Class Based Rules and Routines
The classroom is set up based on common rights and responsibilities and rules and routines are established. The school rules are fundamental to the classroom plan, however, there may be a need to have additional rules emphasising agreed expectations (i.e. raising hand to speak in class discussions).
Least-Most Intrusive Discipline/Management Plans
A least-most intrusive discipline plan is established whereby students and teachers understand the consequences of not following the rules and routines. "Discipline is, primarily, the way we (as adults and teachers) lead, guide, encourage, support, and direct our students to thoughtful, considerate and responsible behaviour. It is not primarily about punishment, though the concept of behaviour consequences is a crucial part of discipline. Discipline has an educational focus. Thoughtful discipline is also preventative as well as corrective; it has a protective and preparing function as it relates to teaching students about rights and responsibilities" (see Rogers, 1998).
1. The Visual or Verbal Reminder
This step is, and always should be used first, to draw students' attention to their inappropriate behaviour. It is as simple as telling the student what he or she is doing that is inappropriate. For example, a student is calling out, "You're calling out (name)" (verbal) OR the teacher puts his/her hand up to remind the student he/she needs to put his/her hand up to speak (visual).
2. Warning (name on board or name down)
A student who has been reminded of his/her inappropriate behaviour should make every effort to correct it. In some cases this may not be the case. If he/she continues to behave inappropriately, he/she is to be warned of the inappropriate behaviour. This is following the least intrusive to most intrusive process. Again, the emphasis is on correcting the behaviour. A student's name may be written on the board, or placed down the ladder (or some other equivalent step central to the classroom's behaviour consequences process).
3. Time-Out in the Classroom (for reflection)
A student who continues to not follow the classroom rules and routines should be given time-out inside the classroom. This step is designed to give the student some thinking time. It should be no longer than the child's age in years and the process will follow the class's established plan. Some teachers may have students reflect on their behaviour by filling out a sheet (Appendix 3). Some teachers may choose to give the child time to just think. The class teacher should record the incident briefly in his/her diary or behaviour management book for further reference.
There are some important considerations when utilising a time-out.
- Time-out it is a short-term consequence; never an end in itself. As a means to an end, it can help support disruptive students by giving themselves a chance to calm themselves (away from the immediate audience) and give them a chance to think about their behaviour. It is also fair for the others students in that they, too, have a chance to refocus (to class learning and activities) beyond the disruption to their basic rights. (p.140, Rogers 2006).
- Time-out, as a school-wide consequence, needs to be utilised as a least – to most-intrusive option in managing disruptive and unsafe behaviour. At the least-intrusive level, in-class time-out may be an option; at the most-intrusive level of application students may need to be escorted from the classroom to a time-out place where they can calm down and, if necessary, parents (or caregivers) may need to be notified. (p.140, Rogers 2006).
4. Time-Out in a Buddy Classroom
Time-Out in a buddy classroom is reserved for students who continually break the rules OR students whose behaviour warrants it (high seriousness). It should never be used for students who are behaving inappropriately but have not had any reminders of the appropriate behaviour or time to correct the behaviour. Class teachers may send a student to a colleague's class. The referring class teacher should record the incident briefly in his/her diary or behaviour management book for further reference.
Students sent to another class for time-out should go with a brief note (see Appendix 4). This enables to supporting teacher to identify the reasons for the removal without the need to question either the removed student or the accompanying student.
5. Removal from the Classroom to the Supervisor or Principal
A student who has proceeded through the first 4 steps will be removed from the classroom should he/she continue to behave inappropriately. This step is also for ANY VIOLENT INCIDENTS – as violence (physical, mental, emotional) will not be tolerated. The Supervisor and/or Principal will discuss the removal with the child. The Supervisor and/or Principal SHOULD ALWAYS accompany the student back to the classroom to allow the teacher to follow-up the incident with the child. This is necessary to:
- encourage the student to be behaviourally aware
- encourage the student to own his/her behaviour
- allow the student and teacher to respect their mutual rights
- build AND maintain workable relationships