What does Ms. Rollison need to understand about student behavior?
Page 3: Classroom and Teacher Influences on Behavior
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In addition to being aware of how culture influences behavior, teachers should also realize that there are classroom factors that influence students’ behavior (e.g., organization, predictable schedules). By addressing these factors in a proactive manner and creating a structured environment, teachers can minimize disruptive behavior. They can do this by:
Another way that teachers can be proactive in addressing student behavior is to prevent, interrupt, or stop minor undesirable behaviors (i.e., surface behaviors) as soon as they begin and before they escalate. Teachers can address these types of disruptive behaviors by using surface management strategies—simple, nonintrusive ways to respond to minor disruptive behavior without interrupting classroom instruction. These strategies allow teachers to respond in a way that does not embarrass or publicly identify the student. To do this, it is helpful if the teacher knows the unique needs and personality of the student. Given the nature of the behavior and the personality of the student, the teacher might find that she can effectively deal with the behavior by using one of the surface management strategies outlined below.
|Redirecting||Redirecting involves asking the student to do a task, such as reading or answering a question, to refocus the student’s attention. When redirecting, the teacher should act as though the student is paying attention so as not to embarrass her or him.|
|Planned ignoring||Intentional ignoring is used when the teacher is confident that the behavior (e.g., tapping a pencil) will run its course and that it will not disrupt or spread to others.|
|Signaling||A variety of signals (e.g., establishing eye contact, clearing one’s throat) can communicate disapproval of the student’s behavior.|
|Proximity control||Physical contact or reduced distance between the student and the teacher often helps the student to control impulses.|
|Interest boosting||This is useful when a student’s interest in a task is waning or when he or she is becoming restless. Displaying genuine interest in a child’s work or interests (e.g., NASCAR, art projects) helps to build a relationship and rapport, and this in turn might increase the student’s motivation to continue to work on the assignment.|
|Use of humor||A humorous comment or joke can ease a tense or anxious situation. However, the teacher should never make a student the brunt of the joke or humorous comment.|
|Hurdle help||Assisting a frustrated, overwhelmed, or unmotivated student (e.g., by working the first two or three division problems together) can help him or her to get started and to become invested in the task at hand.|
|Removal of the object||When the teacher directs a student to put the distracting object (e.g., toy car, cell phone) away, he or she is better able to concentrate on academic assignments, observe classroom rules, and continue to learn.|
|Antiseptic bouncing||A teacher can temporarily remove a student from the setting (e.g., let student get a drink of water or deliver a message to another teacher) to permit the student time to regain composure and control his or her behavior. This strategy is not designed to punish the student.|
Adapted from Long & Newman (1980) and Levin & Nolan (2010).
Listen as Michael Rosenberg and Lori Jackman discuss surface management strategies in greater detail.
Michael Rosenberg, PhD
Professor of Special Education, Associate Dean of Research
Johns Hopkins University
Lori Jackman, EdD
Assistant Professor of Special Education
Although surface management strategies are often effective for addressing minor disruptive behaviors, they are not sufficient for addressing all classroom behavior management issues. For this reason, teachers should also develop a comprehensive behavior management plan, something that will be discussed in detail on subsequent pages.