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Russell Baker

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Even experienced teachers have difficulty managing students with extreme poor and disruptive behaviors. Finding the key that unlocks the doors to the perfect solution requires much patience, skill, and the willingness to become totally involved in the plan itself. Lisa Hess, a school counselor, describes four rules that she designed to aid classroom teachers in the ability to manage those students who seem to have difficulty in controlling their inappropriate behaviors in the classroom.

The key to a good behavior contract says Hess, is the teacher should drive the plan. She should be enthusiastically involved in developing the plan, and be aware of the fact that "one size does not fit all." Each behavioral contract must be individualized to fit the unique situation of each student. She also states that it should be a plan that is manageable and goal-oriented, that is, a plan in which is easy for the student to change. Work on target behaviors that is most important, and those behaviors that drives the teacher "crazy" the most.

Begin with what you already have. Hess also states that if the teacher already has a classroom management plan that works, she should fit the student's behavior plan into that plan and monitor the progress on a continuum. The teacher should not try to come up with a completely different plan for the student. Hess postulates that when teachers mesh the behavior plan into the classroom plan, it benefits all students.

The third idea that Hess quotes is: "Take baby steps." Children can not be expected to change all of the negative behaviors over night. No more than two behaviors at a time should be identified when there are multiple behaviors to correct. Monitor progress as it is noted, and reward the student for the improvements he/she has made. For older students, Hess states that using a likert scale is appropriate, and having students to self-rate themselves helps



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