Classroom Management (Part 1): Learning the Components of a Comprehensive Behavior Management Plan
Classroom management is the primary concern of most beginning teachers. Without effective classroom management, teachers spend a great amount of time dealing with inappropriate student behavior and less time on instruction. As a result, student learning suffers. Teachers who develop a comprehensive classroom management plan containing a statement of purpose, rules, procedures, consequences, and an action plan can avoid many of the usual pitfalls. Listen as Mike Rosenberg summarizes the components of a comprehensive classroom management plan (time: 3:21).
An effective behavior management plan should make explicit a number of components in order to be effective. What we want to start off with is a statement of purpose or a mission statement, and this is a brief, positive statement that conveys to all of the stakeholders—parents, students, related service personnel—why the various components of the plan are necessary. What we would hope is that the statement is focused, direct, really clearly understood by all involved, and free of educational jargon. We also hope that it would be inspirational, that people see this statement as important because it leads to a positive outcome and success for all kids.
Rules are explicit statements of the expectations for the classroom. When developing these classroom rules, we want teachers to limit them to four or five, not a large number, and make sure that they are stated positively, that they use simple, specific terms, that they’re observable and measureable, and that they convey the expected behavior to the students. These should be clear and understood by the students. And in many cases we urge teachers to model these behaviors that the rules convey.
Procedures are how teachers expect students to perform certain classroom routines. It’s a description of the steps for successfully completing such things as walking in the hallway, going to the cafeteria, responding to fire drills. But in considering the development of procedures, teachers need to decide why the procedure’s needed, under what circumstances the procedure would be needed, when the procedure’s needed, and most importantly how the procedure is built or developed. Specifically, step by step, how do we want the students to behave in the circumstance that the procedure requires?
Consequences are the actions that teachers take when students behave appropriately or inappropriately. It’s very important that when students follow rules or procedures that teachers provide a positive consequence. This positive consequence, we expect, will reinforce that rule or procedural compliance. In contrast, when students violate a rule or procedure, the teacher should provide a negative consequence. What we expect or what we hope for then is that the negative consequence will decrease the likelihood that the students will engage in that rule violation in the future. Now, the very important thing about consequences is that they must be applied with consistency.
Finally, an effective classroom management plan must have an action plan. And this is a method for implementing all elements of the comprehensive plan. Think of this as a tool kit of forms and supports that one can use to make sure that the plans that are made actually happen. Elements of this action plan include how we’re going to teach the comprehensive plan to students. How we’re going to share the plan with other personnel or colleagues. How are we going to disseminate this plan to parents and families of students? And one thing that’s often overlooked is how we’re going to review elements of the plan in the future to ensure the maintenance of the success of this finely crafted comprehensive plan.
Revisiting Initial Thoughts
Think back to your initial responses to the following questions. After working through the resources in this module, do you still agree with your Initial Thoughts? If not, what aspects of your answers would you change?
What does Ms. Rollison need to understand about student behavior?
What can Ms. Rollison do to increase the chances that her students will behave appropriately in class?
When you are ready, proceed to the Assessment section.