Avoiding Negative Behaviors

I was speaking to a group in Kingsville, TX, this weekend and I was again reminded about how important it is for early childhood teachers to set up engaging and effective classrooms. Research by the Center of Social and Emotional Foundations in Early Learning (CSEFEL-see website below) indicates that the organization and setup of a classroom is key to preventing negative behaviors. Adults tend to blame children for negative behavior when the real culprit is the environment in which the child is forced to function. CSEFEL has developed a pyramid for the classroom teacher to follow in setting up a class setting to avoid those negative episodes. There are many additional resources available on their website: http://www.vanderbilt.edu/csefel/


12 responses

  1. I do agree with you that the way the classroom has an effect on the students, no matter what age. I’ve worked in a classroom setting for the last two school years, last year the teacher had so much stuff in the clas, it was cluttered and a mess. The kids had a hard time concentrating on the task at hand. This year the teacher is new and we took all the extra unnesscary crap out. The kids are more compliant, easy going, and helpful. It’s amazing to see that just a little task of cleaning up has affected the learning process in our class room. Meagan Mickelsen

  2. Kids are more visually aware than adults. So, it WOULD be important for me to step back and look at my classroom through a child’s lens. And, along those same lines, to evaluate activities that students chronically misbehave during and see what I can change to make it more engaging and meaningful. It’s interesting to think that the teacher has most of the control over student behavior, even when we don’t want to admit it. Cameron Sappa

  3. The classroom set-up has a lot to do with the success of the students and guiding them into appropriate behavior. Having a cluttered enviornment will just encourage the children that it is okay. If an environment is clean and orderly, they will be more likely to follow in that pattern. Especially when the teacher can emphasize and talk about why it is so nice to have the classroom organized and clean.Amanda Christensen

  4. I completely agree with you about this John. I have seen some kindergarten/preschools, as I have done some visits for classes that I have taken, that have really suffered because of the negative environment. In this one kindergarten, the teacher complained that the children were always in such difficult moods, or that some children just had “those kinds of temperaments.” It was so frustrating because I just wanted to say, maybe if you would prepare lessons, get the children involved, and have them explore their interests instead of assigning boring dido sheets you would see a difference.Laura Chipman

  5. As I have been tutoring my student with the POCET, I noticed many behavioral and learning problems. At first I didn’t know what to do about it, and used Transformer stickers as an incentive to make him behave. But as I observed the classroom environment in which he was taught, I noticed that Zachary was getting no choice in his learning! I started letting him have choice in everything we did, from where to go, what book to read, what activity to do. I noticed a tremendous change in his behavior. He started not only enjoying our sessions together, but also improving in his reading abilities! I think the classroom environment has a major effect on children’s behavior and ability to learn.

  6. This was quite interesting. I have often found myself blaming children for acting out or being off task, never realizing that the environment may be to blame. It was refreshing to review ways to help your classroom feel more harmonious, and also to help gain a better perspective on how important environment is in creating positive feelings. I will most certainly utilize the techniques to help my classroom become a better learning environment! Magda TsagarisTL 5131

  7. I am a Social Worker in PA and I have worked with Early Intervention which helps kids who are developmentally delayed catch up to the appropriate age level. I have seen children who do not speak gain a vocabulary in a few weeks. But why stop. I think we can use those same skills to get our kids ahead. I have found a great site that I have found gives many learning options. The program actually helps your child to learn in different ways and helps them figure out their own style of learning. The theme is tapping into your child’s genius. It sounded pretty good so I tried it out. I saw amazing results. I googled this one and found it at stevenmonlinestore.com

  8. I have to agree with the article, I had a student begin in the fall who was having difficulty adjusting and demonstrated inappropriate, aggressive behavior. Once we determined what that certain areas in the classroom were not working to all of our benefits and causing distractions and the behavior, his behavior began to get better.

  9. I have recently come to the conclusion that a cluttered classroom does effect students behavior. I have a very small classroom, 8 kids – 4yr olds, that is filled to capacity! I am partially to blame because I contribute to the clutter. It was very frustrating to me when the students would not clean up. I took a look at the room floor plan, reorganized, and purged! There is a enormous difference in behavior and clean up.

  10. I really agree with you that classroom arrangement and set up effect the student and their behaviors. I like to use the furniture in the classroom to set up boundaries that way when they are in an area they understand the limits to that area. While I enjoy displaying the children’s work in my classroom i also try to keep it limited in defined spaces so as not to be too distracting.Tina Crispino

  11. I believe the key to avoiding negative behaviors is to have balance. I think it is important for caregivers/educators to make sure the environment has age-appropriate manipulatives/objects and meets every child’s needs. An ideal classroom will not have too much nor too little to offer children. Too much can overstimulate children and this can cause them to become frustrated and demonstrate negative behaviors. Too little is likely to lead to less engagement and creativity and more control issues. This too often leads to negative behavior problems.

  12. The environment of a classroom can definintely play a major role in the way students act throughout the day. A messy classroom can be very frustrating for students which could cause negative behavior. I also believe that the way student’s desks or tables are arranged has a lot to do with how the act. If their are too many students sitting in a group, the students can get loud and start goofing off. Children also get negative attitudes when the room is not organized and it is difficult to find certain things. This can cause for very frustrated children. I also think that when a classroom is clean, it makes the room more relaxed when in return, the kids will be relaxed. Teachers should be aware of this and try to keep their classrooms organized and clean.

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