A strong positive correlation exists between increased behavior problems in the classroom and poor academic achievement. How well students perform academically is due in large part to how well teachers provide effective instruction. Effective instruction is promoted through well-designed curricular programs.
When you review curricular programs for possible adoption, consider the following behavior management aspects to help improve not only academic performance, but also student behavior.
Classroom organization. Programs should outline expectations and instructional routines and provide tips for how to manage transitions. Expectations, routines, and quick transitions are helpful for students and teachers alike, maximizing instructional time in the classroom.
Effective instruction. Programs should be built on a gradual release of responsibility model. This foundational model moves students from teacher- or computer-led instruction, to guided practice, and then to independent practice and review as students demonstrate mastery and generalized performance. Scaffolded learning, differentiated instruction, increased opportunities to respond, positive and corrective feedback, and motivational systems should be part of this effective instructional package to keep students engaged and successful. Incorporating digital learning with small group, teacher-led instruction and collaborative student research projects help to “mix things up” for students and keep them engaged.
Self-evaluation. An effective behavior management method is self-evaluation. Self-evaluation teaches students how to measure their own behavior against specified goals. Programs that have students judge their own performance using rubrics and checklists help them exhibit higher levels of performance and better behavior.
Social competence. Social competence training assists students in learning individual (e.g., social etiquette, project contribution) and team (e.g., collaborating with team members, resolving conflicts with others) responsibilities. Students acquire these skills through prearranged modeling, role-playing, self-evaluation, and cooperative learning activities.
Illustrative Program Example
A new article soon to be published in Education and Treatment of Children (2015, Volume 38, Issue 2) illustrates how to improve English language arts and literacy skills and classroom behavior using SRA FLEX Literacy as a program example. Key aspects of classroom organization, effective instruction, self-evaluation, and social development within this program are highlighted.