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How to Use a Behavior Contract in the Classroom
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Positive reinforcement interventions are the best way to deal with
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How to Use a Behavior Contract in the Classroom
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Hi, I'm Kaytie Sproul, a credentialed teacher in the state of California. I'm here today for About.com. to discuss the use of behavior contracts in the classroom.While you may have a general set of rules and behavior guidelines in place for all of your students, certain individuals in your classroom may need some added support and structure -- and this is where a behavior contract could come in handy.A behavior contract is a written agreement among the teacher, student, and his or her parents or guardians. The contract clearly details what is unacceptable behavior and the consequences of such, as well as what behavior is desired, and the benefits or rewards associated with meeting those expectations. All parties – student, teacher, and parents – must sign the contract together.It's a good idea to furnish parents with a copy of the contract that they can post at home and use for reinforcement purposes. Posting it in the classroom can also be helpful for both you and the student. When drafting the behavior contract and enforcing it, remember there should be a strong focus on rewarding positive behavior and improvements. If done correctly, you'll eliminate unwanted behavior and simultaneously instill the replacement behaviors you're seeking.However, you must rigidly adhere to the guidelines set forth in the contract to achieve this feat. If you're wondering what rewards and consequences are appropriate, they should be relevant to your classroom environment and tailored to the individual student.
For example, if you have a student who doesn't raise his hand and speaks out of turn, the reward for multiple displays of appropriate behavior may be that he gets to stand at the head of the lunch line the next day at school. Conversely, the consequence for continued calling out could mean the loss of five minutes from his lunch break. It's a good idea to have the student self-monitor his behavior with a tally list at his desk.
Don't forget to praise the student for his behavioral achievements, following through with whatever rewards are outlined in the contract. Positive reinforcement interventions are the best way to deal with unwanted behavior in the classroom. As behavior contracts fall into this category, they're a necessary tool for all teachers to master and use.
Thanks for watching. To learn more, visit us on the web at About.com.
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