Harry Wong
Dec 2017
Vol 14 No 4

Four Common Ways to Manage Behavior

By Betsy Weigle

Students learn more effectively when you get classroom management right; kids benefit, and teaching won’t wear you out. There are four different models used by teachers.

A teacher can approach classroom management in four different ways to manage behavior – one that creates a learning environment and three that squash it.

1.The “I give up” model

2. The bribery model

3. The command-and-control model

4. The classroom-community model

The “I Give Up” Model

A teacher is responsible for the behavior of his students at all times they are in school. Of course, this applies in the teachers’ own classroom, but it also means responsibility for behavior:

  • In library
  • In art
  • In music
  • On the playground
  • When lining up
  • On field trips
  • In the lunch room
  • …everywhere

This does not mean that you have to be everywhere at once, or never take a break, or never trust another adult. But it does mean that an effective teacher understands that poor behavior anywhere can plant the seeds of discontent that will sprout into problems with classroom management in her own room if left to grow unchecked.

So how does “not giving up” look in practice?

  • It looks like a teacher managing transitions by leading her students into the lunch room, or the art room, or wherever and calmly introducing them to the adult in charge and setting expectations for behavior.
  • It looks like a teacher showing up a few minutes early to pick her kids up in order to observe their behavior when they are not under her direct control.
  • And, finally, it looks like a teacher dealing with behavior issues no matter where they occur when she gets back to her room…sometimes by discussion, sometimes by discipline, sometimes by reading a book with a point.

The Bribery Model

Bribery has a long and strong tradition when it comes to child rearing. What parent hasn’t moderated an inconvenient tantrum with a treat, even against their better judgment?

Unfortunately, it also has a long history in classroom management. But make no mistake: buying your students’ good behavior with awards of food, trinkets, certificates, pizza parties or imaginary honors will not create a community of learners. Ultimately, it will just drain your wallet and leave your students looking for the next handout.

The Command-and-Control Model

If you’ve ever seen “command and control” in action, you know it can produce quiet classrooms…that explode when the disciplinarian teacher leaves for a day and the substitute teacher arrives.

It is harder to build a community among your children, but if their behavior is controlled only by external force, rather than by internal desire, they will not exhibit self-control unless they are being squashed under a thumb. They will learn to be quiet, to do their classroom jobs efficiently, and to follow the rules…but like toddlers in a playpen, they’ll be plotting their escape all the while.

The Classroom Community Model

“Community” is not just a fuzzy, feel-good buzzword, achieved by classroom meetings and high-five’s. It is an extended family of young people who learn to care about each other, learn to work together…and as a result, learn better than they otherwise could.

Community ties it all together through respect, responsibility and values.

It is harder to pull off than other approaches because it takes constant work for nine straight months, but it’s this kind of classroom management that gives the kids what they need to be as individually successful as they deserve.


About the Author:

Betsy Weigle is the creator and founder of the detailed information source for new elementary school teachers. For detailed information on the basics of student performance management, visit our section on successful classroom management at

Betsy is a National Board Certified teacher, curriculum developer in math, science and social studies and advocate for learning-challenged children. A travel enthusiast and kayaker, she lives in the Northwest.

“It’s all about the kids!”

Article Source:



Comment on this article...

Next Article...
This entry was posted on Tuesday, March 1st, 2011 and is filed under *ISSUES, Betsy Weigle, March 2011. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
By State
AL   AK   AZ   AR   CA   CO   CT   DE   DC   FL   GA   HI   ID   IL   IN   IA   KS   KY   LA    ME   MD   MA   MI   MN   MS   MO   MT   NE   NV   NH   NJ   NM   NY   NC   ND   OH   OK   OR   PA   RI   SC   SD   TN   TX   UT   VT     VA   WA   WV   WI   WY