This “slide show” identifies and describes the four common
components or parts found in most effective classroom
management systems.
There is a “code” to help you view this show. A red punctuation
mark indicates that the show has stopped. You must “left click” on
your mouse to view the next part of the slide. A green punctuation
mark also indicates a stopping point and the end of the material
on a particular slide.
Tom McIntyre, 9/20/06
Proficient management of student behavior is crucial to our success as
teachers. It allows us to perform all the other duties associated with our job.
While perhaps the most important skill of teaching, it is undoubtedly the most
difficult to master. With reading, writing, and math, we can learn the curricula
and teach the material well by following certain steps. Management of
behavior also requires a knowledge base and skill in procedures, but there is
much more that is required to do it well.
In order to promote student achievement and guarantee physical,
psychological, and intellectual safety to our charges, our actions and reactions
must prevent and subdue inappropriate behavior.
Most teachers find that their effectiveness is increased and enhanced if they
construct a strong framework on which to attach their many strategies and
Essentially, there are four universal requirements that must be considered and
addressed when setting up a classroom management plan. There are four
pieces of the behavior management puzzle that must fit tightly and securely.
They are…
Most effective comprehensive behavior
management systems used in classrooms contain
four integral components. What are they?
Negative consequences for non-compliance
Positive consequences for compliance
Consistency on the part of the teacher.
Component #1: Rules
Generally, teachers set up rules early during the
first day of school. Do any of you have an
exception to the rule on rules?
There is always an exception to rules (except certain absolutes such as “Do no
harm.”, “Do what is in the student’s best interest.”)
How many rules are appropriate?
Usually 4-7, non-redundant of school rules…specific to the needs of your
Do you involve the pupils in the making of the
rules? If yes, how so?
Another Rule for Making Rules
Rules should inform kids as to the
behaviors that are expected in the school
house (rather than telling them what NOT to
do). Avoid rules with “Don’t”s or “No”s.
How then might we phrase them?
POSTIVELY, identifying the behavior that we wish to see displayed.
“Don’t rules” fail to tell the students what they should be doing. In
fact, they may create misbehavior as students attend to the action
word, failing to mentally attend to the “No” and “Don’t”.
So…Let’s rephrase some of Mrs. Mutner’s
rules into more positive versions.
-No hitting
-No cursing
-No yelling
-No cheating
-No cell phones
-No note passing
-No asking unrelated
-No talking while the
teacher is talking
-No saying “No”.
Exceptions to the “No no’s” rule?
Are there times when a “No rule” is
indicated and useful?
When positive phrasing would be awkward,
complex, and/or interfere with understanding.
To make it known that an action is so
inappropriate, heinous, vile, and despicable that
it is not acceptable under any circumstances.
In general, rules Should Be Specific, describing the
behaviors one wishes to see one’s students display.
Sometimes though, we think “outside the box ”
For whom might this less specific “Code of conduct” be
appropriate? What might be the purpose of this
SAFETY: Are my actions safe for myself and others?
RESPECT: Do my actions show consideration for myself and others?
HONESTY: Do my words and actions meet the expectation to take
care of myself and be a dependable member of the group?
COURAGE: Am I resisting peer pressure or directions that might hurt
others? Am I doing the right thing?
COURTESY: Do my actions help to make this place a positive
learning climate where people feel welcomed and accepted. Do my
actions allow others to do their work without interruption?
Thematic Rules
Some teachers package their rules in a “theme”
format. Anyone here do so? If yes, tell us more.
What are your thoughts regarding the following
example? (published in a newsletter of a state-level organization for special educators)
Horse School House Rules
No horsing around.
Be mature. Don’t act like a colt.
Trot on the track, not in the halls.
Bridle you mouth while the trainer is instructing.
Braid your mane at home. Don’t be a show horse.
Munch on your hay with your mouth closed.
Saddle up your manners & step into the stirrups of learning.
Another Example: Rules with a Car Theme
Keep your eyes on the road. (Do your own work)
Buckle your seat belt. (Stay in your seat)
Signal to turn. (Raise your hand to speak)
Stay alert. (Listen while others speak)
Stay in your lane. (Keep hands, feet, & objects to yourself)
Be a courteous driver. (Speak kindly and encourage others)
Control your speed and direction.
(Use appropriate language and gestures)
Most Experts Recommend that
Rules be Posted
Serves as an on-going
reminder as kids
periodically scan
the room.
Allows us to promote selfcontrol by saying “What
should you be doing right
now?” while gesturing
toward the poster.
Other Influences On Rules?
Might the rules be different for various age
groups? Can you identify examples of rules
that might be age-group specific?
Might other characteristics such as
cognitive level/intellectual ability
affect the type, intent, focus, or wording
of the rules? If yes, how so?
Component #2: Negative Consequences
When student behavior does not match stated
expectations (the rules, regulations, routines, directions),
negative consequences for those actions are
often deemed necessary.
Punishment can be effective in promoting
behavior change, but to gain this outcome, it
must be administered in a well-informed and
thoughtful manner.
The above conditions are not often met.
Typically, consequences are placed into a list of sequentially
more punitive penalties. They usually follow an official
“warning” telling the student to engage in the appropriate
The word “warning” might be viewed as confrontational or
coercive by the student, spurring defiance. Many teachers
prefer “reminder” or “cue”.
The “warning” is not actually the first intervention. The
teacher should have tried to get the student on task in subtle
ways previous to it (distracting the youngster, “proximity praise”).
Too many teachers make this component the main ingredient
in their behavior management stew. Instead, it should be a
sparingly used spice adding a subtle undertaste.
Other Important Points To Remember
Let the list of consequences do the work while presenting yourself as being:
 Confident
 Calm
 Regretful at having to implement consequences
Show more firmness and resolve (but not anger) in your voice and
approach as the youngster moves through the penalty list while ALWAYS
 reminiscing about the times when s/he made a good behavior choice
 encouraging a good choice now to avoid further penalties.
If the systematic application of a list of consequences isn’t working, change
it. Get a better system. Don’t get meaner and crankier; get smarter.
Immediately show a smile upon compliance (at any point) and thank the
student for making “a good choice” or displaying the correct behavior
(instead of holding a grudge and saying “It’s about time. Don’t do that again.”)
People are more likely to comply with authority figures that they like. Be
sure that the archive of positive interactions between you and student
outweighs the history of negative events (at least 5-8 positive interactions for
each negative one…more if interactions have been primarily negative to this point).
Make a list of 4 to 7 consequences that could be used in
your (future) classroom. After the consequences have been
exhausted, it is time for the administrator in charge of
discipline to take over.
The teacher should be supportive and respectful when
administering consequences. Talk about what privileges
and points can be kept, versus how more will be lost.
What if I only have one big punishment
that I can use?
Removal of recess
Phone call to the home
Send to the office
Lunch in an isolated place
Lethal injection .
EITHER…Take it away in segments
Elementary grades: 1 minutes of lost recess; 3 minutes; 7 minutes; 15
minutes; all of recess spent sitting on the sidelines watching others have fun
Secondary: Student leaves 20 seconds after the bell for the 5 minutes of
hallway passing to the next class; 45 seconds, 1½ minutes, 2 minutes; (then
detention assigned…10 minutes if quiet during that time, 20 minutes if quiet)
OR…Take away all of a privilege after a certain number of
warnings have been given
3rd checkmark on the board results in implementation of serious consequence
Decrease the number of warnings as the student is capable of more restraint.
“Losing your license”
(This slide shows the penalty
component for the “Driver theme”
plan seen earlier.)
If a certain number of negative points accumulate,
daily privileges (social time, lunch with friends) are
Violations that result in “points on your license”:
Failure to yield right-of-way (disrespect shown toward others)
Failure to observe a stop sign (failing to follow directions)
Reckless driving (roughness with others)
Excessive speed (use of profanity or offensive words)
Component #3: Positive Consequences
The major focus of our system should be
placed on “catching kids being good”.
Have the students join you in promoting appropriate
behavior by implementing a group reward system that
creates positive peer pressure/support to behave well.
(found at
When the class is “out of control”, scan the room looking
for kids who are doing “the right thing”. Recognize that
those students in an attempt to instigate “the ripple effect”.
Constantly watch for opportunities to recognize
appropriate behavior. Don’t be stingy with praise, smiles,
non-verbal positive signals.
Positive Non-Verbal Signals
What are some non-verbal signals that
indicate pleasure with the actions
displayed by students?
Oops…That’s not what I meant
To whom might these gestures be offensive?
Thumbs up
Pointing at the person
Summoning with a finger curl
Making the “V” for victory sign with the back of the
fingers toward others
The “OK” sign
Pasting a star on a paper
Handing items with the left hand
A light touch on the shoulder, or mussing of the hair
Showing the sole of your shoe to others when
crossing legs
Negative Non-Verbal Signals
What are some non-verbal responses that
indicate displeasure with the actions displayed
by students?
Stern facial features and glaring eye contact (perhaps
with angled body leaning back and arms folded across chest)
Holding up index finder and wagging it side-to-side
Holding up “stop” hand (arm outstretched and palm of hand
facing student with fingers spread)
All in All…
Research and craft knowledge tell us that
our best behavior management practice is
to catch kids being good.
Make it the MAJOR focus of your behavior
management approach.
Component #4: Consistency
In order for our system to be effective, we
must be predictable in our responses to
actions that abide by and break the rules.

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