Advice for teachers to help prevent misbehavior in their classroom
from the article by Dr. John Bailie:
Being a teacher with students who regularly misbehave can be a troubling aspect of the academic world. It can cause you to lose hope with your students and ultimately become unhappy with your job in general. Fortunately, there are ways in which you, as an educator, can encourage your students to behave in and outside of the classroom, without simply sending them to the principal’s office or to detention. And it all starts in the classroom.
You should actively encourage a personal relationship between you and your students, and do what you can to foster a collaborative learning environment. Your students aren’t just mindless workers in a factory, they are individuals who want to learn and grow into functioning adults. To help you help your students, here is some advice.
- Do use affective (emotionally rich) language when praising or confronting students
- Do use collaborative practices
- Do focus on repairing relationships rather than impersonal sanctions and punishments
- Do not use impersonal punishments
- Do not avoid face-to-face engagement
- Do not discipline for other staff
- Do not stop believing that children can learn and change their behavior
Instead of relying on easy impersonal punishments, what works to prevent student misbehavior is for young people to have to face the real personal impact of their actions. For this to be practiced well and consistently, educators and students must be immersed in an environment that focuses on proactively building relationships and providing high levels of engagement and collaboration. This is true of students of all ages, from preschool through college, and indeed, of people of all ages. When people are given regular opportunities to take responsibility for their actions and be heard, they feel respected, they are really held accountable and misbehavior is less likely. And the data agrees.