Difficult students are not learning students. They present with mental health issues and behavioral problems. Others present with bullying behaviors, while others are constantly tardy or truant. Teachers and school counselors alike are overwhelmed. Can behavior management help these students be taught and rewarded for good behaviors?
The Positive School Climate
Today’s school counselors are integral parts of the school community or climate. They’re the glue that binds the entire community together, and they must find ways to improve student behavior management for a positive school climate.
What is the school climate?
A school’s climate is the feel of the school or its personality. It’s the school’s heart and soul, and looked upon as the students’ and teachers’ behaviors and their points of view. According to the National Center on Safe Supportive Learning Environments, school climate is seen as a school’s support for student learning, development, safety, well-being, and academic and disciplinary challenges. There are respectful, trusting, healthy, and caring relationships throughout the school community.
The positive school climate provides a number of other benefits for students. It supplies them with a sense of connectedness and cultural responsiveness as well as the time and space to be active between themselves and with their teachers and counselors.
And social and emotional learning, or SEL, is a strong component of the school climate.
Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) and School Climate
Today’s school counselor has a great deal on their plate when it comes to student behavior management across the board. They have to address worsening student behavioral health and academic challenges; manage troubled students around issues of self-harm, suicide threats, health issues, and substance abuse; eliminate bullying on and off campus; and document student behavioral patterns across their school. They need techniques and tools that help them achieve successful outcomes and positive school climates.
Social and emotional learning, or SEL, has found its way into the hands of the school counselor. According to the American Institutes of Research, while school climate and SEL researchers have treated them separately in the past, the two have been found to build healthy schools and benefit and influence one another.
So what is SEL?
Students with a range of behavioral issues lack a number of key skills. SEL helps them in a number of ways.
SEL works with five key competencies. These include:
- Self-awareness: Students learn to know their strengths and limitations, and develop strong senses of confidence and optimism. When they successfully recognize their strengths and realize what their weaknesses might be, they become happier in school and in their lives.
- Self-management: Students learn how to manage their stress levels and control any impulses that will lead to improper behaviors. They also learn to motivate themselves to set and achieve goals as well as to effectively manage stress and control impulses. Once they have the ability to set and work toward personal and academic goals, positive behavior outcomes begin.
- Social awareness: With so many schools experiencing greater numbers of diverse student populations, consider this: in 2014 alone, 50.3% of school students identified as Black, Hispanic, Asian, American Indian/Alaska native, Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Island or other Non-White group, many of whom can also come from low-income families.
So what does this have to do with SEL’s social awareness?
Students will need to understand the perspectives of and show empathy towards those from diverse backgrounds and cultures.
- Relationship skills: Many students are plagued with the inability to conform to a number of social norms when it comes to behavior. When learning relationship skills, students learn to communicate clearly and listen well, and cooperate with others, whether they’re other students, teachers, counselors, principals, or those at home. They also learn to resist inappropriate social pressure, constructively negotiate conflict, and seek and offer help when needed.
- Responsible decision-making: Rather than looking at destructive behavior, students learn to make constructive choices about their personal behavior towards others. They develop skills to identify problems and analyze situations to solve those problems. They then work to improve their social interactions based on society and safety norms.
For school counselors, The Penn State Robert Wood Johnson Foundation reports that using SEL programs have far-reaching effects such as:
- improved academic achievement
- greater positive social behaviors
- fewer school conduct problems
- reduced substance abuse
- reduced emotional distress
- increased positive school climate
School counselors can also introduce SEL as part of their counseling curriculum, both with individual students and small groups. And as the glue that binds their school community together, counselors can also work to adopt school-wide programs with assessments as well as opportunities for use in professional development.
Proactively Use Behavior Management and Intervention Technology
Smart technology has come to the forefront for the ways school counselors work to improve student behaviors and achieve a positive climate.
Alternative Behavior Educator (ABE)
A school climate can’t be a positive one when there are number behaviors to contend with and no behavior management method to help.
ScholarChip’s Alternative Behavior Educator, or ABE, gives counselors and teachers a way to correct student misbehavior in ways that help, not hinder them. Where SEL teaches students how to develop a number of important skills, ABE also corrects disruptive and other negative behaviors in a positive way. Rather than focus on the negatives, ABE enables students to modify their actions and behavior more appropriately. As a result, students learn better behavior and overall behavior management is greatly improved.
In the past—and in many instances even now—disruptive or otherwise troubled students were relegated to alternative schools, punished for behaviors that many times could be addressed. ABE changes that.
Using ScholarChip to aid behavior management
ScholarChip’s ABE is an all-in-one platform that helps reduce inappropriate school behaviors and threats to school safety. It works to correct behavior by flagging at-risk students when problems occur and proceeds to make referrals and begin interventions before behaviors can escalate. These students are also monitored throughout their school careers to maintain their success.
Rather than punishing a student, ABE enables them to work with age-appropriate videos, games, and activities tailored to their particular types of bad behaviors. Students enjoy learning how to modify their actions and behave more appropriately.
Automated, data-driven, real-time reports are sent to show the areas that need work and those that are successful. The data helps track success or failure quickly so if a negative performance in ABE occurs, further interventions can be made.
ScholarChip smart ID cards
Smart identification cards are valuable for behavior management as it makes students accountable for their attendance, whether it’s in the classroom, on the bus, in a large group, cafeteria, or elsewhere in another building … and shows where they aren’t.
Should a student cut class or become tardy or truant, using ScholarChip’s One Card identifies those at-risk students and reports them quickly as being absent. Cutting classes, tardiness, and truancy work to decrease learning rates, plus they contribute to a less positive school climate along with potential safety factors.
With One Card, younger students are more engaged in learning since they’re present in class, and older students appreciate the responsibility. The school climate becomes more positive and safe.
Difficult Students to Successful Students
Difficult students don’t have to remain difficult. Behavior adjustment techniques like SEL and behavior management technologies such ScholarChip’s ABE and One Card work to reduce negative behaviors and build a positive school climate. And with a positive school climate, students can learn in a caring, respectful environment. Isn’t that’s what school is for?
To learn more about how ScholarChip can help you proactively address student behavior and climate improvement, reach out and schedule a free one-on-one introductory session with one of our specialists today!