What should teachers understand about effective classroom behavior management?
Page 2: Classroom and School-Wide Behavior Management
As you just learned, disruptive behavior can have a negative impact on students and teachers alike. Although many teachers are prepared to implement evidence-based instructional practices, they often do not receive the training or develop the skills necessary to effectively manage disruptive behaviors. Additionally, planning thoughtful and engaging lessons is often front-and-center, making behavior management something of an afterthought. Regardless, teachers should understand that academics and behavior are interlinked: When teachers provide high-quality instruction, students tend to be more engaged in the lesson, and exhibit fewer disruptive behaviors; when teachers effectively manage student behavior, they have more time to provide high-quality instruction. For this reason, it’s important to see classroom behavior management as a core component of effective instruction. Read on to learn more about effective classroom behavior management and how it aligns with the broader school-wide behavior management system.
Comprehensive Classroom Behavior Management
Did You Know?
Many teachers turn to colleagues for advice on how to manage student behavior. But beware! Not all advice is equally valid. Some suggested strategies are likely to be unsubstantiated whereas others have a proven track record (i.e., evidence-based practices).
When we think of classroom behavior management, the first things that typically come to mind are rules and procedures. Yet comprehensive classroom behavior management consists of so much more. It refers to a proactive, positive system in which the teacher:
- Creates an organized, consistent, culturally-responsive, and integrated classroom environment that supports effective instruction and promotes student learning
- Engages and communicates with students (and families) in an ongoing manner
When we say proactive, we simply mean that it is better to plan to prevent disruptive behavior before it occurs rather than impulsively react to disruptive behavior after it occurs. Many behavioral challenges can be minimized, or even avoided altogether, if a teacher implements comprehensive classroom behavior management. To create such a system, teachers need to have an understanding of key concepts related to behavior and of foundational behavior management practices. These concepts and practices, listed in the table below, will be explored on subsequent pages.
|Behavior Management Practices|
Note: Although this module covers the items in the table above, it is beyond the scope of this resource to cover every evidence-based classroom management practice.
- Effective classroom management, consisting of practices such as creating a structured environment, a positive climate, and clear expectations, has a positive impact on students’ academic achievement.
(Conroy, Alter, & Sutherland, 2014; Gage, Scott, Hirn, & MacSuga-Gage, 2018; Stronge, Ward, & Grant, 2011)
- Teachers and school administrators play a critical role in setting clear expectations for acceptable behavior. They are also instrumental in developing positive, culturally responsive, and respectful management systems that facilitate learning and social development.
(Larson, Pas, Bradshaw, Rosenberg, & Day-Vines, 2018; Scheuermann & Hall, 2016)
- Effective classroom managers recognize that teacher behavior influences student behavior. As such, they invest time in the logistics of how best to prevent and respond to instances of disruptive behavior.
(Mitchell, Hirn, & Lewis, 2017; Simonsen et al., 2015)
Listen as Angela Mangum and Ashley Lloyd discuss the benefits of implementing comprehensive behavior management.
High School Teacher
Although this module will focus on establishing comprehensive classroom behavior management, some educators may wonder: Do I need to consider comprehensive classroom behavior management if my school is already implementing school-wide behavior management?
School-Wide Behavior Management
Thousands of elementary, middle, and high schools across the nation have adopted school-wide behavior management, so it is likely that your school is implementing such a system as well. If so, you should still implement comprehensive classroom behavior management. When properly aligned, these systems work together to support the academic and behavioral success of all students.
Schools that implement school-wide behavior management commonly use Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS). The PBIS framework provides the structure (broad practices and core principles) around which educators can identify and use evidence-based practices for improving academic and behavioral outcomes for all students. PBIS consists of three tiers—Tier 1, Tier 2, and Tier 3—through which educators can provide a continuum of supports and services to promote appropriate behaviors and to prevent and address challenging behaviors.
Tier 1 (sometimes referred to as primary or universal prevention) is effective school-wide or classroom behavior management, which includes teaching students appropriate behavior.
Tier 2 (also referred to as targeted or secondary prevention) offers targeted supports to groups of students with similar needs.
Tier 3 (also referred to as tertiary intervention or intensive, individualized prevention) offers an individualized support plan based on assessment data.
Both school-wide and classroom behavior management are considered primary prevention (Tier 1). If implemented effectively, comprehensive classroom behavior management should prevent or address the challenging behavior of approximately 80% of students.
When thinking about comprehensive classroom behavior management, teachers should make sure it aligns with the school-wide behavior management plan. For illustrative purposes, let’s see how Ms. Rollison’s school implements Tier 1 prevention in its school-wide behavior management plan.
Note: This example only includes one key practice in Tier 1 and is not all-inclusive of a school-wide behavior management plan. It intends to show how a teacher can align her own classroom expectations with the school-wide expectations.
For Your Information
In addition to identifying school-wide expectations, some schools establish rules and consequences to be used in all classrooms. On the other hand, others plan only the school-wide expectations and allow teachers to create their own classroom rules and consequences. Be sure to check with your school’s leadership team to determine your responsibilities as a teacher.
School-Wide: One of the key practices of Tier 1 is to define and teach school-wide expectations. The PBIS framework recommends that schools identify three to five positively stated behavioral expectations that apply to all students.
Example: The leadership team at Ms. Rollison’s school has chosen three expectations: Be Respectful; Be Responsible; Be Ready.
Classroom: The PBIS framework notes that teachers should align their classroom expectations with the school-wide expectations. This consistency helps students understand what to expect and, therefore, limits disruptive behaviors.
Example: Ms. Rollison discusses the school-wide expectations with her students and explains what this looks like in her classroom. Examples of each are noted in the table below.
|School-Wide Expectations||Ms. Rollison’s Classroom Expectations|
Listen as Ashley Lloyd explains how her comprehensive classroom behavior management aligns with the school-wide behavior management system.
Ms. Rollison — The Story Unfolds
Now that Ms. Rollison is aware that many behavioral challenges can be minimized or avoided altogether by implementing comprehensive classroom behavior management, she is beginning to feel more confident. She is now ready to explore key behavioral concepts and practices that will help support her students both academically and behaviorally.
High-Leverage Practices for Students with Disabilities
The practices highlighted in this module align with high-leverage practices (HLPs) in special education—foundational practices shown to improve outcomes for students with disabilities. More specifically, these practices align with:
HLP7: Establish a consistent, organized, and respectful learning environment.
HLP9: Teach social behaviors.
HLPs, which all special education teachers should implement, are divided into four areas: collaboration, assessment, social/emotional/behavioral practices, and instruction. For more information about HLPs, visit High-Leverage Practices in Special Education.