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Classroom Management

Part I

Kelli Murphy
TED 626
Professor Horton
December 19, 2015

Table of Contents
Section 1: Philosophy of Discipline and Management
Beliefs about Classroom Management and Discipline
Goals of Discipline and Management System
Approach to Discipline is aligned with one or more of the
models discussed in class.
Section 2: Preventative Measures
Structuring the Classroom Space (map with rationale)
Daily Schedule, Routines, and Procedures
Rules or Norms of Behavior (in addition to how these will
be introduced)
Section 3: Supportive and Corrective Measures

First Steps - redirecting and warning

Student Accountability

Section 4: Working Effectively with Diverse Students and Families

Home-School Communication Philosophy and Plan
Cultural Considerations with Discipline
Legal issues regarding students with special needs

Section 1: Philosophy of Discipline

and Management
Beliefs about Classroom Management and Discipline
Goals of Discipline and Management System
Approach to Discipline is aligned with one or more of the models
discussed in class.

Comparison of Multiple Discipline Models

Discipline Model

Overall Goal or
To get students to
choose to

Beliefs about
Teachers have a
right to teach and
students have a
right to learn
without being
interrupted by


how people learn.

Curwin and

Discipline with
dignity. Principles:
1. treat students
with dignity. 2.
more important
than obedience. 3.
Model and teach
the behaviors you
expect from young
people. 4. Make
sure discipline
strategies are
hostility and



Discipline can be
warm and positive
in the classroom.
VIPs- Picture for
every step.
Drawing a set of
1. Warmth
2. Clearly defined
3. A democratic
4. A sense of
or success
5. Skills
recognizing and
Teachers should
discipline nonviolently and dont
use insults. They
should build
relationships to
help create a
Clearly define limits
which will help
students with
feeling safe. Let
students help
develop principles
and classroom
rules because
ownership of the
rules will help
increase the
students feel
towards the rules.
Why do people

EX: Canter and

Canters assertive

Teachers Role in
the Classroom
To take charge and
be assertive (not
aggressive, hostile
or permissive);
clearly confidently
and consistently
express and model
classrooms with
color-card flip
Model for students
and take time to
understand how
they learn and
implement that in
your classroom.
Stay personally
connected to the
student and not
take their behavior
1. Use privacy,
eye contact,
2. Ignore hooks.
3. Listen,
agree, and defer
4. Point out fight
brewing/what is at
5. set limit, give
choice to leave
6. Acknowledge
the disruption and
remove student if

Establish a social

Beliefs on Classroom Management and Current Goals

My beliefs on classroom management and discipline are still evolving
and probably will continue to evolve through experience and over time. I
believe that the classroom is a foundation for students to learn and in order
to learn there needs to be order. In order to keep order, there are sometimes
rewards and sometimes consequences. When I was watching the multimedia
videos for the course this week, I think I am a mixture of several beliefs on
discipline. I believe that I mostly align with Morrish who believes in Real
Discipline. He stated that teachers need to show students the right ways to
do things and how to behave appropriately and made a great point that
teachers should not make excuses for students. I think in general, our society
is leaning towards the idea that there is an excuse for everything, and I dont
tend to agree with that. I also think that I align a little with Jones in his belief
that educators need to understand how people learn and then teach that
way. I need to remember that there are multiple intelligences and not all
students learn the way I learn so I need to teach to reach multiple student
needs. Understanding how to modify my lesson plans, or structure my
classroom layout or strategies is key to managing an effective classroom.
Morrishs strategies really spoke to me because they line up with my
own goals. I would like my classroom to be inviting and a place where
students feel safe to participate and learn. I want to make sure that I
differentiate for all student learning needs and also in their behavioral needs.
This was something I also learned in the case studies this week that I had not
thought of before. I definitely want to engage students and make sure they
are actively learning. My thoughts are if I put time into planning out an
interesting and engaging lesson, the students will enjoy learning and want to
Though my own experiences with my young cousin, I learned that kids really
rely on a routine and often students do not have a routine or rules at home,
so it will be important for me to have an organized routine and classroom
rules to follow in my own classroom. I the case studies this week I learned
that involving students in the Classroom Behavioral Standards can really help

them to feel committed to following them, and that was also reinforced in the
video by Curwin and Mendler. I really want to use this in my own classroom
one day. I want students to feel like they connect with the guidelines of the
I definitely believe that there needs to be discipline in a classroom
because students can learn quickly how to get away with things, it is part of
their nature to explore boundaries, so I want to make sure I have a behavior
system in place. What type, I have no clue. I am hoping to be exposed to
these different ways in student teaching and when I am observing in
classrooms, but I know it will be important. I want to make sure my
classroom rules tie into the school community. I definitely plan to model good
behavior and respect. Although my own goals are still broad I will narrow
them as I learn first-hand in the classroom and continue to adjust my goals
each year with new students and their new needs.

Preventative Measures
Structuring the Classroom Space (map with rationale)
Daily Schedule, Routines, and Procedures
Rules or Norms of Behavior (in addition to how these will be

Structuring the Classroom

Classroom arrangement ideas

Setting up a classroom and choosing a classroom layout and design is one of the most fun parts
of returning to school in the fall, at least for me. I thought Id share a few tips for classroom
design to get you thinking, and share some classroom photos that teachers have submitted with
their ideas.
When setting up an elementary classroom, I generally plan for the following areas of the room:
1) student desks
2) instructional area in the front of the room
3) teachers desk area
4) computers
5) group work areas (tables), including space for small group instruction
6) classroom library
7) whole class meeting area on a rug or carpet (optional)
8) centers (optional)
Ive listed each space in the order I think is most important. For example, I prefer to plan for the
student desk area first, because desks take up the most amount of space and their placement will
either enhance or detract from instruction. (Check out the Classroom Seating Arrangements page
for ideas on setting up student desks.) The teachers desk area is critical because in order for you
to stay organized, you have to provide yourself with easily accessible storage space around your
desk. And of course, you should plan for computer placement before determining your layout for
other elements, because you will probably be limited by the distribution of outlets and internet
jacks in your classroom.
Once those elements are in place, you can plan an area for the children to sit on a rug or carpet, if
thats a management strategy you like to use. (I highly recommend it, because the rug can be a
great place to read a story, have a class problem solving meeting, or teach a lesson in which you
dont want students distracted by materials in their desks.) You can visit the Setting Up Your
Class Meetings Area page for more ideas.
If your students will be completing partner and group work activities, its also helpful to have
tables and open floor space around the room for them to meet with each other. This also prevents
students from having to sit in the same seat all day long. Not everyone has the luxury of that
much space in their classroom, but you can tour all my classrooms from 2003 on to see how I
made it work in different places.
If you have a large collection of childrens books, then a library area is important to consider.
The idea of a cozy reading area with a rug and bean bags is appealing but not really necessary
unless you plan a structured time and method for students to utilize it. The library may be part of
your center areas, if you choose to include these in your room. My Classroom Library page talks
a little bit about that.
Centers are an option that you may want to begin using later in the year and you can plan space
for them. However, most teachers do not have extra room in their classroom for separate and
distinct center areas, and if theyre not an integral part of your curriculum, its not necessary to

design your room that way. The Setting Up Centers/Stations provides some different spacesaving ideas.
After youve got the furniture in place, you can start to think about decorating and hanging
posters. The Bulletin Board Solutions page has tips for that, and talks about how to deal with
classrooms that have too little wall space or too much wall space. You can also check
out Creating a Cozy Classroom, which gives you ideas for using lamps, plants, and other
accessories to make your classroom more comfortable.
There are a limitless number of effective ways to set up a classroom, and its nearly impossible to
copy someone elses ideas unless you have the exact same materials and classroom layout, so
please dont feel like there is one right set-up that you have to discover. The process of arranging
a classroom is closely related to your own intuition and creativity. Try drawing a few
arrangements on paper first and see what works for your needs. Also, keep in mind that your
classroom arrangement is really a work in progress that will probably be changed multiple times
throughout the year as you adjust things for your students evolving needs. Thats good news,
because it means you dont have to have everything perfect right away!
Information from:

Daily Schedule, Routines, and Procedures

Sample Daily Schedule

Morning Work
Language Arts (includes bathroom and snack break)
Reading Groups
Specials (P.E., Music, Spanish, Art, and Science)
Science/ Social Studies
Pack Up and Dismissal

Keys to Providing Structure in the Classroom

By: Derrick Meador
A key component of being an effective teacher begins with providing
structure in the classroom. Providing structure maximizes student learning
opportunities, minimizes distractions and generally makes the overall
atmosphere of the classroom more pleasant. Most students will respond
positively to structure especially those who do not have any structure or
stability in their home life. A structured classroom also translates to a safe
Students enjoy being in a safe learning environment.
Too often teachers provide students with freedoms in which they often
abuse. A lack of structure can destroy a learning environment, undermine a
teachers authority, and generally leads to failure for the teacher and the
students. An unstructured environment can be described as chaotic, nonproductive, and generally as a waste of time.
Providing and keeping your classroom structured does take a strong
commitment from the teacher. The rewards are well worth any time, effort,
and planning it takes to remain structured. Teachers will find that they enjoy
their jobs more, see more growth in their students, and that everyone in
general is more positive.
The following tips will enhance the structure and the overall atmosphere in
the classroom.
Start on Day One
It is essential to realize that the first few days of the school year often dictate
the tone for the remainder of the school year. Once you lose a class, you
rarely get them back. Structure starts on day one. Rules and expectations

should be laid out immediately. Possible consequences should be discussed

in depth.
Provide students with specific scenarios and walk them through your
expectations as well as your plan for dealing with issues.
Be extremely demanding and difficult the first month or so and then you can
ease up after students understand that you mean business. It is vital that
you do not worry about whether or not your students like you. It is more
powerful that they respect you, than it is for them to like you. The latter will
evolve naturally as they see that you are looking out for their best interests.
Set Expectations High
Come in with high expectations for your students. Convey your expectations
to them.
Set goals that are realistic and reachable that will stretch them individually
and as a whole class. Explain the importance of the goals that you have set.
Make sure there is meaning behind them and make sure they understand
what that meaning is. Have a purpose for everything that you do and share
that purpose with them. Have a set of expectations for everything including
preparation, academic success, and student behavior inside and outside your
Hold Students Accountable
Hold every student accountable for their actions in all areas of life. Do not
allow them to be mediocre. Encourage them to be great and do not let them
settle for less than that. Deal with issues immediately. Do not allow students
to get away with something because it is small. These smaller issues will
morph into serious issues if they are not dealt with appropriately as quick as
possible. Be fair and judicial, but tough. Always listen thoroughly to your
students and take what they have to say to heart and then take the course of
action that you believe will correct the issue.
Keep it Simple
Providing structure does not have to be difficult. You do not want to
overwhelm your students. Pick a handful of the most fundamental rules and
expectations as well as the most effective consequences. Spend a couple of
minutes discussing or practicing them each day.
Keep goal setting simple. Do not try to give them fifteen goals to meet at one
time. Provide them with a couple reachable goals at a time and then add new
ones when those are reached. Start the year off by providing goals that are

easily attainable. This will build confidence through success. As the year
moves along, provide them with goals that are increasingly more difficult to
Be Prepared to Adjust
Expectations should always be set high. However it is essential to
understand that every class and every student is different. Always set the
bar high, but be prepared to adjust if a student or group of students is not
academically capable of meeting your expectations. It is important that you
are always realistic. It is okay to adjust your expectations and goals to a
more realistic level as long as you are still stretching each student
individually. You never want a student to be so frustrated that they just give
up. This will happen if you are not willing to temper your expectations to
meet individual learning needs. Likewise, there will be students who easily
exceed your expectations. You should reevaluate your approach in
differentiating their instruction as well.
Do Not Be Hypocritical
Kids will identify a phony rather quickly. It is critical that you live by the same
set of rules and expectations that you expect your students to follow. If you
do not allow your students to have their cell phones in your classroom, then
you should not either. You should be the primary role model for your students
when it comes to structure. A key component with structure is preparation
and organization. How can you expect your students to be prepared for class
each day if you are rarely prepared yourself? Is your classroom clean and
organized? Be real with your students and practice what you preach. Hold
yourself to a higher level of accountability and students will follow your lead.
Build a Reputation
First year teachers in particular often struggle with providing an adequate
level of structure in their classroom. This becomes easier with experience.
After a few years, your reputation will either become a tremendous asset or a
significant burden. Students will always talk about what they can or cannot
get away with in a particular teachers class. Veteran teachers who are
structured find it increasingly easier over the year to continue to be
structured simply because they have a reputation of such. Students come
into those teachers classrooms with an idea that they are going to have a
no-nonsense approach making the leg work by the teacher must easier.
Information from: http://teaching.about.com/od/Information-For-Teachers/a/Keys-ToProviding-Structure-In-The-Classroom.htm

Rules or Norms of Behavior

Elementary Classroom Rules and Management
By Leah Davies, M.Ed.
Elementary classrooms can become better learning environments when
teachers have rules, classroom management skills, and a belief that each
child can be successful. Rules help create a predictable atmosphere that limit
classroom disruptions and encourage children to use self-control. Children
need to be taught that it is their responsibility to make appropriate choices
and that they will be held accountable for their actions.

Teachers may decide to establish rules or allow their students to assist in

formulating them. Teachers who involve their children in the rule making
process contend that students are more likely to follow them. One way to
involve students in forming rules is to have them brainstorm as a class or in
small groups why they come to school and their goals for learning. Then ask
them to name rules that will help them achieve their goals. Write their ideas
on the board. If a child states a rule negatively, such as, Dont come to
school late, ask how it could be stated in a positive way. Below are some

Come to school on time.

Bring what you need with you.

Listen to the teacher.

Follow directions.
Be kind to others.
Use manners.
Work hard.
Do your best.
Keep your hands and feet to yourself.
Follow playground rules.

Then assist them in consolidating their list into three to five basic rules, such


productive; and

After the rules are decided upon, you may want to have the students sign a
copy of them and display them. Review and define each one as needed.
Students are more likely to follow the rules if they are clearly stated and
understood, and if classroom management procedures are in place and

Some examples of procedures or routines that need to be explained,

practiced often and followed consistently:

what to do upon entering the

what signal will be used to get their
attention(see 25 Ways to Obtain Childrens Attention in a School
what to do when a signal is given;
what to do when it is group time;
what to do if they want to speak;
what to do if they need to use the
what to do if they need to sharpen
their pencil;

what to do when they need help;

what to do when they are finished
with their work;

how to line up;

how to walk in the hall;
what to do in the cafeteria;
what to do if a visitor is in the

what to do if the teacher is not in the


what to do when the fire alarm rings;


what to do before being dismissed.

In addition, listing the schedule for the day helps children know what to
Here is an example of a teachers management plan for individual students:
First infraction: Name on board.
Second: Student writes down the rule that he/she broke.
Third: Student loses ten minutes of recess
Fourth: A parent is called or a note is sent home for the parent to sign and
Fifth: The student is sent to the principal.

When deemed appropriate provide choices. For example: if a child does not
stay on task and complete his work, you could say, Do you want to finish it
during free time or recess? Or, if a child is being disruptive, you could say,
Would you like to sit in the thinking chair or at your desk with your head
down? (see Love and Logic Basics). When given a choice, students tend to
feel respected and are more likely to comply. However, allow only a short
time for the choice to be made and if the child does not choose, make the
choice for him/her. As much as possible, have the consequence directly
relate to the offense.

After deciding what rules and management procedures you will use, discuss
consequences for broken rules. However, allow yourself some flexibility.
Consequences for inappropriate behavior need to focus on helping a child
learn from his/her mistakes. At times you may want to meet with a child
alone and ask him what you could do to help him make constructive choices.
Then listen, share thoughts with your student and develop a plan of action.

An idea for classroom management is to put a word on the board such as

responsibility. When the class does well, a letter is underlined in red, and
when they are off task, the red underline is deleted for one letter. When the
whole word is underlined in red, the class earns a privilege such as a theme
day or viewing a movie. Having the children brainstorm and vote on ideas of
what they would like to receive for their exemplary behavior can foster their
desire to follow the rules.

A management plan for group work is to divide the children into teams of
four or five students. Review what is expected and give each team points for
listening to instructions, being respectful toward each other, completing the
assignment, etc. After keeping track of the points for a week, the team with
the most points could earn extra recess, lunch with the teacher or free time.
Start the point system over again the following week.

Signals that a child or students need to be on task include: staring, frowning,

shaking your head, standing close, holding your finger or hand a
predetermined way, or placing a childs name on the board. Making a check
on the board may signify a consequence such as the class losing five
minutes of recess.

Positive consequences for appropriate behavior or exceptional effort also

need to be used to reinforce constructive actions. Examples are: specific
verbal recognition (see Effective Praise), certificates, handshakes, high fives,
thumbs up, smiles, and earned privileges such as getting to eat with a friend
from another class or being the teachers assistant. Other acknowledgments
could be computer, homework or library passes, or a positive phone call or
note sent home to a parent. When an entire class has done exceptionally
well on a test or project, provide a fun activity like playing games or having a
special snack (see Rewards in the Classroom).

Teachers need to anticipate and deal with problem behaviors before they
escalate. When teachers enforce a classroom management plan and rules,
as well as build a positive relationship with their students, the children will
more likely develop self-discipline and learning will take place.
Information from: http://www.kellybear.com/TeacherArticles/TeacherTip72.html

Supportive and Corrective

First Steps - redirecting and warning
Student Accountability

First Steps: Redirecting and Warning


should I do it:
Easy and fast with good results many times
Saves instructional time
Minimizes distractions and misbehaviors
Improves students attention and focus
Keeps the class on track
Provides effective prompts with little effort
Brings students back to the task at hand
Does not have a significant negative association
Can be utilized in the middle of instruction, activities, and discussion

When should I do it:

When students are off task, inattentive, goofing around, talking out of
turn, etc
When students are misbehaving
When students are getting off topic
When students are not doing an assignment or task correctly
When students appear confused or lost
How do I do it:
Simply provide a student or students with a quick reminder of what
they should be doing, where they should be, what the expectations
are, the class rules, routines, etc
Do not make your redirection more than one or two sentences.
Give your redirection and keep going on with what your were doing
Be clear and concise with redirection statements
Make your redirection to the point
Redirection can also be non-verbal, such as eye contact or proximity
Information from: http://www.pbisworld.com/tier-1/redirection/

How to Redirect Off-Task Behavior In the Classroom

By Jacob Guerra
Classroom management is an essential part of the learning process. Ideally,
all students would be attentive and engaged in a lesson, but as many
educators know, that is not always the case. Sometimes students get off
task, and it is up to the teacher to redirect that behavior. There are some
strategies that teachers can follow to redirect off-task students.
Keep the transitions between activities moving along with little dead time.
Plan accordingly, and always have your materials ready. If you do not have

everything on hand, the time taken in between lessons increases, thereby

giving the students more chances for off-task behavior.
Use non-verbal cues if it is one or two particular students who are exhibiting
off-task behavior, such as making eye contact with them, or putting your
finger to your lips in order to represent silence. This lets the students know
that you are aware of their behavior without bringing it to the attention of
the rest of the class, and it keeps the lesson moving.
Utilize an ambiguous verbal cue if off-task behavior continues, such as "I
hear talking," or "I don't see everyone at their desks." Making a general
statement lets the students know that you are aware that they are off task
and wish for them to stop, without embarrassing them in front of the whole
Use a signal if a larger number of students is showing off-task behavior, such
as raising your hand and waiting for all of the students to raise their hands.
Establish this signal at the beginning of the school year, when you let the
students know the class rules and guidelines. State that whenever they see
your hand in the air, they must mimic that gesture. For younger students, a
series of gestures or a portion of a song is always helpful.
Move closer to the student or students who are off task. Combine this action
with non-verbal or verbal cues, if necessary. Increasing your proximity
between yourself and the students makes them aware of your presence and
is likely to stop any off-task behavior.
Address the students' behavior directly if all other means have not redirected
the improper behavior. This requires either going to the students and quietly
reminding them to get back on task, or addressing their behavior from your
position in the classroom. If you choose the latter method, you must address
the behavior in a way that does not embarrass the students.

Information from: http://www.ehow.com/how_2330253_redirect-offtask-behaviorclassroom.html

How To Give A Warning That Improves Behavior

By Michael Linsin on May 22, 2010

The Purpose Of A Warning

A warning is just a warningand nothing more. So when you give one to a
student for breaking a rule, leave it at that. You ruin the effectiveness of a
warning by adding a lecture, a scolding, or anything that shows your
That may sound counterintuitive, but a warning only works when its purpose
is to allow students to fix their mistakes on their own.
A warning is another way of saying:
You broke a class rule, but I trust that you will check yourself and ensure that
it doesnt happen again.
When students are given the freedom to make the right choice, rather than
having it forced upon them, it says loud and clear that you believe in them
and their capacity to control their behavior.
And this makes all the difference.
But so many teachers mess it up by giving a warning and then adding, I
dont want to see you do that again. Do you understand me? or something
vaguely threatening like that.
You have to give trust before students will show you theyre worthy of it.
When a student first breaks a classroom rule, give them the opportunity to
show you they can get themselves back on track by letting your warning be
a warning. Keep your personal feelings out of it.
Again, and Ive written this before, we want students to look inward when
they break a rule. The last thing you want is for them to get mad at you for
their mistakes.
If your students get angry with you or blame you when they break a rule,
then classroom management will be infinitely more difficult.
Finger-wagging lectures, added reminders, scolding, sighing, and
threatening. Theyre all self-sabotage.
How To Give A Warning
There is only one way I recommend giving a warning:
Quickly, dispassionately, and with as few words as possible.
However, there are two variations depending on the situation. Well go over
both so you can begin using them tomorrow.
First Variation:
If a student breaks a rule, and youre sure the student knows what rule was
broken, then you simply write his or her name on the board, place a yellow

card in the students designated pocket, or do whatever you do to signify a

(The mode by which you indicate a warning is irrelevant.)
And thats it. You never speak to the student. The student sees the yellow
card turned over and knows that a warning has been issued. The onus, then,
is on the student to do what he or she needs to do to avoid further
This is how youll give a warning about 75% of the time.
Second Variation:
The other 25% goes like this:
If a student breaks a rule, but youre not sure the student is aware of it, then
approach the student and say, You have a warning because you broke rule
number two.
Say it matter-of-factly and then immediately walk away.
At your first opportunity, write the students name on the boardor however
you prefer to indicate a warning.
Make Sure You Do This
To make your warning most effective, make sure you do the following:
Include everyone.
Even the most well-behaved students make mistakes once in a while. Resist
the urge to look the other way when they break a rule. In fact, when your top
student breaks a rule, its a great opportunity to show the entire class your
consistency and integrity.
Back it up.
A warning is only effective when backed by a consequence your students
dont like. They need to know that if they break a second rule, you will hold
them accountable.
Use Enduring Classroom Management Strategies
The classroom management strategies and methods youll find on this site
are enduring; no tricks or trends that weaken over time.
This hit and run method of giving warnings is a good example. The longer
you consistently use it, the more effective it becomes.
The reason is simple.
When your students begin to grasp that the responsibility for breaking rules
in your classroom falls firmlyand solelyin their laps, behavior will

And this kind of improvement is permanent.

Information from: http://www.smartclassroommanagement.com/2010/05/22/how-togive-a-warning-that-improves-behavior/

A successful classroom management system often includes positive
reinforcement as well as consequences. Students are rewarded for
showing positive behaviors. When students show negative behaviors or
break classroom rules they receive a consequence such as taking away a
privilege. There are many different techniques you can use to have
successful classroom management. Here a just a few
Make a stop light out of wood. Write each students name on a
clothespin. The students start everyday on green. If they break a rule
once they move to yellow as a warning. If they break a rule twice they
move to red and receive a consequence such as taking away a privilege.
See examples of rewards and consequences.
If a student misbehaves write or have them write their name on the
board. If it happens twice have them put a check after it. If it happens a
third time and there is a second check they will receive a consequence.
Students who dont get their name on the board at the end of the week
may receive a reward. See examples of rewards and consequences.
At the beginning of the week give each student 3-6 sticks depending on
the level. (Less for older students) If the students misbehaves or is not
prepared a stick is taken away. If the students still have sticks at the end
of the week they receive a prize. See lists of rewards below.
Students will receive tickets for misbehaving. Start new every week.
1 Ticket- Warning
2 Tickets- Consequence
3-Tickets- Call Home
4- Tickets- Principals Office
This often works better for younger students. Each student receives a
sticker chart. Students can have stickers taken away for misbehaving or
earn extra stickers for making good choices. When student fills sticker

chart they can pick a prize.

Students are assigned jobs around the classroom. They receive fake
money every day that their job is done well. ($.50) For example, once
they save up enough money they can buy things from the classroom
store such as pencils, toys, etc. This is also a great tool because they are
using math skills and learning valuable life skills such as saving money.
Prize (pencils, stickers, small toys, candy)
Computer Time
Free Homework Pass
Free Time
Extra Recess
Time Out
No recess
Must sit out of free time or fun time
Conference with teacher
Call home
Principals Office
Print and copy.
Glue on construction paper.

Information from: http://www.k6edu.com/class_management/index.html

Should You Offer Extrinsic Classroom Rewards for Good Behavior?
Consider the Role Prizes and Punishments Should Play in Behavior
By: Beth Lewis
December 15, 2014
Prizes and punishments are part of a controversial topic for teachers. Many
teachers see extrinsic material rewards as an appropriate and effective way
to manage behavior in the elementary classroom. Other teachers don't want
to "bribe" the kids to do work that they should be intrinsically motivated to
do on their own.
The idea of classroom rewards is an important concept to consider in the
beginning of the school year.
If you start off the year showering students with rewards, they are going to
expect it and will most likely only work for the rewards. However, if you limit
prizes from day one, you may find that you can get away from the material
aspect a little bit and save yourself a significant amount of money in the long
Using the discussion on our Message Board as a jumping off point, I thought I
would share a little bit about what worked for me last year and also my
thinking about the concept of rewards.
In setting up my first classroom (third grade), I really wanted to avoid
rewards. I dreamed of my students working for knowledge's sake.
However, after trial and error, I found that kids respond to rewards really well
and sometimes you just have to use what works. The teachers before us
most likely showered our current students with rewards, so they probably
expect it by now. Also, teachers (and all employees) work for a reward money. How many of us would work and try hard if we weren't getting a
salary? Money and rewards in general make the world go round, whether it's
a pretty picture or not.
That said, I still don't use any material rewards in my classroom. I don't give
out anything that costs money for me to buy. I'm not willing to spend a lot of

my own time and money to keep a store or prize box stocked for daily
Actually, in the beginning of the year, I didn't do anything with rewards or
behavior management because my kids started out the year so good and
quiet and hard working. But, around Thanksgiving, I was at the end of my
rope and started introducing rewards. Teachers might want to try going as
long as they can without rewards because the prizes start losing their
effectiveness after a while because the kids expect them or get used to
receiving the rewards.
It also works to change the rewards as the year progresses, just to add a
little excitement and a boost to their effectiveness.
In the end, positive reinforcement of good behavior worked best for me and
my students. I used "Good Work Tickets" which are just leftover scraps of
construction paper (that would have been thrown away otherwise) cut up
into little 1 inch by 1 inch squares. I have the kids cut them up for me after
school or whenever they want. They love to do it! So, I don't even have to do
that part!
When kids are working quietly and doing what they are supposed to be
doing, I give them a good work ticket. They put their student # on the back
and turn it in to the raffle box. Also, if a child finished his or her work or has
been working really well, I let them pass out the good work tickets, which
they love doing. This is a great thing to do with "problem" children; kids who
are usually "in trouble" will love monitoring their classmates' behavior. The
students are usually more strict than I am with handing them out. Since they
are free, it doesn't matter how many you give out.
On Fridays, I do a little drawing. The rewards are things like:

Sit at the teacher's desk for the day

15 minutes playing an educational computer game

Be the "caller" for multiplication bingo

Make up a math problem for the other children to solve

Go to lunch 5 minutes early with a friend

Stay out for a longer recess with a friend

Choose your seat for the day

Read out loud to the class

...and other free stuff like that. You can really tailor these rewards to what the
cool things in your classroom are. I usually pick 2 or 3 winners and then, just
for fun, I pick one more and that person is the "Cool Person of the Day." The
kids and I just thought that was a funny thing to do and a nice way to wrap
up the drawing.
Also, I do keep a bag of candy in my cupboard for a quick reward (if someone
catches a mistake I make, goes above and beyond the call of duty, etc.). It's
a good and pretty cheap thing to have around just in case. Just throw a
candy to the kid and keep on teaching!
I really didn't place a large emphasis on rewards. I tried to make learning fun
and my kids genuinely did get excited about learning new things. I actually
had them begging me to teach them harder math concepts because they
knew they could handle it!
Ultimately, how you use rewards in your classroom is a personal decision.
There are no right or wrong answers. Like everything in teaching, what works
for one teacher may not work for another. But, it does help to discuss your
ideas with other educators and see what others are doing in their classroom.
Good luck!
Information from:

Student Accountability
How Best To Hold Students Accountable
By Michael Linsin on April 24, 2010 22
Why does it pain teachers to hold students accountable?
Why are some so quick to ignore misbehavior, look the other way, or make
excuses for it?
Accountability is important, right? So whats the problem?
I have a few ideas.
Teachers are slow to hold students accountable because
It can be stressful and at times seem more trouble than its worth.
They fear that strict accountability could make students resentful and
therefore increase bad behavior.
Holding students accountable hasnt worked well for them in the past;
the same students break the same rules over and over again.
Ignoring misbehavior can seem like a better, less stressful option.

They have deep compassion for students with tough home lives and
can be reluctant to hold them accountable.
They dont want students to think theyre mean.

I understand these concerns. Theyre valid and can feel too big to overcome.
But its possible to hold students accountable for every incident of
misbehavior while eliminating these concerns.
Heres how.
Accountability Is an Attitude
Effective accountability requires a particular attitude on the part of the
teacher. It is a way of thinking that produces (in the teacher) behaviors that
eliminate the concerns associated with holding students accountable.
Acquire the attitude, and accountability will work the way its supposed to.
This accountability attitude is easier to remember if condensed into a single
strategy. I call it the its-not-me-its-you strategy.
Its Not Me, Its You
The its-not-me-its-you strategy is a personal reminder that student
misbehavior is not about you. Its about them.
Youre not the one who misbehaved. You didnt decide to play around and be
silly during literature circles. You didnt make fun of another student. You
didnt leave your seat without permission. They did.
So why should you carry the burden or suffer any consequence, angst,
stress, fear, or guilt for doing so?
The its-not-me-its-you strategy says that:
1. Breaking classroom rules is a choice students make.
2. The responsibility for making such choices lies solely with them.
3. You are bound by your classroom management plan and therefore have
but one choice when a student misbehaves: enforce a consequence.
4. In holding students accountable, youre doing what is best for them.
Once your students understand the first three points, accountability will
become much more effective. Number four is a reminder for you that youre
doing the right thing despite how difficult some students have it outside the
walls of your classroom.

Rest assured, holding your students accountable is an act of compassion.

Carefree Thinking
According to the its-not-me-its-you strategy, when a student breaks a rule,
your thinking should go something like this:
Oh man, Joey. You didnt raise your hand. And thats your second time today.
Thats too bad, dude. What does the classroom management plan say? We
better look at it.
Oh, no. Youre going to have to go to time-out. Gosh, sorry you have to miss
a part of the cool science experiment. Thats a shame. Oh well next time
follow the rules and this wont happen to you.
You might not actually speak this way to your students. But your attitude will.
Sending students to time-out is something they decide, not you. Youre
merely doing your job: following the plan you agreed to in the beginning of
the school year.
And heres what is so cool about this:
Your students will adopt the same attitude. They will mentally separate the
consequence (which theyve earned of their own accord) from the enforcer
(which is you).
Suffering a consequence is a disappointment for students to be sure, but
there is no reason for them to harbor ill feelings toward you. Instead, we
want them to look inward, take a critical look at themselves, and consider
the cost of their poor choices.
But they wont do this if (A) they are angry with you or (B) you dont actually
hold them accountable.
Stand Apart
There are scores of teachers willing to lighten the load on their students by
ignoring poor behavior, looking the other way, or giving second chances. And
by doing so, they are harming their chances for success.
Ironically, these are usually the same teachers who resort to hurtful methods
in order to control behavior.

Dont be one of them.

Stand apart from the crowd. Really mean what you say. Really do what you
say you will do. And stop taking onmentally or otherwisewhat are your
students burdens and responsibilities.
Information from: http://www.smartclassroommanagement.com/2010/04/24/how-bestto-hold-students-accountable/

Working Effectively with Diverse

Students and Families
Home-School Communication Philosophy and Plan
Cultural Considerations with Discipline
Legal issues regarding students with special needs

Home-School Communication Philosophy and Plan

The Teacher's Role in Home/School Communication: Everybody Wins
By: Rick Lavoie
For the past 50 years, countless media outlets, governmental agencies and
private foundations have been studying and surveying Americans schools.
This intense scrutiny has been conducted in order to analyze and, hopefully,
improve public education in the United States.
Generally, this research focuses on failing and struggling schools in an
attempt to discover what these programs are doing wrong. However,
researchers have taken a different approach in recent years; Rather than
studying what failing schools have done wrong, they now focus their scrutiny
on what successful schools are doing right. Implicit in this approach, of

course, is the opportunity for inferior schools to replicate the "best practices"
of the effective programs. Makes sense.
In study after study, it is found that successful, responsive and productive
schools share one common trait:
They solicit, encourage, facilitate and promote parental communication
In these schools

Parents are not ignored they are invited.

Parents are not avoided they are consulted.

Parents are not discouraged from complaining they are encouraged

to communicate.

Effective, consistent and proactive teacher/parent communication is a

relatively new phenomenon in our schools. In previous generations, the
watchword was "no news is good news" and parents heard from teachers
only when a crisis was occurring or the child was struggling mightily.
School/home contacts were stilted and consisted of artificial rituals of Parent
Nights and annual ten-minute sit-downs with the child's elementary teacher.
Once the child reached high school, communication between the home and
the classroom became virtually non-existent. All parties (the parent, the
teacher and the student) felt that the program and the progress of the high
school student was simply none of the parent's business.
Times they are a changing! In most communities today, ongoing
home/school communication is expected (and demanded!) by parents. They
view themselves as "consumers of educational services" and they anticipate
that they will be kept informed of the child's progress and performance.
Further, they expect that their input and opinions will be heard and
responded to by the educator.
This phenomenon is new to Regular Education, but home/school
communication has been a staple in Special Education for decades. Those of
us who deal with disabled kids know that the child's success and progress is
heavily dependent upon the quality and frequency of this communication.
Our colleagues and friends in the regular classroom have much to learn from
As a teacher, you can view this increased communication as a threat or as an
opportunity. Unfortunately, many teachers are "put off" by home/school
communication. A special education teacher recently told me that parental
interaction is "the worst part of my job." Last year, a national

newsmagazine featured a cover article with the title, "Why America's

Teachers Hate Parents."
I have been communicating and corresponding with parents for over thirtyfive years as a teacher and school administrator. Admittedly, it can be
challenging, time consuming and frustrating but it is well worth the effort.
Research conducted and compiled by the National Association of School
Psychologists indicates that effective, responsive, well-planned home/school
communication has the following results in schools:

Improved test scores

Improved grades

More positive student attitudes

Fewer special education referrals

Lower dropout rates

Less high risk behavior

Higher staff morale

Enhanced relationships between school and community

Increased parental support for school's initiatives and programs

Increased donations of goods, materials and services to the school

Improved parental opinion of and regard for the school

Everybody wins!
But there are pitfalls for the teacher who is attempting to increase the
intensity and frequency of her contact with parents.
What follows is a list of Do's and Don'ts that the teacher may find helpful.
Do create a partnership with parents
A partnership implies that all parties work together as equals with
specific rights and responsibilities toward a common goal. Each party
contributes his own specific skills and knowledge toward meeting the

Unfortunately, much home/school communication is one-sided and schooldirected. Information is shared but power is not shared. This approach is
not conducive to creating a genuine partnership.
The great majority of home/school crises (and lawsuits!) are a direct result of
poor communication.
Do be positive
In most families, a phone call or note from a teacher automatically indicates
bad news related to the child's behavior or performance. You can prevent this
from occurring by making "sunshine calls" on occasion. Simply drop the
parent a note or give them a call when a child pleases (or surprises!) you
with positive behavior or progress.
Mrs. Robbins,
I wanted to let you know how delighted I was with Jeffy's behavior today at
the Fire Prevention Assembly. He was attentive and responsive to our guest
speaker and even asked a few question and shared some information about
his uncle, the firefighter.
You would have been very pleased. I certainly was! Way to go, Jeffy!
Mrs. Crimmings
These brief, positive communiqus will do a great deal to improving your
relationship with the parent. You also enhance your credibility with the parent
for those times that you must communicate negative information.
Do use the "communication sandwich"
Always begin and end your communiqu (verbal or written) in a positive way.
The problem or difficulty should be covered in the middle.
Mrs. Ernest,
As you know, Jake has been working diligently to improve his spelling skills
and even asked for some extra drill activities yesterday. Hopefully, he will
have mastered the remaining targeted sight words by the end of the term.
However, the teacher aide and I have been concerned with a noticeable
backslide in his math homework performance lately. He has missed 8 of the
last 12 assignments and the work that he did submit were not very neat or

complete. Perhaps he is finding the long division unit to be difficult and we

will provide him with some extra assistance in class.
We would appreciate it if you would remind him of the importance of
homework particularly in areas he finds difficult. That daily review and
reinforcement will enable him to memorize and master the various
processes. A supportive reminder from Mom always seems to help!
Thanks again for your help with our canned food drive. Your extra effort
enabled us to surpass our goal.
Sally McNally
Do remember
Before they care how much you know, they gotta know how much you care!
Parents want to feel that you know their child and enjoy his company. For a
child who struggles in school, this relationship may be the most important
ingredient in his success.
Every parent has attended the never-ending, tedious classroom meeting with
a teacher who drones on about the curriculum expectations and the
educational objectives but says nothing that indicates any knowledge of
(or interest in) the child as a individual.
Always begin your communication with a quick anecdote that reflects your
knowledge of the child as an individual:
Hello, Mrs. Granger. I love Sarah's new coat. The collar is so unique and the
color looks terrific on her. I want to find one like it to send to my niece for her
Good morning, Mrs. Starkey. Jason is certainly excited about the pennant
drive, isn't he? He told me that your husband is taking him to the game over
the weekend. Lucky boy!
Hello, Mr. Drexel. Gwen told the class about the new puppies. She is so
excited. I love the names that you chose.
Again, by personalizing the communication a bit, you send a very comforting
and reassuring message to the parent.

Don't use jargon when communicating with parents

Every occupation or profession has its own unique vocabulary that is
designed to facilitate communication between and among its members. But
this terminology becomes an obstacle to effective communication when used
with individuals outside the profession.
The field of education certainly has an impressive list of ever-changing
technical terms, but so does every other profession. You may dazzle a parent
who is a plumber, veterinarian or accountant by using terms like "cognitively
amplicated matrix" or "criterion reference assessment" but the parent
could also overwhelm you with some terms from his professional collection.
Some teachers unintentionally (or intentionally?) confuse parents by using
overly technical language. Don't. If you must use a technical term, define it!
That said, also be very aware of not "talking down' to parents. Many Moms
and Dads are very well versed in educational issues, particularly regarding
their own child. Be flexible in your parent communication by modifying your
language to match the knowledge base of the parent.
Do encourage dialogue
When you send a note home with the child, put a space at the end for the
parent's signature to indicate that she received it. But also put a small space
for the parent to make a comment.
Do start (and continue) a monthly or bi-weekly classroom newsletter
for parents
Initially, these may seem overly time consuming but it is well worth your
time and effort. Ultimately, it will save the teacher considerable time
because it prevents 32 phone calls asking what time the Monday field trip to
the zoo will return or the date of the class picture!

Do send weekly work folders home

Teachers who consistently compile work folders and send them home (via
the student) each Friday, report a significant improvement in home/school
communication and cooperation. Many families use the folders as a weekly
ritual where they review the work with their child and reinforce the child's
effort and progress.

Don't let situations fester

Communicate with parents during the initial phases of a brewing crisis.
Contact them to discuss the child if you observe a significant change in his
behavior performance or attitude. Don't wait until a full-blown crisis occurs
before consulting with the home front.

Do handle conflicts effectively

These conflicts and disagreements are, unfortunately, inevitable because of
the critical nature of the parent/school relationship. When a conflict arises
and has been resolved, wipe the slate clean. Let it go. Move on and try to
rebuild the partnership and trust that you had previously shared with the
During a conflict, the professional must be sure to focus on the best interest
of the child. Separate the person from the problem. Don't allow "adult
agendas" or clashing egos to impact on your decisions. Never let a
parent/teacher disagreement modify your treatment of the child.
Never hesitate to use "trial periods". If you will be trying a new approach,
inform the parent that you will be evaluating the child's response on an
ongoing basis to determine the effectiveness and viability of the strategy.
Don't be overly judgmental
You may find yourself dealing with a family whose attitudes, values and
dynamics are at variance with yours. As a professional, you should respect
that family's "culture" even if you are not in agreement with it.
A young teacher was conferencing with a set of parents. The father was quite
domineering and tended to "cut off" his wife whenever she attempted to
make a comment. The teacher scolded the Dad and told him to "allow your
wife to get a word in".
The teacher was quite proud of her actions. She shouldn't have been. As a
professional, you may not like the dynamic within a child's family but you
must respect it.
In my opinion, the teacher was unprofessional. Further, I would imagine that
this interaction had a negative, long-term impact upon her relationship and
collaboration with that family.

Special educators must be particularly aware of cultural differences and

traditions. For example, families of Asian and Hispanic origin are often
"ashamed" of their child's disability and may blame themselves for the
problem. Parents who are not English speaking may have difficulty
recognizing the severity of a child's academic problems because relative
to other family members the child may seem quite facile at language.
Do recognize that every teacher/parent relationship has three
John Cheng Gorman wisely reminds professionals that each home/school
relationship has a beginning stage, a maintenance stage and an ending
stage. Each of these stages has unique opportunities, strategies,
responsibilities and pitfalls.
The Beginning Stage requires the teacher to establish her credibility as a
competent and confident professional. She must set the tone for ongoing
collaboration and outline the specific goals, roles and responsibilities of each
member of the new partnership.
The Maintenance Stage requires the teacher to use ongoing conferencing
and communication to continue and enhance the partnership.
The Ending Stage brings appropriate closure to the partnership by creative
and effective and well-planned transition to the next step in the child's
academic progression. The teacher must provide the family with
encouragement as they face this new step.
The final stage is a particular difficulty for special educators. Parents often
develop a dependency on a teacher and are reluctant to end the relationship.
You must communicate to the parent that you will communicate closely with
the child's next teacher and that you will be involved in the transition. Assure
her that the child will be "in good hands".
Don't attempt to defend the indefensible
There may come a situation where you, a colleague or "the system" makes a
mistake. Considering the myriad responsibilities that we all have, such
situations are pretty much inevitable. Even Willie Mays dropped an easy fly
ball once in a while.
Do not become defensive or argumentative when faced with such a situation.
Do not attempt to construct a defense with a series of excuses or rationales.
This approach only serves to anger the parent and weakens the partnership.

Merely apologize for the error and express your regret for the situation.
Outline steps that will be taken to prevent a re-occurrence. Even the most
upset parent will generally respond well to this approach. Sincere apologies
are not a reflection of weakness or incompetence. Rather, they reflect
strength and confidence.
Don't view the parent too narrowly or judgmentally
Suppose that you have a special education student, Jessica, in your class.
Her mom is named Amanda. Therefore, your relationship with Amanda is
based solely on her role as Jessica's mom.
But Amanda has other roles in her life beyond being Jessica's mom. She's
also a wife, a daughter, a sister, an in-law, a neighbor, a friend, an employee,
etc., etc., etc. Each of these roles requires Amanda's time and attention.
Perhaps her mom is chronically ill, her job is at peak season, she is re-doing
her kitchen and her dog died this morning. These situations impact
significantly on her. Being Jessica's mom is not her solitary responsibility
albeit it is a very important one.
Be mindful of this when Amanda fails to immediately return your phone call,
forget to come to the scheduled classroom conference or is not able to make
brownies for the Bake Sale.
Give her a break!
Do keep the "balance of power" equitable
In any effective, functioning partnerships, the power is shared equally and
In the teacher/parent partnership it is important to remain mindful that both
parties have areas of unique knowledge and skill. The parents are well
versed in their child's long-term developmental history (physical, medical
and social), his interests and affinities and his lifestyle. The teacher has
knowledge of teaching and assessment strategies, school policies and
procedures and the child's school performance.
Share this knowledge and perspective in a collaborative manner. According
to Special Education Law, this partnership is mandated.
Do create a parent-friendly and welcoming environment in your
classroom and throughout the school building
Ask the principal to post "Welcome to our School" signs, as well as maps and
clear instructions and directions. Some schools have even created "Parent

Waiting Rooms" for parent visitors with coffee, soft drinks and a parent
lending library.
Schools have initiated bi-monthly "Family Nights" where student families and
staff families gather for a potluck supper, entertainment or a movie. Other
creative ideas include school wide mural projects, community gardens,
family litter patrols, playground construction projects and family talent
shows. Faculty attendance at such events should be strongly encouraged.
Many teachers publish their classroom newsletter via email. Beware,
however, that a "digital divide" exists in many American communities and
some parents may not have access to electronic mail or the Internet.
An effective classroom newsletter could include:

Announcements of upcoming events


Homework tips

Featured student of the week

Acknowledgements and "thank yous" for families who have assisted in

some way.

"Wish Lists" that solicits items and services that parents could donate
(We need 50 glass jars for our upcoming science unit.)

Suggestions to supplement curriculum content at home (e.g. PBS is

broadcasting a program on the Civil War next Sunday. It will emphasis
the role that young Southern recruits played in the war. The class read
a book related to that topic in October. You may want to encourage
your child to watch it or even watch it with him.)

Reprints of timely articles

Samples of student writing or artwork

Outline of plans for the upcoming week

Profile of a featured family of the week

Do assist the special education parent to develop a realistic

understanding and appreciation of the assessment process
They should not view "testing" as the etched-in-stone determining factor in
the child's future. Neither should they feel that testing is unimportant an
inconsequential. They should come to view testing as an integral part of the
problem-solving process.

Don't hesitate to provide special education parents with occasional

guidance and advice on home issues if they request it
Your knowledge and understanding of the child's disabilities would be very
useful to Mom and Dad as they work with the child at home. Encourage the
parent to read books when the child is watching to speak positively about
school and teachers to show an interest in the child's schoolwork to
review school assignments to praise the child's efforts to encourage
independence to establish a specific time and place to do homework and
to provide occasional learning games and activities at home to provide the
child with a warm, supportive home environment to minimize the use of
disappointment and punishment at home to encourage and nurture the
child's peer relationships to speak slowly and clearly to the child, avoiding
multi-concept phrases.

Do understand that special education parents often have great

difficulty accepting the fact that their child has a disability
Provide them with advice and reading material that may assist them in this

Do encourage the special education parent to understand the role of

There are times when the parent needs to "step aside" and allow the child to
attempt a task independently. Remind them that a good coach never goes on
the playing field, rather he stays on the sidelines and provides the "player"
with encouragement, praise, suggestions, praise and guidance.

Do remember that special education parents often go through a

series of unpredictable "stages" as they attempt to accept and
understand their child's disability
Among these stages are anger, guilt, denial, depression, envy, isolation and
flight. As a result, these parents may be difficult to deal with and may treat
you in an inappropriate manner. It is important to remember that these folks
are on a difficult and challenging journey a journey that they did not ask
for. In the history of mankind, no pregnant woman has ever got on her knees
and asked to be given a child with a disability. REMEMBER take their
behavior seriously, but don't take it personally.
Information from: http://www.ldonline.org/article/28021

Cultural Considerations with Discipline

Cultural Considerations
Many difficulties that non-native English speakers face in the classroom can
be explained by their relative unfamiliarity with the English language. Other
difficulties, however, are more directly linked to cultural differences. Cultural
considerations affect non-native speakers in the following areas, among

Teacher/Student Interaction

Group Work/Peer Review


Attitudes to Knowledge and Learning

Writing Tools

Writing Topics

Culture Shock

Teacher/Student Interaction
Cultural differences can affect many aspects of teacher/student interactions.
In each of these aspects, some general rules, if followed, will facilitate

Allow time to get to know your students and to get used to the
interaction of different cultures.

Be open and honest in sharing your expectations of your students and

encourage their openness and honesty.

Establish a comfortable classroom community.

Students Attitudes toward Teachers

Because different cultures treat education differently, students may have
various expectations of their teachers. In many cultures, the position of
teacher is given a higher status than in the United States. Many non-native
students will have a great respect for their teachers and will expect a highdistance relationship with them. This may result in students being
uncomfortable with teachers who go by their first name, who dress
informally, who say they dont know the answers to a question, who talk
informally with students, or who sit on the desk, for instance.
On the other hand, the opposite may be true with students who feel more
comfortable in a casual atmosphere. Some suggestions for smoother
interactions include:

Negotiate with students about your classroom expectations and the

roles you will follow in your interactions. This would be a good activity
for the first day of class; it may also be helpful to talk about specific
expectations with non-native students in a private conversation.

Tell your students how to address you (Mr./Ms./Mrs./Miss/Dr./First


Tell students when and how its appropriate for them to contact you. If
you do, or dont want them to call you at home, tell them. Inform them
of your office hours and of your email address, phone number(s), or
address as you feel comfortable.

Class Participation
Just as your non-native students have certain expectations of you, you also
have implicit expectations of them, which they may violate unconsciously.
Many students come from cultures where classrooms are very large, so
theyre not accustomed to participating actively in class. Other students
have been trained in passive modes of learning, such as memorization and
repetition, or strict lecture-based classrooms.
Learn how to interpret the following types of signals your students send in
the classroom:

Dont assume that students will participate if they are not specifically
called upon. Some students may feel that volunteering answers makes
their classmates look bad. Non-native English speakers may be

hesitant to speak up because they feel conscious of an accent or

limited language ability.

Realize that students who take notes, nod their head, or comment in
class may not necessarily understand the material. Think of specific
ways for students to demonstrate their understanding. You may ask
students to teach each other, to perform a certain task, to write about
their perceptions, or to transfer the information to another situation.

Educate non-native speakers about US academic expectations for

classroom interaction. Talk with them about your role as a lecturer or
about how you want them to volunteer their ideas in class.

Offering Feedback/Criticism
Regardless of what aspects of non-native student work youre evaluating,
you want to be especially clear in your responses to them. Deciding between
conferencing and verbal or written feedback is a personal choice, but there
are some guidelines for how to best offer feedback. Feedback fulfills its
intended purpose if students: clearly understand it and see the need to
change; have the opportunity to change or revise; and maintain a sense of
ownership over their own writing. Dont assume they understand whatever
comments you give them. Student writers often misinterpret the meaning or
intent of their teachers suggestions for writing. Regardless of what you are
criticizing, be aware that non-native students may have varied responses to
criticism. What you would consider to be constructive, non-offensive
criticism may be seen as threatening to students from different cultures.
These are some ways you can enhance the effectiveness of your evaluations:

When writing comments on papers, be sure to use terms and symbols

that students understand. You may need to explain what awk or
frag mean, in class, before you write them on papers. Non-native
speakers may be unfamiliar with your editing terms.

If appropriate, encourage students not to accept criticism too easily.

Sometimes non-native writers feel so hesitant about writing in a new
language that they easily give their papers over to their teachers,
instead of maintaining ownership over their ideas.

If possible, allow students to turn in drafts of papers for review and

feedback, so that they can make modifications based on your
suggestions before the final draft is due.

Be specific. Telling students This sentence sounds funny or Your

ideas are confusing may not help them if their writing seems clear to

Offer positive as well as negative feedback.

Explicitly state your reasons for offering criticism. Explain that

criticism is designed to help them as a part of the learning process.

Criticize work, not the students or the culture of the students doing it.

Your non-native students may have different concepts of time management
than you. Many cultures have much more flexible ideas about scheduling
than North Americans do. Some students may come ten or fifteen minutes
late and consider that normal. Other students may arrive early every day.
Deadlines for assignments may also be taken less seriously by some
If time constraints are misunderstood by your students:

Speak with students about how you feel when they are consistently

Establish a tardy policy. Have a quiz at the beginning of class, or take

points off for tardiness.

You may also consider talking with students before penalizing them for
late assignments. They may simply not understand the importance of

Group Work/Peer Review

Students may be uncomfortable with, or unaccustomed to working in
groups. It may be especially difficult to mix native speakers with non-native
speakers for writing assignments, since non-native speakers may feel less
confident in their writing skills. Non-native English speaking students may
feel uncomfortable giving feedback to other students since they may have
different cultural ideas about offering criticism. Other students may not trust
the feedback of their peers and may even consider group work to be the
teachers way of avoiding work
Plan effective group work by following these guidelines:

Select groups based on your observations of who would work together

well. You may want to match proficient writers with those that
struggle. Consider selecting students who seem to be more patient or
culturally open to work with non-native writers.

Explain the purpose and benefits of group work to students.

Discuss possible areas of discomfort with students. Offer to help them

if problems arise.

Establish specific roles for members of the groups. You may even give
them slightly different role assignments so that they can report on
their individual contributions.

Offer specific guidelines for peer feedback. For example, give them a
list of questions to ask each other. Tell them what to mark on each
others papers, and how to do it. It may be helpful to model
appropriate peer responses.

Most non-native English speaking students understand that plagiarism is
wrong; few understand what plagiarism is. This is true of all students, but is
a special consideration for non-native speakers. In some cultures,
cooperation rather than competition is stressed. Students may help each
other or share assignments without realizing they are violating your ideas of
copying. In some cultures, students are taught throughout their education
to quote famous sayings and famous people. They may think that its
appropriate to quote authorities without citing or referencing quotations.
Students may have difficulty drawing the lines between writing in their own
voices and summarizing, paraphrasing, or quoting others. They may also be
confused about the conventions of citations.

To reduce plagiarism in student papers:

Tell students when their assignment is to work together, and when

they're supposed to work on their own.

Make it clear to students how much of their own ideas and how much
of others ideas you would like them to include as support in their

Give students a model paper, with highlighted references to outside


Emphasize that whenever students borrow more than a few words or

even a single unusual word from another source, they need to cite that
source in their paper. Explain that this applies to summarizing and
paraphrasing, as well as to direct quoting. If students are unfamiliar
with the vocabulary of the information they read, or have limited
vocabularies for their own ideas, they are prone to copy instead of
rephrase information.

Refer students to the style guide of your field, or provide a reference

copy, to guide them in their in-text citations and reference pages.

Attitudes to Knowledge and Learning

Learning Styles and Strategies
Any group of students, non-native and native English speakers alike, will
have a variety of learning styles and strategies. There can also be cultural
preferences for certain learning styles and strategies. A learning style is
similar to a students personality; it describes his/her preferences for modes
of learning. Some students, for example, prefer to learn with visual input
while others prefer aural input. You probably dont want to interfere with
students learning styles. Styles, however, manifest themselves in
strategies, and can influence a students success in the classroom. Learning
strategies are the activities and habits that students develop to help them
learn. For example, some students prefer to write with outlines, while others
prefer to draw maps to organize their ideas.
If students are struggling in your class, it may be due to poor learning
strategies. To help them use effective learning strategies,

Talk with students about the strategies they use to write papers or to
understand readings. Help them see that the strategies they have
used in the past are not necessarily the best ones. Help them evaluate
themselves to see if their strategies are working.

Offer suggestions about what strategies are usually effective for

assignments. For example, suggest that they write an outline before
the rough draft of a paper.

Suggest that students utilize a variety of strategies and try to be

flexible in fulfilling assignments. They may try one strategy for one
paper, and another for another assignment.

Be flexible, as the teacher, about the styles you exhibit in your lesson
plans and the strategies you encourage.

Student Motivation
Is learning an end in itself for your students, or just the means to a job? Both
native and non-native English speaking students have varied ideas about the
purpose of education. This situation is compounded for non-native speaking
students who have various reasons for studying in the U.S. Some may be
here for only a year or two to experience life abroad. Others may simply
want a degree to take back to their country and may not be too concerned
about actual learning. Some may be interested in learning certain subject
areas, but not specifically in learning English they wont be overly concerned
about their communication skills. On the other hand, many non-native
speakers are the most motivated students in their mainstream classes they

have overcome many obstacles to obtain an education in an Englishspeaking environment.

Writing Tools
Students from different cultural backgrounds may have more or less
familiarity with the writing tools used in education. For example, non-native
English speakers may have less familiarity with a research library than do
native speakers. Their native countries may not have as many libraries as
are in the United States. Also, in some parts of the world people rely less on
libraries than on bookstores for reading and research. Dictionary, thesaurus,
or reference handbooks may be abused or ignored by non-native students.
For example, some non-native speaking students may rely so heavily on
dictionaries when writing papers in English that their word choice seems
awkward. They may also use tiny bilingual dictionaries which offer poor
quality translations. Other students may not want to use dictionaries at all,
because dictionaries in their own languages are unorganized and difficult to
use. Some non-native speakers may also be unfamiliar with computers. In
their native countries, they may not have had much access to computers.
Keyboard use is especially difficult for students whose native language has a
different alphabet than ours. It may take them a long time to merely find all
of the keys to type.
Empower your students by guiding them to use the tools that will help them:

Guide students to library orientation sessions as necessary.

Recommend a good dictionary, thesaurus, or reference handbook to


Explain to students that they should use dictionaries when they cant
think of a word, but should choose the most familiar and natural words
to use.

Recommend that students have a native reader look over their paper
for awkward word choices before turning it in.

Consider computer familiarity when setting deadlines for assignments.

You may want to allow some drafts or preliminary assignments to be

When possible, refer students to computer labs and tutorials for further
instruction on computer use.

Writing Topics
Effective writing assignments should not only be clear and comprehensible to
students, but they should also be interesting to them. Sometimes non-native

English speaking students have difficulty fulfilling writing assignments if

those assignments require a knowledge of American culture. Consider
background knowledge that all of your students share, and be aware of
topics that may be culturally biased to non-native speaking students such as
holidays, historical events, and popular culture. If your topic does require
certain background knowledge, be sure to give students the necessary
information they need to understand and fulfill it.
To ensure that your writing topics are ones that non-native speakers could
effectively learn from and respond to:

Make specific writing prompts. State both expectations and evaluation

criteria clearly beforehand.

Make sure that all of your students have enough background

knowledge of the topic.

Suggest that non-native speaking students pick topics that are familiar
to them or that capitalize on their unique cultural backgrounds.

Be aware that students from some cultures may be uncomfortable with

expressive or personal writing. You may want to offer them an optional
assignment if possible.

Culture Shock
Its very natural for international students to experience culture shock upon
first coming to the United States. When people move to a new culture, they
usually adjust to the experience in stages. After an initial euphoria and
excitement about the new culture, they may have alternating highs and lows
as they succeed and fail at coping in the new culture. After this series of ups
and downs, culture shock, which may be brief or of long duration, often sets
in. Manifestations of culture shock include feelings of estrangement,
hostility, indecision, passive attitudes, unhappiness, loneliness, feelings of
failure, homesickness, and even physical illness.
Try to support students who seem frustrated, confused, or out of place.
Refer students to professional help if culture shock is profoundly affecting
their lifestyle.
Information from:

Legal issues regarding students with special needs

Proper information, resources, and programs will be offered to students in

California Department of Education: Special Education: Information
and resources to serve the unique needs of persons with disabilities so that
each person will meet or exceed high standards of achievement in academic
and nonacademic skills (http://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/se/).
Laws, Regulations, & Policies
Federal and state legislation, laws, regulations, policies, legal advisories, and
California Special Education Reference (CASER) (Posted 22-Jan-2015)
A word-searchable database of special education-related state and federal
statutes and regulations, federal guidance documents, and editions of the
Federal Register.
Special Education Teacher Requirements (Updated 10-Jan-2007)
New regulation and flexibility for "new" middle and high school special
education teachers.
Amendments to California Code of Regulations, Title 5, sections 3001-3088 to
go into Effect (New 27-Jun-2014)
June 25, 2014, letter to Special Education Division employees, constituents,
and stakeholders regarding amendments to special education regulations.
Size And Scope (Updated 30-May-2008)
Of Special Education Local Plan Areas as approved by the State Board of
Education at the November 17-18, 1983 meeting.
Official Letters from the California Department of Education, Special
Education Division, State Director of Special Education (Updated 21-Aug2013)
Provides program clarification on procedural and/or implementation issues.
Special Education Transportation Guidelines (Updated 29-Mar-2011)
Guidelines for use by Individualized Education Program (IEP) Teams when
determining required transportation services.

Legislative Report
Ravenswood Budget Report (Posted 13-May-2014)
Report to the Legislature, Department of Finance, and the Legislative
Analysts Office.
Reauthorization of the IDEA 2004 (Updated 16-Jun-2011)
Links to important references and resources on the Reauthorization of the
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
Final Part B Regulations of the IDEA (PDF)
The official copy was published in the Federal Register on August 14, 2006.
Questions: Special Education Division | specedinfoshare@cde.ca.gov
| 916-445-4613
Last Reviewed: Thursday, October 15, 2015

Information from: http://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/se/lr/