Many teachers prefer to take a ‘personable’ approach to their work and don’t like to think of students in terms of statistics and pure numbers. However, numbers can help you deliver better services to your students which improves their behaviour, learning and the general class dynamic. While many teachers are resistant to using data outside of tracking academic progress, data is useful for improving behaviour.
Collecting and using data is not as hard as it may first seem. For example, ‘performance feedback’ is where target students are provided with visual representations of their behaviour (usually a line graph or table) to demonstrate the extent of their disruption and the effect it has on their own and other students’ learning (Simonsen et al., 2008). This in itself can be highly effective in reducing the frequency of repetitive issues such as talking out of turn.
It is well-known that providing students with an abundance of opportunities to contribute (answer questions for example) goes a long way towards preventing issues and developing a positive classroom environment (Mitchell et al., 2017).
Despite what you may believe, using data and statistical analysis is actually easy – no advanced statistical calculations are ever needed and the more you do, the more you will start thinking about new and exciting ways of cutting and slicing your data. Try this simple exercise to get started. Record how long it takes for 100% of your students to come into class, sit down and read silently (say, 4 minutes). Set a goal that is 20-30% quicker than that (say, 3 minutes) and think of a zero-cost reward such as a game or quiz. Tell students about the reward and how to get it. Record the time each day and also write it on the board for all to see. Work out the average at the end of the week and display the times on a graph. If students meet the target at the end of the week (an average time), a reward is provided. You can also set goals for individual students (daily, averages etc.) and show the times on a graph in a similar fashion. You can even ask your students to graph their own times.
Here are some other ways in which data can be used in regards of behaviour management:
It is well-known that providing students with an abundance of opportunities to contribute (answer questions for example) goes a long way towards preventing issues and developing a positive classroom environment (Mitchell et al., 2017). That being so, record how often you provide each student with the opportunity to respond, including who you choose and whether you ask simple or more complex questions (see Bloom’s taxonomy). You may find that a percentage of students (say 20%) represent a large percentage of the responses (say 80%), meaning many of your students are not actively participating. Another idea is to place a mark next to the name of every student who responds to a question. You can then track who is (and who is not) given ‘airtime’. This will give you an idea of how equitable your teaching practices actually are.
Hint: Short on time? Get students to record data for their own behaviour. This has been shown to be effective (Daly & Ranalli, 2003; Gumpel & Golan, 2000; Hutchinson et al., 2000).
Simonsen, B., Fairbanks, S., Briesch, A., Myers, D., & Sugai, G. (2008). Evidence-based practices in classroom management: Considerations for research to practice. Education & Treatment of Children, 31(3), 351–380. https://doi.org/10.1353/etc.0.0007
Mitchell, B. S., Hirn, R. G., & Lewis, T. J. (2017). Enhancing effective classroom management in schools: Structures for changing teacher behavior. Teacher Education and Special Education, 40(2), 140-153. https://doi:10.1177/0888406417700961
Daly, P. M., & Ranalli, P. (2003). Using countoons to teach self-monitoring skills. TEACHING Exceptional Children, 35(5), 30-35. https://doi:10.1177/004005990303500504
Gumpel, T. P., & Golan, H. (2000). Teaching game‐playing social skills using a self-monitoring treatment package. Psychology in the Schools, 37(3), 253-261. doi:10.1002/(SICI)1520-6807(200005)37:3<253::AIDPITS5> 3.0.CO;2-I
Hutchinson, S. W., Murdock, J. Y., Williamson, R. D., & Cronin, M. E. (2000). Self-recording PLUS encouragement equals improved behavior. TEACHING Exceptional Children, 32(5), 54-58. https://doi:10.1177/004005990003200507
Adam Green is an advisor to government, a registered teacher, an instructional designer and a #1 best selling author. He is completing a Doctor of Education and was previously head of department for one of the country’s largest SAER (students at educational risk) schools. Adam is managing director of ITAC, an accredited training provider for thousands of teacher aides every year.
Source: Behaviour Management Skills and Strategies for the Modern Classroom: 100+ research-based strategies for both novice and experienced practitioners.
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