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Improved Student Behavior:
Step by Step

Step 3 Defining procedures

A procedure is a process for getting something done. Procedures aren't specifically about avoiding misbehavior, although they do have that effect. Rather, they are processes for doing things smoothly and efficiently.

Creating and using procedures is one of the most effective means of reducing student misbehavior. And  procedures aren't even explicitly about misbehavior! Procedures are just about efficient ways to get things done. That's why they are so effective at reducing misbehavior. Procedures let students know just what they should be doing. There is less opportunity for students to goof off and get into trouble.

It's important to note that procedures don't imply soulless regimentation. They are simply statements of "this is how we do things here."

Anything done repeatedly should be made into a procedure. Procedures save time and they avoid opportunities for disruptions.

Define a procedure and then teach it. Here are recommended steps.

  • Model how to do it.
  • Model how not to do it.
  • Have a student model how to do it.
  • Have a group model it.
  • Have the class practice it.
  • Start using the procedure regularly.
  • Give reminders of the procedure.
  • Insist that the procedure be used. If the procedure is not being followed, ask the errant student what the procedure is. If necessary, reteach the procedure. If a student resists the procedure, turn it into a rule including consequences.
  • If a suggested change will improve the process, go ahead and change the procedure but remember to reteach the new way.

You will find that students typically like procedures, especially after they have grown accustomed to them. Procedures are small bits of mastery, repeatable bits of excellence. People like being good at what they do.

Making procedures habitual results in permanent behavior changes. In contrast, reacting to behavior problems has only a temporary behavior effect.

Here's a list of 30 classroom procedures found online. The message is, you will need quite a few procedures and you might as well look around for procedures to copy rather than invent each one yourself.

  • Entering the room
  • Lining up
  • Leaving the room
  • Beginning the day
  • Ending the day
  • Taking out/putting away/caring for supplies
  • Participating in group lessons
  • Obtaining help with assignments
  • Handing in finished work/homework
  • What to do with unfinished work
  • When and how to use the school restroom
  • When and how to use the drinking fountain or sink
  • When and how to use the pencil sharpener
  • Being a classroom helper; learning a classroom job
  • Getting into work groups
  • Using the classroom library
  • Handling seatwork pages
  • Preparing for lunch
  • Getting a tissue
  • Lunch count/attendance
  • Throwing away trash
  • Turning in lost items
  • Locating lost items
  • Pledge
  • Visitors in the classroom
  • Fire drill
  • Signals for attention
  • Helping other students
  • Organizing desk
  • What to do during free time

 

<< Step 2 Defining rules and the rules matrix Step 4 Teaching expectations, rules and procedures >>

 

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