ERIC Identifier: ED371506
Publication Date: 1990-00-00
Source: ERIC Clearinghouse on Handicapped and Gifted Children Reston VA.
Managing Inappropriate Behavior in the Classroom. ERIC Digest #E408.
The atmosphere of the classroom has much to do with student behavior. The setting should be appealing, with attention given to varying the physical features and the schedule to prevent boredom in both the teacher and the student. Teachers should let students know specific do's and don'ts: which behaviors are expected or desired and which will not be tolerated. Then teachers must consistently reinforce the desired behaviors while ignoring or in some other way extinguishing the undesirable ones.
WHAT ABOUT ESTABLISHING RULES?
HOW CAN TEACHERS INCREASE STUDENT MOTIVATION FOR ACADEMIC TASKS?
WHAT ABOUT TOKEN ECONOMIES?
HOW CAN TEACHERS DECREASE UNWANTED BEHAVIOR?
Overcorrection is another possibility. Teachers instruct students to correct the inappropriate behavior and execute the act within a natural sequence of events. For example, in one case a child who mouthed objects was told "no" and required to brush his teeth and wipe his lips with a washcloth each time he put a potentially harmful or unhygienic object in his mouth.
Satiation involves actually giving students more of the event that the teacher ultimately wishes to eliminate. The classic example of this technique involves a hospital resident who hoarded towels. Staff began giving her towels-up to 60 per day-until she voluntarily returned more of them and ceased the hoarding.
WHAT ROLE DOES PUNISHMENT PLAY IN CLASSROOM MANAGEMENT?
A possible disadvantage of punishment is that its effects may overgeneralize, eliminating more behaviors that originally intended. Another difficulty is that the student might associate the technique with the person who administered it, causing ill feeling toward the teacher.
WHAT ABOUT TAKING SOMETHING AWAY TO DECREASE UNWANTED BEHAVIORS?
IF A TEACHER CAN'T CONCENTRATE ON INDIVIDUAL PROBLEMS, ARE THERE GROUP METHODS THAT WILL WORK?
*Independent group contingencies. Each student receives the same consequence for stated behavior, as in staying after class for out-of-seat behavior. Although easy to administer, this approach does not take into account individual student differences.
*Dependent group contingency. The same consequence is given to all members of a group. In order to receive the consequence, a selected member must perform at or better than a specified level. One student's behavior can influence the group's consequence. This approach can improve peer group behavior at the same time. A program in which a student accumulates free time for the entire class by on-task behavior may encourage fellow students to support his appropriate activity and not engage him in off-task interaction.
*Group consequence, contingent on group. The entire class is considered as one group. An example is making free time dependent on appropriate behavior: an individual's inappropriate activity reduces the entire class's reward. This approach might be effective when several individuals are behaving inappropriately. However, repercussions might occur if group members feel unduly punished due to the behavior of an individual student.
WHAT ARE SOME GENERAL GUIDELINES FOR MANAGING INAPPROPRIATE BEHAVIOR?
1. Examine the events that maintain students' behavior.
2. Keep data to determine whether or not an approach is working. Compare behavior during baseline and treatment phases.
3. Consider a variety of techniques.
4. Combine approaches to be more effective. For example, a teacher might praise appropriate behavior while ignoring inappropriate behavior.
5. Concentrate on teaching new behaviors and deal with inappropriate ones only to the extent that they interfere with the individual's or group's learning.
The information in this digest is taken from "Managing Inappropriate Behaviors in the Classroom" by Thomas C. Lovitt, Reston, VA: The Council for Exceptional Children, 1978, 44 pp. (ED 157 255)
Johnston, L., and others. (1984). "Setting limits: Tips for teachers of young children." Project enlightenment. (ED 293 294)
Romney, D.M. (1986). "Dealing with abnormal behavior in the classroom. Fastback 245." 42 pp. (ED 275 944) Available from: Phi Delta Kappa Educational Foundation, Eighth and Union, Box 789, Bloomington, IN 47402
Smith, D.L. (1988). "Preparing teachers for classroom management decisions using simulated open-ended video vignettes." 11 pp. (ED 290 729)
Wolfgang, C.H., & Glickman, C.D. (1986). "Solving discipline problems: Strategies for classroom teachers." Second Edition. 330 pp. (ED 216 788)