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A module about the best practices for responding to student misbehavior in the classroom.

So far we have focused on preventing behaviors that are inappropriate or annoying. The advice has all been pro-active or forward-looking: plan classroom space thoughtfully, create reasonable procedures and rules, pace lessons and activities appropriately, and communicate the importance of learning clearly. Although we consider these ideas important, it would be naïve to imply they are enough to prevent all behavior problems. For various reasons, students sometimes still do things that disrupt other students or interrupt the flow of activities. At such moments the challenge is not about long-term planning but about making appropriate, but prompt responses. Misbehaviors left alone can be contagious, a process educators sometimes call the ripple effect (Kounin, 1970). Chatting between two students, for example, can gradually spread to six students; rudeness by one can eventually become rudeness by several; and so on. Because of this tendency, delaying a response to inappropriate behavior can make the job of getting students back on track harder than responding to it as immediately as possible.

There are many ways to respond to inappropriate behaviors, of course, and they vary in how much they focus on the immediate behavior compared to longer-term features or patterns of a student’s behavior. There are so many ways to respond, in fact, that we can describe only a sample of the possibilities here. None are effective all of the time, though all do work at least some of the time. We start with a response that may not seem on the surface like a remedy at all—simply ignoring misbehaviors.

Ignoring misbehaviors

A lot of misbehaviors are not important or frequent enough to deserve any response at all. They are likely to disappear (or extinguish, in behaviorist terms) simply if left alone. If a student who is usually quiet during class happens to whisper to a neighbor once in awhile, it is probably less disruptive and just as effective to ignore the infraction than to respond to it. Some misbehaviors may not be worth a response even if they are frequent, as long as they do not seem to bother others. Suppose, for example, that a certain student has a habit of choosing quiet seat-work times to sharpen her pencil. She is continually out of her seat to go to the sharpener. Yet this behavior is not really noticed by others. Is it then really a problem, however unnecessary or ill-timed it may be? In both examples ignoring the behavior may be wise because there is little danger of the behavior disrupting other students or of becoming more frequent. Interrupting your activities—or the students’—might cause more disruption than simply ignoring the problem.

That said, there can still be problems in deciding whether a particular misbehavior is truly minor, infrequent, or unnoticed by others. Unlike in our example above, students may whisper to each other more than “rarely” but less than “often”: in that case, when do you decide that the whispering is in fact too frequent and needs a more active response from you? Or the student who sharpens her pencil, mentioned above, may not bother most others, but she may nonetheless bother a few. In that case how many bothered classmates are “too many”? Five, three, just one, or…? In these ambiguous cases, you may need more active ways of dealing with an inappropriate behavior, like the ones described in the next sections.

Questions & Answers

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Eke Reply
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Missy Reply
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Joseph
Hello, if I study Physics teacher in bachelor, can I study Nanotechnology in master?
Lale Reply
no can't
Lohitha
where we get a research paper on Nano chemistry....?
Maira Reply
nanopartical of organic/inorganic / physical chemistry , pdf / thesis / review
Ali
what are the products of Nano chemistry?
Maira Reply
There are lots of products of nano chemistry... Like nano coatings.....carbon fiber.. And lots of others..
learn
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da
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Bhagvanji
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Giriraj
Preparation and Applications of Nanomaterial for Drug Delivery
Hafiz Reply
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da
Application of nanotechnology in medicine
has a lot of application modern world
Kamaluddeen
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narayan
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Bhagvanji
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Crow Reply
what about nanotechnology for water purification
RAW Reply
please someone correct me if I'm wrong but I think one can use nanoparticles, specially silver nanoparticles for water treatment.
Damian
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Professor
I think
Professor
Nasa has use it in the 60's, copper as water purification in the moon travel.
Alexandre
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Alexandre
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Brian Reply
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Rafiq
industrial application...? mmm I think on the medical side as drug carrier, but you should go deeper on your research, I may be wrong
Damian
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LITNING Reply
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LITNING Reply
What is meant by 'nano scale'?
LITNING Reply
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LITNING
scanning tunneling microscope
Sahil
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Santosh
Do u think that Graphene and Fullrene fiber can be used to make Air Plane body structure the lightest and strongest. Rafiq
Rafiq
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Mahi
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Rafiq
if virus is killing to make ARTIFICIAL DNA OF GRAPHENE FOR KILLED THE VIRUS .THIS IS OUR ASSUMPTION
Anam
analytical skills graphene is prepared to kill any type viruses .
Anam
Any one who tell me about Preparation and application of Nanomaterial for drug Delivery
Hafiz
what is Nano technology ?
Bob Reply
write examples of Nano molecule?
Bob
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
brayan
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
Damian
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Source:  OpenStax, Educational psychology. OpenStax CNX. May 11, 2011 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11302/1.2
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