One of the reasons we started a blog to go along with our website, was to provide an open forum for teachers and parents to ask questions and share with one another. The other day we had a question from a teacher who is looking for some ideas on how to handle groups of who were copying undesirable behavior from one another. Here is the original question:
“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?”
We thought it would be helpful to have a couple of blog posts that provide a list of different ideas/strategies that other teachers have used in their classrooms. We asked Bill Corbett (Cooperative Kids) to provide his suggestions on this topic in “Handling undesirable behaviors (PART 1)“. Bill offers some great advice in that article, so please check it out.
As educators, we all have certain strategies/practices that we use when dealing with behavioral issues. Sharing these strategies is helpful so that we can ALL have more ideas to pull from when faced with situations such as this. No one strategy will work in every situation/every child – so having insight from others to draw from is useful. So, we reached out to some additional teacher bloggers and our Facebook readers … and they so kindly shared their experience and suggestions in how to handle this issue. So, here is PART 2 on this topic!
“Conscious Discipline” and creating a “School Family”
Vanessa Levin at Pre-K Pages says … I use a combination of love and logic and “Conscious Discipline”. I avoid any punitive systems that call attention to misbehavior such as traffic lights and “pulling tickets”.
Vanessa shares her post on she handles Rules and Behavior in her classroom.
Consider the Environment
Early childhood educator, Barbara Street from For the Children blog shares her insight into looking at the classroom environment when looking at changing behavior.
I think the first step to consider is one many teachers don’t really think about. Instead of looking to the child and the behavior and trying to fix it, I believe the teacher should first consider the environment he/she has set up for the child: the physical environment, schedule, etc. Could those things be a contributing factor to the behavior? In other words, instead of asking, “What’s wrong with this kid, first ask, is there something I need to change to help modify the situation?” Some children have outbursts when not given large amounts of free exploration time or when the routine changes too abruptly. Some children behave inappropriately when the physical environment encourages it: large open areas encourage running and rough-housing, small and confined space make some children feel panicked. I know sometimes you can provide a virtually perfect environment and still have issues with a child, and often do, but think that is the place to begin searching for answers.
Sometimes, we REALLY need to think outside the box to come up with ways to handle undesirable behaviors in children. Educator Rick Ackerly from The Genius in Children says…
“In solving behavior problems, specificity is always critical and creative thinking is often necessary.”
Rick shares a post with an example of how one teacher did just that in “Don’t get Mad; Get Creative“.
Teamwork and random acts of kindness
Sharolyn shared this idea on our Facebook page:
I started in February a random acts of kindness board. I look for children helping or being nice and openly acknowledge it, write it on a paper heart and put it up on the board. This then encourages other children to do kind things and cooperate to get their heart on the board and it snowballs from there! Once we hit 100 we will java a healthy smoothy party.
Thanks to Vanessa, Barbara, Rick and Sharolyn for your helpful suggestions and links! Want more? Visit PART 3 with some other behavior management strategies from teacher bloggers.
Do you have a tip or experience to share in relation to this question? We’d love to hear from you! Please share your experience (or other questions) in our comments below or send us an email.