Changing Behaviors by Changing the Classroom Environment
Many teachers face disruptive behavior in their classrooms. They are left with the question; how can they identify and change the problem areas in the classroom environment in order to change the behavior? By collecting data on students’ engagement during instruction, disruptive behavior, and teacher observations, teachers can identify which physical aspects of their classrooms need to be improved. One of the challenges teachers face is disruptive behavior in their classrooms. A survey conducted in 2004 showed that 75% of the teachers noted that they would spend more time teaching effectively if they had less disruptive behavior in their classrooms (public agenda, 2004). Examples of these disruptive behaviors include, speaking without permission and getting out of the seat. Another challenge for the teachers is to find classroom management strategies that are proactive, preventative and relatively easy to implement and which provide minimal disruption to the classroom. There are different steps to changing the environment of a classroom. The first step is to observe: Finding out things like what types of behaviors occur in your classroom, when are most disruptive behaviors occurring, the time of day and under which type of circumstances? Where is disruptive behavior occurring? Are students able to work at desks without distractions? Are students able to work in group areas without distractions from the surrounding environment? The second step is to modify: This entails providing areas for personal space (Hood-Smith & Leffingwell, 1983, Visser, 2001), changing or decreasing placement of stimulating visuals, making clear pathways between students and high trafficked areas (Visser, 2001; Weinstein, 1979), addressing acoustic quality in the classroom by...
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