Students Behavior in the Cafeteria Chapter

Excerpt from Chapter :

Behavior Matrix: Common Area Observation

Lacy Elementary School focuses on creating a safe learning environment for all students through an emphasis on school discipline. Based on the school’s policies, students are required to demonstrate positive behaviors in the classroom and within the school setting including cafeteria. The need for such behaviors is attributable to their link to the overall wellbeing of all students and academic performance. However, cases of inappropriate behaviors by students have started to rise, especially in the cafeteria. This paper focuses on addressing these cases of inappropriate behavior in the cafeteria and how special situations impact the overall learning environment. The discussion includes an analysis of observations made on different aspects of the students’ inappropriate behavior within the school environment. The development of this behavior matrix is geared towards enhancing student discipline and promoting positive behaviors within the school environment.

Part 1 – Profile of a Special Situation

Elements of Calmness, Order and Safety

in the Cafeteria

Actions that Result in Different Management or Behavioral Problems

1. Supervision by three paraprofessionals, three parents, and two administrators.

1. Crowded space in the cafeteria.

2. General quietness by students in the cafeteria in the morning.

2. Scramble to find seats due to the less number of seats in the cafeteria.

3. Limiting the number of students going to the restroom at a time.

3. Pushing and shoving during the scramble for seats.

4. Requiring students to leave their school ID with the administrator sitting by the door when leaving for the restroom.

4. Long queues for lunch.

5. Rare disruptions as students finish their homework in the cafeteria in the morning.

5. Allowing some students without IDs to go to the restroom.

6. Staff members’ interventions to inappropriate behavior when students scramble for seats.

6. Traffic congestion of students when leaving the cafeteria since all students leave through one door.

7. Students disobeying paraprofessionals’ instructions when leaving the cafeteria.

8. Tendency by some students to wander from table to table.

Classification of Observations into Various Areas

The elements of appropriate and inappropriate behaviors at Lacy Elementary School cafeteria can be classified into different areas, which are crucial focus points when developing an intervention plan. One of these areas is student characteristics, issues, and factors, which is considered as one of the major causes of problematic behaviors. Students’ demonstration of appropriate behaviors in the cafeteria occurs when they are finishing their homework in the morning since disruptions are rare. They also demonstrate appropriate behaviors when leaving for the restroom and when lining up at the door to leave the cafeteria. On the contrary, they demonstrate inappropriate behaviors during lunchtime because of excitement. The other causes of inappropriate behaviors during lunchtime include when scrambling for seats, when looking for tables, in the line as they queue for lunch, and when responding to others’ inappropriate behaviors such as pushing and shoving.

The second category relates to teacher/staff characteristics, issues and factors in terms of what they do at the cafeteria. Since teachers are on duty-free lunch period, they are not involved in the cafeteria. The responsibility for handling students during lunchtime in the cafeteria is left to the paraprofessionals, teachers, and school administrators. Staffs influence positive behaviors among students through supervising their actions and intervening when skirmishes occur as students scramble for seats. They also promote appropriate behaviors through requiring students to follow school rules such as leaving their school IDs with the administrator sitting by the door when leaving for the restroom. On the other hand, staffs influence inappropriate behaviors by failing to provide suitable directions for students to find seats, failing to prevent some students from wandering from table to table, allowing some students to go to the restroom without leaving their school IDs, and failing to control students when they become noisy.

The physical characteristics and conditions of the cafeteria play a major role in the students’ appropriate and inappropriate behaviors. The cafeteria has different doors that are utilized to control students’ movement when entering and exiting it, which contributes to a safe and orderly environment for students to demonstrate appropriate behaviors. However, most of the physical characteristics and conditions of the cafeteria contribute to chaotic and problematic behaviors. The cafeteria has limited capacity to effectively handle the number of students, which contributes to crowding that in turn results in chaotic and problematic scenes. Secondly, the cafeteria has limited facilities such as number of chairs, which causes the scramble that leads to inappropriate behaviors by students. Third, the cafeteria is not organized properly for students to easily find seats and clear tables as they exit.

With regards to incentives and consequences, the paraprofessionals, parents, and school administrators who supervise students during lunchtime do not provide any incentives to students for positive behaviors or consequences for inappropriate behaviors. Based on the observations, these professionals or authority figures seem to utilize a hands-off approach with regards to encouraging appropriate student behaviors and discouraging inappropriate ones. It was relatively difficult to establish whether they provide any incentives or consequences for positive and negative behaviors respectively. This contributes to a chaotic and problematic setting in the cafeteria and affects how…

Sources Used in Documents:


Hopkins, G. (2010). Order in the Cafeteria: Tips for Improving Behavior and Supervision. Retrieved September 15, 2017, from

Korinek, L. (2008, September). The Positive Classroom: A Lunchroom Solution. Educational Leadership, 66(1). Retrieved September 15, 2017, from

Positive Behavioral Interventions & Supports. (2008). Developing a System for Teaching Appropriate Behavior. Retrieved September 15, 2017, from


Cite This Chapter:

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