A Primer on Behavior Management

We all imagine ourselves becoming a "master teacher". We bring to mind images of enthralled students enthusiastically participating in our lessons. We imagine our hard work and intensive study paying off in a highly rewarding series of years leading up to our retirement. However, we can't do our job and reach the highest levels of professional practice if the kids won't attend to the lessons and be civil in their interactions with others. We can't teach the material (and kids can't learn it well) if our behavior management skills are underdeveloped. What might be the most crucial aspect of teaching (with respect to our career satisfaction and longevity), is the most complex and difficult to master. Proficiency in behavior management, unlike the teaching of subject matter, or interventions for students with learning disabilities, involves much, much more than following the procedures stated in the manual. The focus of this issue of NASET’s Practical Teacher, written by Dr. Thomas McIntyre, will be to address behavior management and developing excellence in multiple areas of "discipline": classroom design and arrangement; setting up and running a comprehensive classroom management system; counseling and communication skills; instructional practices for teaching new behaviors; being able to develop positive emotional bonds with students; knowing when and how to modify the vast number of procedures that we have placed in our "behavior management tool kit", and so much more.

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