Strong social skills will benefit a child in school and beyond. If children use appropriate social behavior, they’re most likely able to handle their aggression and persevere through struggles. On the contrary, students who have difficulties behaving are often rejected by their peers and face lifelong challenges.
Students with poor social behavior can negatively influence the entire classroom environment. Not only do other students face more academic difficulties in a charged atmosphere, but socially-struggling students also are more likely to perform poorly on intellectual challenges.
Luckily, school counselors have many options for moderating students’ poor social behavior before it’s too late. Here are seven methods for improving students’ social behavior:
1. Identify the Type of Social Behavior a Student Lacks
Students with regular visits to the principal’s office typically have behavior that falls into one or more of four categories. These students face problems with:
- Survival skills like following directions, speaking kindly to others, focusing, and praising themselves.
- Interpersonal skills like working with others, waiting in line, and sharing.
- Problem-solving skills like making decisions, apologizing to others, asking for help, and coping with consequence.
- Conflict resolution skills like peer pressure, interacting with others, and losing.
Before a counselor can choose appropriate intervention for students, they need to decide what type of social behavior the student struggles to perform.
2. Define the Student’s Misbehavior
Students misbehave for a variety of reasons, and it’s always helpful to consider the reasons behind the poor social behavior. Specifically, your goal should be to ascertain why the student misbehaves. Does the student know that he is misbehaving but chooses to do so anyway? Does a student have other problems that heighten the bad behavior?
Reasons for misbehavior usually fall into four categories:
- Fluency deficits. Students want to behave appropriately, but they don’t have the skills or practice that encourages them to do so.
- Acquisition deficits. Students don’t know their behavior is inappropriate for a specific situation or situations.
- Performance deficits. Students know what proper behavior looks like, but they can’t behave appropriately most or all of the time.
- Other factors. Students have other factors, like anxiety, depression, or hyperactivity, that prevent them from acting appropriately.
3. Create Parameters for Student Behavior
Students need to know what behavioral goals they’re aiming for. This means that rather than penalizing bad behavior, counselors and teachers should create positive behavior guidelines that reward students for behaving appropriately in the classroom. In other words, students should be given instructions about positive behaviors, rather than being punished for poor ones.
Let’s say a bored student often got up to wander the classroom during quiet activities and was often sent to the counselors’ office. The counselor could then suggest he chose a hands-on activity that interested him and worked for a set time each day. Later, if this student completed a project in the time allotted, a counselor could both reward him for his effort, as well as ask him to comment on how he was so successful.
4. Consult with Parents to Deploy Similar Solutions at Home and School
Parents or guardians are important partners in creating similar guidelines for students at home. If they aren’t held to the same behavioral standards outside of the classroom, a student may feel like they can act differently in different situations, further confusing them.
Many scholars agree that parents should be involved in “assessing, designing, monitoring, and supporting intervention efforts” in changing their children’s attitudes and behaviors.
5. Give Teachers Strategies to Improve Students’ Classroom Behavior
Teachers have a lot of competing concerns, so counselors can give teachers guidance for improving student behavior. Many resources can be found on Intervention Central. Here are some tools that counselors can add to teachers’ tool kits:
- Anxiety pre-writing assignments. Anxious students can do better if they write about what might be worrying them before a test or project for a seven- to 10-minute free-write.
- Growth-mindset statements. Students who think they can’t do something may be discouraged. To remedy this mindset? Teachers can praise student behaviors that helped them overcome a problem.
- Work-break passes. Students may become disengaged in difficult or time-consuming activities. These students can use a limited number of work-break passes to take a short break and complete an activity they enjoy more.
6. Automate Behavior Interventions and Rewards with ScholarChip’s ABE
ScholarChip’s ABE lets counselors, teachers, and staff give students unique interventions based on their patterns of bad behavior. For example, if a student were regularly tardy, she would receive an automatic flag and a course of interventions that would encourage her to examine the consequences of her behavior. ABE provides a simplified way of monitoring if students are replacing bad behaviors with more positive habits.
7. Track Changes in the Student’s Attitude Using ABE
Students may progress in different areas at different rates. Because of this reality, counselors need a way to automate data collection about each student’s positive and negative behavior. ABE gives students tools for tracking the frequency of their appropriate behavior so that they can aim for more consistent attitudes and habits.
More than 1,000 schools already use ABE, helping to modify more than 480,000 students’ behavior. As Dr. Kelvin Wymbs, the Assistant Superintendent in Florence, South Carolina, says, “With ABE we’re all paying more attention to behavior. In December 2015, we had 379 administrative hearings; in 2016, we had 141. That’s a significant decrease—62 percent—which is attributable to our work with ABE.”
Positive social behavior can make a significant difference in a student’s success both academically and with peers. Even if students exhibit frequent negative attitudes, consistent and regular interventions can moderate students’ bad habits before they become too ingrained.
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, feel free to schedule a call with one of our specialists!