16 Proactive Classroom Management Components

Tier I Behavioral RTI: Prevention

Expected Prevention Rate: 75-95% of students

Each component has been established as an effective practice to prevent challenging behaviors that result in greater time devoted to instruction (TDI) and greater academic engagement time (AET), thus improved academic performance.

1. Classroom behavioral expectations are posted, taught, reviewed and known by every student. Students become clear on what desired behaviors are, and pre-corrections prevent occurrences of challenging behaviors.

2. Transitions are taught and managed well. Challenging behaviors often occur during unstructured and lengthy transitions. When transitions are structured and short, problems are avoided.

3. Independent seatwork is limited for skill fluency practice and managed effectively when used. High rates of out of context, uninteresting, and lengthy independent worksheet format skill practice produce an environment where students are more likely to become bored and engage in off-task behavior.

4. The classroom is well organized and productive (minimal effort to pay attention, easy flow in/out of room, optimal seating arrangement, limited distractions, etc.). Environmental structure has long been associated with greater on task behavior.

5. Teacher mobility and proximity control is used. The teacher does not stand in one spot. This keeps students alert by tracking the teacher and the teacher uses proximity control as a method to reduce challenging behavior. Students are more on task when adults are more visibly monitoring their behavior.

6. A motivation system to reinforce desirable behavior is in place. Students come with a range of intrinsic motivation for a range of subject areas and activities. Reinforcement increases motivation to engage in less desired activities.

7. Goal setting and performance feedback is routine. Students are more motivated to stay on task and complete work skillfully if they have collaboratively set goals and received feedback.

8. Cuing systems to release and regain student attention and foster high student engagement are used. When the teacher uses routines and gestures to gain and release attention, the students respond rapidly, decreasing lost instruction time.

9. Visual schedule of classroom activities is used. Knowing the schedule helps students understand what can be expected and helps with deficits in delaying gratification. For students with social/emotional needs, structures and routines help decrease anxiety.

10. Teaching, modeling, and reinforcing desired prosocial classroom skills. This includes following directions the first time, active listening, waiting patiently, sharing with others, accepting feedback, etc. Social skills instruction helps all students understand what produces payoff and thus alters challenging behavior that occurs when the students try to get payoff through maladaptive methods. For students with social/emotional needs, their self-referencing, internal orientation can interfere with learning expectations, so specific instruction for the skill deficit is warranted.

11. Establishment of strategies for positive relationships with all students in the class. The teacher intentionally reaches out to every student to get to know them and learn about them; this will help the teacher to identify students who need additional supports. Additionally, when a student is well known by the teacher, that student is less likely to be impacted by negative peer affiliations, and individual positive behavior is easier to achieve.

12. Positive greeting at the door to pre-correct and establish a positive climate occurs daily. Positive greetings at the door increases students’ time on task, reduces disruptions, and builds positive relationships.

13. Competent communication with all students is observed (reprimands/corrective statements are delivered in a non-threatening way and reinforcement is specific and genuine). Challenging behavior escalates when unskillful correction occurs, and reinforcement has little effect when not genuine and specific.

14. Providing students with numerous opportunities to respond to teacher questions (choral responding, random asking of students, etc.) and interaction with classmates over learning content (pair-share). High student engagement results in less opportunity for challenging behavior.

15. Five positive comments, gestures, and interaction for each correction, reprimand, or negative interaction (5 to 1 ratio). This ratio has been extensively researched and proven to result in “behavior contrast” for rapid learning of expectations.

16. Smiling and being nice. Researchers have demonstrated that when someone smiles, “mirror neurons” are activated in the observer. Anger, fear and other emotions have difficulty when confronted with neuronal pathways from smiling. Rather than frowning at challenging behavior, adopting a more positive facial affect results in greater change than responding negatively. Challenging behavior is harder to maintain under the onslaught of positives.