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Why teachers should take a positive, proactive approach to student behavior


In the past, school teachers provided discipline in a reactive sense. Whenever a student misbehaved, there was an immediate punishment to rectify the behavior. Nowadays, some  teachers are using a different, possibly more impactful method—the restorative approach.

What happens when you take a proactive approach and track positive behaviors instead? You work toward eliminating problem behaviors before they become a bigger issue. Teachers who implement this strategy properly find it much more effective than the traditional reactive approach to discipline. 

Practicing restorative methods means engaging with students not only when there’s a problem, but regularly throughout the day. So, what makes this approach more successful? Three things—it focuses on the positive, it’s proactive, and it’s responsive. Using restorative methods can lead to better classroom behavior, happier students, and fewer headaches for staff and families. 

Read on to learn the benefits of using restorative methods in the classroom, how to use them  successfully, and why they’re being used more often in modern teaching.

Here’s the Problem: Reactive Strategies Take Too Long

The main issue with primarily focusing on and responding to negative behaviors is that it takes a lot of time and effort to conduct a reactive approach to student behavior.

Teachers have a lot of responsibilities on their hands, from grading papers and planning lessons to constantly communicating with parents and other staff members. Tracking student behavior and proactively handling discipline is just another item to add to their growing “to do” list.

Think about it this way—whenever there’s an issue with misbehaving students, teachers have to go through several steps to fix the situation:

  • Lecturing the entire classroom about good behavior
  • Addressing the misbehavior and de-escalating the situation by talking directly with the student
  • Talking with parents and family members about the incident
  • Collaborating with other staff members and school administration to address behavioral concerns
  • Assigning grades specific to behavior during class

However, when done correctly, taking a positive, proactive approach can actually save time and result in better performance in terms of student conduct.

How To Proactively Track Positive Classroom Behaviors

Some strategies you can use to track positive behaviors rather than disciplining negative ones include:

  • Positive reinforcement: Occasionally remind students to continue good habits and behaviors through positive reinforcement. Offer rewards to students who have excellent track records with classroom conduct, then take it one step further and congratulate their parents for the good behavior
  • Responding to incidents: Wait until all emotions settle down before discussing inappropriate behavior. When talking with the student, use a passive tone like “you made a mistake”—rather than “you messed up”. This prevents children from reacting defensively or feeling threatened. Ensure the student knows how their poor choices have affected others and let them come up with their own solutions to remedy the problem
  • Interacting with the children: Listen to troubled students and acknowledge their feelings and stresses. Use positive terms in your discussions rather than negative ones like “do not” and “stop.” Focus on encouragement instead of excessive praise, which can lead to complacency.

By following these steps, you’re not only saving time that can go toward improving the learning experience but also forming a more positive classroom environment where students are more willing to engage. Poor behaviors become indirectly mitigated as kids realize what the standard is and how to achieve it.

Why Tracking Positive Behavior Is the Solution

It’s a well-documented phenomenon that social connections greatly contribute to a child’s development. Likewise, children are more willing to learn when they feel safe and connected with others at school. This “good behavior” approach to discipline, alongside positive reinforcement, is the key to unlocking their full potential.

There are many other reasons ‌positive discipline works so well:

  • It teaches children important life skills like self-discipline, responsibility, self-esteem, and stress management
  • It encourages kids to show respect to both their peers and their authorities
  • It allows students to contribute to the classroom environment, meaning children will feel like they’re working as a community towards a common goal

The restorative approach uses positive reinforcement to put classroom behavior in the hands of students themselves. It gives children the responsibility and autonomy to have control over their own choices. The result? An effective disciplinary strategy that works well long term.

How To Track Behavioral Data Efficiently

We previously mentioned how using a restorative approach for tracking positive behavior would save your teachers time and effort. This rings especially true when you pair positive reinforcement strategies with using data collection and analytics features offered by EdTech platforms.

While student behavior is more of a qualitative metric, we can convert it into measurable, quantitative figures using the right behavioral tracking features. These solutions help address problematic behaviors before they get out of hand and provide positive support in favor of good behaviors. It also helps better manage the classroom by identifying collaborative goals and objectives.

There are a few ways to monitor and track classroom behavior:

  • Graphs and charts: Scatterplot graphs are a suitable example, as well as interval-based analysis that looks at specific behaviors at certain times of the day
  • Task-based analysis: This method works by identifying the components of a behavior and looking at the smaller tasks associated with an overall conduct score. These smaller details help teachers know where to improve behavior
  • ABCs: Known as the Antecedent-Behavior-Consequence model, ABC is exactly what it sounds like. It measures not only the behavior but the causes and direct results of it. This information helps break down what needs to change to improve overall conduct

Looking For an Easier Way to Measure Data & Analytics of Student Behavior?

Imagine a platform where you can find student data with just a few clicks. A place where you can easily track student effort, growth, attendance, behavioral issues, positive reinforcements, rewards, and awards. 

You can have these features—and more—with Edsembli. Collect and analyze your data using full automation to generate customized reports and actionable insights—save time, get more reliable information, and make more informed decisions anytime, anywhere. 

Edsembli’s full ecosystem helps in all aspects of school management, from classroom behavior and scheduling to creating staff performance reports, finance, and payroll.

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