Behavior Management In the Classroom or Academic Instruction: What Comes First?February 8, 2021 August 12, 2023
A popular viewpoint among educators is that discipline must come before instruction. Because student disruptions create a ripple effect across a classroom, teachers often feel forced to immediately deal with every misbehavior, resulting in a significant loss of instructional time. Teachers report losing as much as 144 minutes of instructional time on average to classroom behavior management and behavioral disruptions every week, which is roughly three weeks of a school year.
Of course, simply correcting behaviors to keep students on-task does not mean students will be successful in mastering new learning. Teachers must plan for the reciprocal nature between effective instruction and classroom management. When too much of a teacher’s attention is focused on correcting students’ misbehavior, then instructional time suffers.
Some researchers have found that teachers using the lowest (< 33rd percentile) amounts of active supervision, engagement, and feedback have students that are 27% more likely to be off-task and 67% more likely to be disruptive (Gage, Scott, et.al, 2018).
Classroom Behavior Technique: Identify Opportunities for Academic Success and Engagement.
Students who are primarily disruptive during academic activities are a cue for teachers that there is possibly an aspect of the learning activity that is too challenging or frustrating for the student. Most teachers understand that to tailor instruction to students’ needs, they must provide students with learning activities that are neither too difficult nor too easy. Adapting the instructional strategies used in the lesson can significantly increase student’s success and rate of learning.
Instructional Design Can Become an Effective Classroom Behavior Management Strategy.
High-quality academic instruction has consistently proven to be an effective classroom for technique minimizing disruptions by reducing problem behavior and promoting student engagement. One of the most effective ways to do this is by “chunking” lesson instruction.
Chunking instruction (or instructional scaffolding) helps keep students engaged and on-task by providing ample opportunities for distributed summarizing and practice and organizing lessons into manageable pieces of information or Learning Activities. These smaller chunks are more meaningful to students, as individuals can only hold so much information in their working memory, and too much information without time to process can interfere with learning.
Creating a series of Learning Activities can also help reduce behavioral issues from students who are acting out in response to feeling overwhelmed, bored, or frustrated.
“Chunking” with Distributed Summarizing
In addition “chunking ” should also occur within each Learning Activity, using Distributed Summarizing to create opportunities for students to frequently stop and process new learning. When students summarize, their confusions, misconceptions, or misunderstandings surface, and these can be addressed accordingly. This will help keep students engaged and motivated throughout the lesson, as well as move them beyond recall by asking that they represent knowledge and skills in their own words.
Watch our Distributed Summarizing video for more information on why this top Research-Based Learning Strategy is a “must do” for every student and in every lesson.
Gage, Scott, Horn, and MacSuga-Gage (2018). The Relationship Between Teachers’ Implementation of Classroom Management Practices and Student Behavior in Elementary School. Volume: 43 issue: 2, page(s): 302-315. Issue published: February 1, 2018