First Year Teaching Tips for Behavior Management (page 3)
Motivators and Incentives
Students’ enthusiasm for learning, engagement, and participation can be greatly increased through the use of motivators and incentives in the classroom. These help develop their interests so that they look forward to coming to school each day and being involved in classroom activities.
- Understand that learning can’t be fun 100% of the time, but it should be engaging.
- Create a space that stimulates motivation to learn.
- Design interesting, relevant, hands-on lessons around an appropriate grade-level curriculum.
- Create an environment where students can be successful.
- Help students understand the value of what they are learning, so that they participate more in the process and therefore comprehend more.
Student Motivation Through lnstruction
Increasing the students’ desire and interest in their own education is the key to their being motivated. Several proven motivational techniques are provided below.
- Realize that the ultimate goal is to develop self-motivated students.
- Remember that incentives can be simple. They don’t even have to be purchased. The key is recognition, follow-through, and consistency.
- Realize that all students can benefit from motivators and incentives.
- Let students know that you like them and that you expect good behavior from them.
- Strive to find something good and worthwhile in every student. Every student deserves recognition.
- Play a key role in generating self-confidence and motivation in your students.
Provide Detailed Feedback
Provide students with feedback on all of their submitted work: Students want to know if they have completed their work correctly.
- Never give an assignment that you are not willing to score or grade.
- Provide meaningful comments.
- Return students’ work with feedback: Unreturned or ungraded work provides no motivation.
Provide Support to Unenthusiastic Students
Students who don’t seem to care about schoolwork need extra attention. These are students who struggle, for whom school is a constant challenge just to keep up, and who are often unenthusiastic about learning because of outside factors.
- Hold high expectations for all students.
- Reinforce students’ perceptions of themselves as successful.
- Design instruction that is interesting, relevant, and hands-on.
- Provide opportunities for all students to succeed. You can do this by adding a variety of components—either required or optional—to a lesson: an art component, an oral presentation, or a hands-on project.
Explain the Value of Assigned Tasks
Students are more able to see the value of an assigned task when they know that the lesson has a connection to their own lives.
- Relate lessons to the students’ own lives.
- Create culturally relevant lessons.
- Create lessons that you know will interest the students.
- Create lessons that require participation by all of the students.
- Keep the students busy, moving, and having fun.
Provide Opportunities for Choice
Students will be more invested in their own success when they have an opportunity to make choices. Allow students to choose from a variety of learning experiences.
- Give students a sense of power and ownership in their education.
- Connect learning activities to the individual student’s personal interests.
- Provide opportunities for students to choose from a selection of different but equally valuable options.
- Encourage students to finish less attractive assignments by letting them know that they will be able to move on to assignments that they enjoy more.
- Try “must do” and “may do” activities: Students complete “must do” tasks (such as finishing a book report, completing vocabulary sentences, or researching maps) before moving on to “may do” tasks (such as silent reading, working on the computer, or practicing multiplication flashcards).
Show Enthusiasm for What You Are Teaching
Be excited about what you are presenting—your students will pick up on this!
- Show your excitement about what you are planning and teaching.
- Plan activities that motivate you and that you are excited about. Students are sensitive to your energy level.
- Act as if you are interested in the subject at hand, even if it isn’t your favorite. Fake it if you have to!
- Encourage student participation as much as you can.
Provide Multiple Learning Opportunities
Because students have different learning styles, prepare lessons that have options for students to explore.
- Plan two or three different follow-up activities for each lesson.
- Allow students to choose the activity that most appeals to them and their strengths (for example, students are to write an expository essay, but they are allowed to choose the topic).
- Incorporate art, if possible, to give ELL (English language learner) and struggling students an opportunity to demonstrate their learning in ways that don’t require words.
Take a novel approach to teaching—try new techniques and applications.
- Incorporate a variety of games and other non-standard demonstrations of understanding into your teaching.
- Use different outcomes to measure your students’ understanding of projects and presentations.
- Incorporate games like Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy as innovative ways to assess learning.
- Use fractions in cooking as an innovative way to measure learning.
Asking students to work with a project through design and presentation opens an entirely new way of working with content to them.
- Give students a specific audience and criteria list for a given project: Who will be reading this? Is it appealing? Is it a good design? Is it clear, concise, and comprehensive?
- Turn a standard project into one of design by shifting the expectations of the students.
- Ask students to design a variety of items, including (but not limited to) travel brochures, advertisements, flyers from supermarkets, mini books, and posters.
Incentives and Rewards
Motivating both individual students and the class as a whole can keep your students on task, excited about learning, and orderly.
- Use rewards to help motivate students to complete tasks.
- Consider your reward system carefully. It is a commitment, and you need to be prepared to follow through.
- Encourage students to behave appropriately or to complete work for its own sake. The goal is for your students to do the right thing and feel accomplished because of intrinsic—not extrinsic—factors.
- Don’t set up a situation where students feel controlled and manipulated.
- Follow through with any promise of a reward, no matter what it is. If you don’t follow through, your students may not trust your future incentive and reward programs.
- Never take a reward back—once it is earned, it is theirs.
- Know your class, and give rewards out as needed, but don’t give rewards out too freely. Find a good balance for your specific class.
- Be consistent. When you establish a rewards system, follow through when giving rewards for specific behaviors and for tasks completed.
Simple Incentives and Rewards
There are many simple verbal and nonverbal indicators that you can use to show your students that you recognize and appreciate their behavior or achievement, including the following:
- Remarks such as “Good job!” and “Well done!”
- Praise in front of the whole class
- Free time
- Special activity, such as cooking
- School supplies
- Treats, such as a special healthy snack or a small piece of candy at the end of the day
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