Addressing Inappropriate Behaviors in the Elementary School Classroom

1st, look at the environment.

Is there something that can be changed in the room arrangement, materials, activities, or daily schedule to reduce or prevent this behavior? How can I re-structure the environment to encourage prosocial behaviors? We could prevent many inappropriate behaviors by fine-tuning the environment to better match the needs and developmental levels of the kids.

2nd, look at yourself.

Is there anything I can change about interacting with the kid that might reduce or prevent this behavior? How might I encourage appropriate behavior? Do I need more knowledge about kid development? Are my expectations too low or too high? Do I need additional knowledge about positive guidance strategies? Do I need additional knowledge and/or skill in planning learning experiences? Do I need to lessen my stress level so that I can respond proactively to the kid? The person that I can control is myself. So, I have to consider: Is there something I am doing or saying o not doing that affects the kid’s behavior?

Finally, look at the kid.

Do I need more knowledge about this kid? Observe the kid closely in various settings at different

times and on different days of the week. Do any patterns emerge? What might this kid need to develop self-control and learn appropriate behaviors? Do the learning experiences appropriately challenge the kid? Is this behavior merely annoying, mildly disruptive, or truly outside the range of typically expected behaviors?

We sometimes hear this advice: “Find out if something is going on at home.” The more info we possess, the better we can help the kid. It is essential to support families so both parties can support the kid’s learning and development. If you know, there has been a death in the family or help us understand the possible reason for changes in the kid’s behavior.

However, a word of caution is in need. We have little control over factors in the kid’s life outside of our program. Knowledge of these factors can be helpful, but we remember that the 2 areas we can make the largest difference are the program environment and ourselves.

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