The behaviors of a few students can inhibit a positive learning environment for the entire class. During my classroom experiences, I have seen fantastic discipline plans that are highly successful as well ones that are inconsistent and ineffective. A good behavior management plan requires creative thinking on the part of the teacher and consistent implementation of the plan in order for the teacher to be successful. Positive reinforcement of appropriate behavior should be the basis of any plan. Building up a student’s confidence is a more effective tactic than breaking him down. Yelling the entire class-time and using condescending words will make the student feel worthless and push him further away and less interested in art class. One example of a behavior management plan that I have recently initiated while student teaching was to give points to tables of students who were “caught being good”. The students were given a list of class rules to follow in order to earn a point. At the end of the class, the table of students with the most points received a small reward, which this particular time was a foam, animal shaped sticker. On this the first day of the plan, I could see a difference in the behavior of the students. They were all watching the board during class to see which table was in the lead and would work together as a group to act better than the rest. I believe that this plan will be successful as long as I am consistent in its implementation.
Unfortunately, an umbrella-type plan does not always work for all classes. Some students have far more challenging behaviors than others. The teacher must recognize the students as individuals and learn what approach to positive discipline would work for those students and the group in which they belong. Perhaps the student who is uncooperative during an art project would be more interested in being the teacher’s helper for the day. The art project might not be completed successfully but the student will feel useful in the class and not a failure. This method may also help relieve further discipline problems the student may have created while not attending to the project at hand. As a teacher, I need to think creatively to help my students be successful in school as well as in life.