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In intervening, firm, calm finesse is a must:

Make compliance an exercise in purpose, not power.

Use universal language.
Catch it early!
Say Thank you (a powerful phrase).
Emphasize compliance you can see:
Invent ways to make compliance visible.
Be seen looking.
Intervene at marginal compliance.

Be a stickler for 100%. If you accept 90%, then you may

already be on your way to 80% or 70%. Students also
notice when their peers arent expected to do as youve
asked and will respond accordingly.

Level 1: Nonverbal Intervention

You can use gestures, eye contact, or bothsometimes with a bit

of proximity mixed into address off-task students while doing
something else, preferably teaching. By many measures,
teachers interrupt their own lessons more than students do; using
nonverbal correction while teaching keeps your own
interruptions to a minimum and your lesson on the rails. A quieter
tone of voicefor example, a whisperalso can be more effective
than a loud one because it sends a signal that your correction is
private and does not warrant any response.
Level 2: Positive Group Correction

Positive group corrections are quick verbal reminders given to an

entire group that describe what students should be doing and
not what they shouldnt be doing. They describe the solution, not
the problem.
Level 3: Anonymous Individual Correction

An anonymous individual correction offers a verbal reminder to

the group, similar to a positive group correction except that the
anonymous individual correction makes it explicit that not
everyone is meeting expectations.

Level 4: Private Individual Correction

Try to correct privately and quietly if possible. Walk by the offtask students desk, for example. Lean down confidently and,
using a voice that preserves as much privacy as possible, quickly
and calmly tell the corrected student what to do.
Level 5: Lightning-Quick Public Correction

Private or anonymous corrections are not always possible.

Sometimes (ideally not often) you are forced to correct individual
students during public moments. Train yourself to do this
confidently and without hesitation. Your goals:


Minimize the time a student whose behavior has

been negative is on stage.
Tell him what to do right rather than scolding or
saying what he did wrong.
Divert students attention to a student whose
behavior is worthy of attention.
Quentin, I need your eyes. Just like Corales and
just like Paula.
Quentin, I need your eyes. Looking sharp,
Corales. Thank you, Paula.
Level 6: Consequences (Scaled Series)

Consequences are a necessary part of managing behavior.

However, many teachers use consequences in an unproductive
Some teachers mistakenly wait until a behavior becomes truly
disruptiveand they have become angrybefore giving a
consequence. Its better to act earlier using a smaller consequence
than to wait until the issue has grown large and requires a much
more significant consequence. If youre angry, it means you
probably waited too long. Try giving a smaller consequence earlier
in the process.

Other teachers overadminister consequencesthey use a huge

disincentive when a smaller one will do. Often this can be
remedied by planning out a series of incrementally larger
consequences that feel appropriate and fair and that you can
administer without hesitation. One of the most useful
consequences is doing a task over again. Its also important to
note that a consequence can be administered withPositive
Framing. Five minutes of detention, John. Show me your best so
we can leave it at that.