It’s all too easy to spend more time correcting negative behaviors than rewarding positive ones. If a student routinely leaves a flurry of papers in her wake, chances are she will be chastised for making a mess. Meanwhile, the student who walks over to clean up someone else’s desk is rarely acknowledged for his efforts.
But classroom behavior management doesn’t necessarily mean focusing on negative behaviors. In fact, it should be the opposite. There are ways to flip those negative actions into positive ones. The trick is to set meaningful, positive behavior expectations before the problems start.
There are a few ways your school might go about that task. An administrator could take their best guess at creating a list of positive behavior expectations, given what they know about the student body and school values. Better yet, a committee might come up with expectations together.
But both of these methods are imperfect, since they rely on a limited number of perspectives. Instead, we recommend coming up with your school-wide behavior expectations using stakeholder feedback. This tactic will ensure all stakeholders will likely be invested in the final behavior rubric, since they were given a chance to bring up the problems they’re already facing. Everyone appreciates an opportunity to not only vent, but also be a part of the solution!
There are three basic steps to flip your behavior problems to positives:
This is effective for a few important reasons. For one, it helps educators avoid the common conundrum of spending more time on disruptive students than their well-behaved peers. Many of the students who shout out jokes during a poetry reading are looking for attention – and often they get it, which exacerbates the problem.
Instead, a positive behavior rubric encourages educators and administrators to recognize students who do the right thing. By setting a positive example and spending less time focusing on disruptions, this system will eventually block those negative behaviors in the first place. Students no longer get attention by acting out in class, but they will if they quietly help their neighbor prepare for their presentation.
LiveSchool makes the flip from problems to positives even smoother. With the LiveSchool app, teachers can recognize positive behavior in an instant, and even reflect on their ratio of positive reinforcement to behavior correction. The point system is easy to use, and allows instructors to provide comments and feedback that will be immediately visible to parents.
By implementing a system that focuses on positive behaviors, your school can initiate an overall shift toward behavior reinforcement, and away from punishments and reprimands. There will still be cases that need more intensive behavior supports, but teachers will find that they spend less time managing difficult behavior issues, and more time recognizing all the positive things their students have been doing all along!
Let us know which problems you flipped into positives by tweeting us @whyliveschool, or sharing your experience on our Facebook page, @liveschool!
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Melissa Lime and Freedom Crossing Academy were the first to implement LiveSchool in their district, and they set the bar high!