Positive expectations and affirmations are an easy way to support classroom behavior. This should not include “don’t” and “no”. Frame written and verbal expectations and directives in the positive. “Feet on the floor” rather than “no feet on the table”. “Quiet mouth” rather than “no talking.” “Nice hands” rather than “don’t touch”. Positive praise, catching them being good, and rewarding appropriate choices are sure to raise the level of compliance in your room. Some positive behavior supports include:
- You should give 4 positive verbal affirmations for every one negative correction.
- You should make positive statements to your class every 5 minutes throughout the day.
- When correcting, state the correction and disengage quickly. Do not get into a power struggle with the student.
- Give positive feedback to students when they comply after being corrected for behavior.
- Refer to your posted written expectations when you ask a student to comply. Seeing the visual helps support what you are saying.
Posted classroom rules and expectations should be limited to 5 simple directives, stated in the positive. For example:
In this class we –
- use walking feet
- raise our hand to ask a question
- sit crisscross on the carpet
- keep our feet under the table while working
- listen attentively
Obviously, for different ages and grades these expectations will be different. For older students instead of:
- No fighting
- Stay out of others lockers
- Respect your teacher
- Be polite, honest, and kind
- No running
Try something like:
We promise to –
- Keep our belongings orderly
- Use kind words with our peers
- Keep our hands to ourselves
- Keep our feet on the floor
- Respect the belongings of our peers
The expectation should always be for students and teachers to use positive language when speaking to each other. With teachers modeling this affirmation in their own speech, students are more likely to respect the environment you have created.