Discipline problems and behavior issues have always been and continue to be a leading frustration for teachers. The good news is that variables can easily be manipulated to have a positive influence on student behavior.

By being proactive and purposeful in our planning, we can prevent behavior problems before they arise. By building positive relationships with students and explicitly teaching classroom routines, we can manage behavior and increase student motivation.

Build positive relationships and use specific praise

Maya Angelou said it best when she said, "People will never forget how you made them feel." Effective educators understand that the foundation of building a strong classroom community is creating personal connections with their students. As you get to know your students, build collaborative relationships with them by provide them with meaningful, positive feedback to enhance motivation and performance.

Check out these simple, low-prep strategies to build relationships with students by Intervention Central's Behavior Interventions.

Explicitly teach routines

Routines empower students to be more responsible for their own behavior and learning in the classroom, thus routines maximize every moment of instructional time. Effective teachers use routines for daily tasks. They invest the time at the start of the school year to teach important routines for using the restroom, moving around the classroom and turning in homework, just to name a few.

I suggest displaying visual supports, references and cues for the routines, and explicitly teaching and practicing the routines. For examples of various lesson plans on explicitly teaching routines, ideas for arranging your classroom to support routines and looks-like/sounds-like charts for routines, check out Archer & Hughes' "Explicit Instruction" handbook.

For an example of routines in action, watch the video below from Teaching Channel:

Follow the STOIC approach

I just finished reading "Discipline in the Secondary Classroom, a Positive Approach to Behavior Management" by Randall S. Sprick, and I found the STOIC model for achieving behavior success practical and easy to implement. Follow these steps:

  • Structure and organize your classroom
  • Teach behavioral expectations
  • Observe and monitor students
  • Interact positively
  • Correct misbehavior fluently

Sprick does a great job of providing visual supports, guided note check-ins, looks-like/sounds-like diagrams, and examples to demonstrate the various behavior management techniques of this model. Each section of STOIC's behavior management model (from arranging the classroom to teaching expectations) has steps for success and a self-assessment checklist at the end of the chapter so you can prepare and self-monitor the essential strategies for creating classroom and schoolwide management plans.

The book also has appendices that address cultural competency and working effectively with students and families from diverse backgrounds. I enjoyed the accompanying CD that provides a behavior checklist, templates and video tutorials on the various components of effective behavior management. I highly recommend using this resource to transform and uplift your classroom management system.