Schimmer starts by giving the lie to a common but incorrect interpretation of what really causes unproductive student behaviors:

“there are some who believe student behaviour will take care of itself; that we’re all just one formative assessment, one differentiated opportunity, or one project-based experience away from neutralizing any behavioural issues with our students

How easy it would be if effective pedagogical strategies could eliminate unproductive behaviors altogether! I know I’ve fallen into this trap before, so it’s refreshing to hear him put it like this. Schimmer goes on to explain that there will always be behaviors that are classroom managed and behaviors that are office managed. The trick is having a systemic approach that clarifies which is which and what to do in each case.

1) Every school-wide discipline plan is designed to be an instrument of support and inclusion, not removal and isolation.

Pretty obvious here–the more you can support and include, the more kids learn. You can’t learn if you’re not in the room.

2) Be clear about expected behaviours and what success can/should look like.

I think this is the number one thing new teachers do wrong. They tell kids what success should look like instead of actually having them “do” the successful behavior. As in, don’t tell kids what lining up looks like–have them line up until they get it right. Kids remember almost none of what is “told” to them, so it’s hard to really blame them when they do it wrong if they’ve never been shown how to do it right.

3) Be reasonable, consistent, and fair when responding to inappropriate behaviours.

Reasonable trumps equal. Not every behavior is going to be met with the same consequence depending on the student. This policy won’t make sense to anyone who’s never works with students with disabilities.

4) Pre-correct for anticipated behavioural errors.

Think about every small bad decision a kid could make and then practice doing the action without making that mistake.

5) Respect the uniqueness of each student, each incident, and each set of circumstances.

Schimmer recommends agonizing over decisions rather than making snap judgments–unfortunately deans and administrators often don’t have that luxury. But I do like the idea of responding to the student rather than the behavior.

As far as guiding principles go, Schimmer’s are on point. I’d like to see him drill down into more specific tools and tips for implementation.


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