Education - Classroom Management Relationship Between the Term Paper

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Education - Classroom Management

Relationship Between the Use of Behavior Contracts and Student's Ability to Stay on Task

An Introduction to Behavioral Contracting

In dealing with children, there are cases when a teacher encounters a child who does not behave in a normal way as other children do. For instance, a child may show constant inattentiveness to learning, or may demonstrate irresponsiveness to discipline. A child with such disruptive behaviors oftentimes requires special attention and monitoring as part of a process of modifying an unpleasant behavior into an appropriate one. One strategy used to deal behavioral difficulties of a child is Behavioral Contracting. From Family Education Network (online), the following is a definition of behavioral contracting.

A behavioral contract is a written contract that specifies the child's behavioral obligations in meeting the terms of the contract and the teacher's (or parent's) obligations once the child has met his or her obligation (Family Education Network, 2003).

Usually, behavioral contracting involves incentives given to a child when he/she met his/her behavioral obligations. This is particularly effective in encouraging a child to cooperate.

Child's Individual Needs

Essentially, the aim of behavioral contracting is to modify "inappropriate," "abnormal," or "undesirable" behavior (Watson, 2003). The technique used in behavioral contracting focuses on having the goal of gradually accustoming a child to a particular pattern, making a child develop focus and attention, providing a reward to the child for achieving the goal, and periodically and gradually increasing the level of the goal upon a child's demonstration of improvement. This strategy, however, differs based on the individual needs of a child, or similarly, based on the behavior modification interventions that may be applicable to the child. Some examples of interventions used to improve a child's behavior are praise and approval, modeling, positive programming, shaping, token economy, self-monitoring, and shaping (Watson, 2003). In addition, interventions such as extinction, reinforcing incompatible behavior, relaxation, self-monitoring, and shaping (Watson, 2003), are used to reduce undesirable behaviors. During analysis and evaluation of a child's intervention needs, the current behavior and skill level of a child must be considered. According to The Chesapeake Institute and The Widmeyer Group of Washington, D.C., a multi-disciplinary team should assess both the academic and behavioral needs of a child by using formal diagnostic assessments and informal classroom observations (2000).

General Instructional Principles

To maintain an effective implementation of behavioral contracting, teachers must have the ability of providing effective strategies that will help a student stay focused on his task. Following is a list of instructional principles the Chesapeake Institute and The Widmeyer Group of Washington, D.C. have developed as supplements to a behavioral contract for students with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) (2000).

Review Previous Lessons. Providing the students with an overview of the previous lesson will help them prepare for the next one. Having been reminded can prevent their mind from wondering how to deal with the current lesson.

Set Learning Expectations. This is another method of preparing the students for the lesson that will be discussed in the day's session. This strategy can provide the students with an idea of what the lesson will be.

Set Behavioral Expectations. Describing to the students how they are expected to behave can make them feel at ease during…

Sources Used in Document:


Watson, Christopher. Behavior Modification, A Proactive Intervention for the Classroom.

2003. University of Minnesota. 28 November 2003.

Behavior Modification.

Gale Encyclopedia of Childhood & Adolescence. 28 November 2003.

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