Sei sulla pagina 1di 10

Running head: IMPROVE BEHAVIOR

1

Strategies to Improve Behavior in Elementary School Students

Christina Alvarado

California State University Dominguez Hills

IMPROVE BEHAVIOR

2

Introduction

Inappropriate behaviors in elementary schools have increased over the years.

There are behavioral problems arising in many elementary school classrooms. Moreover, Maria

Dunn Sherrod, Yvette Q. Getch, and Jolie Ziomek-Daigle in their article, “The Impact of Positive

Behavior Support to Decrease Discipline Referrals with Elementary Students” (2009), state that

along with the increase of behavioral problems both inside and outside the classrooms there is a

growth discipline referral. With the great rise in behavioral problems, how can educators and

school staff work together to support student achieve school appropriate behaviors? The school

that I observed for the purpose of this research paper is a high need public elementary school in

an urban district. The elementary school is home to 820 students’ grades preschool to eighth

grade. The race ratios of the students are 91% Hispanic, seven percent African American, less

than one percent White, less than one percent Asian and less than three percent other races

according to the great school website. The school has a welcoming environment for students and

parents. Roosevelt Elementary School’s goal is to create a safe learning environment where

students can learn academically, make friends, and gain life skills for the future. In addition,

throughout my time at the elementary school I have noticed many students coming in and out of

the office. These students were sent to the office for a variety of different reason, but they were

all related to behavioral problems. Moreover, the behavioral problems were as small a talking in

class to more serious problems. What strategies can help improve student behavior? The

following with discus how behavioral problems impact schools, the three-step process to correct

inappropriate behavior, strategies for improving behavior.

IMPROVE BEHAVIOR

3

Behavior Problems Impact Schools

A student’s inappropriate behavior as an impact beyond that one student. According to

Maria Dunn Sherrod, Yvette Q. Getch, and Jolie Ziomek-Daigle (2009) many educators cannot

focus on academic because they are too busy focusing on the bad and disruptive behavior of

students. Teachers are not being able to teach the class because they have to attend that one

behavioral problem. Moreover, behavioral problems affect teachers and students emotionally. In

the article “Effects of Tootling on Classwide and Individual Disruptive and Academically

Engaged Behavior of Lower-Elementary Students” by Melissa B. McHugh, Daniel H.

Tingstrom, Keith C. Radley, Christopher T. Barry, and Kelly M. Walker (2016), the authors

stated that when students misbehave in the classroom the learning process is slow and difficult

making students and teacher tense up. This means that behavioral problems stress not only the

teacher but students as well. In addition, the emotional side of students and teachers are being

affect by this difficult learning process. As researchers stated, the solution that many educators

find to the behavioral problems of students is to yell and/ or kick the students out of the

classroom and into the office (Sherrod, Getch, & Ziomek-Daigle 2009). However, there are other

ways in help with behavioral problems.

Three-Step Process to Correct Inappropriate Behavior

Sending students to the office for small inappropriate behaviors, like talking too much in

class, is not the way to go. Many of the articles all suggested interventions in stead of sending

students out of the classroom and into the office. According to Rikki K. Wheatley, Richard P.

West, Cade T. Charlton, Richard B. Sanders, Tim G. Smith, and Matthew J. Taylor (2009),

interventions should have a three-step process as stated in “Improving Behavior Through

Differential Reinforcement: A Praise Note System for Elementary School Students”. The three-

IMPROVE BEHAVIOR

4

steps are the following: teaching it, letting students practice it, and praise it. This research by

Rikki K. Wheatley, Richard P. West, Cade T. Charlton, Richard B. Sanders, Tim G. Smith, and

Matthew J. Taylor (2009) focused their study on correcting behavior in the lunchroom and how

through using these three-steps process of the interventions they were able to decease behavioral

problems.

Teaching It

The first step is teaching it. This step is focus on teaching students the rules and

exceptions in all school settings (Sherrod, Getch, & Ziomek-Daigle 2009). This means to make

sure that the foundation is lad down. A reoccurring theme in this first step for the interventions

through out most of the articles was to be clear. For example, “Providing clear expectations for

students in an essential part of a behavior support program. Providing clear expectations may

consist of defining rules and ensuring that students and teachers use common language to

describe behaviors and consequences” (Wheatley, West, Charlton, Sanders, Smith, & Taylor

2009). In other words, when students have a clear understanding of what is expected of them and

what will happen when they do not follow those expectations it can change their likeliness to

follow the rules and expectations. Also, it is important that both teachers, students and school

staff are all on the same page because it makes it easier for behavioral problems to decrease.

Letting Student Practice

The next step for the intervention process is letting students practice and they have been

taught. According to Maria Dunn Sherrod, Yvette Q. Getch, and Jolie Ziomek-Daigle (2009)

state that students have to build their knowledge about the rules and expectations that they have

just learned by putting those rules and expectations in action. In other words, just like students

need hands one activity to show what they have just learned, the students need practice to master

IMPROVE BEHAVIOR

5

and learn from their behaviors. This step of the intervention process is mostly for students to gain

experience in recognizing appropriate and inappropriate behaviors (Sherrod, Getch, & Ziomek-

Daigle 2009). This way students are being able to know and see when they are doing the right

thing and when they are going to face the consequence of not following the rules and

expectations. In addition, what is the responds when students are following the rules and

expectation?

Praise

The final step in the intervention process is to praise the behavior desired. It is important

not only to teach the appropriate behavior, but also praise students when they are behaving

appropriately. “In the first two phases of the study teachers were taught to remind students of

rules and to ignore problem behavior. In the third phase teachers were taught to deliver general

and specific praise to students for rule following and other prosocial behaviors” (Wheatley, West,

Charlton, Sanders, Smith, & Taylor 2009). This shows that just as it is important for students to

know the rules and the expectations as it is for the students to be acknowledge for doing what it

right. Moreover, this praise is not always a material item. The praise that is given can be a simple

as some words of encouragement or a written note (Wheatley, West, Charlton, Sanders, Smith, &

Taylor 2009). After learning these steps for the intervention, it is time to implement them in the

different strategies to improve behavioral problems.

Strategies for Improving Behavior

There are many different strategies that can be put into practice in schoolwide, classroom,

or as a plan for a single student to correct an inappropriate behavior. The studies that were done

by all the different articles shown how each strategy work in its unique way. However, it did not

matter that the strategies were different because they all at the end deceased undesired or

IMPROVE BEHAVIOR

6

inappropriate behavior. The following strategies are all fall in the positive behavior support

strategy, known as PBS. Moreover, PBS is “…an approach rather than a set of specific program

and practices…” (Wheatley, West, Charlton, Sanders, Smith, & Taylor 2009). In other words,

PBS is a way to support students on changing behavior by recognizing the positive behaviors of

the students instead of hammering and yelling at students for their bad behavior (McHugh,

Tingstrom, Radley, Barry, & Walker 2016). The following are strategies to improve and

promoted appropriate behavior. These strategies are tootling, mentoring program, teacher-student

relationship, and token system.

Tootling

The tootling strategy is a way for students to put into to practice their knowledge on rules

and expectations. Moreover, tootling is center in the idea of having peers track each other’s

positive behavior (McHugh, Tingstrom, Radley, Barry, & Walker 2016). In other words, the

students were given the responsibility to look out for positive behavior which motives all the

student to be on their best behavior. The study, by Melissa B. McHugh, Daniel H. Tingstrom,

Keith C. Radley, Christopher T. Barry, and Kelly M. Walker (2016), showed how tootling help

both the students that were reporting the positive behavior as well as the students whose behavior

was recognized to pursuit positive behavior that will be recognized. The praise that was given in

this strategy is mostly verbal. Moreover, “Tootling represents a deviation from typical positive

peer reporting interventions, in which students verbally report positive observations of peer

behavior…”, on the other hand as well students, “…privately record their peer’s prosocial

behavior on note cards, which are then collected and randomly chosen sample is read aloud by

the teacher” (McHugh, Tingstrom, Radley, Barry, & Walker 2016). The student that is showing

the positive behavior is being rewarded by encouraging and motiving words to keep up the

IMPROVE BEHAVIOR

7

positive and desirable behavior. In doing this, the students with the negative or inappropriate

behavior were being ignored and it cause them change as stated by Melissa B. McHugh, Daniel

H. Tingstrom, Keith C. Radley, Christopher T. Barry, and Kelly M. Walker (2016). This tootling

strategy is one way that educators and school staff can implement in the classroom or as a

schoolwide event.

Mentoring Program

Another strategy for improving behaviors is a mentoring program. In the article

“Evaluation of a Mentoring Program for Elementary School Students at Risk for Emotional and

Behavioral Disorders” by Paul Caldarella, Michael B. Adams, Shauna B. Valentine, K. Richard

Young (2009) conducted a study to see the effectiveness of the mentoring program in improving

behavior. In other words, students were paired up with a mentor, either an adult or an older

student, that support and help students. In the study the students that were pair with mentors were

students at risk of developing emotional and behavior disorders, known as EBD. Most students

that’s are frequently kick out of the classroom for bad behavioral are on the line to EBD

according to Paul Caldarella, Michael B. Adams, Shauna B. Valentine, K. Richard Young (2009).

In addition, the mentor program strategy gave praise to student not by material items but by

emotion support. The mentoring program gave students, “meaningful relationships between

children and adults leading to positive outcomes such as increased social skills and self-esteem”

(Caldarella, Adams, Valentine, &Young 2009). The students are being emotionally supported by

the mentors that help decreased inappropriate behavior. Moreover, “…mentors encouraged more

positive relationship between the students, their teachers, and school administration” (Caldarella,

Adams, Valentine, & Young 2009).

IMPROVE BEHAVIOR

8

Teacher-Student Relationship

An important strategy in improving behavior is teacher-student relationship. Building

rapport with students play a big role how students behave. In the article, “Behavior Problems in

Elementary School Among Low-Income Boys: The Role of Teacher-Child Relationships”, by

Brian Andrew Collins, Erin Eileen O’Connor, Lauren Supplee, and Daniel S. Shaw (2017)

studied the effect a teacher-child relation has on a student’s behavior. The result of this study

showed that there was a strong positive correction between close teacher-student relation and the

student’s positive behavior. Moreover, the bond and communication that is form through teacher-

student relation is important in achieving positive behavior. As stated in the article, “…the

greater the number of interactions that staff had with students, the fewer problem behaviors were

exhibited” (Wheatley, West, Charlton, Sanders, Smith, & Taylor 2009). This means that when

educator have rapport with their students, then there are clear expectations for behavior. Beyond

just behavior, teacher-student relation provides emotion support for students. Brian Andrew

Collins, Erin Eileen O’Connor, Lauren Supplee, and Daniel S. Shaw (2017) state “Close

relationships provide children with the developmental context for acquiring necessary self-

regulation, emotional security and social information-processing skills that promote successful

social interaction and positive adaptation.” In other words, students are able to express their

concerns and emotions to the adult they trust. The teacher-student relation forms a way support

for the social emotional well being of the students.

Token System

Another strategy that can be implemented to improve behavior is the token system.

Moreover, this strategy is based on rewarding appropriate behavior. The students were given

token or tickets that they can trade in for prizes (Wheatley, West, Charlton, Sanders, Smith, &

IMPROVE BEHAVIOR

9

Taylor 2009). This strategy motives and promotes appropriate behavior. In using the token

system educators and school staff have too be consistent. Moreover, “As the students is

consistently reinforced for appropriate behavior, it increases and, as a result, the problem

behavior decreases” (Wheatley, West, Charlton, Sanders, Smith, & Taylor 2009). In other words,

it is important to have a stable approach in praising and rewarding the students in order to have a

change and improve behavior.

Conclusion

To sum it all, inappropriate or disruptive behavior affects everyone. Students are being

distracted, educators are unable to affectively teach and school staffs are being pull out to their

duties to deal with students who are being kicked out of class for inappropriate behavior.

Furthermore, there are interventions that can be implement to improve behavior. These

interventions have a three-step process. Moreover, it is important to teach rules and expectations,

let students practice to show their knowledge on the rules and expectations, and praise the

desired behavior. When explaining rules and expectations it is essential that everyone uses a

common language. In having a common language, students will be able to clearly know what is

expected of them and even track peers’ behaviors as well as their own. In addition, there are

strategies that can be implemented in schoolwide, classroom, and/ or individual behavior plans to

improve behavior. Most of the strategies are based on PBS. Some of the strategies are tootling,

mentoring programs, teacher-student relation, and token system. Furthermore, behavior can be

improved went one focus on the positive behavior. When the negative behaviors are being

ignored and students are being praise for their positive behaviors, it makes student realize that

they can achieve great things. The improvement in behaviors are possible in students when the

school staff and educators work together to promote, encourage, and praise positive behavior.

IMPROVE BEHAVIOR

10

References

Caldarella, P., Adams, M. B., Valentine, S. B., & Young, K. R. (2009). Evaluation of a Mentoring Program

for Elementary School Students at Risk for Emotional and Behavioral Disorders. New Horizons in

Education, 57(1), 116. Retrieved from

Collins, B. A. bcollins@hunter. cuny. ed., O’Connor, E. E., Supplee, L., & Shaw, D.

(2017). Behavior

problems in elementary school among low-income boys: The role of teacher-child relationships.

Journal of Educational Research, 110(1), 7284. https://doi-

McHugh, M. B., Tingstrom, D. H., Radley, K. C., Barry, C. T., & Walker, K. M. (2016). Effects of Tootling

on Classwide and Individual Disruptive and Academically Engaged Behavior of Lower-

Elementary Students. Behavioral Interventions, 31(4), 332354. https://doi-

Sherrod, M. D., Getch, Y. Q., & Ziomek-Daigle, J. (2009). The Impact of Positive Behavior Support to

Decrease Discipline Referrals with Elementary Students. Professional School Counseling, 12(6),

421427. Retrieved from

Wheatley, R. K. 1. rikki. wheatley@osu. ed., West, R.

P.

., Charlton, C.

T.

., Sanders, R.

B.

., Smith, T.

G.

., & Taylor, M.

(2009). Improving Behavior through Differential Reinforcement: A Praise

Note System for Elementary School Students. Education & Treatment of Children, 32(4), 551

571. Retrieved from