Over the years I've been teaching it seems that behavior has become more and more of a concern in our classrooms. There are many theories as to why this is happening and I believe it's a combination of many factors. That's definitely for a different time and different blog post.
I've tried many different ways to handle behavior problems in my classes. Some were methods other teachers had tried and swore they worked. They didn't work for me. Many methods were things like taking something away from a student, giving after school detentions, calling parents in for a conference and too many more to list.
Think about it. Why does a student "act out"? When I first started teaching we weren't politically correct and used the terms "misbehaved" "has behavioral issues" "is a behavior problem" etc. Today, we use "nicer" terms that are politically correct, BUT the behaviors are still the same.
A child who misbehaves is crying out for attention. How do we know what kind of attention a child gets at home? We don't. Sometimes the only way a child might get his/her parents' attention at home is to act up.
Mom's getting dinner ready and little Johnny wants her to look at the Thanksgiving turkey picture he made in Mrs. T's kindergarten class. Mom says, without even a glance, "Not now Johnny."
She's trying to do a zillion things for a perfect dinner so little Johnny decides the only way he get his mother's attention is to pull poor kitty's tail. MEEEEEOW! Mom scolds little Johnny and goes back to stirring her homemade gravy that's just coming to a boil.
Little Johnny runs into the living room and grabs his sister's iPad, and tears up the stairs to his bedroom. Sister leaps off the recliner and screams "MOM"! Meanwhile, back in the kitchen, mom's gravy is done, but now she's pulling the chicken out of the oven so she can carve it before Dad comes home. The chicken nearly falls out of the pan as little Johnny's sister's voice becomes so high pitched it almost breaks a glass in the china closet.
Mom goes storming up the stairs, still wearing her oven mitts and shoves Little Johnny's door open. He's playing some APP game on the iPad and and is so absorbed in it, he doesn't see his frazzled mother until she screeches at him an octave higher than his sister's scream.
Mom then remembers she left the chicken on the burner where she was cooking her gravy and she had forgotten to turn it off. As she flies down the stairs she yells over her shoulder, "Johnny, no t.v for you tonight!"
Little Johnny hurls his sister's iPad against the wall .... UH OH!
I'm sure you get the picture. We just don't know family situations, punishments, or day to day family interactions.
A couple of years ago I was reading a behavior management article about "punch" cards. The author stated that it really works. I thought .. Oh sure, right, uh huh. Was I pessimistic? Sure, but after I created the punch cards and started using them in my room, I realized that yes, this reward system really does work.
The key to making it work successfully in the classroom? Consistency. Follow through. Praise.
I also use it to motivate the little Johnny's who don't do their class work or homework.
Do I give fancy pencils or other little gifts as rewards? No! I'd be broke if I did. There are little stamps in the packet I give my students after I've punched a certain amount of holes on their cards. They start to compete against each other to see who has the most stamps.
Life is good and I have punch cards to thank for it.
Try it! Yes, it really works!
(and it's FREE!)
(and it's FREE!)