Goal 8: Rethink Student Behavior & Classroom Management #30Goals

Goal 8 of The 30 Goals Challenge 2011



    Option A

During at least one class period have your students discuss how they deal with stress and have them reflect on positive ways to react to the stresses that surround them. During this time, listen as the students tell you the stress they deal with at home, from their peers, and just in general.

    Option B

Reflect on your classroom rules and the punishments outlined for breaking them. Do these consequences really correct the behavior? If not, think of ways to change the consequences so that the student understands how to correct the behavior. Have students help you come up with consequences. Listen to what they think.

    Option C

When the student that usually breaks a rule does, handle the situation differently. Talk to the student and figure out why this student reacts negatively to the situation. Try helping this student deal with the root of the problem.
Long-term– Make it a goal to get students to reflect on the rules, come up with the class rules, and think about appropriate consequences. Also, get students to develop ways to handle situations they know will arise. For example, have students think about when they are tempted to cheat, pick on another student, or participate in other negative behavior. What are ways they can reflect on the action in order to make better choices about their behavior. What are ways they can try to relieve their own stress before making decisions based on emotions or hormones?


“I’ve come to the frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element in the classroom. It’s my daily mood that makes the weather. As a teacher, I possess a tremendous power to make a child’s life miserable or joyous. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration. I can humiliate or humor, hurt or heal. In all situations, it is my response that decides whether a crisis will be escalated or de-escalated and a child humanized or de-humanized.”

by Dr. Haim Ginott


Get your students to think about positive ways to deal with negative behavior. Try to find ways to have students correct their behavior versus just punishing them.

Did you reflect on this goal? Please leave a comment that you accomplished this goal by either posting your own video reflection on Youtube, using the hashtag #30Goals, posting on the 30 Goals Facebook group, adding a post to the 43 Things web/mobile app, or adding a comment below! Feel free to subscribe to The 30 Goals podcast!

Keep an eye out for the book, The 30 Goals Challenge for Educators, that will be published by Eye on Education in the Fall of 2011!

Background music is Somewhere in France on the beach by Darkroom Featuring French people from CC Mixter

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0 thoughts on “Goal 8: Rethink Student Behavior & Classroom Management #30Goals

  1. Real discipline is self discipline. Don’t punish because they shared their locker combo/jammed their locker- express sincere sadness and ask what they should do about the problem. They will usually come up with an answer that is better and more meaningful to them, which is the real point.
    There are discipline systems that ask students to write a reflection of their error before they are allowed to return to their work. Sometimes they respond that they just got tired of writing, so they stopped the behavior. That is fine.

  2. When problems arise in the classroom I advise teachers to be open and try one of the following:
    If the problem is between students, mediate and listen. Be sure both sides hear each other and form a solution exceptable to all.
    If the problem is between student and teacher, have an open mind and have the student speak first about what he/she perceives the problem to be. Often times it’s not classroom based. Once again listen and help. That’s why we’re there.

  3. This goal is great because it helps students develop the metacognitive skills to understand why they do what they do — in terms of misbehavior. To me the first step in being able to empathize is understanding your own behavior. And once students empathize with others, they’re less likely to treat others poorly (i.e. misbehave).

  4. I was pleased and surprised when I saw the quote for this goal. I recently discovered Dr. Haim Ginott’s books and have been using them as a reference for a presentation I am working on. I think it is important to choose our battles and ultimately avoid battling by treating students with empathy and respect. They hear so much better when we say less and allow them some space to absorb what they have heard.

  5. I wouldn’t normally think of this as an experience with behavior, but in some ways it connects. I have a bright student who is often in trouble. He gets in other people’s body spaces; he ignores rules, he leaves his things all over the room; and he is often noisy during work times. Last year he spent a lot of time in my room as a consequence from his last teacher.
    Yesterday I conferenced with him about his writing project. He doesn’t like to write. He had tremendous trouble with this project, and constantly wanted so much help that I felt as if he wanted someone else to write it for him. I conferenced with him several times, and then told him he just had to do it.
    Yesterday when I looked at his work, I first noticed how limited it was. Fortunately I didn’t say anything. Then I looked deeper and saw some good ideas and good sentences. That is where I started. I gave him a couple of minor suggestions, lots of compliments, and sent him off to do the final version to publish. “I’ve never written an essay before,” he commented happily as he went off. (He has, but it must have been much less.) I was reminded of how much easier it is to deal with behavior issues when you have a relationship that is based on affirmation and looking for the positive.

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