The #1 Behavior Improvement and
Classroom Management Intervention
That Students Can't Resist
Can you name the #1 style of behavior improvement intervention that your students can't resist?
Here's a hint: It's an intervention that everyone has, but many of us forget to use. It's a method that is practically guaranteed to capture your students' interest and attention, and to make them more likely to receive and remember your message. What is it?
It's the same thing that just motivated you to keep reading this article: Curiosity.
It's such a powerful technique, yet so seldom used. Reaching troubled and problem youngsters is tough. We need to be sure that we are utilizing all the best techniques, so here are a few new strategies that use curiosity to hammer home your message.
These behavior improvement and classroom management strategies are taken from my books and workshops. I'm Classroom Management Instructor and Keynote Speaker Ruth Herman Wells, M.S., Director of Youth Change Professional Development Workshops.
Behavior Improvement Interventions
That Use Curiosity
Street Closed, Details at 11
Don't you hate those teases that the local news channels do? They tell you that a major street is closed by saying "Main thoroughfare shut. Will you be able to get to work tomorrow? Find out at 11." You are dying to know if the closure will affect you, aren't you?
Curiosity truly can compel your attention. Adapt those news previews to your site. For example, you could make an announcement or post a sign that says: "Get an 'A' on the next quiz. Find out how 3rd Period." or "What silly joke will Mr. Gomez tell during Math? Be there to find out." These easy-to-do interventions will not only generate a buzz, but a side benefit is the way they can create a welcoming, fun or warm atmosphere for your students.
Counselors, it's easy to adapt this device for group counseling sessions. To develop team spirit and to help group members become more open, you could make an announcement like this: "Within the first 5 minutes of Group, Ms. Leeds (the counselor) will reveal one of her most embarrassing moments in high school. Be on time to find out."
A Voice From the Future
Normally in life, there aren't very many opportunities to actually to learn from the future, so this intervention is a curiosity in that regard, but also in other ways. This intervention can be implemented in a high tech manner, or a lower tech way. Ask students to write letters to themselves from the future. So, for example, ask freshman to write letters to themselves as though they were graduating seniors. The low tech implementation requires that you save the letters and mail or deliver them in several years.
The high tech method is easier. There are services that will deliver the letter at whatever time you select. When students are writing their letters, steer them to craft thoughtful, emotional, or inspirational creations.
There's No Substitute for This
This has been an incredibly popular method. This student behavior improvement strategy can instantly improve the conduct that your students use when they have a substitute teacher in their classroom– and their curiosity is the reason why this technique almost never fails.
The day before you anticipate having a sub in your classroom, get enough envelopes so that you have one for each student. You will also need a roll of duct tape. When your students arrive the next day, there should be an envelope taped to each youngster's desk. Have the sub inform the class that inside each envelope is some type of goodie. All the students who have good behavior will be allowed to open their envelopes when the teacher returns, and will get the goodie. All the students who have problem behavior will not get the goodie, and will not be allowed to even look inside the envelope. It is your choice what to select for goodies.
You can offer extrinsic rewards like "Get Out of Class Early" passes, or intrinsic rewards like going for a walk together, or you can offer a mixture of both types. You should customize each goodie to fit each student. Substitute teachers absolutely adore this approach, and report that it completely transforms the behavior they get in the classroom.
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The Phrase of the Day
This is an intervention that is so much fun and you can use it every day. This strategy has several benefits. First, it creates a wonderful, friendly atmosphere. Second, it can lessen the tension that some youngsters can feel during the time they spend in a difficult class. Third, students will begin paying careful attention to the verbiage that occurs because they are curious about what is going to happen, and when.
Here's the intervention: Each day, ask one student to select the "Phrase of the Day" from the verbiage heard in class. Give that student a loud bell or air horn to signal the class at the moment someone has spoken the new "Phrase of the Day." The selection is completely up to the student, but the entire class will be expectantly waiting for the alert that the phrase was selected. At the end of class, students can compete to see who still remembers the exact "Phrase of the Day."
You can consider offering a prize to the winner, or even better, let the winner be the person who gets to choose the next day's "Phrase of the Day."
What Might Be
Ask students to detail the activities that they don't want to do at your site. Have students list those activities in a column on one side of a page. Next, ask your students to determine what they would be in life if they could be anything they wanted. Have students list those responses in a second column. Next, write this sentence on the board, and read it to your students: "My job is to get you to do what you don't want to do so you can become what you do want to become."
Discuss the sentence in conjunction with the students' two columns, assisting students to realize that your job is to help them reach their goals, and their job is to remember that, and act accordingly.