Teacher and Student

Consistency

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Why is consistency important?

Consistency is critical to creating space for effective learning environments. Students are able to participate in learning more effectively when they have a clear understanding of classroom procedures and their importance. If students can name the expectations and receive consistent responses to their behavior they are in better control of their actions. Classroom expectations are important to academic achievement—consistent learning environments allow students to really thrive academically by providing time and space to focus on the academic material.

In order to facilitate consistent behavior management in my classroom, I focused on 3 important elements; my role as the teacher, the learning environment, and behavior reinforcements.

 

As the teacher, you are the lead and facilitator of the classroom norms and expectations. You are responsible for implementing classroom structure and providing guidance for holding students accountable to their behavior choices. Teachers must deliver clear and direct instructions so students do not have questions about what is expected of them. In doing so, teachers are able to reinforce positive behaviors through modeling and incentives. Modeling gives students clear examples when they have to make a choice about what is appropriate

The learning environment is an important component in behavior management because it provides a controlled physical space that impacts learning. I used visuals around the classroom to reinforce rules and expectations. Visuals serve as a simple reminder for students when faced with making behavior decisions. For example, I displayed behavior charts and signs to remind students of positive behavior. In some cases they were examples of language they could use or scenarios of varying classroom interactions. An organized classroom is a great place to model consistency and predictability. However, there must also be routines during the start and end of class that serve as an additional layer of reinforcement. I always opened the day with a class mantra, followed by the rules and expectations and a warm greeting. We would close the day with positives from the day and praise for our classmates who had great behavior. This was a great way to acknowledge the hard work during the day. Together students and staff contribute to making the classroom space one that promotes consistent behavior management.

Reinforcements are also a critical part of consistent behavior management. Most schools have adopted a set of principles or values that serve as schoolwide standards for behavior expectations. There must be both schoolwide and classroom positive reinforcements for when those standards are met to encourage consistent behavior. For instance, some schools use weekly or monthly reward systems in the classroom as well as schoolwide to incentivise positive behaviors. Incentives encourage repeated positive behavior. At times the reinforcement can be less tangible and simply involve both verbal (shout outs, positive comments) and nonverbal (smiles, thumbs up, or written) responses to the behavior. Teachers lead the learning so they must leverage the classroom environment in conjunction with targeted reinforcements to maintain a positive culture. Their guidance and consistent practice with meeting classroom expectations is a key part of behavior management. When teachers take the time to thoroughly instruct and model the expectations, students can and will follow. 

There will be times however when a behaviour policy needs to be followed due to poor behaviour. It is vital that consistency is maintained in the application of sanctions as well as rewards, and that idle threats are not made. Students perform best when they know and understand expectations, and equally when they know that rules will be fairly and consistently applied.

How can consistency be applied?

Activities

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Reflection

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Further Reading

Tom Bennett (2021) Read the Room

Paul Dix (2020) When the adults change everything changes