After working so hard at the beginning of the year to enforce rules and procedures….. the real work begins. Research has shown it is important to reward positive behavior and create consequences for negative behavior. With such a busy day it becomes difficult to persistent. It’s important for students to know the teachers expectations and to give encouragement to choose the right behavior, every single day.
Positive reinforcement is crucial in a classroom. It not only encourages students to follow rules/procedures but also creates a atmosphere where students can be their best! Positive reinforcement can be recognizing the whole class for a job well done or individual students. Immediate positive acknowledgment can include high fives, thumbs up, thanking the student or “brain bucks” for the classroom store. Non immediate positive consequences can include notes home and morning post-it notes.
In third grade, we have a reward systems that ties to our Economic unit. Students receive a wallet at the beginning of the year. When students are spotted using their brain, including behaving correctly or going above and beyond, they earn “brain bucks.” These “brain bucks” can be used for the end of the month classroom store. Handing students the paper slip allows them to see their behavior being recognized. It is also very easy for me to hand them out and use it regularly. Students can either save the money at the classroom store or spend it. Students must save their money for the bigger items. Students get paid for doing their classroom job and must pay with a check rent for their desk.
I find that positive reinforcement keeps the morale up in the classroom and creates students where they are proud of themselves. I do think that having just positive reinforcement in the classroom is not enough. Good behavior should be recognized but poor behavior can’t just be ignored.
Students poor behavior needs to be acknowledged so a change can be made. Ignoring students who are not following directions or procedures is encouraging the behavior being done. Consequences for poor behavior is important but can be done incorrectly. Students do not respond to yelling or embarrassment. Consequence for poor behavior can be non verbal including tapping the child on the shoulder, standing close, tapping the child’s desk or giving a look. Verbal consequences are speaking to the child in private, wittiness, giving a warning or having the child write a note to their parents.
The easiest way stop poor behavior from getting to out of hand is using your own wittiness. Being aware of everything going on in the classroom and stopping a behavior right away. Students realize they are being watched and can’t get away with silliness.
I believe their are levels of poor behavior and teachers do respond in different ways. Nonverbal warnings are usually the first step and then students get spoken to by the teacher. The best teachers handle misbehaving students with seriousness and compassionate. The teachers also don’t get flustered by the students.