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This strategy employs a very brief, clearly and privately stated verbal reminder of the expected behavior. A re-direct includes a specific restatement of the classroom rule/procedure the student needs to demonstrate. A redirect clarifies and emphasizes the current expectation.

Example: “Kelly, please begin your writing assignment.” (Later) “Nice job being responsible, Kelly, you have a great start on your assignment.”

Teacher working with high school studentRe-teach

Re-teaching is more intensive than re-directing.  If the teacher has used re-directing, but the student still displays the behavior error, the teacher will model and/or revisit the specific expectation in question and remind the student of the procedures or routine for demonstrating success. Re-teaching capitalizes on the teachable moment to review the expectation more thoroughly, yet still taking minimal time from instruction. Re-teaching involves the steps of direct instruction teach, show, and practice. Use the language of the matrix to identify the expected behavior, model/show the student what success would look like, and give the student the immediate opportunity to practice demonstrating the behavior. Once the student uses the appropriate behavior, specific positive feedback should follow.

Example: “Tatiana, right now the expectation is to be responsible by being on-task. That means your desk is clear of everything but your book and notebook, you begin working right away, continue working until done, and if you need help, you raise your hand.” (Pause) “Nice job being responsible, Tatiana; it looks like you are ready to work. Let me know if you need help.” 

Provide Choice

Providing choice can be used when re- directs or re-teaching have not worked. This is the statement of two alternatives– the preferred or desired behavior and a less preferred choice. When options are paired in this way, students will often make the preferred choice. Pause after providing the choice, and when the student makes a choice, provide positive specific feedback.

Example: Arianna, right now the expectation is to be on-task and begin your assignment. You can begin working independently and I will check in with you in 15 minutes, or you can come to the table with me for 5 minutes while you get started and tell me your plan for the assignment. Would rather begin now independently, or come to the table?”

Example: “Lynn, you can get out your materials and work here at your seat, or you can take your things to the table and work in the quiet area. Which would you prefer?”

Student Conference

This is a lengthier re-teaching or problem-solving opportunity when behavior is more frequent or intense. The behavior of concern is discussed, the desired behavior is taught, and a plan is made to ensure the behavior is used in the future. A student conference might include practice.

Example: “B. J., several times today I have reminded you about being on task. When you are given an assignment, the expectation is ______________. When you do that you can get done more quickly and move on to things you enjoy more. Tell me what you will do when given an assignment. Let’s practice… How can I help you to do that if you get stuck?” (Then) “Can I get a commitment from you to do that?”


Review the Indirect and Direct Strategies to Discourage Minor Inappropriate Behavior. Which of these strategies are your staff currently using? What techniques do you already use and want to continue? What could you add to your repertoire? What behavior might you need to eliminate?


Read and reflect on each of the behavior errors listed below. Which of the indirect or direct strategies would be best to use for each scenario? 

  1. Fred is blurting out answers during a review of yesterday’s lesson.
  2. Burke pushes the swing and almost hits Chloe. He had difficulty using the swings correctly at the last recess.
  3. Betty is digging in her purse during an independent seatwork assignment.
  4. After re-directing Jake for being off-task, he is again turned around, trying to get Marc’s attention.
  5. Jane barked at the cafeteria server, saying, “Yuk! I hate that!”
  6. Amy is daydreaming and looking out the window during instruction.
  7. Wilma does not have a pencil again today to complete the class activity.
  8. Aaron has been sighing, rolling his eyes, and complaining when he is assisted with his work for the last couple of days.
  9. The class is getting loud during their paired group work activity.
  10. Jason walks into class after the bell; he has been tardy three days this week.
  11. During small group work, Talia calls out, “Hey, Jackson took my marker!”
  12. Fred and Jose run to line up at the door when the teacher announces time for lunch.
  13. Zach has his cell phone out during class. The teacher re-directed Zach about his phone use several times recently.