Disruptive student behavior is becoming more and more of an issue all the time. In an AFT study, 17 percent of teachers said they lost four or more hours of teaching time per week because they were dealing with students who sought negative attention, lacked self-control, or exhibited other kinds of negative behaviors.
Of course, teachers aren’t alone in managing student behavior. Counselors can use these nine tips for transforming students’ negative habits into more classroom-appropriate routines.
1. Develop Routines That You Use with Students Every Time You See Them and Encourage Teachers to Do the Same
Students can be overwhelmed when they feel school situations are always shifting. Offer them consistency by always starting out your one-on-one or small-group counseling sessions the same way. Perhaps you guide students through a short breathing meditation or meet them at the door with a handshake. Encourage teachers to practice similar behaviors, as well.
2. Discuss Expectations with Students Focusing on What They’re Supposed to Be Doing
Though you may have been working with students for years, they don’t have the same frameworks to determine if what you’re telling them is the same or different from one day to the next. So, even if you have a lot to cover in a session, lay out exactly what you expect the student to do for the entire period. This way, students will be better able to prepare for the expectations you have for them.
3. Praise Students Who Are Exhibiting Appropriate Behavior
You don’t always have to call out students who aren’t behaving appropriately. Instead, one technique for managing student behavior is remembering that some students don’t even know what “good” habits look like. So, instead of always reprimanding negative behavior, point out students exhibiting the behavior you’re looking for. Other students will look to their peers for clues about how to act appropriately.
4. Use a Point System to Monitor Student Behavior
Students learn better if their positive habits are rewarded, but it can be difficult for counselors to keep track of so many students. This process can be simplified using ScholarChip’s ABE, which allows counselors and staff to denote certain behaviors with point values.
For example, if a student were to play one of the ABE behavior games well for half-an-hour, they’d receive a certain number of points. Giving students a clear indication of how many points they’ll earn if they behave well – or lose if they behave poorly – can give them stronger indicators about what appropriate school behavior really looks like.
5. Create a Calm Space in Your Office Where Students Can Go
Students can become overwhelmed with all that’s expected of them. It can be exhausting for some students to navigate behaviors appropriate for the school setting. So, create a calm space in your office, your area, or in other peaceful places on campus where students can go if they ever need a break from the rigors of school.
6. Offer Students Specific Interventions Based on Their Negative Behaviors
Certainly, it is important to describe the negative behaviors that students are exhibiting. However, it’s even more crucial to develop interventions tailored to the problematic behaviors they are exhibiting. As a single person or counseling team, creating particular methods for managing student behavior can be daunting. However, ScholarChip’s ABE has specifically-designed strategies to focus on different types of inappropriate school behavior.
7. Try the Stop, Drop, Roll, and Connect Technique
Students can push your buttons; you’re only human. Counselors swear by this technique that ensures that you deal with an acting-out student with compassion, not frustration.
The first step is to stop what you’re doing and take a few breaths. Next, you should drop your defenses. From there, roll out the positives – what the student is doing well and how they’re trying to do better. Finally, connect with students by making time to ask them questions about their lives, their interests, or something you know about them while giving them your undivided attention.
8. Develop Interventions That Keep Cultural Backgrounds and Traumas at the Foreground
It’s important that students feel that their behaviors are appropriate or inappropriate for the school setting, not that they are “good” or “bad.” Some behavior intervention tools can make students feel like they, not their behavior, is problematic.
In turn, we made ScholarChip’s ABE culturally sensitive and responsive to the trauma that students might have experienced in their lives. It’s important to find behavior-modification software that supports students, rather than only disciplines or shames them.
9. Work with Stakeholders to Develop Equitable Disciplinary Standards Across Classrooms
One of the reasons that students can feel overwhelmed or confused by behavior expectations in school is because they differ from classroom to classroom. One teacher might be stricter than another; a different teacher might be more lenient about a certain type of behavior. As a school counselor, you should work to standardize managing student behavior across instructors, making it that much easier for students to adopt and adapt to school-wide behavior guidelines.
To conclude, all of these techniques remove the ambiguity that sometimes surrounds student behavior, giving troubled students specific steps to behaving in the classroom. In addition to learning strategies for self-regulation, they will also have more apparent objectives to follow in school.
With counselors and ScholarChip’s ABE as helpful resources, teachers will be much better equipped for managing student behavior in the future.
ScholarChip offers a solution called Alternative Behavior Educator (ABE). This innovative program enables counselors to identify, monitor, and improve student behavior throughout a student’s career while giving administrators and teachers powerful data-driven reports that quickly flag at-risk students, help monitor and chronicle progress, and support decision-making tasks. The ScholarChip system incorporates the complete spectrum of behavior and integrates student rewards, interventions, and tracking with PowerSchool®, Infinite Campus, and other popular SIS platforms.
To learn how ScholarChip can help keep your schools safer and more secure, learn more about the many solutions ScholarChip provides or to get free recommendations, contact one of our specialists today!