Fostering Positive Classroom Behavior

We all have had those active classrooms with “behavioral challenges.” In fact, the trend is that instead of one “hard” student in the school (as it was early on in my career), it is expected that most classrooms will have several behavioral challenges that change the tone of the room.

Each time I see discussion boards swing to this topic, I am always saddened to see the listings of behavioral reinforcements (stickers, candy, extra recesses, on and on) that is used. Using these extrinsic rewards actually is compounding the problem!!! 

Rather than using monetary rewards, I would like to suggest that teachers focus on intrinsic rewards; teaching children to feel that natural sense of accomplishment that is being smothered with behavioral modification reward systems. I have found great success using this approach. Children thrive in an atmosphere of high expectations where a task is completed because of the sense of accomplishment that one enjoys from its completion. An atmosphere where the caring and respect for others and oneself is taught, modeled, and practiced. An atmosphere where children are taught how to make good choices and feel the differences those choices bring to their life.

In college I first learned all about the Glasser Circle and I loved its effects. Next, I was trained using the Tribes Learning Community. But for Kindergarten, nothing can beat “I Care Cat: Peacemaking Skills for Little Kids” or I love both of these programs. They are simple and effective. As students learn how to self-manage conflict, care for and listen to each other, and be responsible, the climate of the classroom changes. 

Another thing that I always use is the “Turtle Trick.” This valuable tip to help children control anger, teaches students how to regulate and control their disruptive impulses and natural aggressions. I have seen the lives change in students that are given this tool! We must remember that children want to be good. 

So, before you hand out the stickers, I hope that you will take a look at other methods that actually fix the problem. Methods that give children the instruction and experiences necessary to function in our society.

You might also be interested in this post on my use of the "Behavior Tower." A quick method that allows children opportunity to reset behavior.