Humour A sense of humour can help you become a successful teacher. Your sense of humour can relieve tense classroom situations before they become disruptions. A sense of humour will also make class more enjoyable for your students and possibly make students look forward to attending and paying attention. Most importantly, a sense of humour will allow you to see the joy in life and make you a happier person as you progress through this sometimes stressful career. 2) A Positive Attitude A positive attitude is a great asset in life. You will be thrown many curve balls in life and especially in the teaching profession. A positive attitude will help you cope with these in the best way. For example, you may find out the first day of school that you are teaching Algebra 2 instead of Algebra 1. This would not be an ideal situation, but a teacher with the right attitude would try to focus on getting through the first day without negatively impacting the students. 3) High Expectations An effective teacher must have high expectations. You should strive to raise the bar for your students. If you expect less effort you will receive less effort. You should work on an attitude that says that you know students can achieve to your level of expectations, thereby giving them a sense of confidence too. This is not to say that you should create unrealistic expectations. However, your expectations will be one of the key factors in helping students learn and achieve. 4) Consistency In order to create a positive learning environment your students should know what to expect from you each day. You need to be consistent. This will create a safe learning environment for the students and they will be more likely to succeed. It is amazing that students can adapt to teachers throughout the day that range from strict to easy. However, they will dislike an environment in which the rules are constantly changing. 5) Fairness Many people confuse fairness and consistency. A consistent teacher is the same person from day to day. A fair teacher treats students equally in the same situation. For example, students complain of unfairness when teachers treat one gender or group of students differently. It would be terribly unfair to go easier on the football players in a class than on the cheerleaders. Students pick up on this so quickly, so be careful of being labelled unfair. 6) Flexibility One of the tenets of teaching should be that everything is in a constant state of change. Interruptions and disruptions are the norm and very few days are 'typical'. Therefore, a flexible attitude is important not only for your stress level but also for your students who expect you to be in charge and take control of any situation. 41
  • 42. A Primer on Behavior Management (Roaming the cyber-hallways with a forged pass) When most of us entered teaching, we probably held the view reflected in what is known as "The Teacher's Motto". It goes something like this: "A hundred years from now, some things won't matter; how much money was in my bank account, the size of the house in which I lived, or the kind of car I drove around...but the world may be a better place because I was important in the life of a child." So why do so many teachers leave the field, or, if they stay, get mean and nasty in their interactions with kids? Sadly, a great many of them weren't "making a difference" because of a lack of skill in behavior management. They were less satisfied then they expected to be with their teaching careers. That lack of skill in managing student behavior created a gap between the image of the master teacher they had hoped to become, and the level at which they found themselves performing. They weren't making the positive impact on kids that they had hoped to make. Indeed, how well you manage student behavior is crucial to your success as a teacher. The behavior that is exhibited in your classroom affects how administrators, colleagues, kids, parents, and YOU view your competence as a teacher. "Problems with discipline" is the number one reason that administrators fail to rehire teachers or award tenure. It is the main source of career-related stress as reported by teachers and the number one reason that former teachers report for having left the profession. The source of the problem is well known: The vast majority of teachers are sent into the classroom with absolutely NO training in managing student behavior. Others have been told by professors that if they implement well planned lessons based on a strong curriculum, the kids will sit with their hands folded and say "Teacher, please tell me more.” While that practice certainly helps, we need more in our behavior management bag of tricks. Because the typical teacher has received little or no practical guidance in this area that is so vital to teaching success and satisfaction, many eventually begin to listen to tired and misguided educational folklore like: -"Don't smile until Christmas" (or Chanukah, Kwanza, Ramadan, Chinese New Year) -"Keep those brats under your thumb, and let them know who is boss." These negative views on how to manage the behavior of youngsters is in stark contrast to the views held by individuals who have just entered teacher training programs. When asked why they wanted to become teachers, the number one answer was something like: "I love children and want to help them.”- Noble stuff and don't kid yourself; Teaching is a heroic act. We believe that we have the ability to make a difference in the lives of children, and thus can make a positive, long term impact on society. Our influence gets passed down through the generations, giving our acts, if not our name, a degree of immortality. How do we "keep the faith" though when the threat from behavior problems to career satisfaction is greater today than ever before? The reason for the increase of frequency and intensity of behavior problems is open to debate. Depending on who you talk to, it is blamed on any of the following reasons (and more): -abusive parenting -song lyrics -poor parenting -popular culture -decay in family structure and values -exposure to societal violence -anonymity in large communities and -failure of the juvenile justice system schools -poverty -loss of the influence of elders on -romantic breakups youngsters -availability of weapons -psychological disturbances -boredom 42
  • 43. -racial tensions -invasion of body space -a "factory style" of educating children -inability to handle frustration -an outdated mode of teaching -drugs and alcohol -lawyers -computers -lead in paint -televised wrestling -diet -video games -space aliens -politicians/the political system -Elvis impersonators -big business -the president -chemicals -mimes (my personal belief) -radiation (from cell phones or the *If you shoot a mime, do you need to depletion of the ozone layer) use a silencer? -food additives *If a mime falls in the forest, does he -medications make a sound? -the weather *If the police arrest a mime, is it -sun spots necessary to inform him of his right to -phases of the moon remain silent? -talk shows on TV -the devil -groups in society who fail to promote -learning styles that clash with teaching high achievement among their children styles -failure of parents to support the and any other of thousands of efforts/interventions of the schools reasons...some more prominent or likely -failure of the schools to work than others. cooperatively and positively with parents Whatever the reason(s) might be, teachers need to be more skilled in behavior management than ever before. Let's take a look at how a lack of skill in behavior management affects career longevity and satisfaction. Typically, poor behavior managers progress through a four stage process. THE FOUR STAGES OF TEACHING (related to behavior management skills) STAGE 1 - THE SHINY NEW TEACHER As the first day of our new career approaches, we're nervous, but believe deep inside that we are going to have a great year. We've studied hard under professors with Ph.D.'s and/or plenty of real life experience. We have the skills, and we also have the personal approach. We're going to be different than those teachers who were so rigid back when we were in school. We're going to love our students, and they're going to love us. We're going to create a wonderful, nurturing, supportive, and productive learning environment. STAGE 2 - SHELL SHOCK After an initial two or three day "honeymoon" period, the students' behavior starts to take a turn for the worse. The kids have been excited about the start of the school year too, and vowed to do well. Some kids however, are unable to manage themselves for very long. They start to test the rules to determine limits and discover exactly how strict you are going to be about that pencil sharpening rule or "Keep hands, feet and objects to yourself" regulation. Your attempts to reason with the youngsters aren't having any impact. You find your lessons disrupted by some students while others complain about their misbehavior. You're having a heck of a time trying to keep structure and order. Being unable to teach at the level you (and others) expect, you're frustrated and humiliated. This is the stage when teachers place brown wrapping paper over the window on the door so others can't look in (We write "Please knock and wait before entering; Learners at work." Although those who walk by say: "Gee that doesn't seem like the sound of learning to me.") The problems don't stay behind at school. They follow you home. You think about your problems day and night. While you're not working in the salt mines or operating heavy machinery, you drag yourself into your abode and fall onto the couch...absolutely exhausted. In time, you manage to pull yourself up to plan 43
  • 44. for the next day, hoping in vain that your potentially interesting lessons will recapture the pupils' attention. When the time comes to rest your weary head, it's difficult to fall asleep. When you do so, it is restless. You toss and turn, seeing certain youngster's faces in your dreams (These are true night terrors!), and wake up strangling your pillow. Your first words echo those of some of your students..."I don't wanna go to school. I don't wanna to go to school." You've just entered the early stages of "burnout". The kids (and others) are demanding too much of you. Emotionally, you just can't give anymore. You're worn out and feeling incompetent. You doubt whether you made the correct career choice. You think that maybe you don't have what it takes to be a teacher. At this point, you have several choices: a) You can continue on as an ineffective teacher (Not recommended). You have to much promise to give up your life's dream. b) You can take your friend's and family's advice and go into sales. (Not recommended) While surveys show that those who leave the teaching profession report being paid more and under less stress, they also report a sense of loss. They had the heart of a teacher, and now there is a "hole in the soul". c) You can get out of the classroom, but stay in education by getting an advanced degree. Now you can become an administrator who evaluates the disciplinary performance of others, sends the youngsters who just arrived at the office back to their class, or suspends any kids who create too many problems. Or maybe you'll go into guidance counseling so that you only have to deal on a one- to-one or small group basis with kids. Or maybe you go on to earn a Ph.D., become a professor specializing in kids with behavior disorders, and set up a web site claiming to have never-fail techniques for working with misbehaving kids...all without ever having to actually work with them. (Oops! Have I just incriminated myself?) d) You can give up your ideals and values, taking the advice uttered in the teacher's lounge (OH NO!!). You decide to quit being kicked around (figuratively...I hope), and steel yourself to "get tough" and "show `em who's boss". You decide to move into stage 3 (REALLY not recommended). e) Skip to STAGE 4 (Highly recommended...but read about stage 3 first) STAGE 3 - THE DISCIPLINE DICTATOR I meet teachers stuck in this stage at many of my workshops. These are the ones who communicate to me (in disguised wording) "Hey McIntyre, if you want to be of any use to us today, then give us better ways to intimidate these errant urchins. Help me be more effective in striking fear and terror into their deviant little hearts. I want my past students to tell the new ones: `Be afraid. Be very afraid'.” They deny that they need to change their ways, thus proving the old statement: "Denial (Da Nile) ain't just a river in Egypt." Certainly things seem to be better than when you were in stage 2. There is no more pleading voice and timid grin. You draw the line and you get compliance (even though it's superficial respect and kids are only obeying out of fear). But despite trying to subdue it, something still claws at your’s that desire to be a master teacher. In this stage, you've become the teacher you swore you would never be. You're doing things you never imagined you would ever do to kids: exacting polite and respectful behavior in impolite and disrespectful ways; and demanding appropriate behavior via inappropriate actions. You're doing things that you won't allow your kids to do (e.g., yell, berate, and touch in a non- respectful manner). Let's face it, the love is gone and you're just showing up for the paycheck. At this point, you have two choices: a) Keep the ball and chain on your professional growth, staying mean and justifying your actions by thinking of your students as "losers" and claiming "It's the only thing they understand.” You can also recruit new and struggling teachers who drop by the teacher's lounge where you and other burned out instructors go to complain and criticize. You certainly don't want any more skilled and well liked teachers in your building, reminding you of what you had hoped to be. (Not recommended) b) You realize that behavior management is not a hammer and nail scenario (It's more like splicing wires). You drop your belief in the authoritarian saying: "If a hammer doesn't work, get a bigger hammer." (e.g.: "Oh yeah!? A zero doesn't bother you? Then you're getting a "double zero" young 44
  • 45. man."), and stop using more of what already isn't working. Instead, you hang your hat on the advice from the U.S. Cavalry: "If your horse dies, dismount.” In other words, "If it ain't working, stop doing it!" You start again to look for answers and seek mentors. You're now seeking solutions instead of blame. You ask questions of skilled colleagues and drop by their classrooms during your planning period to observe them and pick up tips that you'll use with the kids. You read good books on behavior management (recommended in a link on, and attend local conferences. You work to convince the district to hold more staff development workshops on behavior management. Heck, you even decide to take a classroom management class at the local college. Last, you keep dropping back to Dr. Mac's web site (and other good web sites recommended in a link therein) to refresh your memory and look for any new ideas that might have been posted. Damn! You're feeling enthused again. Things are improving. You've realized that certain practices (e.g., lecturing, threatening, arguing, shaming, labeling, blaming, preaching, ordering) are counterproductive and roadblocks to optimal learning. You're discovering and trying more effective and beneficial interventions. You're on your way to stage four - that master teacher stage. STAGE 4 - THE SKILLED & CARING BEHAVIOR MANAGER You're there! You always knew that you could do it. The only regret is that you wish you had started your on-the-job study much earlier. Now you're familiar with "the 80/15/5 rule" (Any one technique works great with 80% of kids, somewhat with 15% of pupils, and not at all with 5% of your students) and realize that you need many behavior management tools, not just a hammer. As Mark Twain said: "To a man with a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” You've moved beyond that stage. Now you're leading rather than pushing. You're talking TO kids, not AT them. You've come to realize that the only way to break your students' negative behavior patterns is to break your own first. Now when kids give you a fun house mirror version of appropriate behavior, or are grating on your last good nerve like #6 sandpaper, you're demanding (yet friendly and supportive), firm (yet fair), and NEVER do anything you wouldn't want done to you. You're no longer ashamed and embarrassed of your actions. You're rightfully proud of yourself. Remember: Use your super powers only for good! With entry into stage 4 you've come to know the perks of being a good behavior manager. You now sleep better at night and wake refreshed. Your first words upon arising are "Carpe diem" (seize the day). And boy, it feels great when the kids listen and achieve! You're teaching with confidence and charisma. Your sparkling personality surfaces and you have enough energy left over at the end of the day to say "Carpe noctum" (seize the night). Why not go to stage 5 (the wise mentor)? Now that you're so damned good, it's time to help someone who is struggling at levels 2 or 3. Befriend that new teacher (Remember how you wished for helpful colleagues in your first couple of years on the job?) or tell that crotchety colleague of yours to stop complaining and do something positive about it. Share the wisdom. If not you, who? SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS Order, limits, firmness and kindness...the qualities of a positive and effective classroom; However, comprehensive classroom management doesn't just happen. In the words of Haim Ginnott (1978): "Discipline is a series of little victories, not something that occurs overnight.” It takes thoughtful planning, implementation and maintenance. Well developed plans implemented by a positive and respectful teacher result in well managed classrooms that are conducive to learning. Skilled behavior managers foster a classroom climate in which kids feel valued and motivated. If you're not yet a consummate behavior manager, here's how to discover the reason why: Look in the mirror. In that mirror, you'll also find the solution to your problem. With reflective experience and study, you'll soon be turning confrontations into "carefrontations". That outcome is necessary for many reasons. Educators no longer have the same coercive and intimidating consequences that were once available to them. What is left to our disposal today isn't half as bad as what some of our kids experience at home, and additionally, the law now requires that kids labeled as emotionally or behaviorally disordered receive "positive interventions". It's also necessary for our own emotional health. If you're coercing kids into behaving, it's time to give up the ghost. In the words of Bob Dylan, "The times they are a-changin`". 45
  • 46. In ambiguous situations, kids look to us for guidance. We are like the banks of a river: Our behavior management skills guide our students' energy flow. If the banks are too weak, the undirected flow causes disaster. If the banks are too constrictive, the flow backs up and causes problems elsewhere. We can provide the guidance needed by always keeping the following principles in mind: THE 10 DEMANDMENTS OF BEHAVIOR MANAGEMENT 1. Always treat youngsters with respect and preserve their dignity. 2. Always do what is in the students' best interests. 3. Seek solutions, not blame. 4. Model tolerant, patient, dignified, and respectful behavior. 5. Use the least intrusive intervention possible. 6. Connect with your students and build strong personal bonds with them. 7. Instill hope for success (otherwise there is no reason for kids to behave in your class). 8. NEVER do anything disrespectful, illegal, immoral, ineffective, bad for health/safety, or you wouldn't want done to you. 9. NEVER give up on a student. Be perturbed with the actions of a student, but keep believing in his/her ability to change for the better. 10. CATCH KIDS BEING GOOD . . . A LOT!! So what's the next step in your positive progression? For starters, spend time at this web site ( and others recommended in our link titled "Other web sites". There is a lot of great information waiting for you to discover and implement. All you have to do now is to take the challenge. It's time to move to stage 4. C'mon, we know you've got it in you. ACTIVITIES 1. If you are presently teaching, in what stage or stages of development do you find yourself? What's your plan for progressing higher? 2. Devise a definition of "behavior/classroom management". What does it encompass? What is its purpose(s)? What are the components? The following definition of classroom/behavior management (one of many to be found in the literature) is from Weber 1977 (no other reference information available). "...that set of activities by which the teacher promotes appropriate student behavior and eliminates inappropriate student behavior, develops good interpersonal relationships and a positive socio- emotional climate in the classroom, and establishes and maintains an effective and productive classroom organization." (Page 286) In other words we want to: o Create more of the "good" behavior o Get rid of the "bad" behavior o Have positive and caring interactions with our students o Create a classroom in which kids feel welcomed, valued, befriended, useful, challenged, respected, and physically and psychologically safe o Be structured, organized, and efficient. How are you doing on each aspect? What plans will you make to accomplish each? 46
  • 47. 3. Evaluate yourself using the "10 Demandments". Strive to change (if necessary) so that all 10 items describe your professional demeanor and practice. Is there an 11th demandment that should be added? For New Teachers: Welcome To the Profession! "In a completely rational society, the best of us would aspire to be teachers and the rest of us would have to settle for something less. Passing civilization along from one generation to the next ought to be the highest honor and the highest responsibility anyone could have." Lee Iacocca (Chairman of Chrysler Motor Company) Throughout your long and illustrious career, the start of a new school year will bring a sense of optimism and anxiety. However, those hopes, dreams, and butterflies in the stomach are most pronounced before the very first day of your very first year. It's a wonderfully distressing time, one that will stay with you for a long, long time as you share your now-old memories with colleagues. Our first year of teaching has a tremendous impact on our personal and professional life. A positive experience leads to a long and rewarding career. A negative one promotes feelings of frustration, embarrassment, and isolation. The greatest threat to a long and successful teaching career is student misbehavior. Teachers report it to be their primary source of career-based stress, and former teachers report it to be the number one reason that they left the field. Nationally, over 1/5 of new teachers leave the profession in the first three years (the rate is higher in low income urban areas). Your decision as to whether to return or not for the next year will be based, to a large degree, on your success in managing behavior. (Believe me, I've been there. I had lousy training in this area and ventured blindly into the field. We want you to return because you've got too much promise, and the kids and our society need you too much for you to ever leave us previous to retirement. We want you to be one of our long-term colleagues. That successful career path is attained by making use of your college "book learning" while adding the wisdom learned through experience. To get you off to a good start, you'll find some of the wisdom passed down by formerly new teachers who went on to educate decades of children. TIPS AND THINGS TO DO BEFORE THE SCHOOL YEAR 1. If the school really needs a teacher badly, negotiate for higher pay, more money for materials, a better room, etc. If the job was highly competitive, sign the contract and become friendly with the custodian or whoever else is in charge of the materials, supplies, and the equipment room. 2. Learn about the neighborhood in which your school is located. Take a walk around the area (if it's safe to do so), dropping into businesses and gathering spots, and stopping at parks (and other places where kids gather). 3. Arrange to drop by the school before the first official day. Introduce or reintroduce yourself to anyone and everyone there. Check out your classroom to determine if any changes or repairs are needed. Did the promised materials get delivered to your room? 4. Organize your files from college. Spend the summer months arranging things so that you can find them easily when you need lessons and materials. 5. Work on your wardrobe. Is there a stated or expected dress code for teachers at your new school? Even if you're a "casual" person, consider ways to "dress up" that look with certain accessories or items. Shoes should be attractive, but comfortable. Your appearance does make a difference in how you are perceived by students, colleagues, and administrators. Good grief!...Please be sure that 47
  • 48. clothes fit well and are clean, unstained, unfrayed, and matching in color and pattern. Avoid being assigned the nicknames of rainbow", "test pattern", or "pig pen" by your kids. 6. Obtain a schedule for the first day and week. 7. Find out how many students are enrolled in your class (es). 8. Obtain a list of your students. Learn the names. Review the records of your special ed students to become familiar with the IEP goals that apply to your class. Read through student files for medical, behavioral, or academic concerns. 9. Become familiar with the ethnic/cultural/racial/socio-economic/language background of your students. Pick up a book on multicultural education, read Dr. Mac's articles on this web site (the link on "Culture, gender, and orientation issues"), or try to convince him to send you material from his workshops. 10. Consider sending a letter of greeting or calling the homes of your students. 11. Become familiar with the school handbook, and school procedures (e.g., ordering books and materials, referring kids to the office, use of photocopy machines, etc.), traditions, etc. 12. Become familiar with the curriculum guidelines. Know what you have to teach and start figuring out how you're going to teach it in an effective and interesting manner. 13. Prepare the classroom for the first day. Move in. Get the place organized and decorated (unless you are going to involve the students in the enhancement of the bare room). 14. Obtain a list of school faculty and staff. Get to know your colleagues by dropping by their classes before the school year starts up, or introducing yourself to them in the hallways. Introduce yourself to others sitting near you in orientation meetings. Attend school functions and insert yourself into conversations in the teachers' lounge (but excuse yourself if you end up sitting with teachers who are negative in their attitudes toward kids and colleagues). Don't be afraid to ask questions. We old timers love to show our knowledge and skill. 15. Find out the name of your paraprofessional (if you have one) and spend some personal time with him/her. Be friendly to the cleaning staff (find out their favorite foods and bring some to them) and cafeteria workers. If you're not a spontaneously social person, think of things to say to people as you travel to school. 15. If your school has not assigned you a mentor, find one (or two or three). Make friends with experienced and enthusiastic teachers who have common students, curricular certification, department affiliations, interests, etc. Don't be afraid to ask for advice. 16. Join a professional group that publishes practical teacher journals (keeping you updated on new developments in the field), and holds conferences in your areas of interest or need. PLANNING AHEAD BEFORE THE SCHOOL YEAR HAS STARTED -Use the World Wide Web to find resources and help. Check out "" for lesson plans in various areas. Obtain free learning resources from more than 40 federal agencies at "". Other sites full of lesson plans and other resources are "" and "". -If you have the same students for the whole day, schedule activities that require quiet concentration when students are "fresh". Plan action and movement activities for when students are intellectually or physically tired. 48
  • 49. -Schedule the favorite activities of students (e.g., computer, music, art, physical education) after more demanding lessons (e.g., math, reading). -Devise routines and procedures for recurring school situations (e.g., hallway passing, entering and leaving class, distributing and collecting papers, going to the bathroom, using the water fountain and pencil sharpener, asking questions of the teacher, submitting assignments, duties of monitors and housekeepers, proper use of materials and various parts of the room, storage of belongings, fire drills, etc.). Provide structure to avoid confusion and misbehavior. Teach and enforce these routines from day one. -Prepare for the typical day's trouble spots: pre and post recess/physical education, pre and post lunch, the last period of the day, the minutes just before the ringing of the bell, etc. Place pre-bell assignments on the board to ensure that students are "on task" from the moment they arrive in your room, devise transitional activities (e.g., puzzles, brain teasers), and plan for the beginning of silent reading, rest time, etc. TIPS FOR WORKING WITH PARENTS AND GUARDIANS Getting parents/guardians/caretakers positively and actively involved in the education of their children can be difficult and frustrating at times, but behavior change happens more quickly when homes and schools work in concert. Some caretakers are faced with home and on-the-job stressors which prevent them from becoming fully involved. Others would like to become involved, but believe that they do not have the skills or knowledge to help you. The following suggestions might assist you in working constructively with the other important partners in our team effort to help youngsters develop into productive citizens. -Consider sending a letter to the home explaining your pedagogical approach, expectations for student achievement and behavior, and behavior management system. -Invite parents to visit the classroom at selected times. Involve them in some way (e.g., leading a small reading group, providing remedial assistance to a student) if they are willing and capable. Be sure to check the school policy on parental visits. -Consider having students write about classroom learning and activities in a newsletter to be sent home weekly or bi-weekly. Include tips on ways parents can assist learning in the home (e.g., set up a quiet work area, check over homework, discuss what was presented in class that day, etc.). -Contact parents with good news about their children. Accentuate the positive. Be specific as to what the youngsters did well. -Contact parents early when you have concerns about behavior or academics. -Talk with parents about ways in which they can reinforce classroom learning and appropriate behavior. -Visit families in their homes if that option seems appropriate and is approved with school administration. Contact creates familiarity and the opportunity to observe how well learning is supported there. -Send activities home in which parents and child can work together. Consider whether parents have the language, reading, and academic skills to be helpful. -Set up a class computer web site that parents can visit and list homework assignments, upcoming events, class news, and a way for parents to contact you. The following points are taken from Lee Canter's (1991) Parents on Your Side (Lee Canter and Associates) 49
  • 50.  Make sure you have contacted the parents regularly about problems before you call them for a conference.  Be flexible in setting up the meeting time.  Be sure you have documentation about the child's behavior for referring to specifics during the conference.  Greet the parent warmly.  Don't have the parent sit on a student-sized chair while you sit in a teacher's chair.  Be sensitive to the parent's feelings throughout the conference.  Maintain eye contact (Depending on cultural differences in eye contact)  Call the parent often by name (Start off with the title and surname).  Say something complimentary about the student early in the conference.  Be a good listener.  Don't do all of the talking. Allow the parents to voice their concerns.  Ask the parent for their input regarding the student.  Explain problems in observable and clear terms.  Don't dredge up old incidences from the past, which have already been dealt with.  Don't overwhelm the parent with too many problems. Stay focused on key issues.  Do not discuss other students. If the parent tries to shift the blame to others, stay focused on the major reason the conference was set up for.  Make detailed notes of what was discussed. NOTE: If possible, have another teacher or someone from the staff present as your witness. More Resources: - How to Deal With Parents Who Are Angry, Troubled, Afraid, or Just Plain Crazy. -: Summary Your career will be filled with highs and lows, special moments and tragedies. There will be times when you feel like a master teacher and times when you will doubt your career choice. Remember that you'll get better with time, study and experience. Keep learning. Keep analyzing situations (good, bad, and indifferent) to determine what you did well and what you need to work on. It's a great career. You influence the future of our world. I'm proud to call you my colleague. 50
  • 51. Behavior Management Checklist Uninformed/untrained teachers often view discipline as being an iron-handed approach in which they control, demean, or berate students into compliance. However, negative disciplinary consequences are continually being removed from our "bag of tricks" by school boards, legal decisions and children's rights advocates. More importantly, research shows that while a punitive, coercive approach toward behavior management may gain superficial compliance, students feel alienated from those teachers (and school in general), lose motivation to achieve, and resist changing the undesirable behavior. Skilled behavior managers have learned to entice rather than coerce their students into behaving appropriately. Research indicates that behavior is more likely to change for the better when kids are guided and directed to show an appropriate behavior, and then positively recognized (e.g., praise, thanks, rewards) for having done so. This approach also promotes a more cooperative and productive atmosphere in the classroom and builds a positive emotional bond between teachers and students. The days when a stern teacher who kept students "under the thumb" was respected are gone. The educator who yells or demeans needs to learn more about effective positive techniques that make kids feel good about schools, teachers, and themselves. Our web site ( is full of these positive, respectful, and effective interventions. DIRECTIONS: Consider each of the recommendations below and rate yourself as being "S" (skilled in that area) or "N" (needing improvement). Use those items with an "N" rating to set goals for professional growth. While there are always exceptions to these guidelines, one should be able to justify variations with an argument other than "You gotta be tough with these kids. It's all they understand.” Educators should take the roles of leader and mentor, not prison guard. Teaching is much more fun and rewarding for all parties when teachers lead rather than drag youth into learning and pro-social behavior. The Plan √ ___ I have a comprehensive behavior management plan which includes: o positively stated rules that tell students what they ought to be doing. o rules which are in addition to, not redundant of school rules o a listing of consequences proceeding from mild penalties to removal from the room o ways to recognize and thank students for having displayed appropriate behavior √ ___ I have submitted my behavior management plan to my administrator and scheduled a meeting to review the plan. If the plan is approved, I will ask for his/her support when a student has reached the last step of my consequence list (removal from the classroom to the school office). The Implementation of the Plan √ ___ My plan applies equally to all students. I do not allow myself to be intimidated by certain students. I do not let crying or pleas for leniency keep me from administering consequences (unless I have made a mistake in judgement). √ ___ I see the humor in situations and chuckle at some of the things my students do. I don't penalize "nutty" behavior that will go away in a second. √ ___ I use humor or distraction to redirect mild misbehavior. 51
  • 52. √ ___ I avoid "empty comments" (e.g., "Your book bag is in the aisle."; "You're talking.") unless I am purposefully trying to give hints to behave. √ ___ When students are misbehaving, I give them clear, firm directions to do something (e.g., "Open your book to page 67."; "Please go to your seat now.") or I ask "What should you be doing right now?" (If they don't know, I give hints or politely tell them.) √ ___ If my direction is not followed, I administer the first consequence from my list. I continue through the list until I gain compliance. I encourage that compliance all along the way rather than using the next consequence to threaten students. √ ___ I CONSISTENTLY enforce rules by moving through the hierarchy of consequences. √ ___ I am in control of my emotions when disciplining. √ ___ I NEVER (ever) yell at students (except situations in which someone is in danger). √ ___ I use respectful terminology when disciplining my students. √ ___ I use a calm, firm, respectful tone of voice when administering consequences. √ ___ I NEVER "nag" or lecture students who have misbehaved (Because they stop listening after the 4th word). √ ___ I NEVER plead with students to behave. They obey my direction or receive a penalty from the list of consequences. Compliance to my direction is met by a polite "Thank you". √ ___ If I decide that it is best to purposefully ignore a student's behavior, I am praising other students for showing appropriate behavior. √ ___ I constantly watch for opportunities to positively react to students who are behaving. √ ___ I am a good role model for the courteous and respectful behavior I desire from my students. Prevention Instead of Reaction √ ___ I pleasantly greet my students at the classroom door to keep rowdy behavior from entering my room. Students must first calm themselves before entering. √ ___ A "Do now" activity is written on the board for students to see as they enter the room. They know that they are to begin that short, simple assignment immediately (before the bell sounds). This activity focuses students and prepares them for the upcoming lesson. √ ___ Although I'm flexible in my approach to kids, my classroom is a structured place. √ ___ I have standardized routines for dismissal, assignment submission, pencil sharpening, bathroom use, asking questions, lining up, etc. √ ___ I maintain a warm, helpful, and positive learning environment. Managing Behavior By The Way I Teach √ ___ I am organized and prepared for each lesson. √ ___ My lessons are well paced. I start promptly, keep things moving, and allow a few minutes before the bell for a quick review and/or clean up. 52
  • 53. √ ___ I vary my methods. I know that teaching involves more than giving out dittos and photocopies. √ ___ I make my lessons interesting in order to motivate the students (e.g., multi-media use, ”hands-on" activities, humor, movement, relating material to student interests, etc.) √ ___ I relate the lesson material to the students' lives so that they see the relevance of learning it. √ ___ I ask the question before I select a student to answer it. (Otherwise, the other students will stop listening/thinking) Outside of the Classroom √ ___ Knowing that students behave better for teachers they like, I get to know my pupils on a somewhat personal basis and speak with them outside of class. I realize that kids don't listen to the message unless they like the messenger. √ ___ I seek new teaching ideas and positive ways to manage behavior. I don't just go to the teacher's lounge to complain. I brainstorm with colleagues on better ways to handle concerns. √ ___ I have set goals for myself in the area of respectful and effective behavior management. I will learn and use more positive ways to promote appropriate student behavior. If you've had problems with discipline 1) Decide to "take charge”. Devise rules and post them. Develop a series of 3 to 6 consequences, each more severe than the preceding. The first will be a "reminder" to engage in the appropriate behavior (Tell students what they SHOULD be doing, NOT what they are doing wrong). The last penalty will result in a removal from the classroom. (For more information, see the link on the home page of titled "How to create your own behavior management system). 2) The morning of the new approach, review what you will say to your students. Dress in an outfit that makes you look and feel confident. 3) On the way to school, listen to music that gives you energy and confidence. 4) Force yourself to be outgoing as your kids enter the room. Greet them confidently and comment on something positive about them. This action makes it clear that they are entering territory in which you are the leader. 5) Talk about future expectations with your students. Present your behavior management system. Implement it immediately. 6) Do something about each and every act of misbehavior. Stop threatening, nagging, and giving another chance. React to each act of misbehavior calmly. Go through your series of consequences. Be consistent. Do not abandon your program. Look around for students who are doing what you require...REMEMBER TO CATCH 'EM BEING GOOD! 7) Expect 1-3 days of complaints, defiance, and subterfuge until your students realize that you are going to stand firm in support of the new program. The final results will make these difficult days worth the effort. "Loosen up" as kids fall into line and abide by the new system. 53
  • 54. Tips for Becoming an Effective and Well-Liked Behavior Manager Nice Ways to Gain Compliance & Help Kids Develop Self Management of Their Behavior Ways to lure students into showing appropriate behavior that also promote self control of one's behavior. Looking to gain compliance in ways that don't make you ashamed to tell others about it? Looking for positive and respectful ways to lead your students into displaying appropriate behaviors? Do you want to improve your relationships with your students? Are you hoping to teach your kids to make good behavior choices, even when you're not around? Those ideas are found on this page. These simple techniques (so simple that a lot of teachers don't believe that they'll work until they give them a try) are nice things to try before going to your penalties for non-compliance and misbehavior. While these strategies may be initially ineffective with some of your "tough" kids, they gain effectiveness quickly. If you still find yourself having to go to your penalties, the youngsters come to understand that the nice interventions are their "warnings". They begin to respond to these strategies in order to avoid the penalties. And now, because you are treating them respectfully, they come to like you better and return the respectful treatment. (This outcome is even true with students labeled "behavior disordered", as found in a study conducted with 308 acting-out students in self-contained classes in a large urban area. On a survey, they reported that they behave better and work harder for teachers who teach them well and show them respect.) Another nice thing about these strategies is that they build inner control over behavior. Kids have to take the limited amount of information that you provide to them and figure out why you said it to them. They try to discern what the problem must be and what they should do about it. They become self disciplined "thinkers" instead of "stinkers". You'll find that these interventions are easily implemented and highly effective, creating and maintaining positive relationships with our kids. They provide you with ways to gain power and influence...all without having to resort to coercion. They allow you to be a teacher who is both effective and nice. You'll accomplish more than could ever be done with mean-spirited strategies. More benefits: These interventions work with kids of all ages...3 to 83. If you find yourself getting in battles with your kids, parents, siblings, spouse (or spouse substitute), colleagues, bosses, or others in your life...these strategies can help to develop closer bonds of attachment and respectful treatment toward each other. Make a point of trying these ideas in your home right now, or your class tomorrow. P.S. These strategies are "Psycho educational" in that they:  Promote the development of positive personal relationships  Help the youngster to change his/her thought patterns and perceptions  Involve the student in his/her own behavior change OK...Here we go... Rephrasing Our Comments 54
  • 55. How we word and deliver our comments to others determines the outcome. Our delivery of the message will have an enormous impact on our effectiveness, our relationships with our students, the self image of the other, and happiness with ourselves as teacher/parent. The "4 No No's" (see below) hurt others, blame, accuse, and create hard feelings...even if you get compliance. They are used by teachers functioning inadequately in the area of behavior management, and the many teachers who are dysfunctional in their bullying, coercive, emotionally toxic manner. The latter group may gain compliance from most kids, but defiant and "difficult" kids are likely to strike back. They may then be seen as heroes/heroines by your other students who resent being treated poorly. Oppressed peoples eventually rise up against their tyrants. Avoid sowing the seeds of discontent. Make your classroom the kind of place you envisioned when you were training to be a teacher. Mean teachers may brag about their caustic methods, and defend them as "the only thing they understand", deep inside they realize that they have lost the dream. They have become the teachers they hated when they were kids. When we address misbehavior, it's important to delete four things from our commentary: 1. "Why Questions" 2. The word "YOU" 3. The words "NO" and "DON'T" 4. Lecturing/Nagging/Berating Why? (That "Why Question" is really is seeking information and was said respectfully). All these place blame, rather than seek solutions. They make matters worse rather than better. Let's look at each of the types of phrasing that we want to avoid: "Why Questions" "Why are your socks on the floor?" “ Why is the toilet seat up?” (Gee. Perhaps I'm revealing too much about my home life here...Just kidding. We avoid these types of questions at the McIntyre homestead). Do you ever find yourself asking kids "Why did you...?” Were you really looking for the reason behind the behavior, or were you starting your series of lectures, reminders, and put-downs? Think about those accusatory "why" questions. They are "wolves in sheep's' clothing". They appear to be seeking information (" I just asked him why! I don't know why he got so upset."). The real message is clear however. Asking "Why are you doing that?" really means "GOTCHA!!". Kids know "Why?" means "I've caught you being bad, and I'm going to let you dig a bigger hole for yourself before I really come down on you hard.” Kids, realizing they are facing impending penalties, then lie, deceive, make excuses, or otherwise try to escape the inevitable punishment/criticism/chastisement. Our approach forces them into more undesirable behavior. Then we lose the focus, having to deal with the new excuses/misbehaviors that emerge instead of the original one. The inquisitor is saying "I'm going to give you the opportunity to come up with some inadequate excuse and expose yourself more to my impending verbal pummeling.” The word "Why" should only be used when a nice, concerned tone of voice is attached by someone who has true concern about the student's behavior. "YOU" Delete this word from your vocabulary when dealing with misbehavior. It attacks and hurts. It is condescending and controlling. It fails to solve the problem. So what should we use in its stead?? What can you say in place of "YOU" when talking with kids (or a loved one with whom you're having an argument or to whom you will need to give a direction)? A particularly good way to prevent escalation of arguments and avoid putting others on the defensive is to state feelings or directions in the form of an "I (not) message". An "I message" involves stating what you would like to see done, how you feel, or what you need. Examples include "I need quiet in this room right now." (As opposed to "Why are you talking?"), "I'm disappointed in what I saw out on the yard. I don't expect to see that sort of thing now that we're in 3rd (6th, 9th) grade. I expect to see better in the future." (Instead of: 55
  • 56. "You all acted like idiots out there.") We can also bond and connect with our pupils by using the plural form... the "We message" combined with 3rd person references ("all of us", "my students") in place of”YOU". So, instead of saying "You're being too noisy.” try "We all need to be quiet so that we can hear our classmate's report." Examples: Notice how the word "YOU" was eliminated from the statements found below, replacing that word with "I", "us", "we", and "our". "You weren't listening. You're gonna end up on welfare." becomes "I want my students to listen closely so that they can learn important things that will help them succeed in life." "If you use your garbage mouth one more time, you're losing recess." becomes” I need to hear only appropriate words for the rest of the period. That way recess will still be on the schedule." "You're a rude little bugger." becomes "I feel bad when my students speak in a mean way. Please tell me what you want in a polite way...that's the only way you'll ever get it. (knowing smile here)" Notice how the utterances become less confrontational and condescending. Chances of getting compliance and cooperation increase. The wording can initially be a bit cumbersome, but becomes easier with practice. Let's all give a conscious effort toward improving our verbal directions to kids. (Did you notice how I avoided saying that "You need to improve your verbal commands."?) Review on I and We Messages: -Use a respectful, positive, and considerate tone of voice (and body language) AND -a 3rd person references to replace "you" (e.g., "my students", "everybody") -"I", "me", or "my" when expressing your feelings or concerns -"we", "us", or "our" to promote esprit de corp (& positive peer pressure) ("T.J., if we're going to be ready for Monday's show, I need everyone quiet and on their marks now.") Or if you need to be more directive in a situation: -The student's name (we all like to hear our names) -a request or direction to engage in an action (preceded by "Please") -encouragement (to motivate youngsters to comply with directions) ("Elsie, let's keep working on our map game. You know, it's really starting to take shape. We're going to have a great game board for our geography group.") More on “I” messages and expressing ourselves Most of us have been indoctrinated to believe that we have to suppress our emotions, and we feel guilty when they have erupted. Describing how you feel using "I messages" helps us to: -display emotions appropriately in a moderated manner -deal with pressure -release pent up energy -model appropriate behavior for kids EXAMPLES "Standing Bear please steer clear of me right now. After our little episode, I need a break." "Sal, this isn't a good time to review your test. I'm a little tense & distracted right now. How about if we look at it after lunch"? INSTEAD OF: "What is wrong with this class? Why does it take you forever to open your notebooks? How do you expect to learn anything if you take up half the morning fooling around"? 56
  • 57. TRY: "I get impatient when we don't get to work promptly. I'm so excited about teaching you things that will help you succeed in life. I like to see all notebooks opened and everyone ready to begin when the bell rings." INSTEAD OF: "How can you all be so mean? That is a cruel thing to do, making fun of someone who stutters!" TRY: "It upsets me to see anyone in our group being made the brunt of hurtful jokes. I expect our class to treat all of its members with respect. We are a team." IT’S YOUR TURN: What do you do if you say "I feel...” and a youngster says "Who cares how you feel?" (Use another "I message") Imagine the situation in which these comments are said and provide an "I message" replacement. "You're outta your chair again." "What's wrong with you?" "Oh no... What did you do that for?" "Whoa! You're doing it all wrong." "You little brat." "You better start paying attention." "You're living down to your reputation." "Why do you always do this to yourself?" "You ain't never gonna be no honors student nohow." "You're doing it all wrong." "You're so clumsy (noisy, rude, nosy, etc.)" "Bozo! Quit acting like a clown." "Bonzo and Cheetah. Stop acting like apes." "Godzilla and King Kong, why are you always breaking things?" "Don't deny it. You're the only one who opens those boxes, Pandora." Practice Makes Perfect Write down "You" statements heard being used by yourself or others. Rephrase them into "I" or "We" messages. It’s Your Turn Yet Again! Rephrase these "Negative YOU messages" using various points mentioned above: "How can you be so mean? You're very cruel to make fun of someone who makes a mistake." "What's wrong with all of you? Why does it take you forever to get ready? How do you expect to learn anything if you take up half the morning goofing around?" 57
  • 58. "The milk spilled on the table. What should we do about it?" (Well, first of all, don't cry over spilt milk.) BEST PARTS ABOUT THIS APPROACH -Takes away -accusations & finger pointing (by teacher & students) -student defensiveness and excuses -the need to apologize later -Helps everyone focus on what needs to be done -Builds inner control over behavior Your Turn Again, and Again, and Again!!! Imagine the situation in which these comments are said and provide a more professional replacement. "You're outta your chair again." "What's wrong with you?" "Oh no... What did you do that for?" "Whoa! You're doing it all wrong." "You little brat." "You better start paying attention." "You're living down to your reputation." "Why do you always do this to yourself?" "You ain't never gonna be no honors student no how." "You're doing it all wrong." "You're so clumsy (noisy, rude, nosy, etc.)" "Bozo! Quit acting like a clown." "Bonzo and Cheetah. Stop acting like apes." "Godzilla and King Kong, why are you always breaking things?" "Don't deny it. You're the only one who opens those boxes Pandora." Practice Makes Perfect Write down "You" statements heard being used by yourself or others. Rephrase them into "I" or "We" messages. Avoiding Saying "NO" and "Don't" When you tell a kid what s/he shouldn't be doing ("No yelling.", "Don't run."); you fail to give the student direction in what s/he OUGHT to be doing. There are a number of drawbacks to using these negatives: 1. It doesn't tell kids what behavior you want to see. Therefore, it won't happen. 2. Even if the youngster can tell you what s/he should be doing, has s/he displayed the behavior on a regular basis? Being able to describe the behavior verbally is much different from possessing the behavior in one's repertoire and being able to use it at the correct moment. If you want a student to display a behavior, teach it to him/her. Behavior is like academic learn it by being taught. If they've never been taught, they don't know it yet. 58
  • 59. 3. Kids hear the action word in your statement. Telling a kid "Don't run." will guarantee that s/he and all other kids with him/her will immediate break into a run. 4. Parents and teachers often use the behavior they tell a kid to stop: "STOP YELLING!!", "No hitting!" (As the adult hits the child.) Expect the wrong message to be heard by the youngster. Yelling at kids CREATES yellers. Hitting kids teaches them to hit weaker others. Lecturing About Behavior Nowadays, as adults, we don't like it when someone is lecturing or nagging us. We didn't like it when we were students either. We felt as if the speakers were condescending toward us, and often ignored those people or rebelled against them. Other times, we felt small and felt bad about ourselves (instead of our actions). Lectures are ineffective, incendiary, or hurtful. Keep corrective messages short and simple. For example, instead of: "Fran, you've walked out of the door again without your backpack. Where's your head at. You're so busy gossiping with all your friends you're not even thinking about what you're supposed to do. Sometimes I think you'd lose your head if it weren't tied to your neck. C'mon. Get with it girl." (Here's what Fran actually heard: "Fran, you've blah, blah, blah, yakety yak, blah, blah, blah...") Try: "Betsy. Your schoolbag." This technique avoids: • nagging • causing o embarrassment o negative self image o retaliation from defiant youngsters Short statements motivate youngsters to: - think about the limited information - identify the problem - devise a solution - exercise their own initiative & resolve the problem IT’S YOUR TURN: Read this long-winded commentary spouted from the mean-spirited mouth of a mean, bullying teacher. Then create a shorter, respectful direction. "Hey Cosmo - COSMO!! Do I have to put up a neon sign to get your attention? What are you doing? (Cosmo looks blankly at the teacher.) Why isn't the notebook on your desk? Let's get on the ball here. (Student gives a look of recognition, meekly smiles, and pulls his backpack around to his desk.) Hey! Get to it. Let's go. (Cosmo shuffles through the materials in his backpack) You always take too much time to do things. It's this way every day. Get out your notebook now, not next week. (The embarrassed student nervously hurries to locate the correct notebook.) Put your hands on it boy. Geesh, I've seen faster moves from a 3-legged turtle with a hernia. Time to get a move on." GIVING INFORMATION In "giving information", we utter golden nuggets of knowledge, but don't tell the student what to do about it. The youngster has to figure out why the teacher said that utterance to him/her and devise a positive plan of action. Make the statements short and non-judgmental. Use them as nice "reminders" before you use more directive measures. Examples: "Kelvin, records (CDs) warp if they're near heat." "Lucinda, if you hit others, they won't want to be your friend." "If you touch your tongue to metal on a cold day, it might freeze there." "David, paste dries up unless the cover is put back on the jar. "Cindy, alcohol dries up unless the cover is put back on the bottle." (I have to tell this to my friends almost every Friday night.) 59
  • 60. "Protractors are for measuring angles, not frisbee catch." "Geometric compasses are for drawing circles, not javelin practice." READ the two variations of teacher statements below, noting how the second utterance is a much nicer way to gain compliance. Which one would you like to hear if you were a student? 1a. "No, you can't paint without an apron." 1b. "I know you feel uncomfortable in an apron, but it keeps paint from ruining your nice clothes." 2a. "Don't touch that!" 2b. "I'm glad you noticed my new plant. Plants are for looking at. Touching the leaves can hurt them." Your Turn (Devise an informational statement): "Don't throw sand!" What might we say if a pupil jokingly hits another with a ruler? How might we respond if we spot a youngster bending back the covers of a book? "Don't throw sand." becomes "Sand can really hurt if it gets in someone's eyes.” or "If sand gets on our floor, the floor gets very slippery. We don't want anyone to slip and fall." "Rulers are for measuring." or "Rulers are for drawing straight lines." (Or "If you do that again, I'll use that ruler to measure you for a coffin.") "If covers are bent back, it will ruin the binding." Cautions Avoid giving information that is already very obvious to an adolescent. It may appear condescending & sarcastic, resulting in rebellion or a snide remark. Use one word statements (see that section below) or say the statement as a quick reminder as you are walking away from the youngster. Don't hover over him/her. DESCRIBE THE PROBLEM Mention the problem that needs to be addressed without assigning blame or mentioning the student's role in the situation. We all make mistakes. Describing the problem is more advanced than the "Giving information" strategy. The child has no provided knowledge to use. It requires a higher level of thought from the youngster. S/he has to figure out how to resolve the identified problem. Give your kids a chance to learn from experiences. Non-emotionally and non-judgmentally lead kids to proper actions by pointing out the problem that has developed. Give hints and cues if necessary to help him/ her through the thought process (even when you want to SCREAM!). EXAMPLES: "Yuen Shing, the paint spilled. What needs to be done now?" (If he fails to react, you might give cues like:”We have paper towels over the sink.” Notice that you didn't tell him what to do with the towels. You merely hinted that they were somehow involved in the solution of the problem.) "Ralph, the hamster is sucking at an empty bottle." “It's near dismissal and the books aren’t in their place." "Folks, lots of papers and items are strewn around the room. We need order, and I'd appreciate your help." "The room is messy. I expect it to be different in 30 seconds." "I hear answers, but I don't see hands." "Keisha, the plant soil spilled onto the window sill." SEND A NOTE Notes are a great way to prevent misbehavior, nip it in the bud, or address issues. The permanent and novel (at least between teachers and kids) form of communication often makes a more dramatic impact upon the behavior and emotional state of our students. Below, you'll find examples of different 60
  • 61. types of notes. Just remember though: watch the wording (remember that this note might be shown to others) and be aware that it is more difficult to convey emotion in writing...add a smiley face to the note (or to your face as you deliver the document). Pre-emptive/Preventive Notes (Present these to the student(s) before the activity/event) "Svetlana, remember to raise you hand to offer an answer or comment." "Group 2: Bring your discussion to a close soon. Have your projects put away by 2:10pm." After-The-Fact (Present these to address a behavior/event after it has occurred) "Chandra, please see me at your convenience, but before the bell rings." "I was saddened to hear of your family's loss. If you want to talk, I'm available." "T.J.: Insightful answers in class today. Thanks for contributing." "Shoshana, thanks for helping me yesterday. It's greatly appreciated. "Calvin, I let your rude remarks pass today. Just don't let it happen again tomorrow." Humorous Reminders (To address issues that need resolution now...or in a couple of minutes) Dear Willie: Please stop using invisible ink. Your ledger. Dear Josie: I get lonely without words. Your notebook. Dear Ali: I can't think straight. I need my mind organized. Your locker. "Offers Of Assistance" (for kids who are oppositional/defiant, unmotivated, or concerned with peer disapproval) Here's a typical scenario: The teacher says "Hector, open your book to page 14 and answer the questions please.” Hector says "I ain't opening no stupid book. This is baby crap.” Hector is sending a false message to his peers...He's too bright for this material and rejects you for asking him to do the assignment. The true message is that the material is much to difficult for him. He has a choice. He can appear "Bad" or "Dumb". Which one would you choose?? Here's how to use notes to gain cooperation... If you detect that the youngster needs assistance: -Continue to teach the lesson while moving slowly toward the student. -As you teach, write on a "post it" (sticky back) "Do you want help?" (Be sure to use the word "want"...he can't admit that he "needs" help) -Keep walking, but look back to the youngster in a couple of seconds -Wait for a cue from him/her as to "Yes" or "No" -If "Yes", write another note: "From me or another student?" -Watch for a non-verbal reply (e.g., nod of head, pointing to someone) Offers of assistance don't force kids to reveal that they need help and give "personal space" to oppositional kids while being supportive. FINAL THOUGHTS If we overpower students, what have we taught them? Essentially, they'll learn: -"Don't think, just obey." (if you can't avoid or trick them) -"I've got to get some power so that I'm the one who gives orders and bosses people around." Do we really want our kids to follow the directions of others (e.g., child molesters, gang leaders, drug dealers) without thinking about it? 61
  • 62. When possible, we should seek cooperation in our classroom, especially because: -we don't have much left nowadays that can coerce kids -it creates a positive classroom climate -it teaches kids how to behave appropriately -it brings joy to our teaching and their learning Always emphasize and express: -mutual respect -recognition of the inherent dignity of others -courtesy -maintenance of the honor of others -belief in the student's ability to improve You get what you give, so give good things. Remember the ABC's of behavior management: Always Build Character. Resources for Building Self Control in Youngsters Martin Henley. Teaching self-control: A curriculum for responsible behavior. National Educational Service Tom McIntyre (2004). The behavior survival guide for kids: How to make good choices and stay out of trouble. Minneapolis, MN: Free Spirit Press. (The only book written for kids who exhibit behavior problems) Charles Wolfgang, Betty Bennett, and Judith Irvin (1999) Strategies for teaching self-discipline in the middle grades Boston: Allyn & Bacon. 62
  • 63. Giving and Getting Respect When students feel valued, respected and welcomed in their classroom, they are more likely to behave better and demonstrate respect toward you. Here are a few tips for creating the optimal classroom environment.  Build your "rep" by communicating and showing concern for the welfare of your students. Display concern for youngsters. When they ask: "Why did you call my parents?” or “Why did you give me detention?" Answer with: "Because I care about you." or "Because I know you're capable of so much more."  Converse with your students outside of class. Give them the time of day. Build a friendly relationship.  Use your expressive and receptive humor. See the humor in situations and create joy for your youngsters.  Set up kids for success. Establish routines so kids know how to behave in recurring situations.  Discuss behavioral expectations before an activity & use student input.  Use proactive cooperation. Give a direction that you know they will enjoy following before you give them directions with which they might hesitate. Get them in the cooperative mood first. "Everyone, draw a capital "I" in the air." "Hey Fran, give me five." "Everyone, hold up your pointer finger. Now stick it in the book where you think page 108 must be." Then tell them to open their books to page 108 and write answers to the six questions.  Help them respond correctly in class. Give hints and cues so that they are successful in front of others.  Catch 'em being good (Remember to describe the behavior. Don't label the student.  Recognize effort, not correctness. If a kid is giving us his/her best, we should be happy.  Point out the progress made over time. Kids need to see that they have learned.  If a kid doesn't want to attempt a hard task, reminisce about the times when effort brought success. Encourage that display of effort again. Remember to tell her/him that as long as s/he tries hard, you are pleased.  State your belief in their potential. Let them know that you have faith in their ability. When things go wrong, remember why you went into teaching. You do remember, don't you? (You liked kids and wanted to help them learn and become good citizens.)  Help misbehaving youngsters to learn new and better ways. Interact respectfully with misbehaving youngsters. Treat them as you would like to be treated. Help them to do better. Be a guide, not a boss. Be the type of teacher you remember fondly from your school days.  Talk TO them, not AT them. Keep your voice at a conversational level, even when you're perturbed. Avoid giving lectures about life.  Exhibit the self control you wish for them to show. Never do anything to them that you wouldn't want done to you. Separate the behavior from the kid. Like the youngster, dislike the behavior. 63
  • 64.  In an incident, don't just find fault, identify what was OK and what wasn't (some % of positive). For example: "Fran, it was noble of you to stand up for your friend. Being a loyal friend is important. However, I can't allow you to hit others. How else could you have handled the situation?"  Seek win-win solutions. Look for solutions to problems that don't find blame or punish. Help the youngster to display more acceptable behavior: teach it, role-play it, and remind him/her to demonstrate it, reward it, and encourage more of it. Ways to Catch Kids Being Good The most effective behavior management technique is the easiest to implement..."catching 'em being good". Research shows us that the quickest and most effective way to promote the display of appropriate behaviors is to reward them (e.g., touch, a smile, a "thank you", praise, points, food, whatever would be reinforcing to those youngsters). We all like to have our efforts acknowledged, and will show more of that behavior if it brings us rewards. If only I could convince teachers to include this approach into their teaching style. Many just don't believe that it can actually work. They insist upon continuing their negative approaches that don't work (and often make things worse). If only they could hear themselves saying "How many times do I have to keep punishing you before you learn to do the right thing?” They use more of what already isn't working. If their ways worked, they wouldn't have to keep addressing the behavior over and over. (See the home page link on "What is ABA?" to understand why punishment does not teach kids how to show new behaviors) Willing to give niceness a try? Here's how: If the youngster isn't presently demonstrating the desired behavior, set him/her up for success. Prompt the behavior, or request/demand it. When it’s displayed, recognize it positively (Don't hold a grudge or say "It's about time."). Be glad that you're finally seeing that elusive behavior. Recognize effort first, and then focus on accuracy. Just be glad to see any rough approximation to the final desired behavior (to eventually focus on accuracy, see the home page link on "shaping"). Recognize the effort and progress. When first building a behavior, reward it each time as quickly as possible. As the youngster starts to incorporate the behavior into his/her repertoire, do so less often and less quickly (see the home page link on "schedules of reinforcement"). Be sure to check out the other link on this web site ( regarding "Problems with catchin' 'em bein' good and how to do it right". Below, you will find summaries of and excerpts from some homework assignments of the graduate students in my behavior management class. They used various ways of positively recognizing appropriate behavior. Most are practicing teachers who thought that they already used plenty of positive reinforcement in their classes. When required to "go overboard" in recognizing behavior, they were amazed at the positive results (About 95 % of my students report positive results. Of the 5% who report no change in behavior or creation of worse behavior, most failed to implement praise correctly [See the home page link titled "Problem with catchin' em being good and how to do it right"]. Others had not yet built a positive relationship with their students and the youngsters were suspicious of the new way of treating them.) Secret Student (Summary of a report) This technique is a great way to motivate kids to do their best (behaviorally and academically). Before a class, an activity, a walk back to the room, whatever... draw a name from a pile of scraps containing all the student's names. Keep this name a secret. The students know (from you having told them) that this selected person will be watched to determine if they have behaved well and are deserving of the reward. Each student in your line or class hopes that they have been selected, and try their best to behave well. Upon completion of the task, the name of the student is revealed and a prize given if deserved. Be sure to compliment others who did really well (in comparison with their typical behavior). A variation: if one of your "more difficult" kids does really well, you might pretend that the drawn name was his/hers (even though you drew another name). It will help to promote more of this positive 64
  • 65. behavior in the future. The Sticker Chart (Summary of a report) Make a large chart consisting of anywhere from 20 to 100 boxes/spaces. In one or two places, draw pictures or write something that indicates that a prize has been won (a hamburger joint coupon, extra computer time, extra recess,...depending on whether this chart will be used for the whole class or one student). In some of the other spaces, write compliments like "Super job" and "Nice work". In some others, next to the prize space, you might write "You're only one space away from the prize!” Last, cover all the spaces with easily removed stickers. Whenever your students have been good for 5 minutes, one period, or whatever interval is an improvement for them, have a student come up to remove one of the stickers to reveal the space underneath. If you are using the chart with one student (or multiple charts with multiple students), have the student remove a sticker after having shown effort (NOT accuracy) for a designated period of time. Be sure to guard this chart diligently. Kids will conspire to distract you while others look under the stickers to determine where the prizes are located. Catch ‘em being good Scene: The Wedding The problem: This past Saturday, October 6th, I was a bridesmaid in the wedding of my best friends, Janine and Rick. Janine's six-year old goddaughter, Karly, was the flower girl and Rick's five-year nephew, Dillon, was the ring bearer. The hour before the wedding, the wedding party had gathered in a back room of the church. Karly brimmed with confidence - she'd been a flower girl twice before and was already booked for two more weddings in the next year. Dillon wanted no part of the whole thing - one hour before the ceremony, he was refusing to take part. The wedding occurred at the tail end of his family's trip to Florida; while he had a wonderful time at Disney World, now he was ready to go home. He knew his mom wasn't happy - she felt uncomfortable being part of the ceremony herself, though no one wanted to leave her out. Plus, one week of the forced togetherness of a semi-dysfunctional family had exposed Dillon to lots of tension and fights. And now to top it all off, everyone wanted him to put on this ridiculous, uncomfortable penguin suit with a flower pinned to his jacket and a purple vest with palm trees on it! The vest and the flower took the cake. Everyone in Kindergarten knows that boys do not like and would never wear flowers or the color purple. Everyone said that he had to wear the flower and that all the big boys were wearing flowers and that he had to match his Uncle Ricky. His younger brother didn't have to wear any flowers - everyone tried to convince him that this was because he was a baby and only big boys wore flowers. What, did everyone think he was stupid? Dillon broke his downcast, constant, silent, sullen pout only to scream out that his brother was not a baby - he was already three years old! And Dillon didn't really feel like matching Ricky these days anyhow. Ricky hardly ever came over anymore and now he was moving to Florida. Plus, Dillon didn't really understand why Ricky was marrying Janine - he knew they lived together and therefore were brother and sister - and brother and sisters can't get married. He wanted to marry Janine and didn't know why she always had to go home with Ricky. I want Janine to sleep in my bed with me, Dillon would always command when Janine and Ricky came to visit. So do lots of guys, said Dillon's daddy, but Janine always went home with Ricky. "I hate Ricky and Ricky hates me." Dillon would yell. Janine told him that wasn't true, but Dillon wasn't always sure. So now, here Dillon was at this wedding - his first wedding for his mom and dad didn't invite him to theirs, he informed Janine. Janine looked like a princess - but she wasn't paying much attention to Dillon - except to tell him sternly that he needed to wear the flower and the vest. Janine's dad made the vest himself to match Karly's dress. Janine said the vest wasn't really purple - but Dillon had eyes! Janine didn't seem very happy with him. No one did. He overheard someone say that he was ruining the whole day! He told 65
  • 66. his grandmother that he wanted to sleep over his Aunt Melissa s house tonight - she had a new puppy and two cats, but he knew he wouldn't get to stay there. And now everyone kept coming over him - including lots of people that he didn't know - but all they wanted to talk about was the stupid vest and the flower. The goal: Convince Dillon to wear his appointed outfit and drum up some enthusiasm, or at least some willingness to participate in the events. The intervention: Nothing was working, the ceremony was minutes away, and Dillon wasn't budging, let alone walking down the aisle. At this point, I decided to try the catch em being good technique with some Faber and Mazlish thrown in. First we needed some Faber and Mazlish (From the book "How to talk so kids will listen and listen so kids will talk"), for Dillon needed to have his feelings accepted and respected. Dillon was past the stage of talking about his feelings and therefore I skipped step 1 of listening quietly and attentively, and step 2 of acknowledging his feelings with a word, so I went straight to step 3 of giving his feelings a name. It can be really frustrating when people want you to do something that you really don t want to do, I said. Dillon continued to look down and pout. Then I feel sad when people get upset about it...I wish this whole thing would be over for you - and it will be over in twenty minutes and then we can throw that flower in the garbage. (By this point, we had already given up on him wearing the vest.) Dillon still sat silently. Now I threw in some, catch em being good: "You did such a great job at the rehearsal yesterday. I loved how you pretended to hold the pillow; and how you watched the pretend pillow so carefully the whole time to keep a close eye on the rings. You could tell that you really knew how important your job is today. Janine and Rick are so lucky that they have you as the ring bearer.” Dillon sat up straighter. I noticed Karly had suddenly started paying rapt attention to us and walked over. "And Karly, you did a fantastic job yesterday, too - you held the basket so straight and did a great job putting the flowers down the aisle.” Karly beamed. The wedding is starting so soon - everyone s rushing around. "Dillon, you're doing such a great job of sitting patiently and waiting. And Karly, you're all ready - with your gorgeous dress on, and your shoes, and your hair done so beautifully, and you have your basket of flowers all set to go.” Then I noticed a bucket of tubes of colorful glitter glue on the window ledge. "Hey, did you guys see what's in the bucket?” I took the bucket off the ledge and started examining the contents. "Do you guys know what these are?” Karly picked one up and explained,”It's glitter glue". Dillon slowly slid off his chair and walked over to us and picked up a green tube and uttered his first clear, bright statement of the day: "We need paper to use these.” At that point, we were notified that the wedding was about to start. Dillon looked up and said,”It's time to go.” He walked steadily down the aisle, with Karly leading him by the hand, never taking his eyes off the fake rings of which he was put in charge. Afterwards when we all told him what a great job he did, he shyly looked up and smiled. Analysis: Positive reinforcement definitely works. In this case, the ultimate goal was having an excited ring bearer, though we were willing to accept compliance and participation. It is unfortunate that Dillon had to experience the feeling of disappointing people when his only crime was refusing to wear a vest and a flower that he felt was inappropriate for boys. Ideally, the positive reinforcement would have started much earlier and Dillon would have be congratulated every step of the way for all parts of his compliance - instead of focusing on what he was doing wrong. Katherine Phipps Using Management by Objectives (MBO) Ken is a very shy and quiet fifth grade student who has enclosed himself in an emotional shell as if to hide from the world. We have been told by his parents and teachers that he has given up in school and does not attempt anything for fear of failing. He has been coming to our center for several months, has made some progress socially, and puts forth some effort. It is Ken who clicked into my head while discussing and demonstrating the "Management by Objectives" technique in class. 66
  • 67. Usually when I work with Ken, I am fearful of saying the wrong thing. If he gets the least bit frustrated, he turns you off and shuts you out. I decided to try out the MBO technique in which the instructor points out something positive, offers constructive criticism and suggestions, and then follows up with a positive response ending. Ken was writing a final draft of a paragraph. When he was finished, I noticed he began writing with normal size letters and continued to make them smaller and smaller. At the end of the page, the letters were almost microscopic. I said "Great Ken! You made the corrections, indented, capitalized the beginning of your sentences, and punctuated correctly.” Ken just gave me a quick nod of the head. Although he does not physically show it, I believe Ken appreciates and needs this recognition of his efforts. I then said, "Ken, let's take a look at the size of your letters.” "I know, I know," said Ken. I continued by suggesting that when he starts his spelling sentences to concentrate really hard on the size of his letters. Ken gave me a quick, "OK.” Another teacher was going to continue working with Ken while I packed up to go to another classroom. I ended with a little boost of encouragement by saying, "Ken, I see a lot of improvement in your writing. Keep up the good work." It wasn't until I was getting ready to exit the room that I realized maybe this technique did impact on Ken. He came up to me, which is very unlike him. He had his spelling sentences in his hand and wanted to show them to me. His letters were pretty much the same size throughout. I made mention of that point and encouraged him by saying: "Now I know what you're capable of doing”. In fact, I knew you could do it all along. I know I'll see more of this great penmanship in the future. He looked down, but I could tell that he was beaming with pride. This technique worked well in this situation. I believe this is a great strategy to use when trying to correct difficulties in behavior and academics. It sets goals while recognizing the success that is already evident. - Jody M. The Raffle Ticket System (Award cut-up pieces of paper to kids who are on task, answer questions, etc. Don't be stingy. There will only be one drawing at the end of the period or day...thus only one prize given away.) My students were very excited when I told them about the raffle we were going to hold in class. I explained that they would earn tickets for participation, cooperation, concentration, following class rules, and completed assignments. Throughout the day the children displayed interest, enthusiasm and motivation in all the activities that we did. They had a lot of fun. The raffle technique (as we discussed in class) was a huge success in class 2-202. I was very generous with my tickets. During our morning routine I gave them out for following rules. The children were very motivated. They all wanted to earn tickets, and stayed on task without any problems. As I checked their homework, I gave out tickets for assignments that were neatly done with sentences properly punctuated. I also gave out tickets for following capitalization rules. Immediately after I was done checking homework I gave a writing assignment. I was very surprised to see how aware the children had become of their punctuation and capitalization rules. They were working very hard to earn more tickets, and it also seemed that the more tickets I gave out, the harder they worked. During reading, I gave tickets for participation. I couldn't believe how many hands went up to read out loud and answer comprehension questions. We were having a great time. The pile of tickets in each student's large cup was growing rapidly. Another observation that I made was that the children were helping each other earn tickets. They praised their peers as the tickets were given to their classmates. In math, we engaged in a cooperative learning activity. The children earned tickets for everything from working nicely together to completing the assignment. I was amazed at how efficiently they worked, how helpful they were to each other, and how well the cooperative project was done in each group. By combining the raffle technique along with encouragement and descriptive praise I had created an enjoyable and productive day for everyone (including myself). My students were focused on task and 67
  • 68. completely engaged in all activities throughout the day. I gave out a lot of tickets and got back wonderful results. I will definitely do this exciting and productive activity with my class again. - Keisha T. Another Example of the Raffle Ticket System I currently work with a child who has difficulty concentrating during our one hour tutoring session. She sits at her desk and gazes out of the window while I ask her questions concerning her previous week of classes. We typically take about five minutes and catch up on her goals achieved from the week prior. I also allow her five minutes for a gossip session about her new boyfriends and girlfriends. I realize she is going through a hormonal juggling act at the moment and feel this only helps her to concentrate once the session begins. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the correct assumption. One out of every three sessions, Susan becomes withdrawn and unfocused once I begin class work discussions. I decided to reward Susan with lottery tickets during any significant reaction or comments made regarding class work. My goal was to create an enthusiasm towards her curriculum material while incorporating rewards and fun. Susan is a twelve-year-old girl who would enjoy having fashion and shopping as her only subjects in school. I tried to use this to my benefit by using a trip to the mall as the reward for accumulating a total of fifty points worth of lottery tickets. In our past sessions we focused on getting her assignments written in her notebook for each subject. This week we began by reviewing each of her subjects. I asked her to discuss each of her homework assignments. I was mostly concerned with her Math class. Math had caused her a great deal of difficulty in the past few weeks. “Susan, how was your Math class last week?” I asked. “O.K.” she replied. “Did you have any homework?” I asked. “Not that I know of.” she said quietly. I knew from the tone in her voice that Math was a bad subject as choice for discussion. I persisted, “Were there any homework assignments given out this week?” She stared down at her shoes. “Susan, can you show me your assignment book, please?” She handed me her assignment book hesitantly while staring at the ground. I knew she had written her assignments down for over three weeks. Four assignments were written in her book for Math. “Congratulations, Susan, you receive four lottery tickets! Each of the assignments is written so neatly in your book. How fantastic”! I exclaimed. She looked at me funny and wasn’t sure how to approach the situation. I was so excited because she stopped staring at her shoes. “You receive lottery tickets for each of your assignments written down. Once you receive fifty points worth of lottery tickets, you can go to the Stamford mall with one girlfriend and me.” Each of the tickets had points given ranged from five to fifteen points and included a drawing of the mall on the opposite side. Susan was so excited with the lottery ticket idea. She showed me her assignments and apologized because some of the assignments were missing. “I think I forgot to write down some of the assignments. I’m really sorry.” She stated. “Susan, I see so much effort out into this assignment book and I like the way you are asking questions and discussing your class work with me. I enjoy spending this time with you.” I replied. Susan finally asked questions about her Math homework which of course earned her more lottery tickets. As the hour progressed Susan opened up to me about school, difficulties with her homework and her grades. She told me she felt like everyone was against her and wanted her to fail. The lottery ticket technique also gave her a sense of accomplishment and success. After the hour session I had a talk with her parents who were very receptive to Susan’s feelings. They also realized she was at a very difficult age of maturation. I suggested the book: How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk (Faber & Maslish). Susan reacted to the lottery ticket concept very well. I believe I used this technique during a time when positive reinforcement was needed desperately. I realize this technique doesn’t usually provoke such reactions typically. However, once I teach in the classroom I will use this technique again with my students and hope for positive reaction. - Melody Trava A variation on the Raffle ticket system (in which a ticket is awarded for accomplishment of a particular task) This variation on the random and frequent raffle ticket system provides one ticket for each accomplished task listed below. This way just provides a little recognition to those who put in the effort in my class. 1. Submitting homework on time. 68
  • 69. 2. Being ready for class (i.e., bringing in paper and pencil, having text book, being in seat within 15 second of bell). 3. Participating well in cooperative groups. 4. Scoring well on assignments (70% receives one ticket, 80% earns two tickets, 90% results in three tickets). 5. Turning in assignments on time. Tickets are awarded at the end of class. Students write their names on their tickets and drop them into the lottery container. On Friday, two winners are drawn. Being a winner entitles the student to draw a card to determine which prize s/he won. Each card has a number between 1 and 7 (inclusive), representing the numbers of the 7 prizes. However, one card has all 7 numbers, which allows a pupil to win all 7 prizes. Additionally, the person with the highest number of tickets earned in a week automatically gets to pick a card. The prizes for this week include homework passes, NFL pencils, a selection of CD's on loan during free time, fast food restaurant coupons, early dismissal for lunch, and options that are negotiated. - Tamara K. Using non-verbal praise I have made an extra effort to give non-verbal praise to the students in my class. The results have been wonderful for both me and the children. Students who once avoided looking at me have begun to smile back. I winked at one student and he squinted with a very puzzled expression. Later he came up to me and asked if I’d teach him to "do that thing with my eye". He couldn't master winking so he just blinks back at me. The "thumbs up", mouthing the word "good", and the "OK sign" have encouraged the students and I find them staying on task until they finish their work. I've also done some mime with them. I pretended to put a smile on my face by taking it out of my pocket. If the child wasn't smiling I would then take another one out and give it to him/her or pretend to put it on him/her. The miming can cause a disturbance in the class, so I only do it when the student comes to my desk to have work checked. I've discovered, by accident, another non-verbal technique that works really well with my kids. I ran out of stickers, so I started to put quick drawings of faces on their papers. They were characterizations of me with a smile or a "WOW" expression. If I couldn't understand their handwriting I would draw a face with a squiggly mouth. They loved it! When I did get stickers they still wanted a doodle on their paper too. What surprised me the most in doing this non-verbal experiment was that I began to feel better about my job. It felt good when a disappointed student came to me and asked why I had only put a check mark on his paper and no "Schulze face" as they call it. I turned his paper over and he was delighted to see it on the other side. He gave me a quick hug and ran back to his desk. The hug was a major breakthrough for this student who usually doesn't like any physical contact. This same student went back to his desk and made me a smiley face sticker for my notebook. It seems that little bit of non- verbal praise has gone a long way. - Patricia S. Recognizing kids who behave appropriately In addition to teaching math each day, I am the team advisor for approximately 110 students in our public school. This means that I am responsible for any discipline problems in any of the classes of the teachers whom I supervise (I am given one period of release time to handle this monumental task). I have to respond to referrals sent by other teachers regarding my students' behaviors and schedule conferences to address them. Needless to say, it occupies more than the 42 minutes of time allotted to me each day. Our health teacher was having a difficult time with one particular class of kids (populated primarily with "my kids"). I have spoken to her more than once on the personality of different students and things that I felt could be done for each. However, she never seemed to implement any of the ideas offered. After the first couple of weeks she asked me to come to the class and speak to the students because she did not know what else to do. When I walked into the class I was surprised to see the number of students who behave appropriately in my class, misbehaving in this class. I quickly put the names on the board of those students who were behaving properly. Before I was done I heard one of the 69
  • 70. students, thinking that he was being warned or punished, say, "Hey, Miss T., I am doing my work.” I responded by saying, "I agree. That is why I put your name on the board. I am proud of you." As the students quieted down I said, "I have the same expectations of you in each class, not just in math. I am proud that I could put the names on the board that I did, and expect that there will be more names on the board when I return.” The health teacher agreed to put more names on the board as the class period went on. I returned the last five minutes of class and thanked the students whose names had been added. Each of the students was given a sticker that said, "I'm proud of you.” I shared with the teacher many of the techniques discussed in the class and in the text. I still stop by the class so that the students know I am aware of their behavior, but I have found the number of referrals given to me by that teacher decreasing over time. It proves to me that the teacher does in fact set the tone of the classroom and that many students will rise or fall to the environment in which they are placed. It is our responsibility as educators to set high expectations and encourage our students to meet those expectations. - Lori Ann T. Catching kids being good when they're "never good" Because I am teaching in what New York City defines as a shortage area, there are many students within the walls of my school who are without a teacher. Before taking the position in the resource room, I promised the principal that I would be available for coverage’s during my planning periods. This meant that for 1-3 class periods during the day, I would be responsible for substituting a class in which a vacancy exists. My naivety kept me from seeing the difficulty in what I was about to encounter. Without hesitation, I agreed to the principal’s offer and confidently took my first coverage that afternoon. My skepticism grew when I was given warning all morning about that particular group of adolescents. Experienced, burnt-out teachers filled me with angst over this responsibility, assuring me the only place for this group of students was the jailhouse. Upon entering the room, a teacher from across the hall greeted me. Pointing to one of the students, she whispered loudly, “If he misbehaves, just turn him upside down and mop the floor with him.” Disgusted with the attitudes of my colleagues, I politely shut the door behind me. I greeted the children and stood quietly in front of the room, giving them a few seconds to stop fidgeting. Erika was making spit balls. Jermal was listening to headphones while singing along with the obscenities that were blaring from his cassette player. I couldn’t have thought of a better time to employ Lee Canter’s notion of “Catch ‘em being good.” I introduced myself and quietly pointed to the aim and “do now” I had written on the board. Throughout the chaotic first few minutes I remained calm and commented on the actions of those who were exhibiting appropriate classroom behavior. The students shuffled for their notebooks while I subtly continued to point out exemplary behaviors in the group. Rather than telling the class what I didn’t want to see, I showered them with reminders of the kinds of behaviors I did want. Eihab raised his hand and politely stated, “Ms. Jenkins, you do know that we are the worst kids in the school, don’t you? Ms. Helen tells us everyday we’s probably won’t even make it through ‘da eighth grade…” A loud roar filled the room. I thanked Eihab for sharing and assured him that I was confident that they would be well behaved because I knew they were quite capable of it. I took the next minute or so going over what I considered to be exemplary behavior, asking the students to add their own opinions and definitions on the matter. At the heart of their responses was the sheer truth that other teachers appeared to have given up on them, expecting negative behavior. I listened. And wanted so badly to disagree and overlook what they were saying. Only their perceptions were accurate. I said nothing and listened attentively for the next few minutes. My lesson plan would allow the students to write an autobiography. I asked the students to suggest what might make theirs an interesting account and continuously acknowledged those students who raised their hands. As I walked up and down each aisle, I showered the students with positive non- verbal signs of approval. The students worked diligently. Erica decided to join the group and I gave a significant amount of praise for this effort. Jermal had turned off his cassette player and was involved in his writing. Accompanied with a nod, Eihab let out a sigh that I took to mean one of relief. “You’re cool, man. Nobodies ever ‘dis cool to us.” 70
  • 71. Room 220 was quiet during the writing activity. The only noise came from the turning of loose-leaf paper. The students were engaged. I approached each student and gave positive feedback on one specific element of his or her story. During the last ten minutes I gave the students the opportunity to share. Interestingly, those students who initially appeared to be disengaged were the first to share. I offered my sincere thanks to each student and commented on the wonderfully unique writing style of each volunteer. At the close of the period, I acknowledged each of them for listening so attentively while their classmates were sharing. The bell rang. Jermal looked up at me. “Miss J, this is the shortest forty-one minutes I’ve ever spent.” Smiling, I exited. It was clear that other teachers had either given up on any attempt to instill a behavior management plan for this particular group or have never tried. My initial fear was that the students would catch on to my excessive recognition of effort. Keeping this in mind, I constantly reminded myself to remain subtle in my delivery. It was apparent that this technique was effective with the students. The students didn’t expect it, nor did they realize how quickly they were capable of exhibiting appropriate behavior. Much to my dismay, it was also obvious that they had rarely received such treatment and praise for their actions. I encouraged, recognized effort, praised, and listened. My only plan for the future is to encourage my colleagues to do the same. - Jessica J. PROBLEMS WITH CATCHING 'EM BEING GOOD (AND HOW TO DO IT RIGHT) If you were allowed to use only one behavior management strategy, I would recommend that you choose "Catching 'em being good". Because we have so little to hold over kids' heads anymore, and coercing kids into behaving doesn't really build inner control or help us connect with our students, we have to "go positive". By developing stronger bonds with your students, and making them feel valued, you will have to deal with less misbehavior. If you want kids to listen to your message, they have to like the messenger. However, there can be pitfalls to using praise, rewards, recognition, and other forms of "positive reinforcement" (as the behaviorists [BOO!] like to call it). For example: 1. Concrete/tangible rewards can create materialistic kids who ask: "Why should I do what you ask? What's in it for me?" 2. Extrinsic reinforcement can destroy inner motivation. These rewards focus on outer control, and kids learn to "kiss butt" rather than think for themselves. They may become dependent on the adult. The youngster does not internalize the appropriate reasons for engaging in the desired act. 3. Kids who don't get rewards may act up out of resentment toward you for not noticing their pro- social behavior. 4. If you use a limited administration of rewards (e.g., winner of the week, best essay writer), this contest pits kids against each other and creates conflict, resentment, and rebellion. Most kids also realize that the same two or three kids will keep winning, so why should they even try to excel? 5. Kids' self-esteem becomes dependent on the approval of others, rather than their own self reflection. In our efforts to build self esteem and independence, we instead create "approval junkies" who constantly judge themselves by the approval of others rather than self-evaluating. "Why do kids act up when I reward them?” That's a question often asked by teachers and parents. Here are some possible explanations: 1. The kids view you as a judge/evaluator who likes them today, but could give them a "thumbs down" tomorrow. The reaction could be their way to retain autonomy and self-dignity. 2. Perhaps you've praised the character of the youngsters rather than their actions. When you say "Good boy/girl/student/etc.", the youngster might think "I'm not always good. My teacher didn't see me push Kenny in the hallway.” Believing the exclusive label to be inappropriate, they rebel against it. So don't put labels on youngsters, good or bad. Describe the actions that pleased you. Let them label themselves as "good boy/girl", etc. 3. The youngsters might be from cultural groups or homes that do not praise children for appropriate behavior. The American middle class home is one of the few in the world that uses this strategy. Youngsters from homes unlike the Middle American may be unfamiliar or uncomfortable with the receipt of praise. 4. Maybe the youngsters think that they have accomplished their goals and can now goof off. 71
  • 72. 5. Rewards tend to be given after structured tasks. Unstructured times often follow. The lack of structure, not the reward (e.g., sugary foods/candies), might be setting them off. So what do we do to avoid the pitfalls? Try these suggestions: 1. Pair material rewards with social recognition (e.g., smile, positive touch, encouragement, stating the goal that was achieved). In that way, personalized contact gains reinforcing value. Then start to remove the material rewards slowly. 2. Give verbal recognition along with material rewards. Be sure to recognize or describe the action/ product, NOT the character of the youngster (Instead of "You're such a good artist.” try "Wow. That beach scene you've painted is really eye catching. I love how the dark clouds add an ominous tone to the sky. How did you decide to paint a stormy day at the beach instead of the usual sunny pictures we see?") Identify the criteria they have met. 3. Ask youngsters what they did that deserves recognition. Have them identify the desired behavior and self-congratulate, thus fading out our external evaluation. Link praise (yours and theirs) to positive attributions such as strong effort and effective study strategies 4. Encourage youngsters and express belief in their ability to accomplish or continue the behavior ("I expect more of this class. You are capable of producing better work." and when they show it..."Now this is what I expect from you folks. I'll expect to see this quality every day because with hard work you can do it."). Kids try to live up to the expectations of those individuals they admire and respect. 5. Prepare students for positive feedback. Give advance notice by saying something like "I have something nice I’d like to tell you. Would you like to hear it?’" or "I’m about ready to give you a compliment. How are you going to handle it?” This practice gives students an opportunity to reflect and answer. They start to change to reflective rather than automatic responding. If they are awkward with receiving recognition, teach them to say “Thank you.” 72
  • 73. Managing Behavior via Teaching Style A great deal of misbehavior occurs because the students are not interested in the lesson. Kids who are bored will create their own entertainment. Here are some ways to engage youngsters in your lessons. Rate your proficiency on each item on a 0-3 scale. Set the professional goal of obtaining a higher score when you complete the checklist again in a couple of weeks. o ___My "do now" activity (something the kids start working on the as soon as they enter the room) is designed to help kids prepare for my upcoming lesson. A "Do Now" activity is designed to get youngsters to "settle down" at the beginning of class. The activity should require them to get out pencils and materials that will be used in your lesson. The task is usually written on the board and the students are to start on it as soon as they enter class and go directly to their seats. You might require that they answer some review questions from yesterday's lesson. It might require some initial thoughts on some questions that will prepare them to discuss the material in the lesson today. One teacher uses a "mental minute" at the beginning of class (immediately after the bell rings to start the period). Students are given a worksheet that they attempt to complete in one minute. The teacher says "go" and students undertake the challenge. They are quiet and focused for that first minute. The review of the sheet leads into the topic of today's lesson. You have one minute to list 5 words that rhyme with "Orange". GO!! o ___My lessons start promptly. I do not answer questions unrelated to the lesson. Students are told that they can ask that question AFTER the lesson. o ___My lessons open with an interesting item, activity, question, or statement. o ___I am dynamic and entertaining in my presentations. If my students are going to be excited about learning, I have to be excited about teaching. o ___I make use of instructional variety by changing the manner of presentation often (media, guest speaker, group work, and computer). o ___Activities are challenging and enjoyable. o ___My students realize that they are learning and making progress. o ___I keep the momentum of my lessons moving ahead. o ___I keep students attentive and involved. -mentioning that "someone" will be asked a question "on this" soon (group alerting) -involving kids in discussion and demonstration -everyone holds up a card with the answer to your question written on it -everyone writes an answer before youngsters are selected at random to read (the teacher circulates to observe the answers of non-reciters) -challenging the students 73
  • 74. -"You're really going to have to pay attention to even think about this one." -"I'm betting that no one can figure this one out, but anyone wants to try?" o ___I catch kids being good...A LOT!!!!! -"That's using your noggin." -"Thoughtful answer." -"Thanks for volunteering to attempt a really difficult question." -"That's a good start to our complex answer. Who can build on Amy's contribution?" o ___I avoid: -Focusing on one student for too long -choosing a particular student to answer before asking the question o ___I get rid of distractions from the lesson. -Loudspeaker announcements (Organize tenured teachers to complain to administration) -intruders who "just want to make a quick announcement" (I tell them to return later) -little reminders that interrupt students' concentration while they work: -"Remember to place your name and date at the top of the paper." -"Remember that each paragraph must contain a topic sentence." o ___When "drill" is necessary, I engage the students in fast-paced, high-energy activities with high success rates. o ___If I use competition, students never compete against other students. They compete in groups or against a standard. o ___I make sure that I bring closure to the lesson, rather than stopping abruptly. -Quick review -have kids tell three important points covered in the lesson o ___I prepare my students for the transition to the next task/class. -"We'll be looking into community relations in our next period. You'll need to have a pencil, notebook and textbook on your desk to be ready." -"Next up, we'll be discussing how the women's movement has changed society. In the next few minutes, discuss with your tablemates how sports, jobs, politics, and other areas have been influenced. I'll expect each table to be able to contribute four points to our discussion." Many of these ideas come from the writings of Jacob Kounin, a pioneer in the field of classroom management. You'll see his ideas in the recommended plans of modern writers. Rarely is he given the credit for the ideas. Now, let’s get to the attention getters - Linda Musial, a fellow teacher. Below I discuss five categories of attention getters: (1) Questions, (2) Music, (3) Drama, (4) Posters, and (5) Rewards. (1) Questions An attention getter one of my professors modeled for us is saying "If you hear me..." statements. Some examples are: "If you hear me touch your nose.” "If you hear me, blink your eyes.” "If you hear me, wiggle your fingers.” "If you hear me, wiggle your nose.” "If you hear me, fold your arms.” "If you hear me, pat your head and rub your tummy at the same time." You should probably vary the directions so that the children will be caught by surprise. Catching people by surprise is an age-old attention getter. There are other attention getters. Similes are useful. Say, "I am as quiet as a ..." The class will answer, "Mouse!" The game "Hangman", using an appropriate word like "Quiet", is another attention getter. A nice variety of hangman is to draw a part of a flower on the board each time the correct letter is guessed. If 74
  • 75. the word is "quiet", draw the center for the flower and a petal for each of the other letters. Write a sentence on the board, leaving out a word..."Could we all please be...” An unusual attention getter is placing a note under one of the student's chairs. The note could be in the form of a question, like "How can we hear the principal?" (2) Music There are musical attention getters. Toot on a toy horn. Squeeze a bicycle horn. Play a harmonica. Ring a cow bell. Bang on a Chinese gong. Crash some cymbals. I remember one of my grade school teachers played three chords on the piano. Sing a song the class knows and ask them to join in one- by-one. Sing a song that requires a physical response like "Do as I'm Doing" or "If you're happy and you know it... (tell them what to do)". (3) Drama The use of drama is another attention getter. Talk like a naval commander: "Now hear this! Now hear this! Quiet! Quiet!” Speak like an announcer: "Ladies and gentlemen, I am pleased to announce that we have reached the time to be very, very, very, very, very QUIET!” Speak like a robot. Try whispering. My mother used to whisper when she wanted the attention of her seventh grade class. I don't know if that would work on today's children. An attention getter similar to whispering, but more dramatic, is the penny drop. This idea came directly from the religious web site. Tie a penny onto a handkerchief. Tell the class that "Its time to hear the penny drop.” Tell them to close their eyes so they can hear well. Drop the penny on your desk. According to the web site, the children will be intrigued by the idea, and the room will become silent. Pretending you are getting a phone call from a famous person is a good attention getter. I used to get my son Jake to brush his teeth by pretending to receive a phone call from Lawrence of Arabia or one of Jake’s other heroes. I would say, "Rrrrring, Rrrrring. Hello. This is T. E. Lawrence. Jake, when I was on the desert, I always brushed my teeth with palm leaves after eating my meal of one date. So Jake, how about you?” My son would smile, half-believing the ploy, and would answer the hero back with some wisecrack, but, nevertheless, he would brush his teeth. Puppets are another theatrical attention getter. When my son was little, he would listen to me if I were using a puppet to do my bidding. If you are having trouble making holding up two fingers work, try a more dramatic signal that the students can copy, like waving your arms in the air. Wave signal flags. Use sign language. Tricks with the lights may work. Try turning the lights on and off for a dramatic strobe-light effect. (4) Posters Cut out a picture of a cartoon character, like Garfield, or a pop star like, Madonna, and blow it up at the Xerox store. You can blow up a picture to 11 x 17 inches. Then paste the picture onto a poster board, draw a balloon, and write in the balloon, "Hush now!", or "Quiet Time" or "Shhhhhhhhhh". In my adult education class, I have a poster that says, "Please help keep this classroom is a quiet sanctuary for learning." (5) Rewards Giving rewards is an attention getter. Give recognition to the children who are listening by putting a check by their names on the board. As you put a check by the names, say: "Shelia, I see you are listening.” or "Josh has his listening face on." or "Amanda, I see that you are ready to hear the announcements." or "Someone in this room who is wearing a blue sweater is listening.” Recognition may be reward enough, or you may want to give tangible rewards, such as a sticker, a pencil, or a thank you note. The privilege of doing something in the class, like being the line-leader is also an appropriate reward. To help the children who are still not paying attention, even after you have jumped through flaming hoops, circulate throughout the room, gently laying your hand on the top of the head or shoulder of each inattentive child. Another technique is to wait quietly while establishing eye contact with a child who is still not paying attention. You could also whisper in an offending child's ear. You could hand an inattentive child a note that says, "Quiet time!" 75
  • 76. Influencing Groups to Be Productive Directions: Use the suggestions below as a checklist to determine your skill in managing the behavior of groups of students. √ I'm aware of the roles played by each student in the group (e.g., leader, instigator, procurer of materials/food/items, negotiator, conscience, enforcer/intimidator) √ I'm aware of the "glue" that holds each group together. I know: -what is valued by them -what behaviors are required of members in this group -their interests and ongoing topics of conversation (e.g., cars, sports, academics, drugs, fashion, crime, and certain types of music) √ I list a "do-now" activity on the board or place it on desks/tables so that the kids can get started even before the upcoming lesson. This quick task, started as soon as they enter the room -prepares them for the lesson to come (effort, not correctness is requested) -continues their work on an on-going team activity/task √ I make ongoing efforts to bond and connect with the group -greeting youngsters when I see them -engaging youngsters in conversation -talking to youngsters respectfully AT ALL TIMES!!! -giving pleasant reminders (with encouragement) to engage in a desired behavior (e.g., raise hand, do own work) before the class starts √ I have developed a friendly or cordial relationship with the leader(s), instigators, and conscience within the group √ I know that others will follow their leader, so I involve the leader(s) in preparation for the task (e.g., writing the assignment on the overhead projector, handing out worksheets, and setting up the videotape machine, reading the directions for the assignment) √ I keep the leader(s) and instigator(s) on task √ I allow learning in teams (i.e., cooperative learning groups with assigned roles and time limits) √ I allow group members to collaborate to come up with a team answer √ I catch kids/teams/tables being good (e.g., and/or personal, raffle tickets, non- verbal recognition) √ I NEVER (EVER!!!) chastise or embarrass a youngster in front of others. That action might result in the student deciding that s/he has to rebel to protect his/her image, and would also turn the group against me. √ I make lessons interesting -I relate lesson material to their lives and interests -I am enthusiastic and dramatic in my presentation. I have to be excited about teaching if I expect them to be excited about learning. -I include props, pictures, etc. in my lessons -I vary the mode of presentation (e.g., lecture, discussion, 5 minutes of video, writing) -I use good natured expressive and receptive humor 76
  • 77. Competitive vs. Cooperative Learning Formats Competitive Learning Cooperative Learning No interaction between pupils Active interaction with others Not accountable to others Accountable to others Responsible only to self Responsible to the group Homogeneous grouping, if any Heterogeneous grouping One student serves as leader Positive interdependency Social skills assumed or ignored Social skills taught directly Implementing Cooperative Learning Cooperative learning is not having students merely sitting together, helping the others do their work. Having students who finish their work first assist others is also not a form of cooperative learning. Neither is assigning a group of students to work together without assuring that all contribute to the product. A true cooperative learning experience requires that a number of criteria be met. They are: • division of labor among students in the group • face-to-face interaction between students • assignment of roles to students • group processing of a task • positive interdependence - students need to do their duties in order for the task to be completed • individual accountability for completing one's own assigned duties • the development of social skills as a result of cooperative interaction • provision of group rewards by the teacher The introduction of "learning teams" into the classroom is an effective method for increasing the number of students willing to make an effort to learn in school. The teams usually work together on long-term assignments, although sometimes students remain together in duos, triads or quadrants for the entire day. Each individual is responsible for assuring that the other members learn assigned material. Those who understand the lesson/material are responsible for teaching it to the others. Groups do not progress to a new unit of study until all members of the group have mastered the lesson. Group members are also responsible for the behavior of all members. If a triad member starts to misbehave, it is the duty of fellow members to tell that student to `check' him/herself. The members attempt to refocus the misbehaving student by offering help and suggestions. Initially, temporary grouping can help students to grasp the concept of long-term learning teams, and practice responsibilities while the teacher sharpens his/her skills and receives feedback from the students regarding how to improve assignments. Steps for setting up group learning experiences: Before Implementation 77
  • 78. 1. Develop a positive classroom environment. Devise ways for students to become acquainted early in the year. Have them work on a mural, newsletter, play or other project. Model and encourage polite, respectful behavior toward others. Reward students for such social skills as helping others, giving and accepting praise, compromise, etc. 2. Previous to organizing collaborative groups and assigning academic tasks, develop a cooperative climate and esprit de corp in the classroom. This can be accomplished by engaging students in fun team-building activities in which they support each other in a team effort to achieve non-academic or easily achieved academic goals. These activities might take the form of non-competitive, active games such as those described in the books like the one titled Play Fair. 3. Consider upcoming academic tasks and determine the number of students who will be assigned to each group. The size of the group will depend on the students' ability to interact well with others. Two to six students usually comprise a group. 4. If students are new to cooperative learning, assign two or three individuals to a group. Increase the size of teams as the students become familiar with the procedures and practices. Although homogeneous grouping or random assignment to groups is sometimes used, the students should usually be on a range of levels, mixed by intellectual ability or achievement level. 5. The teacher may also choose to consider interests or abilities in certain subject areas, personality, race, gender, or other factors when teaming students with each other. Perhaps the groups will choose names for themselves or decide to be referred to merely by number. 6. Decide how long the groups will work together. It may range from one task, to one curriculum unit, to one semester, to a whole year. Most often the teacher will vary the composition of groups every month or two so that each student has a chance to work with a large number of classmates during the term or year. 7. Determine the academic and behavioral/interpersonal objectives for the task. 8. Plan the arrangement of the room for the upcoming group-oriented tasks. Arrange group seating so that students will be close enough to each other to share materials and ideas. Be sure to leave yourself a clear access lane to each group. 9. Prepare materials for distribution to the group. Indicate on the materials that students are to work together. 10. Determine roles for group members. In addition to cooperating and "brainstorming" with others, each group member should be assigned a duty to perform during the project. For example, the positions of "starter" (first person to use the materials; supervises any assembly of materials), "encourager/taskmaster" (motivates others to work their hardest and contribute to the discussion), "reader" ( responsible for seeing that all members begin with the same information and understand the nature of the task; reads print instructions and reviews record sheets aloud to the group), "praiser" (reinforces the responses of others), "researcher/getter" (locates and obtains needed materials and information; returns materials after use; in charge of inventory), "summarizer/reporter" (periodically explains what has occurred and later presents group findings to the entire class), "recorder" (writes down all important data, decisions, contributions, accomplishments, etc.; writes results on the board when sharing with the entire class), "understanding coach" (makes sure that everyone understands what has occurred to this point), and "checker" (assures that all have completed their task and looks for errors in data, writing, etc.) might be appropriate to the assignment. The teacher may have to explain and demonstrate these roles previous to and during projects. Implementation 11. Explain what will occur. Explain the rules which include; contributing to the team effort; listening to teammates; helping other team members; and asking the teacher for help only if it is a question of everyone in the group. Previous to this, you should have devised a way to eliminate groans and complaints from high achievers and socially popular students who may not approve of the composition of their group. Arrange students into teams at tables or where desks have been pushed together. 12. Present and clearly explain the assignment that will probably take several class periods to complete. (e.g. Make a collage of items that start with the letter "M"; Plan and act out a play demonstrating how Thomas Jefferson might react if he were to be brought through time to see the United States as it exists today; Using an unabridged dictionary, make a list of words which can't be rhymed with other words.) Emphasize that positive interaction and cooperation will result in a group reward, and that meeting a set standard of performance beyond expectations will 78
  • 79. result in bonus points. Perhaps those points can be awarded frequently during the activity to motivate further cooperation. 13. Cooperative interaction can be more fully assured by giving only one copy of materials to each group, or by assigning each student one part of the materials with each part being needed for completion. Consider allowing groups that finish early to assist slower groups. This can be promoted through the understanding that if all groups reach a preset level, more bonus points will be given. The evaluation standard should be criterion referenced (judged against a certain standard reflecting degree of learning). 14. Avoid the temptation to "lead" the groups. Your role has changed from transmitter of knowledge to mediator of thinking. Praising and encouraging less academically skilled team members is still indicated however. 15. Monitor and assist as needed. Move among the groups to assure that they are actively engaged in their roles and following designated procedures (unless free-form creativity is desired). Do not answer student questions unless the group members are unable to resolve the issue by themselves. Intervene as necessary to promote positive interdependence among group members. Frequently reinforce positive group interaction. 16. Evaluate each group's performance/product. Grades might be assigned based upon the average performance of the group (thus promoting positive interdependence) or the effort/quality of performance of individual members in the execution of their duties. In many cases, each group decides how it will demonstrate what has been learned. Each group's work is judged on its own merit rather than in comparison with the outcomes of other groups. If inter-group competition is involved, perhaps the winning and most improved teams will receive a prize. Recognition might also be given to groups that were the quietest, quickest, neatest, etc. After Implementation 17. Have the learning groups assess how well they worked together and discuss how they can improve their functioning and performance. Summary Cooperative learning is gaining popularity for a number of reasons. Evidence indicates that it raises achievement, promotes positive self concept and raises regard for others. It appears to be especially useful for students from racial minority and low socio-economic groups who have not excelled to the same degree as middle income majority culture pupils in the traditional competitive classroom. The performance of these previously less successful groups tends to rise in cooperative groups, majority culture students seem to achieve just as well as with the competitive style of instruction and learning, often better. Cooperative learning may also help to lessen the fatalistic attitude toward schooling that is often found among students from minority groups and those who have experienced repeated failure in the schools. When these students notice the value of their input and effort, a more internal locus of control and belief in one's ability is fostered. Implementing full-scale cooperative learning is not a simple task. Teachers may wish to start with periodic lessons or units and build from there. The effort expended is probably well spent as "...what we know about effective instruction indicates that cooperative learning should be used when we want students to learn more, like school better, like each other better, and learn more effective social skills." Activities and Discussion Questions 1. Locate and read books on the use of cooperative learning such as William Glasser's Control Theory in the Classroom (1986, New York: Perennial Library Press) or Roger Johnson's Circles of Learning (1985, available from the Cooperative Learning Center of the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN). 2. Locate books on cooperative games as a way to build esprit de corp and promote the concept of cooperation in a fun format. 3. Join with a few other teachers who wish to learn more about cooperative learning. Form your own learning teams and give yourself the assignment of helping all members figure out how to most effectively use cooperative learning in their classrooms. 4. Decide whether cooperative or competitive learning methods would be best for the activities or areas of study below. -Painting a picture -Multiplication drills 79
  • 80. -South American geography -Simulated journey to the moon -Oriental architecture -Computer use -Baking bread 5. Think of material or concepts which are to be learned by your classes during the upcoming weeks or months. For which of these would cooperative learning best serve your purposes? For which of these would competitive practices work best in promoting learning among the greatest number of students? 6. Suppose you wish to have your students produce a class newsletter. What groups might you form and what would be the duties of each? What duties or roles might be assigned to members of the groups? 7. Consider the following statement and discuss with others how the concerns voiced within might be addressed. “One of the rationales of grouping children up in the classroom is that each child has some particular strength and that will be brought out by the wide variety of tasks that are assigned to the group. In this way, the thinking goes; students who are good at one skill can be a leader in that area, while another child, who has different strengths, will take over in a different area. A favorite example given is the child whose basic skills are very low but who draws very well. So the teacher enthusiastically groups her with one of the higher level students, knowing that she can contribute to the group via her artistic skills. She has something to offer the group that perhaps the others don't have, and it allows her to shine even in an academic project. It sounds great, but a few questions nag. Like, what if she doesn't always want to be the group artist? What if her drawing is a very personal thing to her and it embarrasses her to have it made public? In my training I have been told by many teachers that they always pair up the weakest student in the class with the strongest. In this way, the teacher can tap the resource of the strong students and use them to help teach their fellow classmates within the classroom community. I think that this is perhaps the problem that I have the greatest difficulty with. Why should the so-called quicker students be obliged to teach their fellow students all the time? Do they have a choice in the matter? I know many people who, in their school days, whizzed through their work, and then were able to do all sorts of extra reading and projects on their own. Is there something wrong with that? Many of these students, as well as the children I have observed in my own classrooms, were not quick in just one area, but had strong skills in almost all areas. They were the kids who were `good at school'. If they were going to do a group project, they wanted to pair up with kids who were on a similar level, which in my assessment, was because on some level they understood that they would be stimulated by each other. I think it's a mistake to think that a child who shows strong academic and/or leadership qualities wants to be in that situation all the time. Sometimes they want a break. And sometimes, they may want to coast. And sometimes they want to work alone. I find myself returning again and again to this notion of balance. When we stick to one model inflexibly, many personal needs are likely to go unmet." References: The cooperative learning center at the University of Minnesota - The jigsaw classroom - 80
  • 81. When Misbehavior Occurs In Groups I determine the reason for the behavior. -boredom with the lesson -the level of the assigned work is too difficult or easy -a group is losing in their competition with another group -I have embarrassed/confronted a member of the group -the group is mad at me for showing favoritism -the group is mad with a "teacher's pet" -continuation of an issue that emerged previous to this lesson -contagion of a leader's behavior -group reorganization/role changes/members leaving or joining the group -scapegoating of another student/group -a stranger entered the room -I was unable to continue directing the lesson -my students were trying to make me look bad because they don't yet like me I use low-impact interventions at first to avoid escalation of the behavior -the "teacher glare" (complete with furrowed eyebrow, frown & shake of the head) -stopping in mid sentence and engaging in the "teacher glare" -proximity/touch -good natured humor (e.g., Students have not written anything on their papers: "Are you using that invisible ink again? Please switch over to blue or black ink.") -encouragement -reminiscing/remembering back to times when the group did well -showing interest in the work of the students & encouraging their continued effort -changing the lesson presentation to be more interesting than the distraction PROMOTING A CLIMATE OF POSITIVE PEER PRESSURE This page contains ideas that bring about cooperation on the part of your class and promote "positive peer pressure" (students motivating others to behave appropriately). Devise a system of group rewards 1st way: Use a kitchen timer (the type on which you twist the dial to a certain time interval and a bell sounds when it finishes the timing). Tell the students that you will be evaluating their behavior at the very moment that the bell sounds. Set the timer for any time between one minute and twenty minutes (shorter times for classes that misbehave more often). Do not let the students see the timer. You want the sounding of the bell to be a surprise. In this way, they are never sure when the "ding" will occur, and must stay on task and behave well at all times for fear that they might be off task or misbehaving when the bell sounds. Upon hearing the bell, assess the behavior of the youngsters at that very moment. You can give each well behaved, on-task student (when the bell sounded) a point toward some prize, or give the whole group zero to 3 points depending on the percentage of students who were attentive, compliant, hardworking, and otherwise well behaved. A predetermined prize/privilege is earned when the group 81
  • 82. attains a certain preset number of points (make the amount to be earned a low total at first to give them success and encourage more compliance). 2nd way: When the bell sounds, evaluate the group's behavior during the interval between bells. Award 0-3 points depending on their performance during that time period 3rd way: Use two kitchen timers set randomly. Have two different types so that the sounds of the bells are different. Use one to assess group behavior at the very instant that the bell rings. Use the other timer to assess behavior between bells. This double bell procedure provides double the incentive to behave well. 4th way: Obtain a jelly jar and a large bag of marbles. Drop a marble into the jar whenever your class pleases you. Drop marbles when they are attending well, being helpful and polite, after having walked quietly in the hallway, etc. When you can run a ruler across the top of the jar and knock a marble onto the floor, your class has earned a predetermined prize or privilege. Increase the size of the jar as the year progresses until you are trying to fill one of those big pickle jars from the cafeteria. 5th way: Obtain a scale and some light weights (e.g., washers, bottle caps). Designate one side of the scale to be for the recognition of positive behavior. Designate the other side to be for emphasizing your disappointment with the group. Students attempt to keep the scale in balance or weighted to the positive side. Weights can be added spontaneously (remember to focus on the positive), or whenever a bell sounds or period/activity is nearly over. 82
  • 83. Classroom Management Discipline problems are common for new teachers. Even after many years of teaching, all teachers have discipline challenges. When I started teaching, I told my students that although I was new to their school, I had taught before (I didn't tell them I was referring to student teaching and my tutoring experiences). I didn't want them to think that because I was new I had no idea of what I was doing. This worked for all my classes except my last period class. This class was a below average ninth grade algebra class, mostly boys, just the class you are sure was saved for the new young teacher in the school. All the good things I was doing during the day didn't seem to matter to me when it was time to go home after teaching my ninth period class. Most of the students disliked each other. I think we went through twenty seating charts that first semester. I was convinced that if I could make algebra meaningful using real life examples they would behave better. I was working endless hours creating new worksheets, looking up ways to relate algebra to aviation, mechanics, etc. Soon, I was working approximately three hours a night just to create a worksheet for this class that they would do in a matter of minutes or refuse to do at all. That's when I realized that if I was going to make it as a teacher and keep my health, I had to keep a balance. As a teacher, you must work your hardest, but never at a disproportionate rate when compared to what your students are doing. Finally in January, right after the holidays, I had a talk with the class. I simply told them: "Starting today we are going back to using the textbook, and we have some new rules..." I presented to them a new class structure: They would take "notes" from my explanations - usually 4-5 examples on the board which they had to copy in their Math Facts Notebook. I would always tell them ahead of time exactly how many examples to expect. After the notes, I would quickly grade their notes by going around the room while they started their work in class. They had to stay in their assigned seats until notes were done. Those that had cooperated could then move and work in small groups. To my amazement, the class actually started behaving better. I felt in control. I think for too long I was bending too far to please them and they knew it. Not that using real-life examples in algebra, is not a great idea! I still tried to make algebra meaningful whenever I could. Also, not that using a textbook made all the difference (I don't rely on a textbook all the time), but that setting up a structure really helps especially with difficult classes. Students need structure and that does not mean that you never do anything fun! Later in the year, I tried many fun activities with them. I finally felt like I was running the show. Actually, when I think back, the turning point was when I believed that I could teach them. The following year, those were most of the students that came back to say Hello. Twenty two years later, I still remember some of their names. There are different kinds of discipline problems in the classroom. One is the type I tried to describe above where the whole class is unruly and it's very hard to pinpoint who is creating the problem, so it's hard to single one person out. If you do single someone out, then she/he complains that it was someone else who started the problem. In situations like this, which are by far the worst for teachers, I would recommend the following steps (these are not in order-it all depends on the situation): 1) Look at yourself: Do you fully understand the material that you are teaching and have anticipated the problems that students may have? Are you presenting material that is too hard? Too easy? Are 83
  • 84. you connecting with your students? Do you have enough structure? Try having someone videotape your lesson. Are you presenting yourself as a firm but caring teacher? Are you engaging in mannerisms that give away that you are insecure? Students have an extra sense for this. If this is the case, try to relax and make time to get to know your students individually. 2) Are you allowing time to explain the new material? Or are you constantly going over homework for most of the period, barely having time to present the new lesson, assigning new homework at the last minute thus creating a cycle where students are truly frustrated? It's amazing how many veteran teachers fall into this pattern. Your timing may be off. Allow time to clearly present a lesson. Allow for practice in class. If time, allow them to start their homework in class and you can walk around helping them. You need time to find out what they need more help on. 3) Talk to your department head or someone you can trust. Have this person visit your class and give you ideas about seating arrangements, your lesson structure, your presentation, etc. Don't try to deal with everything alone. Get a support system you can trust. Never go around telling all your colleagues how horrible this or that student is in your class. You might be surprised how word of this gets back to the student. Some innocent remark by one of your colleagues to this student, such as: "I hear things are not going so well for you in Ms. Smith's class" can make everything much worse for you. You might be able to change some students to a different class. You should get approval from your department head or principal before you talk to your counselor asking for students to change classes. Remember, as others give you advice that which works for some teachers may not work for you! Don't try to be the teacher next door. Try to be yourself! The discipline approach you use has to make you feel comfortable. 4) Never overlook calling home. Most parents or guardians are supportive. In most cases, I let the student know I plan to call home. If you suspect the child's parent or guardian may be uncooperative, or abusive, check with the counselor or with an administrator who may know the family. Never assume that because the parents don't attend school functions or don't call you they don't care about their child. Many parents work long hours. Some have had bad experiences when they were in school and/or may be too embarrassed to hear that their child is not doing well. When you talk to the child's parent or guardian, mention the positive as well as the negative. Call home sometimes just for good reasons, too. 5) Never make promises or threats you won't or can't follow. It will only make everything worse in the classroom if you lose the respect of your students. 6) Never lose it! You can raise your voice but never engage in shouting matches with your students. Never say: Shut up! Never! Never try to physically remove a student from class. In fact, never touch a student. You can be liable for touching a student unless it is in self defense or you are trying to stop a fight. Always seek help from a nearby teacher in situations like this. Familiarize yourself with your school rules! If you are very angry, try the silent method and try to gain control. Appear relaxed and speak honestly about your expectations in a firm but quiet tone. 6) Discipline problems that involve one or two students are best solved by finding out as much as possible about each student. Some students respond best by being talked to outside of class. It's not a good idea to do this outside of your own class because, for obvious reasons, you must never leave your class unsupervised. You could try seeing the student after your class is over so other students from the same class don't notice. Students are more receptive if they know other students are not watching or listening. Also, they won't have the temptation to show off in front of their classmates. It's is so important to learn your students' names quickly and learn the correct pronunciation of their names. Take an interest if they are absent. Take an interest in the sports they play, etc. Be a good listener and show you care. Other things that may work are: Giving an important job to an unruly student (not when they are being unruly, of course), such as asking them to be a teacher assistant (I have tried having new teacher assistant every week for each of my classes), group recorder, errand person, using their A+ paper as the answer key, etc. These positive gestures can help. 84
  • 85. Always let an unruly student know that you still care about him/her but not for their behavior. Praise students individually and honestly. By the way, some students don't like to be praised in public and others do. Other techniques that have worked for me after I've tried everything are: Having the student sign a behavior contract and having a conference with the student and the vice- principal to find ways to correct the problem. I've also met with the parent or guardian and a third party (that's important), often with the student present, to try to come up with a solution. One important thing to remember: Don't hold a grudge against any student. Many teachers do this and it makes everything worse. Remember, there are behaviors that cannot be tolerated in the classroom and call for immediate action. If you or any of your other students are physically threatened you must act immediately. Seek help immediately if you cannot handle the situation on your own. Your classroom should be equipped with a way of calling the main office. Again, become familiar with your district's and state's rules for discipline procedures. Never allow a student to verbally abuse you or any other student. Remember: Structure and fairness combined with clear expectations and a clear lesson in a caring non-threatening environment are the key elements of good teaching. Teaching is not easy. It does get better. Even after many years of teaching, there are good days and bad days. Continue to learn from each situation. Strategies for Common Behaviors/Conditions • "Backsliding"/Regression to former behaviours (after progress on behaviour) • Bullying • Defiant, oppositional, resistant, and/or uncooperative behaviour • Depression in Children • Tattling • Testing The Limits (after the beginning-of-the-year "honeymoon" period) • Unmotivated and/or Doesn't Care about schooling Step-by-Step "How To Do It" Pages For: • Assertive Discipline • Cooperative Learning (Allowing students to learn in structured teams) • Creating your own Behaviour Management System • Good-Natured Humour (Using wit to manage behaviour) • Inclusion/Mainstreaming(of students with behaviour disorders) • The IRS Plan(A home/school cooperative behaviour management plan) • Ten Step Approach (A sequentially implemented approach) • Ten R Plan(A 10 step plan for dealing with non-compliant or violent behaviour) • Weaning kids from rewards and developing internal motivation How to Assess and Measure Behaviour • Figuring out Why Kids Misbehave (and what to do about it) • Behavioural Recording (A way to accurately measure behaviour) • Sociograms(A way to assess student interaction) • Functional Behaviour Assessment (as per IDEA97...figuring out the reason for the behaviour) • Manifestation Determination (as per IDEA97...Was that action related to the disability?) How to Use the Interventions of Applied Behavior Analysis • What is ABA?(Applied behaviour analysis...the interventions of the behaviourist model) • Contracts • Differential Reinforcement Procedures (reducing misbehaviour in positive ways) • Overcorrection 85
  • 86. • Response Cost • Schedules of Reinforcement (Deciding how often to give rewards) • Self monitoring (Students keep track of their own behaviour, thus building self-control) • Shaping(Building a desired behaviour that the student doesn't show at present) • Task Analysis • Time Out • Token Economies and Point Systems How to Use Psycho Educational Interventions • What is "Psycho Education"? • Bibliotherapy (The therapeutic use of reading with troubled kids) • Classroom Counselling • Classroom Meetings • "I Messages" (A non-confrontational way to address misbehaviour) • LSI & LSCI(Life space interview & the more recent Life Space Crisis Intervention - counselling techniques for teachers) • Non-directive Counselling Techniques • Play Therapy • Problem Solving (for kids who get into arguments, act impulsively, or make poor choices about their behaviour) • Social Skills Training (for kids who don't interact well with others) How to Implement School wide Practices • "Bullet-proofing" your school (from students with guns) • Peer Mediation • School-wide behaviour management systems (getting everyone on the same page) • Helping kids cope with catastrophes (terrorist attacks, floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, etc.) Interesting and/or Humorous Readings • "Murphy's Law" as it applies to behaviour management • Need a chuckle? (A humorous article on behaviour management) • HA! (Cartoons about behaviour management) • Random thoughts & FUNNY STORIES • Rantings and Ravings • -How to respond to public criticism about teachers and education • -Don't be a mean teacher • Culture, Language, Gender, and Sexual Orientation (Their impact on behaviour) • Good Books (regarding behaviour management...there's a good one below!) • Super Software (CDs to train you or your staff in positive behaviour management) Other Web Sites (related to behaviour management) Pages for Our Colleagues • A page for ADMINISTRATORS (to evaluate the behaviour management skills of teachers) • A page for PARENTS of kids with behaviour problems Other Stuff • Who the heck is Dr. Mac ? • Dr. Mac's staff development workshops • So what are you selling Dr. Mac? (A Yard Sale) • Donations gratefully accepted (Hat in hand) • WIN BIG TIME(Contests) • Publish your class paper (Right here on Dr. Mac's Web Site!) • Print a flyer for your school's bulletin board(Or slip it into the mailbox of a mean teacher) • Join Us!!(Specialize in behaviour disorders at Hunter College) 86
  • 87. • DISCLAIMER & site information (Putting the onus on you.) The following is a graduate class assignment submitted by Elizabeth Harty (used with her permission). It describes the use of choice to promote positive peer pressure. The Use of Personal Choice in Classrooms The principle teachings of Thomas Gordon, Discipline as Self-Control focuses on the idea that students must have ownership of their problems so that they may create the solution. According to C.M. Charles in Building Classroom Discipline, he states that Gordon believes, “When an individual is troubled by a condition, event, or situation, that individual is said to ‘own’ the problem. How problems are resolved depends in part upon who owns the problem" (pg. 87). I decided to employ this technique while substitute teaching in a 6th grade Social Studies class. Each class had the same assignment to complete. They were to read pages from the textbook, complete a map, and answer questions about the reading and map. Whatever they did not finish was to be completed for homework. Therefore, I saw the students as having a critical choice. They could spend the period working on their assignment, or they could have more work to do at home. When the students entered the classroom at the beginning of the period, I explained the assignment and directions that the teacher had left. I also stated that we would read the two pages from the textbook together. After we finished reading, the students would have an opportunity to complete the assignment. After I had finished explaining the directions, I would tell the class that I saw them as having a choice. Either they could spend the period working on their assignment and have very little or no homework or they could talk to their friends and have more to do for homework. This was their choice. I would then ask the class, “What do you think is a good choice to make?” In each of the three classes that I asked this question to, the students would respond enthusiastically saying that they thought the best choice would be to do their work now. After reviewing the choice for the class, I would then need to take attendance. If the students were talking and generally disrupting the class, I would stop, look directly at the students who were talking and say, “Remember, this is your choice.” The other students would then ask the class to quiet down, because they didn’t want more homework. I found this technique to work extremely well. Each student in the class was then responsible for his or her own behavior, as well as the behavior of their peers. The class didn’t want more homework; so it made sense that they would want to quiet down to complete the assignment in class. Hence, I placed the ownership of the problem or situation upon the students in the class, rather than myself. In reality, I wanted them to complete the assignment so that I could leave a favorable report for the teacher. At the same time, I did not want to scream and plead with the students to do their work. In this instance, the students exhibited self-control and restraint in order to complete the assignment. Additionally, I utilized non-controlling methods to promote behavior changes. By saying that the class time was their choice, they students were receptive to completing their work. If I had entered the classroom stating that the students needed to finish the assignment or else, I don’t believe that the students would have been as receptive to my request. In conclusion, when students believe that they have ownership of a problem or situation, they are more likely to comply with your wants or needs. This technique not only makes teaching a more enjoyable profession, but it also creates a student centered learning environment. The students did not become angry at me when they misbehaved, they were angry at each other, because it prevented them from completing the assignment. I was thoroughly pleased with the results of this experiment and will incorporate this approach into my teaching style. References Charles, C.M. (2002). Building Classroom Discipline (7th ed.) Boston: Allyn and Bacon. (see lesson titled "The art of teaching: Put a spin on peer pressure") 87
  • 88. How to Deal With Disruptive Students Originally Posted At: Another great tutorial from! The Web Portal for Educators! (http://www.teach- **What's All the Hype? ** Disruptive students are in every classroom across the nation. Teachers are constantly searching for assistance, guidance, ideas, suggestions and relief from this challenge. It is discouraging, yet teachers must remember that they are the source of hope for many of these children and the person who plays a most important role in their lives. A teacher's words and actions can affect a child forever. Are you ready to accept this challenge? If so, read on. . . **Know Your Students** Key to assisting a child in changing behavior is to know the child's background and home life. Make the effort to call home and invite the parents to come to meet you. If they cannot come or are unwilling to come, talk to them on the phone. Begin the conversation with something positive you know about this child. The parents may have never heard a good word about their child and you will put them at ease. This may help to open lines of communication. If possible, you want the family to work with you. Talk about your goals for their child and your eagerness to work with them. Don't be discouraged with the initial communication. They may be hesitant at first, but your persistence through calls, meetings and positive notes sent home will hopefully lead them to trust you. If there is no phone, mail letters to them. Find every way possible to keep the lines of communication open. Persistence is key to the success of this effort. Take time to find out what this student likes, hobbies, talents, and other information and you can use to communicate with this student. You can use an informal inventory for your entire class and not let the student know that the focus is on him/her. This is a great way to get to know your class. This will also help you in motivating the student to want to learn. You can choose books that are of interest to the student to improve reading or simply get him/her to begin reading. If the student is a non-reader, have a volunteer or aide sit and read to the student. Listening is an important skill that is needed in all aspects of learning. The student must believe that you care and one means of displaying this is to know more about him/her. **Use School Resources** Use the resources that you have in your school. Approach the guidance counselor and ask if he/she knows more about the family. Has the counselor worked with the family before? What advice does the counselor have to offer you? Possibly ask for help in setting goals for the student. They must be attainable and realistic goals. Small steps at first. You want the student to experience success and want more. If the previous teacher is in your school, you may want to sit with that person and listen. It is important to stay positive when speaking to a previous teacher. We tend to remember the pain and forget that there was some glory, no matter how small. In order to keep the conversation positive, ask about what worked and what good behavior was displayed. In some cases it is very difficult to be positive, but you must remain positive in your thoughts in order to display positive behavior toward this student. 88
  • 89. Look in the student's confidential folder to get a total picture and understand the capabilities and effort that is reflected in the file. If the child saw a Resource teacher, speech therapist, etc., investigate this as well. Collect information and then you are ready to work. Research is the key to the success of this effort. **Practical Application** Now let’s get to the heart of the matter. You have looked into the child's background, contacted the family, get goals, used all resources in your school, used an inventory to discover more about the child.... and you are ready to work. You begin by allowing the child to start with a "clean slate." Whatever that child has done in the past, that was not beneficial or acceptable or respectful, you must be willing to put aside and give a chance to begin anew. If you cannot do this, there will be no change or growth in this child. Your goal is to get this child to trust you. Trust is something that does not come easily to this child and he/she will test you to prove that you really care and will not give up. You must constantly show your belief in him/her so that this child will eventually believe in himself/herself. You are not the target. Try not to take things personally. Remember that the child is suffering and needs help. When he/she lashes out, it is out of frustration and discouragement. It is a way to reach out to you. Your response is key at this point. Be firm but compassionate. Be direct in your demands but understanding if your demands are not met immediately. The child must become responsible for his/her own actions. In order to attain these goals, success must be experienced. Find some success every day to reward even, if it seems insignificant. The child must gradually grow to want to succeed and then successes will build. A practical example might be: This child seems to have a short attention span and is disorganized. Help the child to become more organized by taping a card to his/her desk with tasks to be performed that day. The card might say: When you arrive in the morning: 1. Put your coat in the closet 2. Put books away. 3. Go to the book center and read with a friend. As you walk around and greet the students, simply put a sticker on the card and offer a few words of praise. Set small goals. Another example: This child has a hard time walking down the stairs to lunch. Let this child be the line leader or end of the line helper. Find something "important" for him/her so the focus is on the goal and distract from inappropriate behavior. Praise this child in front of the other students. They probably haven't heard good things about this child. You want to change the perception for the child and the other children. You might want to partner this child with a responsible child. Modeling is important in changing behavior. You can be a partner at times also. **The Bottom Line** The realities of teaching today are overwhelming. You have 20 or 25 other students to teach. This one student is not the only responsibility you have. This can't take you away from the other students. You have a curriculum to follow. You don't have time to waste. You feel the pressure of testing and accountability. You are continuing your own education and you have another life at home. This is teaching today! You have a choice to make. Either you let all of these responsibilities overwhelm you or you take control of this situation and prioritize the needs before you. Every student in your class is important. Every student must feel that they are the most important person to you. Look at your group and prioritize needs. If giving more attention to the student who has more needs, will ultimately benefit the rest of the group, then that is what you must do. Your “teacher instinct" will guide you in your approach to this task. You can give and not take away from the other students. Your challenge remains: to teach every child in your class and give every child what they need to the best of your ability. Will you always feel that you have accomplished this? Certainly not, but you always keep trying and believing that you can make a difference. You are not perfect, but you are the hope and future for the students who sit in front of you everyday. The success is in your effort and perseverance. Your words and actions will affect your students for the rest of their lives! 89
  • 90. For more information on this topic, the following links are available: Behavior Management Functional Behavioral Assessment ©2004 Teachnology, Inc All rights reserved. Teaching Ideas That Worked: Behavior Management "Writing Checks for Points System" Olga, Teacher "In regards to points, my kids got bored. So, I made them check books where they earn credit as they complete work. I also use a response cost system where they have to pay fines. They love it because they feel like little adults and will do anything to write a check. This also reinforces math concepts. I usually use it to buy computer time, etc." "Bubble Gum Machine" Trina Smith, Grade 4 Teacher "I have a rather big hand drawn bubble gum machine hanging on the front chalk board. My students are encouraged to fill the machine in order to receive a class reward. I stick paper gumballs onto the machine when the class is caught doing something good....proper line up, good listening etc. I also take away gum balls when the class is overly noisy etc... The kids love seeing the machine fill up with gumballs. When they achieve a full machine, I give them a popcorn party with a movie, extra gym time, or any other appropriate reward. It works for me!!!!" “Shoulders Up, Shoulders Back" Marge Werden, Teacher "When I line up the students to go home, to go to computer class, to go to lunch, I say, "Shoulders Up, Shoulders Back!" I first explained to them (in the beginning of the school year) about GREAT posture...and for some reason (smile on my face) this causes them to line up in a WONDERFUL straight line with no talking!" "This is a Holdup" Julia A. Powers, 4th Grade Teacher "We had been studying the "Wild West", so when I needed their attention, I would say loudly, “Okay guys, this is a hold-up." This meant for them to freeze where they were and put their hands in the air. The novelty of it was what made it work. But, it did work. I have used it this entire year, and the kids still giggle about it." "Attention-Getter" Nikki Larry, Gr. 8 teacher "Our principal uses this one at assemblies and it works in a classroom too. “ Clap once if you can hear me," he says in a normal speaking voice. Of course, only the first few rows hear him and respond. So the next command is, "Clap twice if you can hear me." By the third clap, the entire gym is silent and clapping in unison." "Class Meetings" Marie, High School Teacher: Staten Island, NY "Class meetings are a great way to help students identify any behavior problems and work on solutions that all can agree upon. Placing students in a circle helps to keep everyone on the same playing field. The teacher acts as a facilitator and encourages students to confront the problems and work out the solutions. The goal is have students take ownership of their problems and to be able to have the time to problem solve as a team. Meetings can be called for any reason and should last for only a few minutes. Stay focused and work toward achieving a goal that leads to action." "Reinforce Positive Behavior" Jim, 4th Grade Teacher: Chicago, IL 90
  • 91. "To reinforce positive behaviors in children, each month hang a poster on the wall with each child’s name printed on it. These can be seasonal, such as pumpkins, flowers, apples, etc. They can be bought or made by the teacher or the children. Each time a child displays a behavior that you are trying to reinforce, have them take a sticker and put it on the card. At the end of the month, the students take these to their homes. They are proud to take them home and you have reinforced only the positive in your classroom." "Building Decision Making Skills" Lisa Correia, 4th Grade Teacher: Croton-on Huduson, NY "Developing the concept of "change" and getting students to accept what can be changed and what cannot be changed can sometimes be a challenge for teachers. This exercise gets students to use thinking and reasoning skills to make decisions on what they have control over and what they do not and to know the difference between the two. Start out with a list of various phrases describing situations such as: the temperature outside, how old you are, how you treat other people, how well you do in school, etc. Ask students to identify what can be changed and what cannot; ask them to tell why, and why not. This can be done in small groups or as a partner activity. As a follow-up, students can write their own list and share it with others. For younger students, the teacher can read the list and the children can indicate the differences with a raise of the hand." "Focus and Direction" Lisa, 6th Grade Teacher: Austin, TX "When you begin a lesson, post a schedule of the class. We need to let the students know what we have planned and where we are going. The students can focus on the lesson of the day and understand the expectations. Read through the schedule and put the responsibility of the lesson on the child. This is what is to be accomplished today. You have given the expectation, shared responsibility of the lesson with the students, and focused your students on what is to be accomplished. This is also a good guide for the teacher as well. When the students become accustomed to this outline, they will soon be keeping the teacher on task. This can be posted on a chart or simply written on the board." "Room Helper" Anne, 6th Grade Teacher: Kingston, NY "Every classroom, at some point, has a student that pushes the behavioral limits set. Select these particular students and delegate relative and meaningful responsibilities. Make them a helper in the room. Provide consistent praise and feedback of the assistance they have given. Discuss with the student the positive outcomes as a result of their actions. I have found that by doing this, the student begins to see for themselves the positive effects they are capable of." "Know How I Feel" Teddy Sawyer, Social Studies Teacher "This activity is geared toward elementary students. You can have students arrange themselves on your class rug in a circle. Then, have laminated strips of paper prepared--enough for each student. On the strips, depict faces (human or animal or other character) with six or seven different emotions. Students enjoy pointing to the emotion which matches what they are feeling and explaining why they picked the face." "Poster Project” Carol Trousdale: Content Mastery Teacher, Technology Lead Teacher "For a positive way to encourage good group behavior, get a poster of any size (it's good to start with a small one) and cover it with blank sticky notes so that the picture is completely hidden. As the group exhibits good behavior, take a piece off of the poster. I looked at hall behavior, lunch behavior, group project behavior, library behavior. I also took a piece off of the poster if another teacher complimented the class on their behavior. If the principal complimented the class, I took two pieces off of the poster. When the poster is completely uncovered, we had a party of some description. The rules can work the other way, also. 91
  • 92. On a day when the class just can't seem to settle down, I usually got their attention by putting a piece back on the poster! The teacher can giveth and can taketh away!" "Place Holder" Jennifer, 5th Grade Teacher: Orange County, NY "The particular position and place a student holds on a line is very important to them. One strategy I have found to be quiet helpful is this. Let's say Catherine steps out of line to tie her shoelace. The student walking behind Catherine will automatically save and leave that space open. This way, when Catherine rejoins the class she still has a place in line. This technique can be used any time a student steps out of line and will eventually return." "Hallway Ins and Outs” Joannie, 5th Grade Teacher: Cape Cod, MA "While walking through the hallway, teach your students to leave all doorways clear. For example, if the line of students stops, and there is a classroom door (or any door) along side of the line, have the students leave an open space (the width of the door) so that someone could still walk in or out of the room." "Student Contracts" Dr D. College Professor: Slate Hill, NY "A "contract" is a valuable tool that teachers can use in negotiating terms with students and/or parents. It details the specific expectations that the teacher, student, and sometimes, the parent formally agree upon. Learning contracts help the teacher and student share the responsibility for achieving desired outcomes. It also helps increase accountability and provides feedback to the student regarding progress toward meeting the agreed upon goals. It is a good way to negotiate expected behaviors." "Catch Them Being Good" Paul, 8th Grade Teacher: Boston, MA "Have a variety of positive reinforcers available to give to students when they are "being good" and demonstrating appropriate behaviors. Remember, reinforcers are only positive if students think they are! You can get to know what students consider being positive by just asking them or making observations about what your students seem to be motivated by. Some common reinforcers include: verbal praise, stickers, choosing a favorite activity, computer time, and games." "Early Driving Skills” Don Louis, 5th Grade Teacher: St. Anisette Canada "Give your students the gift of time to learn this basic driving skill, early! As students approach any corner, while walking through a hallway, instruct them to always follow these three simple steps! 1.) Stop 2.) Look left, right, and left again. 3.) If it is clear to go, continue walking. If not, wait until clear, and then continue. The students love the idea they are learning a grown up driving skill in elementary school!" "Team Bucks" Daryle Grimstead, 6th Grade Language Arts Teacher "Each 9 weeks, my team prints team money that we distribute throughout the quarter. We collect stuffed animals at garage sales, thrift stores, and family donations and we display them in our rooms. At the end of the 9 weeks, we hold a team auction and the students purchase the animals with the money they have earned. They earn money by helping the teacher, staying on task, or any positive behavior. We do not give this money based on grades. It is meant to be a behavior management tool. It works great! The kids love earning the money and the auctions provide an opportunity for team enrichment time. " "Tattle Test” Tricia, Special Education Resource/Middle School 92
  • 93. "When I student taught 3rd grade, my students seemed to live to tattle. If I let them, I would only have time to deal with tattles. I came up with a two prong test for the students to gauge if they should be the one to tell me what happened. Part one: Is anyone in danger? Part two: Are you directly involved? If the answer to either question was yes, then it was their business to tell me. If the answer to both questions was no, I informed them that it was not their place to be telling me and therefore they were to go back to the task at hand. It really helped with some of my biggest tattlers. They'd start to tell me something and I'd say "I have two questions for you". After a while, they knew what was coming and would answer them without my having to actually ask them." "Barter Day" Jill Johnson, 5th Grade Teacher: Author's Website "Barter Day is a motivating activity for students to earn "minibucks" to buy items from each other at the end of each grading period. Minibucks are earned by trading in 25 stamps. Stamps are earned through grades and responsibility. Each letter grade receives a different amount of stamps, and parent signatures on a variety of things earn stamps as well. When the student has 25 stamps, they turn them in for a minibuck. At the end of each nine week grading period, the students bring small snacks, toys, etc. to sell to the other students. The students use their earned minibucks to buy items from the other students. They can only use the amount of minibucks earned during the 9-week grading period. Any profits earned can be used at the next Barter Day. This activity motivates the children to work harder for higher grades, more stamps, and more minibucks, therefore more buying power. It also teaches them about profit, selling prices, and supply and demand! A major rule is that all bartering is done silently. Anyone interested in receiving a list of guidelines and a more detailed description can email me for a copy. The kids and the teachers love it!" "A Fun Way of Getting the Class in Order before Dismissal” Lisa Morris, 7th Grade Teacher: Woodbury Middle School "Before lunchtime, I announce to the class that the "quietest, cleanest, straightest row or group will be dismissed first. To add a bit of interest, I also add another adjective, such as weirdest, happiest, most sleepy, most professional-looking, etc. The possibilities are endless. I have even used new vocabulary terms as well, such as "most indignant," and "most discreet." The kids soon start submitting ideas to use. It is amazing how the room is straightened up in such a short amount of time!" "Good Gobblers" Tammy Layne, First Grade Teacher "To reinforce good behavior, each month I pick a particular theme to use for my "good door." For November, I used turkeys. Every day that a student is good with their behavior, I give them a turkey at the end of day to put their name on. Then we hang it on our "Good Gobbler" door. The one with the most turkeys at the end of the month gets a special surprise. I really pump this up at the beginning of each day to remind the students about the prize. They get so excited that they really try hard to be good. I change the theme each month to match the season or holiday." "Sign Language" Angela, HeadStart 3rd Grade "Use sign language to teach your students a valuable communication method and to allow you to 'talk' to them silently. I teach my kids 'yes' and 'no' for group responses, votes, etc. I frequently sign 'no' when I see inappropriate behavior, or kids are out of their seats or interrupting, and I can keep right on 93
  • 94. teaching during it. They also know the sign for 'bathroom', so they raise their hands with that sign and I can just nod, rather than call on them and find out all they wanted was a bathroom pass. We use the signs for 'stand up' and 'sit down' to convey that message silently during assemblies and other noisy gatherings. You could also assign each cooperative group a color and sign the color word for children to line up (they will be quiet and paying close attention). Or, let the kids make up their own (non- vulgar) sign and use that in the same way. Signs for stop, help, good job, please, and thank you can also be useful. The kids learn them very quickly. You can pick them up from a special education teacher, book, or even online." “Paper Clip Chain” Maria, 4th Grade Teacher "An effective method for encouraging class-wide good behavior is to create a paper clip chain. I begin a chain of paper clips at the top of the chalkboard. If the class is well-behaved, they earn a paper clip for the day. When the chain reaches a specified point (the bottom of the board or the floor), they earn a class reward. Usually, this involves taking an afternoon to watch a movie and then do some educational activities that relate to what we saw. Once the class earns a paper clip, it can't be taken away. The students like to see that their good behavior is valued." Easier Line-ups Mindy Sawyer, Teacher "I got this idea from another teacher, and it is simple, easy and very helpful. I placed a piece of duct tape inside the classroom, a few feet from the classroom door, and wrote "Line-Up" in permanent marker on the tape. Now when the students line-up they no longer block the doorway." "Give Me 5!” Richard Dela Calzada, Grade 7 teacher "If you want students to be attentive at the drop of a hat, just use this: I learned it from a grade 3 teacher. It's called give me 5. When you say this, the students should fold their hands on their desk, have their eyes on you, sit up tall and listen attentively. This works! I used this strategy last year and I am using it now. Presto, attentiveness is just as easy as, "give me 5!” One could make a poster as well for the classroom." Music Box - Jenn, 3rd Grade Teacher "I have a music box on my desk. It is the kind that when you open it the music starts and it stops when you close it. I tell my class on the first day that if they start getting out of control I will open the box until they get back on task. The deal is that if they have music left on Friday, they will not have homework on the weekend. Works like a charm!" Bathroom "Pass" Maria Smith, Title I Reading Teacher "I teach Title I Reading to 1st and 2nd grades. I have 9 sections of classes who come to our Reading Lab every day. The students work in centers while the classroom teachers and I work with students in small groups. I made a chart with poster board and library pockets. Each chart has the teacher's name on it and a pocket for each child in their room with his/her name on it. I have two clothespins (boy/girl) marked "Bathroom". Should a child need to go to the restroom, while we are working with a small group, they put a clothespin on their pocket and go. They don't need to ask and only one boy/girl can be gone at a time. We also use the pockets to designate who will be working on the computer and/or other special tasks. (I stole this idea from my cooperating teaching while I was student teaching---thanks Stephanie!)" "Getting students to class on time" Retha Lippard: East Carter High School / FACS Teacher 94
  • 95. "Prepare a 10 point lesson review handout quiz to be given as the students come into the door. Once the bell rings, it is too late to receive the quiz. Students will be rushing to class so as not to lose the 10 points. " "Quiet Dynamite" Melissa Brooks: Student Teacher "To calm students down after an exciting activity or before going to their next class, play this game by tossing a ball back and forth between students. They cannot say ANYTHING or the dynamite will "explode" and they are "out." This really helps to quiet the class down quickly." "Talking, Whispering or No Talking" Janine Vercoe, Primary Teacher "I believe that a chatty classroom is usually a productive one, but there are times when children should be silent (Silent reading times or during tests) and also times when children need to talk using softer voices (instructional reading times or when teacher is conferencing with other children). With my Year 2 class (5 and 6 year olds) we use red, orange, and green traffic light symbols which are magnetized to the whiteboard. If I need silence an arrow points to the red light, if whispering is required the arrow points to the orange light and if the arrow is pointing to green, then children may talk. It is hoped that the arrow is not pointing to the red light very often during the day. If children are not following the signals (sometimes they forget) then I remind them to look at where the arrow is pointing and they soon go back to what they are supposed to be doing. I often pick children to 'change the light' but it must be understood that the light can only be changed on teacher direction. My 'lights' are made of brightly colored laminated cardboard and can be used year after year. This has worked extremely well for me and the children. They learned very quickly what is expected of them. At times, I also like to ask the children which light they would like the arrow to point to. In this way, they also have an element of choice." "Star System" Tracy Ruffing, Elementary Substitute Teacher "For classroom management, I would implement a star system. While subbing I have seen this work in many elementary classrooms. You first place five stars on the chalkboard. Label the stars 5, 10, 15, 20, and 25. Tell the class that for every time they are disruptive or not following directions you will erase a star. Each star is worth minutes they will lose from recess the next day. They can also earn stars for that week. Every time they are following directions or working hard, I would add a star to the board under earned recess. Each star earned was worth 1 minute of extra recess for that following Friday. The students loved working toward more free time at the end of the week and got quiet as soon as their first star was erased." "Eyes on Me" Elaine T. Brown, Elementary Teacher "To keep your students attention on you when teaching a lesson, use a kush ball. Students have to focus on you to catch the kush ball when asked a question. This keeps students eyes and attention on the teacher. " “R E C E S S" Edith Cruz: Colegio Ingles "I teach second grade, when my students start getting restless and noisy, I write the word "R E C E S S" on the board, (leaving a space between the letters) , I explain to the class that each letter represents 5 minutes of indoor recess, ( the R is a "warning" ), when they don't behave I start erasing each letter at the time, making them aware of how much time of outdoor recess they are missing. IT REALLY WORKS!!! And if they behave I write the letters back. (Usually, I just end with the R erased) If it is after recess I change it to H O M E W O R K, each letter represents an extra assignment, a little drastic but it works for me." "Stop Look and Listen" Maria: Year 4 Teacher 95
  • 96. "It is very simple and it works like a charm. You clap your hands three times the children respond with three claps back. Then they Stop what they are doing, look at me, and listen for the next instruction. I have found it saves your voice and the children really like it." "Points System" Jackie Madden, 4th Grade Teacher "I introduced my students to a points system that required them to earn points. They could gain or lose points based on their behavior. They use the points on Fridays to purchase goodies, homework passes, free time passes, or what ever was the center of attraction for the week. I also assign points to field trips, field days, and other school related programs. The students have to have the required points in order to participate." "Tech Credit Cards" Amy Copenhaver, 1st grade/Technology Instructor "I give my 5th-8th grade students "credit cards" with 5 punches at the beginning of the semester. Students lose punches for being late to class, missing assignments, and for leaving the room at any time (classes are short, so disruptions are minimized). Students at the end of the year with 5 remaining punches (2 cards for the entire year, 10 punches total) are treated to a party of their choosing. It's instills a sense of responsibility, as most students have not needed the credit card second semester." "Give Me Two!" Deborah Hercsek, 6th Grade Teacher “I ask students to give me two: 2 eyes on me, 2 hands on desk (no moving), 2 feet on the floor, and 2 ears listening. The response is immediate!" "Line Up!" Daniel, 6th Grade Teacher: Portland, Oregon "To ensure safe opening and closing of a classroom door while students may be lined up, place a strip of wide tape on the floor that clears the swing of the door. Use this line as the beginning spot for the students to always line up at. This also allows for the free flow of movement in or out of the classroom, while the class is lined up." "Turn it around" Renae, Second Grade Teacher "When I have children in my class that constantly fusses/play with stuff (This is great with the ADHD kids)and my gentle reminders do not seem to make a difference with their ability to stop goofing off....I turn the desk around so their tummy is up against the back of the desk. It is a quiet way to keep them from messing around." "Homework Reward" Taylor Williams, Middle School Teacher "I have six periods and what I decided to do was to create a homework chart. For each period I would record the number students who brought in their homework. The class that brought the most homework assignments was rewarded with a pizza party, popcorn party, etc. This was really a good incentive for students to bring in their homework." "The Rose Award" Danielle Keller, After School Supervisor "In my After School Class, I often told my students that it was important to be kind to people, so to encourage random acts of kindness, I invented the Rose Award. The Rose Award was simply a sticker with a picture of a beautiful rose that I awarded to a student or to a group for performing random acts of kindness. Each group had a special folder, so that is where they placed their rose awards. My students loved the Rose Awards, and also the feeling they got from receiving recognition for doing something good." "PawPrints" Leslie Keylich, Teacher 96
  • 97. "As a discipline method in our self-contained unit, we started using PawPrints as a reward. First we use pinto beans that can be given for any good behavior or taken away for bad behavior. As the student earns the beans, he/she trades ten beans in for one pawprint, at the end of the week the pawprints are redeemed at the "store". The prices of the objects range from one to ten pawprints. All of the pawprints the student has managed to hold on to that week must be redeemed at the end of the week, singles they are allowed to hold onto and roll over to the next week." "Children Walking Lines in Primary Grades" John, First Grade Teacher "Line up children from smallest (first in line) to tallest, when walking to lunch or other school activities. It will reduce the stretching in your line, and keep them organized. The military from Roman times to today have used this methodology, and it works. Also, I have my primary grade children fold their arms when they walk. The line leader, which I change only once a month, walks at the pace of the smallest child in the line. IT WORKS, TRY IT! " "Hogwart's School of Witchcraft and Wizardry" Danielle Keller, After School Supervisor "I had an After School class that was crazy about Harry Potter. I first wrote a letter to the students as "Professor McGonagall" telling them all that they were accepted at Hogwarts and that they would be divided into the four houses from the books, Gryffindor, Slytherin, Huffelpuff, and Ravenclaw and that each house would accumulate points (or lose them) based on their performance in my classroom. Good behaviors earned points for the house, bad behaviors lost points. Certain games and activities in my room were also worth bonus points. It helped my student learn to work as a team and it really curtailed bad behavior. At the end of the year, I threw an "end of the year feast" with pizza and sweets, with the winning house receiving certificates stating that they had won the "House Cup" as denoted in the books, and that team also won a small prize. It worked well as a classroom theme for me. We played a modified version of Quidditch in gym, and the students were encouraged to write to their favorite Hogwart's Professors via an envelope that I had labeled "Outgoing Mail to Hogwart's". I would then write back to the students in the character of their chosen professor. It was a blast for the kids, as well as for me. " "Discouraging Cheating" Gary Latman, Harper High School / English Dept. Chair "Students who cheat must also share their grade with those who copied or cheated off of their work. So someone who receives a 90% grade on their paper will have to share it with each student who they allowed to copy off of their paper. If there was only one person who copied off that person's 90% paper, each receives 45%. In that way students learn that there is a difference between helping someone understand and answer versus allowing someone to "Xerox" the answers, which is cheating." "Star Jar" Alisha, Pre-Service Teacher "As a pre-service teacher, I have observed many great ideas as well as some not-so-good ideas when dealing with behavior management. One method that I have seen work extremely well was in my first grade placement. The teacher has a "Star" jar. This is a jar with stars that have been cut out of construction paper in it. When the teacher saw the students doing something impressive such as working quietly, putting extra time into their work, or just acts of kindness between students, the teacher would tell the student that they could add their name to the "Star" jar. It was a great way to get the students attention and they really loved it when their extra effort was noticed and they became a "star"." "Tickets" Danamarie Trezza, Grade 3 Teacher "I have worked in a hard to staff school for 4 years and I needed a way to get my students to respond. So, I decided to use a ticket system. I purchased a roll of raffle tickets. Each day a student has a chance to earn 3 tickets: One for homework, one for behavior in the morning (which is given out before lunch), and one for their behavior in the afternoon. I also give out tickets randomly for good deeds, good participation, and so on. 97
  • 98. At the end of the week, students can go to the "prize" box and purchase toys and school supplies. I have a big prize box and a small prize box. No student can hold over 60 tickets at a time. I learned this the hard way; one student saved 150 tickets and wiped out my prizes in one day!! Some of the prizes are: lunch with the teacher 25 tickets (I buy the kids’ lunch), toys from the dollar store, erasers, pencils and anything you can think of! Good Luck!" "Simon Says We Need Activity" Sue Schleef: Teacher "I work with 8 behaviorally challenged 6th-8th Grade students (self-contained) in a residential day program. On some days their inability to sit still causes me to say, "O.K., we need activity." My directions always start with "Simon Says". I have them move to different desks, take off our sneakers, even put on someone else's sneakers; the wilder the better. I've never had them refuse to do anything! After about 15-20 minutes, they are ready to get back to work. They beg to do this for the next few days, but I only do it once in about 6 weeks. They love it especially when other staff join in. (P.S. - no one ever quits; they all play until the end.)" 98
  • 99. The Top 5 List By Mary Beth Hewitt (This article is reprinted with permission from Mary Beth Hewett, CHOICES, volume 2, pages 3-4) I'm often asked, "What are the most important things I should do the first few days of school?” Over the years, I have written many articles on the things I feel are important throughout the year, but as this new school year starts, I've spent time reflecting on what are critical things for the beginning of the year. Here are my "top five". SMILE It's up to you to set the feeling tone in the classroom. Walking into a room where the teacher is smiling signals that this is a "happy" place. I don't know where the adage, "Don't smile until Christmas" came from, but it has been my experience that is the worst possible advice anyone can follow. The single most important factor in helping students be successful in school is creating a sense of belonging. The first step in doing that is to make students feel welcome. Think about a time when you entered a new situation. Who were you drawn to? Were they the people who looked stern or the people who were smiling? If we want to create a relationship of mutual respect and trust, smiling is the first step. Polly Nichols, a woman who taught for years in a mainstreamed setting and later went on to teach methods courses, noted that her students with emotional handicaps, who were attending mainstreamed high school classes, had typical complaints about all teachers but one. She asked them what they liked about him and the response was merely that he was nice. When pressed for more information about why they thought he was nice, they simply said that he always said "hi" and called them by name. She was sure there must be something more extraordinary about this man and began observing this teacher between classes. "A walk down the hall revealed teachers standing in pairs or alone, arms crossed, faces watchful, true standard bearers of the need for quiet and order in the hall.” Mr. Moeller, by contrast, relaxed against his doorjamb and said such things as "Hi" or "How's it going?" or he nodded and just smiled. (Long, p. 90) In all of her observations she didn't find anything else remarkably different that this man did with his students other than use eye contact, smile, use the students' names and use pleasant words. By contrast, in her work with teachers who were having difficulty managing the behavior of students, she observed that these very behaviors were conspicuously absent and noted that instead they used, “stern faces, distance from students and eyes focused on academic materials or point sheets except when surveying to pierce a bad actor with a piercing stare…” (Long, p. 91) Simple everyday pleasantries can make students feel like they are welcome and belong or feel like they are trespassing in enemy territory. POST OR RE-POST THE SPEED LIMIT SIGNS By the time most students have been in school a few years, they are pretty certain of the school rules. Although each teacher may have policies or rules specific to his/her classroom, most of the classrooms I visit have the same general rules. Typical ones include: o Treat yourself and each other with respect. o Follow directions the first time they are given. o Use good work habits (Be on time, prepared, complete your work). o Be safe. Keep hands, feet and objects to yourself. o Use appropriate language, an inside voice, and raise your hand to participate. 99
  • 100. Even when the rules are general, it is still important to review them. In essence, you are posting the speed limit signs for your classroom. Some students come to us from environments where the rules and expectations differ from what is expected in the classroom. Or they may have just come off summer vacation where there were no speed limits. Not too long ago, I was driving in another state on a road that had recently undergone major construction. Although the construction was finished, they had not re-posted any signs. For a period of about 25 miles, there was no indication of the limit. It was a very disconcerting experience. Although I had a general idea of what would be normal, I longed to see a sign. If I had been stopped for speeding, I would have been upset. There is a responsibility of people in positions of authority to make the expectations clear. A discussion of rules lets the students know what the expectations are in this environment. It is also important to realize that some students may know the rules "cognitively" but do not really know what they mean. Respect is a general concept and many children need to be taught what respect looks and sounds like. I've found that it's most effective when the students and I discuss the rules together. This provides me with an idea of what they already know, gives me an opportunity to explain the reasons for the rules, allows me to model and check for understanding and gives the students a sense of ownership. Posting the speed limit signs doesn't necessarily mean, however, that they will be followed. Just as many individuals violate the posted speed limits in real life for a variety of reasons, students may violate the classroom rules. But when the signs are posted, at least there is a common frame of reference. TEACH ABOUT PLANNED IGNORING After we've discussed the rules we need to have a safe, happy and productive environment, I also let the students know that I expect them to follow those rules regardless of who is watching them. I try to convey that we are in this together and that my job is to help them learn. Because this is my job, there are going to be times when someone will violate a rule and I will not address it immediately, because I am busy teaching. I tell all of my classes that I occasionally will use "Planned Ignoring.” Planned Ignoring is the conscious decision not to address a behavior at the time it happens. If they see someone breaking a rule and I do not appear to be paying any attention to that, IT DOES NOT MEAN THAT THE RULE HAS CHANGED. I've used many different analogies over the years to convey this concept. Here is one: If a police officer is at the scene of an accident and is attending to the needs of wounded people and someone goes past him speeding, should he leave the people who need him to go and catch the speeder? The students reply "no.” I then ask, "Does that mean that speeding is OK?” Again, they respond "no." "Could the officer deal with the speeder later?” I ask. "Yes" they reply. I continue, "Sometimes someone may break a rule and I'm going to be busy working with people who need me. I will not stop what I am doing. I will continue to do my job. That does not mean the rules have changed. It does not mean I like that person better and am letting them get away with anything. I will address the behavior later." ASK DON'T TELL When I did my teacher training, I was told that when a student was misbehaving, I should always tell him/her the expectations. As I stated earlier, most students know the rules; misbehavior may be a momentary lapse of attention to them. Over the years, I've found that it is much more effective if I ask rather than tell. For example, if a student shouted out an answer without raising his/her hand, I would say, "What are you supposed to do when you want to answer a question?” Doing this puts the responsibility on the student and gives him/her the opportunity to self-correct. The focus becomes one of compliance, not enforcement. A question is a gentle reminder. If the student does not know, I then state the expectation, "Raise your hand.” I find it interesting that when a police officer pulls a car over, he/she asks the driver, "Do you know why I stopped you?” The goal is to have the individual examine his/her own behavior. There is a side benefit to asking versus telling, particularly with adolescents or with oppositional students. These groups typically detest being told to do anything by an authority figure. Asking implies a choice; telling is often viewed as a command. I am constantly amazed at the difference in the responses I get when I make this simple shift. If I tell a student to, for example, "Take your hat off," I generally get flack. "Why?" "I'm not hurting anybody." "John has had his hat on yesterday and you didn't say anything." "Make me." However, when I say, "Where does your hat belong?" and then walk 100
  • 101. away, indicating that I expect him/her to comply, it often leaves the student speechless and nine times out of ten, he/she will comply. LOOK FOR THE SILVER LINING Every behavior has a purpose. Most of the rationale for an individual's behavior is part of his/her private "reality.” Often we make the assumption that there is no reason for the behavior since we cannot directly observe the cause. Unfortunately, we frequently focus on the behavior and not on the possible motivation behind the behavior. When we attempt to stop the behavior, we may inadvertently be squashing the motivation or passing up an opportunity to teach a more appropriate way for the student to get his/her needs met. Take for example, the student who gets out of his chair without permission to sharpen his pencil after it's broken. The "silver lining" is that he wants to continue working. That's what I want to concentrate on first. "John, I'm glad you want to keep working. What are you supposed to do before you leave your seat?” A more dramatic example is the student who may be responding to being laughed at by her peers, by screaming, "CUT IT OUT.” To that student I would say, "Paula, it looks like you are trying to express your feelings and make a complaint. That's great. A more respectful way to do that would be to say in a quieter voice, ‘I feel angry when you tease me and I want you to stop.’ ” I've found that I catch a lot more proverbial flies with honey than I do with vinegar. It has been my experience that when I take the time to discover the "silver lining," students are more amenable to learning new skills from me. Not only does this type of focus benefit the child but also when I look for the good in a situation I feel better! Reference Long, Nicholas & Morse, William (1996). Conflict in the classroom: The education of at-risk and troubled students. (5th edition). Austin, Texas: Pro-Ed. 101
  • 102. On The Web: Classroom Management General 101 Things You Can Do the First Three Weeks of Class Start the year right! From challenging students to providing support, these quick tips will help you create the classroom climate you need to teach effectively. Classroom Management Concepts A simple article outlining approaches to classroom management for early elementary students. Concepts covered are all positive, including active listening, positive reinforcement and re-direction. The importance of using a variety of approaches is included. From the Office of School Readiness, Georgia Prekindergarten Program NEA Works4Me Tips Library This archive of the popular email resource for teachers sharing teaching tips includes a Managing Your Classroom section. Learn from the real experts: your colleagues! From the National Education Association Routines and Procedures This short article supports the development of routines and procedures for organizing classroom life. It includes a link to a list of classroom times and activities that teachers can consider in determining procedures that need to be developed. Classroom Routines A chart identifying five classroom activities requiring plans for management: movement, non- instructional tasks, materials management, transitions, and group work; includes description of the types of activities included in each category as well as ideas for developing related procedures. Behavior Management Do you need help? Find out by taking the Online Quiz to see if you are effectively managing your class! The quiz will even suggest appropriate resources for areas of weakness. From Teaching Social Skills to Bully-proofing Your Classroom, these resources will give you information and interventions for improving behavior in your classroom; maintained by from the Learning Network, Inc. School wide and Classroom Discipline This report compiles research from studies focusing on effective classroom- and school-level disciplinary practices. Focusing on regular education classrooms, the report includes summaries of 102
  • 103. findings, recommendations for schools and teachers, and an annotated bibliography of key references. Part of the Northwest Regional Education Laboratory's School Improvement Research Series by Kathleen Cotton. What Every New Teacher Should Know About Discipline Written by a vice-principal at a junior high school, this article advises new teachers to listen to students, maintain consistency in discipline, and use the support of the administrative staff wisely. By John E. Keating, Education Week, September 15, 1999. Classroom Discipline Techniques A list of eleven techniques for teachers to use for effective classroom management; each technique is clearly described and includes examples. How to Deal with Disruptive Students This tutorial focusing on working with particularly challenging students advises teachers on ways make personal connections with students and on using school resources effectively. It also offers practical examples on application of individualized discipline plans and strategies. You Can Handle Them All This site from The MASTER Teacher, Inc., offers a complete behavior index and resources to address all sorts of student misbehavior. The basic premise of this site is that through their behavior, children reveal needs which are met by this behavior. For each category there are specifics about effects, actions and related behaviors as well as common mistakes teachers make in handling the behavior. Print resources are available for purchase from this publisher. Learning Environments Student-Centered Learning: Community Circle An article by Beth Lewis, topic guide to Elementary Education - Student-centered approaches put responsibility for learning in the hands of students. Read this article and "Learn how to facilitate learning in a community of responsible and engaged students." 103
  • 104. Remembering Your Goal: The Art of Compromise By Mary Beth Hewitt This article is reprinted with the permission of Mary Beth Hewitt. 1) You ask a student to open his book and read. He pushes his desk, swears, walks to the other side of the room and yells, “I’m not opening that book. If you’re so helpless that you can’t open a book, you might as well not even teach." 2) A student finishes his part of the activity ahead of his classmates. He starts drumming his hands on the desk. You ask him to stop, but he continues. 3) You ask a student to leave the room. He does, but on his way out he turns off the lights. 4) A student arrives in class wearing his hat. You remind him of the rule but he continues to wear it. Some students seem determined to disengage from their educational program and to alienate the people around them. Resiliency studies indicate that the single most important factor in determining a student’s success is the establishment of a supportive relationship with at least one significant adult. So how can we create an environment that supports and engages all of our students, even during their worst moments? Rudolf Dreikurs first identified four basic motivations for behavior: avoidance of failure, attention, revenge and power. (Dr. Mac's note: For more information on these four factors, see the home page link titled "Figuring out why kids misbehave".) He went further to state that a student’s motivation would create the same counter-feelings in the people around him/her. Students who are avoiding failure will cause the adults to feel inadequate, helpless and fearful. Students who are motivated by attention will elicit annoyance. Angry students will make the people around them feel angry and vengeful. Finally, students who are motivated by power will generate feelings of stubbornness and control. If helping adults become consumed by their own “counter feelings” they can easily become sidetracked from their original intentions. They may then respond from an irrational, emotional basis and make situations worse. If, however, they recognize their “new” feeling it can provide them with clues about students’ underlying motivations for behavior. The significant adults can then make rational choices, which will enable them to continue on their original course. It sounds relatively simple, but a great many times the rational choice runs counter to our belief systems. What we “could do” seriously conflicts with what we “want to do” or what we’ve been taught we “should do.” Until we step back and look at the whole picture our behavior will not change. When I was first learning about this concept, someone told me that the art of adjustment or compromise was like water flowing in a stream. When it encounters a rock, it does not try to move or forcibly remove it; rather, it yields and flows around the rock to continue on its’ original course. The act of yielding eventually wears down the rock. Nothing in the world is as soft and yielding as water; yet for dissolving the hard and inflexible, nothing can surpass it. (Tao Te Ching) AVOIDANCE OF FAILURE 104
  • 105. You ask a student to open his book and read. He pushes his desk, swears, walks to the other side of the room and yells, “I’m not opening that book. If you’re so helpless that you can’t open a book, you might as well not even teach!" In my workshops I show a video clip of a boy who is working with a teacher for the very first time. All the teacher asks him to do is to open the book. The boy has a very intense reaction. As he pushes his desk and walks to the other side of the classroom he screams, “There’s no way I’m opening that book!” He swears at the teacher and tells her in no uncertain terms that she is a worthless teacher if she is so helpless that she can’t even open a book. He repeats his refusal, “I’m not opening that book!” The teacher responds by saying “I hear you. How about coming back over here and I’ll open the book for you.” Immediately, the boy returns, replaces the desk and begins to work with her. When I show that clip, I ask the audience what they think about how the teacher handled the situation. Most people say that she “gave in” and that the boy “won.” The teacher’s act of compromise is seen as giving in or molly coddling. The basic belief seems to be that if a child responds to a situation in an inappropriate manner then his/her behavior should be addressed firmly, immediately, and directly. To do anything else is viewed as being permissive and weak. I then ask the audience, “What do you think would have happened if the teacher did address the inappropriateness of the behavior at that time by saying something like: “That language is unacceptable.” “You can’t talk this way in here.” “Go to the office!” Most people respond by saying that the boy probably would have made an inappropriate comeback, escalated his behavior or would have left the room. No one thinks that he would have stopped, apologized and tried to work with her. When students are upset and they are confronted, they rarely say things like, “Thank you for pointing out what I jerk I just was. You are absolutely right. What a wise teacher you are.” Instead, they defend their actions, rationalize their behavior and/or project blame on the adult. The cycle of conflict continues. Next, I ask the participants to think about possible reasons why the boy responded in such a hostile manner to a seemingly innocuous request. They offer these possibilities: 1) he gets bossed around a lot at home and is sick of it 2) he had a problem before class and he’s upset about something else 3) he can’t read In this particular case, the last reason is true. He can’t read. I ask, “Why doesn’t he just tell her he can’t read?” The response, “Because he is embarrassed.” Many of our students would rather appear bad than look stupid. I daresay that most adults, when faced with a screaming, verbally abusive student would have sent him out of the room. In this case he would have gladly complied. In the office he could escape the humiliation of being asked to read. What the adult would view as punitive, the child would view, if not a reward, at least a respite. The teacher’s original goal of working with the child on reading would have been lost. The child’s unconscious goal of getting out of reading would have been fulfilled. The message communicated to the student might have been, “If you have a tantrum, then you don’t have to do the hated task.” By offering to open the book for the student, the teacher sent the message “I am willing to help you with this task no matter what.” That was the message this boy received and is what prompted him to immediately return to the table to work with her. In this scene the teacher’s original agenda was to read with this child. By offering what Fritz Redl would have termed “Hurdle Help” (the extra attention or assistance provided to help a student start an activity which might be frustrating or anxiety producing), she accomplished her goal. If you must think of it in terms of win/lose, I think that she won. Ross Greene, who wrote the book “The Explosive Child”, advises that we need to take the phrase, “giving in” out of our vocabulary. We need to stop looking at things from the standpoint of winning and losing. We need to focus on our original goal and not get sidetracked. In order to accomplish this, I personally had to redefine “giving in” in my mind. 105
  • 106. Since I cannot control the behavior of another person, my definition has become the power to change what I am doing to help me pursue my original goal. If, at the time of misbehavior I can focus on my original intention (What can I do to get this child to read with me?) then the act of offering help is a means to achieve my goal. At this point in my workshop someone usually asks, “But what will the other kids think? If you don’t nip that type of behavior in the bud, the other students will think that it is an acceptable way to behave.” I ask the participants to put themselves in the positions of students who are looking on. Anyone who may find reading difficult might think, “This is a nice lady who will help you no matter what.” Anyone thinking that throwing a tantrum will get you sent out of the room so you can avoid work, might think that strategy wouldn’t work. Anyone who finds reading easy may think, “That kid was a real jerk but my teacher didn’t get mad at him. I may not understand what’s going on but I feel safer with her than with someone who yells.” The way we handle a situation also sends a message to the other students. All too often, when a student violates a rule or misbehaves our immediate reaction is to exclude the child from the activity and/or withdraw our positive attention. Although this may solve the immediate problem of having a disruptive student in the classroom, it does nothing to change the long-term behavior and does not engage the child in the class. I strongly believe that the student’s inappropriate behavior needs to be addressed. The timing of when the behavior is addressed is all that has changed. Dr. Greene also makes the point that the adjustments we make are only temporary. He refers to them as “emotional wheelchair ramps.” Once we’ve accomplished our goal, we most definitely need to go back and teach the child a different way to get his/her needs met without misbehaving. How do you go about addressing the inappropriate behavior? Once the child is working with you, you can share your observations, “Reading seems hard for you. How did you let me know you didn’t like to read? It’s OK to feel nervous when someone asks you to do something hard, it’s not OK to swear and push your desk. What do you think most people would have done when you did that? How can you let people know how you feel about something without swearing and pushing your desk? That’s what you can do next time. What’s the consequence for swearing?” The student is more likely to listen to a person that supported them when he/she was in crisis than to an adult who excluded him/her. ATTENTION A student finishes his part of the activity ahead of his classmates. He starts drumming his hands on the desk. You ask him to stop, but he continues. I always say if what you’re doing isn’t working, don’t try the same thing harder, and try something different. One of the things I love about my job are those times when a teacher recognizes that the way he/she handled a situation did not have the desired effect and asks for suggestions on what he/she could do differently. I was doing a consultation, observing a group of elementary students who were doing morning activities (calendar, show and tell) at a table. One of the little boys, after having had his turn to share and listening to a few of his classmates, began drumming on the table. The teacher asked him to stop and listen. He continued to pound. The teacher reminded him of the rules and the consequences. He drummed louder. She warned him that if he continued to disrupt, he would have to leave the table and sit away from the group. He persisted in drumming. She told him to leave the group. He refused. He was told he could walk on his own or someone would escort him from the group. He wrapped his legs around his chair and continued to drum. Eventually, he was physically escorted from the group. What the teacher was using to try to manage the student’s behavior was a pretty standard type of behavior management system consisting of warnings and consequences. This is a valid strategy that sometimes works. In this case, however, it was making the behavior worse, not stopping it. Her original goal to stop the disruption and get the student to re-engage was lost. She did not feel good about how the situation played out and asked me for ideas of what she could have done differently. My first question was, “Why might the student have been creating the disruption?” She thought that he might have been bored and was having trouble waiting. She added that this was a typical problem for this student. I then asked her how she felt when the drumming started. She said she was annoyed. Annoyance is an indication that the behavior may be attention seeking. If the student is seeking 106
  • 107. attention, you can give it to him in one of two ways. You can focus on what he is doing wrong and try to get him to desist or you can engage him in a constructive activity. Constructive activities may be things like helping the teacher, running an errand, acting as the “host” for the Show and Tell show. In essence it’s employing a form of redirection. Many parents have told me that their children drive them crazy just before company arrives, however, they’ve learned that if they find a helping task for their son/daughter to do like preparing the salad or making place cards, the misbehavior stops. The notion of giving positive attention to a student who is misbehaving runs counter to most people’s belief systems. Helping tasks are generally reserved as rewards for students who are behaving appropriately. Actually, those are the students who already feel part of the group and naturally get positive attention from their peers and teachers. It is the students who do not feel “a part of” that need these types of activities the most. The fear in using this strategy is that the child is being positively reinforced for disruptive behavior and the incidents of disruption will increase. That might be the case if you continue to use the strategy in a reactive manner rather than a proactive manner. Proactively, you need to consider how you will keep a student busy who has a low boredom tolerance. If you create an environment that engages him before he becomes disruptive you can decrease the incidents of disruption. At the same time, you need to teach the child the skills of how to seek attention appropriately and how to deal with boredom.* When you are confronted with a situation in which the student is seeking attention, think to yourself, “I have a choice…I can give him negative attention or positive attention. Which choice will meet my goal at this time?” Later you need to consider, “What can I do in the future to be proactive and what skills do I need teach him long term?” (*A good resource for pro-social skills training is the Skillstreaming series by Arnold Goldstein published by Research Press) ANGER/REVENGE You ask a disruptive student to leave the room. He does, but on his way out he turns off the lights. Your original goal was to have the student leave the classroom so the disruption would stop. He complied, albeit not the way you wanted him to. By turning off the lights he was expressing his anger through behavior. If you fly out of the room and order him to return to turn the lights back on, do you really think he’ll come back happily and willingly? If he was angry when he left the first time, do you think he calmed down while he was in the hallway? Ask yourself this question, do you really want an angry child back when he’s still angry? If the answer to that question is “no,” then let him go. The concept of “letting go” is probably one of the hardest concepts to swallow. Some of my workshops’ participants say, “But I have to do something!” I used to think that way too until someone pointed out to me that making the decision to do nothing, right now, is, in fact, doing something. By deciding not to deal with the issue now, you can return to teaching. Granted, the student’s behavior was disruptive and inappropriate but, by not missing a beat, turning the light back on yourself and continuing to teach, you have minimized the damage. Not only that, you are continuing to give attention to those students who need and deserve it instead of further interrupting their instructional day by engaging in a no-win power struggle with their emotionally charged classmate. I had to realize that I had choices. I may not be able to control a child’s behavior but I can control mine. If I kept my head about me and was able to focus on my original goal, I no longer felt compelled to react. This will also work when a student says something that you don’t like under his/her breath. If you heard it and didn't like it the first time, do you really want him/her to repeat it? Employing the technique of “Planned Ignoring” (see CHOICES Newsletter Volume 7, Number 1) at the time students make parting shots generally works. When I suggested this strategy at a recent workshop, one of the participants was very concerned that her other students would perceive her as being weak if she did something like planned ignoring. I asked her what advice she gave her students when they complained about being teased. She said that she tells them to ignore it. I then asked, “Did you ever think that they won’t believe that is OK to ignore something they don’t like if they don’t see adults ignoring similar behavior?” If you recommend ignoring inappropriate comments to your students, they need to see you modeling that behavior. Again, remember that the behavior needs to be addressed at a later time. 107
  • 108. POWER/CONTROL A student arrives in class wearing his hat. You remind him of the rule but he continues to wear it. Perhaps the most difficult time to do the types of things I’m suggesting is when you are dealing with a student who is motivated by the need for power and control. Power plays are a form of oppositional behavior. It is these types of situations that will elicit intense feelings of powerlessness in you. You will react to these feelings by wanting to force the student to comply. Students who feel powerless over the big things in their lives will seek to control the little things. You need to consider how much power you give a student if, simply by wearing a hat, he is able to bring the class to a screeching halt. In cases like this, you maintain your power by not allowing this to happen. Before the student entered the room, the original goal was most likely to get the class started on time and begin teaching the lesson. You have a class of 20+ students who are on time and ready to learn and they need you to do your job. You have one student who, by violating a minor rule, is trying to sidetrack you from that goal. Are you going to let that happen? You addressed the violation when you reminded him of the rule. The proverbial ball is now in his court. He either continues to wear his hat or he takes it off. It is his responsibility. If he chooses to continue to flaunt the rule, he is subject to whatever consequences there are for that action. You also have a choice. You can be sidetracked from your original goal of teaching the class by making the issue the removal of the hat or, you can pursue your original goal. Ask yourself this question, “Do I want to get into an argument about a hat and give attention to someone who is misbehaving, or do I want to teach my lesson and give attention to those students who are behaving?” If you want to continue with your original intention, you will continue to teach. At the end of class, the student will be given the consequence for his behavior. What will the other students think? If you have proactively taught your class that you use “Planned Ignoring” (the decision not to pay attention to the behavior at the time it happens) then they know that the rules have not changed and the behavioral infraction will be addressed later. If you have not discussed this technique they may be confused by your reaction but they may also be grateful that your attention focused on doing your job, teaching them! SUMMARY When things are flowing along smoothly and suddenly you encounter a “rock” in your stream, remember to ask yourself these questions: 1. What was my original goal? 2. What might be the student’s motivation for the behavior? 3. Will traditional interventions (warnings, punishments, exclusion, and orders) work now or make the situation worse? 4. What can I do to adjust my behavior right now to meet my original goal? (Offer help, planned ignore, involve the student) 5. What type of follow-up is needed to teach the student new skills so he/she can learn socially appropriate ways to express him/her in the future? REFERENCES: Greene, R. (1998). The explosive child New York: Harpercollins. Dreikurs, R. and P. Cassel (1972) Discipline without tears (Reissued in 1995) New York: Penguin- NAL Lao-tzu. Tao-Te-Ching Translation of: Tao Te ching by Stephen Mitchell. (1988). New York: Harper Perennial Redl, F. and D. Wineman, (1952). Controls From Within: Techniques for the treatment of the aggressive child New York: The Free Press. 108
  • 109. Positive Discipline ERIC Digest. How do young children learn self-control, self-help, ways to get along with others, and family and school procedures? Such learning occurs when parents and teachers of infants, toddlers, or preschoolers are continuously involved in setting limits, encouraging desired behaviors, and making decisions about managing children. When making these decisions, caregivers often ask themselves these questions: Am I disciplining in a way that hurts or helps this child's self-esteem? Will my discipline help the child develop self-control? This digest suggests methods and language that can be used in handling common situations involving young children. METHODS OF DISCIPLINE THAT PROMOTE SELF-WORTH 1. Show that you recognize and accept the reason the child is doing what, in your judgment, is the wrong thing: "You want to play with the truck but..." "You want me to stay with you but..." This validates the legitimacy of the child's desires and illustrates that you are an understanding person. It also is honest from the outset: The adult is wiser, in charge, not afraid to be the leader, and occasionally has priorities other than those of the child. 2. State the "but": "You want to play with the truck, but Jerisa is using it right now." "You want me to stay with you, but right now I need to (go out, help Jill, serve lunch, etc.)." This lets the child know that others have needs, too. It teaches perspective taking, and may lead the child to develop the ability to put himself in other people's shoes. It will also gain you the child's respect, for it shows you are fair. And it will make the child feel safe; you are able to keep him safe. 3. Offer a solution: "Soon you can play with the truck." One-year-olds can begin to understand "just a minute" and will wait patiently if we always follow through 60 seconds later. Two- and three-year-olds can learn to understand, "I'll tell you when it's your turn," if we always follow through within two or three minutes. This helps children learn how to delay gratification but does not thwart their short-term understanding of time. 4. Often, it's helpful to say something indicating your confidence in the child's ability and willingness to learn: "When you get older I know you will (whatever it is you expect)." "Next time you can … (restate what is expected in a positive manner)." This affirms your faith in the child, lets her know that you assume she has the capacity to grow and mature, and transmits your belief in her good intentions. 5. In some situations, after firmly stating what is not to be done; you can demonstrate how we do it, or a better way: "We don't hit. Pat my face gently." (Gently stroke) "Puzzle pieces are not for throwing. Let's put them in their places together." (Offer help). 109
  • 110. This sets firm limits, yet helps the child feel that you two are a team, not enemies. 6. Toddlers are not easy to distract, but frequently they can be redirected to something that is similar but OK. Carry or lead the child by the hand, saying, "That's the gerbil's paper. Here's your paper." "Peter needs that toy. Here's a toy for you." This endorses the child's right to choose what she will do, yet begins to teach that others have rights, too. 7. Avoid accusation. Even with babies, communicate in respectful tones and words. This prevents a lowering of the child's self-image and promotes his tendency to cooperate. 8. For every no, offer two acceptable choices: "No! Rosie cannot bite Esther. Rosie can bite the rubber duck or the cracker." "No, Jackie. That book is for teachers. You can have this book or this book." This encourages the child's independence and emerging decision-making skills, but sets boundaries. Children should never be allowed to hurt each other. It's bad for the self-image of the one who hurts and the one who is hurt. 9. If children have enough language, help them express their feelings, including anger, and their wishes. Help them think about alternatives and solutions to problems. Adults should never fear children's anger: "You're mad at me because you're so tired. It's hard to feel loving when you need to sleep. When you wake up, I think you'll feel friendlier." "You feel angry because I won't let you have candy. I will let you choose a banana or an apple. Which do you want?" This encourages characteristics we want to see emerge in children, such as awareness of feelings and reasonable assertiveness, and gives children tools for solving problems without unpleasant scenes. 10. Establish firm limits and standards as needed. Until a child is 1 1/2 or almost 2 years old, adults are completely responsible for his safety and comfort, and for creating the conditions that encourage good behavior. After this age, while adults are still responsible for the child's safety, they increasingly, though extremely gradually, begin to transfer responsibility for behaving acceptably to the child. They start expecting the child to become aware of others' feelings. They begin to expect the child to think simple cause/effect thoughts (provided the child is guided quietly through the thinking process). This is teaching the rudiments of self-discipline. 11. To avoid confusion when talking to very young children, give clear, simple directions in a firm, friendly voice. This will ensure that children are not overwhelmed with a blizzard of words and refuse to comply as a result. 12. Remember that the job of a toddler, and to some extent the job of all young children, is to taste, touch, smell, squeeze, tote, poke, pour, sort, explore, and test. At times toddlers are greedy, at times grandiose. They do not share well; they need time to experience ownership before they are expected to share. They need to assert themselves ("No," "I can't," "I won't," and "Do it myself"). They need to separate to a degree from their parents, that is, to individuate. One way they do this is to say no and not to do what is asked; another is to do what is not wanted. If adults understand children in this age range, they will create circumstances and develop attitudes that permit and promote development. Self discipline is better learned through guidance than through punishment. It's better learned through a "We are a team, I am the leader, it's my job to help you grow up" approach than through a "me against you" approach. CREATING A POSITIVE CLIMATE PROMOTES SELF-DISCIPLINE Creating a positive climate for the very young involves *spending lots of leisurely time with an infant or child; *sharing important activities and meaningful play; 110
  • 111. *listening and answering as an equal, not as an instructor (for example, using labeling words when a toddler points inquiringly toward something, or discussing whatever topic the 2-year- old is trying to tell you about); *complimenting the child's efforts: "William is feeding himself!" "Juana is putting on her shoe!" (Even if what you are seeing is only clumsy stabs in the right direction); and *smiling, touching, caressing, kissing, cuddling, holding, rocking, hugging. HARMFUL, NEGATIVE DISCIPLINARY METHODS Criticizing, discouraging, creating obstacles and barriers, blaming, shaming, using sarcastic or cruel humor, or using physical punishment are some negative disciplinary methods used with young children. Often saying: "Stop that!" or "Don't do it that way!" or "You never..." is harmful to children's self-esteem. Such discipline techniques as removal from the group, or isolation in a time-out chair or a corner, may have negative consequences for the child. Any adult might occasionally do any of these things. Doing any or all of them more than once in a while means that a negative approach to discipline has become a habit and urgently needs to be altered before the child experiences low self-esteem as a permanent part of her personality. GOOD APPROACHES TO DISCIPLINE *increase a child's self-esteem, *allow her to feel valued, *encourage her to feel cooperative, *enable her to learn gradually the many skills involved in taking some responsibility for what happens to her, *motivate her to change her strategy rather than to blame others, *help her to take initiative, relate successfully to others, and solve problems. This digest was adopted from an article that appeared in the November, 1988 issue of Young Children (pages 24-9). FOR MORE INFORMATION "Ideas That Work with Young Children: Avoiding Me Against You Discipline." Young Children (November, 1988): 24-9. 111
  • 112. Levels of Reinforcement (Or: How to wean kids away from wanting to be rewarded with "things") The rewards or "reinforcement" that we use to recognize and promote appropriate student behavior differ in the degree to which they promote "inner control". Below, you will see various common "reinforcers" separated into 10 different levels. Level 10 includes "primary reinforcers" (food items), the lowest level of reinforcement. Items at Level one represent strong internal motivation on the part of the student. These kids don't need lower level reinforcers (although they are appreciated when given periodically). Whenever you are trying to motivate a youngster, always use the highest level of reinforcement possible (with some regression at times for certain activities/reasons). Initially, some youngsters will need food or tangible items to get them to display appropriate behavior, but we will strive to help them move to higher levels. We help youngsters to move to higher levels of reinforcement by presenting the present reinforcers (for example, special priviledges/level 7) at the same time as one at a higher level (for example, social recognition/ level 6). This "pairing" of reinforcers helps the higher level one to take on reinforcing value (due to its association with the present reward). Lower level reinforcers are then "faded out" (decreased) as higher level ones start to work. Your task: In your groups of two or three (or by yourself if no one else is around), add more reinforcers to each category (start at the lowest level of "10" which you will find to be the easiest, and move up to category "1"). You can find an answer key at the bottom, but try to complete as much as possible before checking out those options. Level 1. Challenging oneself for self-evaluation purposes -evaluating one's own work (strengths and weaknesses) and identifying ways to improve -evaluating the work of one's peers on material that s/he believes s/he has mastered -designing the master key -recording personal performance on a graph and setting goals for oneself - - 112
  • 113. Level 2. Deciding how s/he will learn the material -class discussion -film strips -language master -reading/library research - - Level 3. The work products effect the look of the classroom -designing and making a bulletin board that shows what has been learned -meeting a certain performance level allows the privilege of making room changes (e.g., seating arrangement, paper taped over the door window) - - - Level 4. Student decides upon the conditions under which s/he works (as long as s/he is on task) -dim lighting -music playing -students decide when they have learned the material & may stop at that point (for evaluation.) -deciding on the order in which to study different subjects/topics - - - Highly motivated learners can perform above this line ______________________________________________________________________ Level 5. Response Topography (Students decide how they will display/evidence their knowledge/ability) -writing their work on the board -writing in magic marker -recording their answers on audiotape - - - Level 6. Social Approval (working for the recognition and approval of others) -displaying work on the "Super worker" board -telephone call home to parents/guardians - - - Level 7. Special Priviledges (effort/performance earns preferred duties) -filmstrip projectionist -collecting assignments -line leader - 113
  • 114. - - Level 8. Contingent Activities (The "Premack principle"---You must do the activity you dislike to earn the one you enjoy) -playing a favorite game -learning a new magic trick from the teacher -looking out the window at the construction crews - - - Level 9. Tangible Rewards (something that can be held/touched, but is not eaten) -achievement badge -tokens to be used toward prizes - - - Level 10. Edible Rewards ("Primary reinforcers") -peanuts (watch out. lots of kids have allergies to these) -raisons -carrot sticks -pieces of chocolate (many people now question the use of "junk food" in reinforcing youngsters) -corn chips (see comment for "chocolate", but what if your student doesn't like "healthy" food?) - - - 114
  • 115. Answer Key for 10 Levels of Reinforcement Activity Level 1 -Student teaches the lesson -Student debates the teacher (chooses one side of argument to show knowledge) -Kids evaluate the teacher's lesson Level 2 -Student conducts a computer search -Student learns by reading a book Level 3 -Student paints a mural -Students tape their project(s) to the classroom window so passers-by can see them Level 4 -Student decides on the level of quality s/he will attain in their work (90% correct, less than 3 spelling errors) -Student may work by the window if s/he remains on task Level 5 -Write on a typewriter/computer -Drama/role play -If must do something on the Cherokee Tribe's "Trail of tears" exodus: -drawing -map -essay written in the 1st person perspective -script of conversation between a member of the Cherokee Tribe member and a U.S. Soldier Level 6 -Give a "big hand" (applause) -Give a silent "big hand" (hold up a wide open hand with fingers spread) -Give a "silent clap" (tap forefinger and thumb together repeatedly) -Class gives "a wave" (students stand up it class and throw hands into the at sporting events) -Class gives a "micro wave" (wave their little fingers) Level 7 -Serving as the class messenger -Taking attendance 115
  • 116. -Being a peer tutor -Being a tutor for a younger student Level 8 -Feeding/caring for class pets -Reading privately with the teacher Level 9 -Certificates of achievement -Smelly (scratch and sniff) stickers -Gold stars -Raffle tickets for class drawing Level 10 -bits of cereal -m & m s -sip of juice -piece of broccoli or a Brussels sprout (Ok, I know not many kids would select these items as a reinforcers) Activities and Discussion Questions 1. What categories do your classroom reinforcers fall into? 2. Devise a plan to "fade out" your present reinforcers and help students rise to higher levels. 3. Think of a youngster whose behavior is inappropriate. Identify desired behaviors and reinforcers. ** Loosely adapted from: D. Raschke (1981). Designing reinforcement surveys Teaching Exceptional Children, December (Some reference information was lost). 116
  • 117. The Art and Craft of Motivating Students Control, Competency, and Connection By Diane Walker - Updated by Melissa Kelly The educational equivalent to "location, location, location," is "motivation, motivation, motivation," for motivation is probably the most significant factor educators can target in order to improve learning. Teachers routinely attest to its significance, lamenting how easily students memorize un-ending rap songs despite their needing a truckload of teaching tricks to remember directions for a simple assignment. Considering its importance, surprisingly little advice about how to motivate students is available on the Internet. The most helpful site reviews motivational research. In it Barbara McCombs states that "almost everything [teachers] do in the classroom has a motivational influence on students--either positive or negative. This includes the way information is presented, the kinds of activities teachers’ use, the ways teachers interact with students, the amount of choice and control given to students, and opportunities for students to work alone or in groups. Students react to who teachers are, what they do, and how comfortable they feel in the classroom." Based on research findings, we now know that motivation depends on the extent to which teachers are able to satisfy students' needs: • to feel in control of their learning • to feel competent • to feel connected with others. How to Give Students More Control Being in control of their learning, means students have significant input into the selection of learning goals and activities and of classroom policies and procedures. Knowing that students need to have significant input into decisions about their learning situation does not, however, simplify the task of meshing what, when, how, and where students want to learn with mandated content and objectives, the school's schedule, and the teacher's room assignment. Fortunately, research suggests that students feel some ownership of a decision if they agree with it, so getting students to accept the reasons some aspects of a course are not negotiable is probably a worthwhile endeavor. Then, whenever possible, students should be allowed to determine class rules and procedures, set learning goals, select learning activities and assignments, and decide whether to work in groups or independently. In addition, while inconsistent with best practice in cooperative learning, allowing students to select learning partners has been shown to improve their motivation to learn. With this, as with other instructional issues, the teacher must continually weigh the benefits of making the "preferred" instructional decision against the motivational benefits of giving students choices among appropriate alternatives. How to Help Students Feel Competent Filling the need to be competent requires assignments that "cause students to challenge their beliefs, actions, and imagination by having them investigate and respond to issues relating to 117
  • 118. • survival, • quality of life, • problem solving, and/or • real products." The more interesting and personally relevant lessons are, the more motivating they will be. School-to- work programs have been particularly successful in this area; however, the relevance of class work to future employment, quality of life, and/or life skills should be shown in traditional classes as well. If we have difficulty finding convincing examples of how class work has relevance to our students' lives, perhaps we should consider revamping our programs. To foster competence "learning experiences should involve both creative and critical thinking” requiring students to: • define the task, • set goals, • establish criteria, • research and gather information, • activate prior knowledge, • generate additional ideas and questions, • organize, • analyze and • integrate all this information (Farges, l993) Use question starters promoting critical thinking and directions for writing lesson plans that facilitate critical thinking. How to Help Students Feel Connected The third factor, the need to feel connected, has been successfully addressed in advisory programs, cooperative learning, and, on a smaller scale, peer mentoring, peer counseling, and community service. Whether or not students participate in these programs, they need a "climate or culture of trust, respect, caring, concern, and a sense of community with others." (Deci & Ryan, 1991) Since student/teacher interactions play such a crucial role that even a single event can determine how the student feels about a class and how he will perform (Caruthers) you may want to review some of the following suggestions for creating a warm and nurturing climate: • Greet students at the door using their first name. Make eye contact and smile. • Listen to students and show you are listening using active listening techniques. Avoid giving advice. • Be genuine, be clear in approval and disapproval, and let students know you don't carry a grudge. Avoid sarcasm. • Talk to students about their discipline problems privately, perhaps outside the classroom door so as not to embarrass them in front of peers. • While using cooperative learning, walk around the room giving students an occasional pat on the back. Catch their eyes and give an okay sign. • Take pictures of all students putting them on the bulletin board. You may want to protect them by putting them under Plexiglas. • Celebrate birthdays and accomplishments during a scheduled "cultural event." One per quarter is probably sufficient. Put birthdays on a database so you can wish students a happy birthday on their special day. • Occasionally bring in goodies, such as hard candy, to distribute to the whole class while complimenting them on their progress. Be sure it is genuinely deserved and use positive remarks such as, "You've been really working at this," and "You've been thinking and making progress." • Have class officers in each class such as a secretary to record assignments for absentees and a cultural experience chairman or social chairman to plan events. Let students decide the 118
  • 119. duration of the jobs and whether they will be filled by appointment or vote. Volunteer service hours can be given if officers spend a lot of time on the class job. Remember the keys to motivating students are control, competence and connection. Quotations about Motivation "The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be kindled." Plutarch, Greek biographer, essayist (46-120 AD) "A key characteristic of transformational leaders is that they motivate people to do more than they originally expected to do." Elizabeth Chell, British academic, management author (b.1949) "Leaders in the new organization do not lack motivational tools, but the tools are different from those of traditional corporate bureaucrats. The new rewards are based not on status but on contribution, and they consist not of regular promotion and automatic pay rises but of excitement about mission and a share of the glory and the gains of success." Rosabeth Moss Kanter, US academic, management author (b.1943) "We don't want satisfaction. We want creative dissatisfaction associated with excitement about the job. That's what motivation is made of." Daniel Quinn Mills, US academic, management author (b.1941) "Do you want to sell sugar water all your life, or do you want to come with me and change the world?" Steve Jobs, US executive, co-founder of Apple Inc (b.1955) persuading John Sculley to leave Pepsi Cola "I'm slowly becoming a convert to the principle that you can't motivate people to do things, you can only demotivate them. The primary job of the manager is not to empower but to remove obstacles." Scott Adams, US cartoonist, author (b.1957) "In everyone's life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flames by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit." Albert Schweitzer, Alsatian theologian (1875-1965) 119
  • 120. Finally, US humorist Ronnie Shakes said: "I was going to buy a copy of The Power of Positive Thinking, and I thought: What the hell good would that do?" 120