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Behavior management entails intentional steps taken in the line of ensuring that a person or a group adopts the desired behavioral type. Over the time, punishment has been the standard tool utilized in discouraging a particular behavior (Shepherd & Linn, 2014). However, this has led to a worsening of the situation due to mistrust and resistance to change (Zirpoli, 2014). Influencing people to adopt a change in conduct is considered the best way of attaining the desired behavior. This method is called an empowerment approach (Charles, 2014). This paper demonstrates how the empowerment approach to behavior management was utilized in a specific class. The group together with the teacher came up with a team-based and holistic intervention method, where all the students played a crucial role in minimizing the noise making.
In recent weeks a Literature teacher has noticed that a group of students has been making noise during the lesson, despite constant countermeasures like close monitoring and establishing a system of incentives for efficient work. At the beginning of the class, all the students were quiet, but the situation changed mainly because of this particular group. As a result, the noise they produced have been disruptive both to their peers and to the teaching process. Moreover, other teachers had similar concerns with the same students when it came to noise making in lessons. Besides, it has been evident that punishment has done little to remedy the situation.
The behavioral change initiative was undertaken during one of the classes, where the teacher intended to familiarize the students with the best way of improving their attentiveness. Moreover, there was an exchange with the student with the intention being the identification of the factors that led to the student being less attentive in class. Besides, of importance to the undertaking was undertaken in a team-based manner to ensure that the final decision made reflected the demands of all the students. Utilizing team-based approach in behavior change initiative provides an avenue where all parties involved bring forth crucial information that aids in coming up with an inclusive and in-depth intervention (Charles, 2014). Discussion, therefore, formed the backbone of the intervention process.
Here the intention was to familiarize the students with the issue of noisy behavior raised during the class. Of importance was the fact that these particular students were not isolated as this would have affected their confidence when it came to teacher-student exchange. Moreover, after this step, the teacher wanted to ascertain that the students were empowered to appreciate the problem at hand independently. To ensure that all possible reasons were brought to light, secret feedback questionnaires were utilized, which the students filled without indicating their names.
The primary intention was to help the students identify the potential factors that hinder them from a full class time concentration. This was the stage where the dialogue between the students and the teachers was used intensively, as indicated below:
Teacher: What is the problem that causes all of us to look for a solution now?
Student A: we are trying to identify the main reason why we are experiencing reduced levels of concentration during the class time.
Teacher: Thank you very much, we need to agree that this is a major challenge that clearly affects students’ ability to perform better. What is the source of this problem?
Student B: Absent-mindedness.
Teacher: Is this true? Can absent-mindedness lead to reduced levels of concentration?
Student C: yes, this is because when one is absent-minded, one is not concentrating on what is happening in the class.
Teacher: From the feedback papers it is evident that majority of you have indicated that noise from others as a major factor that causes one to lose concentration. Is this a common happening in this class?
Student D: Yes, some of the others are fond of making noise particularly half way through the lesson. This is very distractive and leads to a difficult understanding of the content delivered by the teacher.
Teacher: I cannot agree more. Noise making is very harmful during the lesson because its effects are double-edged. It affects equally the noise making student and the other students in the class. Therefore, since this is outlined as the primary cause of lack of concentration during class time we need to look for reason that instigate the students to make a noise in the class during lesson time.
At this stage the insights provided by the teacher-student exchange were utilized to ensure that the final intervention served all the students in the class. With the dialogue regarding the noise making, the teacher established an opportunity for an in-depth discussion of the repercussions of such behaviors for everyone in the class. During this stage the teacher utilized all the findings revealed at the problem identification phase, where all the issues raised in the anonymous questionnaire were discussed. All this information provided for a clear action plan for the next stage.
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Combining the students' input and the teacher’s expertise, the following steps were established: to minimize the noise making, caused by the poor understanding of the material, and consequently – loss of attention, students were informed of different ways of engaging in the studying process (asking clarification questions, taking notes, offering their own critical insights). Moreover, students were taught how to help their peers in class to concentrate and realize the negative repercussions the noise making had on all of their team. In addition the teacher enhanced the students’ engagement in the learning process via increasing their activity during the lesson. Thus, by offering the students to do something with the knowledge and skills they have learned, the teacher made them the owners of the learning activities and not the passive objects.