Saturday, February 25, 2012

Establishing & Maintaining Positive Relationships and Classroom Management, Part 1

Recently, the special education staff in my building and I attended a training on Establishing & Maintaining Positive Relationships and Classroom Management. Obviously I don't have a classroom, but I got some excellent ideas to reference, reinforce, and share within the building. I plan on making this a series on the blog, since there's so much to share. Putting a classroom management system in place is crucial for an effective learning environment at any stage of the school year, but especially at the beginning of the year.
Let's start with our lessons of the day...

Three Keys to Positive Behavior Supports

It is possible to manage student behavior and increase motivation so that the time and energy of teachers (and building staff!) can be directed towards focusing on instruction and student success. Here are three key best practices for positive behavior supports (PBIS) to remember:
  1. Proactive -- prioritize the focus on preventing problems, rather than constantly reacting to them.
  2. Positive approach -- purposefully build meaningful and collaborative relationships with students and provide them with specific and positive feedback to enhance motivication and improve academic performance.
  3. Explicit Instruction -- directly teach behavior expectations in all school environments and groupings at the beginning of the school year, review expectations as necessary, and use the occasions of misbehavior to teach replacement behaviors. 

What We Know About Managing Student Behavior
  • Most behavior is learned--our behavior is influenced by the events and conditions we experience.
  • All behavior that occurs repeatedly serves a function! Common functions include: attention-seeking, power/control seeking, boredom, feelings of inadequacy, task avoidance, or to obtain something.
  • Behavior that is repeated is motivated. If there is no motivation for the student, there is typically no repeat in the behavior.
  • Changing behavior requires focusing on what prompts the behavior, what encourages or sustains the behavior, and what might discourage the behavior in the future.
It is critical to establish, maintain, and frequently communicate high and positive expectations for all students. Deliberately make an effort to interact positively with students every day, especially those with challenging behaviors. The probability of having cooperative and motivated students increase dramatically when they perceive that you both like and respect them. It's not about being their friend, it's about being a teacher or support staff member with clear expectations, fair, consistent, and accepting of who they are, as you demonstrate that you care and will help them succeed. It is crucial to create a mindset where you do not take misbehavior personally.

(Note: these resources are not mine, but that of my district's professional development dept.)

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