The dismissal bell, rather than the teacher’s verbal reminder, should be the discriminative stimulus for students to put away materials, straighten their desks, and leave the classroom in an orderly manner.
Let’s review the behavioral principles that guide us as we monitor and reinforce behaviors
Principle I. Behavior is controlled by its consequences.
What you do after a student engages in rule following or rule violation is what will control his or her behavior. If you post the rules and forget about them, you are ignoring this basic principle.
Principle II. Behavior is strengthened or maintained by reinforcement.
If you want students to follow classroom rules and routines, you have to reinforce them when they do.
Principle III. Behavior is weakened by withholding the consequences (usually social) that have maintained it (extinction).
Can you give an example?
Principle IV. Behavior is also weakened by punishment.
This principle tells us: (a) that students who violate the rules need either an aversive consequence (e.g., a short, clear reprimand) or (b) removal of a positive reinforcer (e.g., loss of a privilege). These procedures are much more effective when used sparingly. Remember that the first strategy for addressing a behavioral error is error correction.
Principle V. To influence behavior effectively, consequences must consistently and immediately follow the behaviors they are meant to control (contingency).
When teachers are disorganized and lack “withitness,” they cannot pay attention to rule-following and rule-breaking. As a result, students receive inconsistent and delayed consequences. Teachers who are organized and clear in their expectations, on the other hand, can spot students who are cooperative or challenging and handle those situations more effectively and promptly.
Principle VI. Behavior is also strengthened, weakened, or maintained by modeling.
When we increase students’ rates of academic responding they tend to increase correct responses and task engagement as well as decrease disruptive behavior (Conroy et al., 2008; Sutherland, Alder, & Gunter, 2003; Sutherland & Wehby, 2001).