Reflection #6: Classroom Behavior Management: A Dozen Common Mistakes and What To Do Instead

Name of the article, class, or workshop:
Classroom Behavior Management: A Dozen Common Mistakes and What To Do Instead 

6 June 2017

What I learned from the article (summary):

This article identifies some of the common mistakes that teachers make that hinder learning among students. The authors also offer some suggestions on how to correct these mistakes. 

The following is a dozen common mistakes of teachers and how to correct them. 

Mistake #1: 
Defining Misbehavior by How It Looks

Teachers often deal with two or more misbehaving students the same way. They conclude based on what they see and not looking at the cause of the students' behavior. Misbehaving students may have different reasons for behaving the way they do.

Find out the cause of the behavior and deal with it accordingly. 

Mistake #2: 

Asking, "Why Did You Do That?"

More often than not, students do not know why they misbehave. So do not ask that question.


Instead of asking "Why did you do that?", determine the function of the behavior (the purpose the behavior serves the student).

Mistake #3: 

When An Approach Isn't Working, Try Harder

When a management approach is not working, we tend to try harder.


We should try a different approach. 

Mistake #4: 

Violating the Principles of Good Classroom Rules

Teachers post classroom rules at the beginning of the year and then miss following up.


Teachers should have 4-6 rules posted in the classroom. Students should take part in setting the rules so they become theirs not the teachers'. The rules must also be simple, specific, clear, and measurable.

Mistake #5: 

Treating All Misbehaviors as "Won't Dos"

We conclude that students' misbehavior is due to lack of motivation. We call them "Won't Dos" or Can't Do's".


"Can't Dos" occur because of lack of skills not lack of motivation or reinforcement. We should deal with these problems the same we do with students' academic mistakes.

Here are the specific steps in correcting the behavior.

Step 1- Identify the context and the predictable behavior (where and when the misbehavior occurs)

Step 2-Specify expected behavior (what we want instead)

Step 3- Systematically modify the context (e.g., changes in instruction, tasks, schedules, seating arrangements)

Step 4- Conduct behavior rehearsals (have students practice the appropriate behavior)

Step 5- Provide strong reinforcement such as frequent and immediate teacher praise

Step 6- Prompt expected behaviors

Step 7- Monitor the plan (collect data on student performance)

Mistake #6: 

Lack of Planning for Transition Time

Teachers often overlook transitions in the lesson plans. Things can easily go wrong without planning for transition.


Transition problems can be reduced by following these procedures.
-Develop transition rules.
-Have brief lessons about transition at the beginning of the school year followed by frequent reviews.
-Facilitate transition timing games using a stopwatch.
-Teachers should use or students or aides to gather materials or equipment. Make sure to praise them for their help.

Mistake #7: 

Ignoring All or Nothing at All

Teachers tend to take ignoring to extremes by ignoring almost all misbehavior or none at all.


Teachers should only ignore the behaviors motivated for their attention. When behaviors are attention seeking, teachers need to ignore it continuously. However, if the attention-seeking behavior is extreme or dangerous, ignoring is inappropriate.

Mistake #8:

Overuse and Misuse of Timeout 

Teachers are tempted to overuse time out because it results in a reprieve from problematic students.

Use time out appropriately. 

For mildly disruptive behavior, timeouts should be done in class (ignoring the student, looking away from the student, refraining from any interaction, or remaining quiet).

For more severe misbehavior, we may need to send our students to out-of-class time out.  The out-of-class time area should be a quiet, non-intimidating, reinforcement-free room with no other purpose.

Mistake #9:
Inconsistent Expectations and Consequences

Teachers often give mixed signals that confuse and frustrate students. 

Have clear expectations that are enforced and reinforced consistently. 

Mistake #10:
Viewing Ourselves as the Only Classroom Manager

Many teachers tend to manage the classroom just by themselves. Doing so may result to loosing energy and effectiveness.

Include students (self-monitoring), peers (academic tutors or monitors), parents (additional prompting and reinforcement), and others (school counselors, psychologists, and other professionals) in management efforts. 

Mistake #11:
Missing the Link Between Instruction and Behavior

Lessons may be too easy or difficult, ineffective, or non-stimulating, which can lead to student misbehavior.

Strive to teach effectively. Let students monitor their own learning, involve them in developing classroom rules and procedures, and relate lessons to their own lives.

Mistake #12: 

Taking Student Behavior Too Personally

Some teachers take student misbehavior personally that makes the former lose their objectivity.

Take student misbehavior professionally, not personally. View behavior management as a responsibility. Use effective strategies in dealing with student misbehavior.

How will I integrate this learning into my instruction (plan):

I am glad that I have found this article though it is already near the end of the school year. However, I will definitely apply everything I have learned from this article. Here are some of the specific adjustments or improvements that I am going to make in my teaching.

-I will involve students in establishing rules and discuss them in class regularly especially in the first two weeks of school year.

-Determine the cause of misbehavior and deal with them accordingly and individually. 

-I will include planning for transition in preparing my lessons.

-I will formulate the guidelines for time out with the students and implement them in class.

-I will be very clear in giving instructions so that students will not be confused or frustrated. 

-Another big change next year is the way I involve students, parents, and adults in school in managing my class. 

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