Classroom Behavior Management: A Dozen Common Mistakes …

Classroom Behavior Management: A
Dozen Common Mistakes and What
to Do Instead
Preventing School Failure,
Mistake #1: Define
Misbehavior By How It Looks
Chess match – find the root cause and
use different methods for each child
(define misbehavior by its function)
Disruptive students:
For the attention-seeking student, ignore
off-task behavior and provide attention
when behaving appropriately.
For the academically frustrated student,
differentiate the assignment.
Mistake #2: Asking, "Why Did
You Do That?"
Don’t do it – you may not like the
Exception: 1 on 1 conversation
Mistake #3: When an Approach
Isn't Working, Try Harder
When a student is misbehaving, using increasingly
more severe punishers as in a confrontation of wills,
often leads to worsening student behavior and more
Using just the negative consequence path is the dark
side (don’t go there)
Punishment consequences by severity: Verbal warning, LOI
grade adjustment, assignment, community service, phone
call, referral, parent conference (there are many others)
Interrupt the chain and have a one on one conversation or try
another intervention
Mistake #4: Violating the Principles of
Good Classroom Rules
Refer to the rules, don’t post and forget
4-6 rules developed by the students
To reinforce the rules, you can role play
appropriate behavior (~5 minutes),
especially at the beginning of the school
Mistake #5: Treating All
Misbehaviors as "Won't Dos"
When students make repeated errors
during our lessons, this most likely
indicates and instructional change is
necessary (e.g., provide more
examples, allow students more practice
time, provide more intensive
Example: Student who can’t do a forward
Mistake #6: Lack of Planning
for Transition Time
Prepare students for the transition (don’t surprise
Explain expectations for the transition.
Students wearing green, quietly stand up, walk over
put your equipment away, and go stand in front of
your teach…James go back.
Use closures to ease transition back to their
classrooms (don’t send students back to their
teacher wound up).
Minimize transition time by spreading out
equipment, setting a time limit, counting down.
#7: Ignoring All or Nothing at All
Ignore behaviors when “attention
getting” is the objective unless it
becomes intrusive.
Ignored students may seek attention
elsewhere (i.e. classmates. In those cases,
speak privately to the student.
Principle of least invasion
Proximity, eye contact, vocal variety, name in a
Mistake #8: Overuse and
Misuse of Time Out
Time out is not a place; it is a process..
For some students, time-out is better than class. Make
class the place kids want to be (fun activities, more
praise, peer work).
What are some guidelines?
Talk to student before they return
Behavioral lesson: frequency, time, distractions, consistency…
Have a series of questions they must complete
Time-out may be a favorable place for some
DON’T be afraid to use this technique but on same token,
don’t overuse it.
Mistake #9: Inconsistent
Expectations and Consequences
“Why did so and so get to do it.”
“That’s not fair.”
Students are very attuned to their sense of
Praise students when they follow the
classroom rules.
Mistake #10: Viewing Ourselves
as the Only Classroom Manager
Self-monitoring - A student helps regulate his or her
own behavior by recording its occurrence on a selfmonitoring form (contract).
Peers teaching
Peer pressure – group or class gets a reward for
meeting teacher criteria.
Talk to other colleagues about what works.
Certain actions are over the line and require sameday follow up to administration and documentation.
Threats, sexual harassment, physical confrontation
Mistake #11: Missing the Link
Between Instruction and Behavior
Poorly planned
activities, routines,
transitions, groupings
etc lead to poorly
behaved students
Mistake #12: Constantly stopping
class/using transitions/pointing out
negative behavior
Monitor your own dialogue – is it overly
negative (Charlie Brown)?
Repeatedly stopping class ruins the flow.
Ask for assistance when needed!
Consult parents, colleagues, other teachers
Most personal attacks are rooted in student
needs, lack of skills, or emotional difficulties
and frustrations, not disdain for you.
Don’t take things personally

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