+ Teacher/Student Game: Competitive Behavior Management

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From TeachHUB! (www.teachhub.com), a classroom behavior strategy offered by Randi Saulter and Don Crawford, called the Teacher/Student Game.

Nearly all human behavior is based on reaction to consequences: touch a flame and jump back;  see a smile and give back a smile and learn to be friendly.

“Magic Ratio”

The authors tell us that psychologists, scientists, and education professionals have determined a “magic ratio” for affecting behavior in others, whether they are adults or children.

 By following a three-to-one (3:1) positive to negative interaction ratio, you ought to be able to ensure better behavior and long-term success in the classoom.

How It Works

Set up the game before start of class.  The teacher draws a “score card” somewhere prominent — on a white board, blackboard, paper — so it is visible to students and easily accessible.   The teacher will be awarding points to the class or himself frequently.

At the beginning of the class, the teacher explains the Teacher/Student Game and reviews rules and expectations.   (It’s a good idea to introduce children to the game at the beginning of the school year.  As the year goes on, review the rules.)

Teacher says

We’re going to play a game, me against you.  I think I can win because I’m really smart and I win this game A LOT!  Here is how it works.  You get points for getting things right, and for following the rules which are everyone responding, everyone keeping their eyes on the lesson, everyone waiting their turn to talk [insert your specific expectations].  But I get points whenever someone forgets the rules or makes a mistake!

I bet I’m going to win.  I’m really good at this game.

Right away, you are naming your expectations; children straighten up and pay careful attention.  Immediately give their team a point, acting disappointed. 

Say something like

You guys have your eyes on me so well, that I have to give you a point.  You’re already ahead!  But I know you’re going to forget the rules and then I’ll win…

Children immediately enjoy their lead in the game.  They feel proud of their accomplishment.

Ham it up a bit; act REALLY disappointed.  The children try harder to beat you.

Immediately give your students points for meeting all of your expectations — before they have a chance to forget.  Give them points for answering correctly, keeping their eyes on the lesson, taking turns.  Tell them what they did to earn their points.

Gosh!  I’m going to have to give you another point because everyone is paying attention.  Darn!  You’re ahead, but I’m going to catch up soon.

Be Obnoxious! 

 Give yourself a point energetically, obnoxiously and gleefully whenever even one child needs a question repeated, doesn’t have her eyes on the book, interrupts you or talks to a neighbor. 

When you give yourself the point (on this VERY public chart) tell everyone

YEA! I get a point because someone talked out of turn!  I KNEW I was going to win…

Be obnoxiously cheerful about getting a point.  Make sure you are so annoying that they really want to beat you.  If you do this right, they will hate letting you have even one point; they’ll be motivated to monitor their own behavior closely.

Many teachers are reluctant to give themselves points.  They ignore minor misbehaviors, afraid to discourage the kids. 

But the teacher should catch EVERY infraction and take every point possible.  That way you enforce high standards and make children adhere to their most excellent behavior.

The way to keep the students encouraged is to be vigilant in catching them being good. 

Keep the ratio of positives up.  Catch them being good at least three times as often as you have to give yourself a point.

It isn’t easy.  Focus hard to catch students answering correctly, demonstrating attention, tracking in their books, looking at the teacher, answering quickly when called on.

Make your positive statements brief and exciting; clearly identify both the behavior and the student.

This is not for young students only.  If you spotlight your competitive side and really appear to be tough, even high school kids will get into it. 

You always lose the game, but you win in the classroom.

source: www.teachhub.com , article by Randi Saulter and Don Crawford.  TeachHUB! is a free daily, one-stop shop for resources, top recommendations + bargains for teachers by teachers.

tutoring in Columbus OH:  Adrienne Edwards   614-579-6021   or email  aedwardstutor@columbus.rr.com

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