Saturday, 27 February 2016

Behaviour Guidance Strategies & Self-Regulation

Robert and Jana Marzano wrote that, “the quality of teacher-student relationships is they keystone for all other aspects of classroom management” (Marzano & Marzano, 2003, p. 6). I feel that if positive relationships are built and the four pillars of TRIBES are implemented, this will promote an inclusive and supportive learning community which will have minimal to non-existent behaviour issues. Challenging behaviours occur for many different reasons and there is not one uniform strategy that can be implemented and successful with every child. Below you will find a variety of strategies that I found effective over the 6 years of working with children in both child care and classroom settings:

Within the Early Childhood Education Program and Bachelor of Child Development Program I learned the following strategies:
  • re-direction (instructing the child to another activity)
  • decreasing distance (decreasing the distance between you and the child so you may speak with them one-on-one)
  • eye-level (ensuring you are at the child's eye-level when speaking with them)
  • gentle tone of voice (ensuring you speak to the child kindly and with respect)
  • positive wording (focus on what they can do better next time and avoid negative words such as no, bad, or don't)
  • choice (offer choices so the student feels that they have some control over their outcome)
  • opportunity (provide students with an opportunity to correct their behaviour or show you they can behave)
  • positive reinforcement & praise (always reinforce positive behaviours and provide praise when negative behaviours are corrected)
  • the ABC model (A=antecedents, B=behaviours, C=consequences- try to determine what caused the behaviour and ensure that the consequences are natural consequences; those in which relate to the behaviour. One would not keep a child in for recess if they were not sharing a block, that would be an example of an unnatural consequence. A natural consequence would be that they can play with it for a specified amount of time and then pass it to the friend for the same amount of time and if they refused to share then they loose the privilege of playing with those blocks and have to choose another activity.
Within the Bachelor of Education Program at UOIT I learned about Bennets Bumps. When a student is demonstrating challenging behaviours the method to defuse such behaviour include “Bump 1. Low-key responses, Bump 2. Squaring off, Bump 3. Choices, and Bump 4. The implied choice” (Bennett & Smilanich, 1994). 
Visit: Bennets Bumps for more detail of what the bumps contain.

Currently, I try to implement those discussed above as well as take preventative measures during our community circle. I have purchased Thumballs which is “the premiere tool for development of essential communication skills. A soft, safe soccer style ball has evolved into a game linking the sustained attention of play with fun new ways of interacting. Thumballs inspires social awareness and a life-long love of learning” (youth light inc.) I have introduced the Self-Control Thumball to my students during our community circle time. This ball allows the students to read (with support) and respond to prompts about self-control and how to use it in social and emotional situations. Topics may include: recognizing big deals, understanding unhealthy thoughts, avoiding overreacting, calming yourself, and more. It allows my students to share their personal responses and learn to listen and respect their peers responses. I have also purchased: Personal Strengths, Team Building, and Empathy Thumballs. 
Visit: Thumball to purchase your own! - custom options available

Other preventative measures that my teaching partner Trista Dutt and I take in our FDK Classroom to support Behaviour Guidance and Self-Regulation are:
  • visual schedule (we post and review our visual schedule so that our daily routines are made predictable for students which decreases their anxiety for whats happening next in their day (predictable routines)
  • choice of learning centres (we allow our students to choose which learning centres they would like to visit in their day. This allows the students to have control over their learning. The only times that they have to participate are during whole group lessons or mini lessons)
  • calming centre (we have a calming centre available at all times of the day should the students need some time to be alone or de-stress. Some items in this centre include: stress balls, sensory jars, pinwheels, and emotions reading rocks)
If you have any other behaviour guidance/ self-regulation strategies, please feel free to share them at : or visit my Instagram: @educate.invest.inspire