This lesson describes the process of developing and using a continuum of strategies for discouraging unexpected behavior in the classroom. These strategies allow teachers to select and use the least intrusive response to social behavior errors, ensuring a full continuum of responses from minor to more chronic or intense behaviors. All staff must be equipped with this range of strategies to assure consistency of responses.
What systems are currently in place for responding to a full range of behavior problems in your classroom? Are they effective? How do you know?
Punishment – a consequence that decreases the likelihood the problem behavior will recur.
Indirect Strategies – actions to minimize the misbehavior before it gets out of hand and requires more extensive intervention.
Direct Strategies – used when behavior continues or does not change after indirect strategies have been used; addressing the behavior directly with the student(s) using the language from the matrix.
Schools must have a system in place that allows staff to efficiently and effectively respond to a range of unexpected behavior. Unexpected behavior can refer to occasional, and even chronic, minor behavior errors, such as talking out or being off-task, to more serious or major behavior errors, such as physical aggression. This continuum begins with making a clear distinction between behaviors that are serious enough to warrant an office referral (office-managed) and those which can and should be managed by staff (staff-managed) within the context of the classroom or non-classroom settings. This lesson focuses specifically on staff-managed minor behavior errors.
Not all student misbehavior requires elaborate response strategies. Sometimes students will respond quickly to a teacher action to minimize the behavior before it gets out of hand and requires more extensive intervention. Certain behaviors surface spontaneously during a lesson or activity and are minimally disruptive, such as blurting out, and can be addressed in the classroom with little to no time lost from instruction.
While there are many strategies for providing corrective consequences for misbehavior, a list of indirect and direct instructionally-based strategies are suggested. Indirect strategies are actions to minimize the misbehavior before it gets out of hand and requires more extensive intervention. Indirect strategies are unobtrusive and carried out quickly during instruction.
Direct correction strategies are suggested for inappropriate behaviors that continue or do not change after indirect strategies have been used. When implementing these direct strategies, interact with students using the language from the matrix. Interact privately and match your response with the frequency and severity of the behavior.
It is also important to increase teaching opportunities and praise students’ efforts to follow the established rules. A range of indirect and direct strategies form a continuum of strategies for staff to use to discourage inappropriate behavior. All responses to behavior errors will be more effective when, after pausing for the student to demonstrate the desired behavior, teachers remember to provide positive specific feedback.
Strategies to address behavior errors should be done privately and with instructional tone and demeanor. Use the strategy that is least intrusive for correcting the behavior. It is also important to remember that when behavior errors occur, increased teaching and increased feedback should also occur.