“At my school, children seem to be copying the wrong behavior from one another. Let’s just say, it’s not behavior that is desirable. I need to come up with a positive behavioral plan that HAS worked for others. Any suggestions?”
A great question! To provide some advice, we first turned to our parenting expert, Bill Corbett.
Without knowing the exact behavior, here is what I suggest. If the undesirable behavior is not offensive or disruptive to the class, the teacher should be sure not to give that child attention to fuel the behavior. The teacher should act as if it doesn’t bother her and she should put all of her attention on the children who are NOT demonstrating the behavior.
If the children are fascinated or amused with the behavior in question, the teacher should announce to the group of children (without using anger or excitement) that the behavior in question is not OK.
If the behavior is offensive, inappropriate, or disruptive to the rest of the class, there must be a consequence to it, such as removing the child demonstrating the behavior away from the other children, and accompanied by another teacher for a determined amount of time. If this consequence is used, the child must be removed quickly and without making a fuss over it. The accompanying teacher should not speak to the child, except to say (positively), “when you stop ___________, we can return to the classroom.” The activity for the child in that moment should not be fun or exciting so as not to motivate the child to continue the inappropriate behavior to get that special time with the teacher.
Bill Corbett is the author of the award-winning parenting book series, LOVE, LIMITS, & LESSONS: A PARENT’S GUIDE TO RAISING COOPERATIVE KIDS (in English and in Spanish) and the executive producer and host of the public access television show CREATING COOPERATIVE KIDS. He is a member of the American Psychological Association and provides parent coaching and keynote presentations to parent and professional audiences across the country. Images used here with permission from Bill Corbett.