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Behaviors At School

Introduction

The purpose of this tool is to provide you with a resource for handling student misbehavior. It presents a complete step-by-step approach to changing inappropriate student behavior to appropriate behavior. It takes the guesswork out of your treatment of discipline problems by offering specific techniques for dealing with various misbehaviors. And it provides a guarantee for the professional handling of student behaviors.

Often, our handling of discipline problems is a reaction to the student's behavior, with little or no thought to whether our reaction is good for the student, other students, or the learning situation in the classroom. Our language concerning discipline problems is often jargon that is not really understood by all teachers, administrators, counselors, or parents. Likewise, we often attempt to handle problem behavior alone. In many cases, our handling of discipline problems may not be considered professionally responsible by colleagues, administrators, or parents.

There are three variables in every discipline situation: the teacher, the problem student, and the rest of the students in the class. The only variable a teacher can control is himself or herself. If the teacher is out of control, the situation is out of control. The discipline model contained in this tool will help you understand how to handle discipline concerns effectively, keep yourself in control of the situation, and teach students self-discipline.

The discipline model offers a complete step-by-step guide to many options for handling 117 student behaviors. The model is designed to enable you, your colleagues, counselors, administrators, and the rest of the school team to work together for a mutually satisfying solution to student problems. It will give you assurance that everyone is working from the same firm foundation toward the solution of discipline problems.

The MASTER Teacher Definition of Discipline

"The adjustment of unacceptable behavior to acceptable behavior according to our individual standards and measures."

An effective discipline program needs to be accompanied by three teacher actions:

  • A program of discipline must teach self-discipline.

    First, our actions must include teaching self-discipline. If they don't, we can count on having to correct the same inappropriate behavior over and over again. We can't assume that our students will learn appropriate behavior simply by pointing out inappropriate behavior. Neither can we assume that criticizing, reprimanding, and punishing students for inappropriate behavior will make them change. Therefore, our definition of discipline must be accompanied by efforts to teach students appropriate behavior so that they can learn to be self-disciplined.
  • Students must know what the standards are in our classroom.

    We must teach students the standards we hold in our classrooms. We can't expect students to know our standards by transference, by our reputations, or by trial-and-error experiences. Remember, there may be as many different standards in a school as there are teachers. In addition, what was acceptable last year may not be acceptable this year. And what is acceptable in Mr. Jones' room may be totally unacceptable in Mrs. Smith's room. Therefore, our definition of discipline must be accompanied by teaching students the standards held in our classrooms.
  • The adjustment of behavior must fit the occasion and the environment.

    Our standards must fit the occasion and the environment. Students should not be expected to behave the same way in the classroom as they do in the cafeteria. Appropriate behavior at a party would certainly be different from appropriate behavior at an assembly. Students need to be taught these differences and allowed some discretion. That's why it's a good idea for the faculty to get together and do some deciding about expectations concerning appropriate behavior before addressing the issue with students. Remember, our definition must take into consideration the occasion and the environment.

Overall Objectives

Educators are looking for a recipe to solve everyday classroom discipline problems. The MASTER Teacher Model takes the guesswork out of the treatment of discipline problems by offering specific techniques for dealing with various misbehaviors. And it provides a guarantee for the professional handling of student behaviors in a way that is good for the student, other students, and the learning situation in the classroom.

To use this model, you must be willing to focus on the total student and be prepared to respond in a professional manner in handling all student behaviors. Changing unacceptable behavior to acceptable behavior takes time and patience.

We have provided both short-term and long-term options for handling 117 student behaviors. Included in these options are some things a teacher can do immediately in the classroom to extinguish the more disruptive behaviors with minimum interruption of the other students and classroom activity. At the same time, the teacher is doing what is best for the misbehaving student-that is, getting him or her to permanently change the inappropriate behavior to appropriate behavior.

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Please Note
We are labeling behaviors, not children! For the sake of convenience, we will describe behaviors with terms such as The Whiner or The Interrupter.

Never use such labels when talking to—or about—children! Doing so could cause many new problems and seriously damage the teacher-student or parent-child relationship.