“Behavioral change occurs for a reason; students work for things that bring them positive feelings, and for approval from people they admire.” (Standridge, 2002) Teachers use behaviorism everyday to ensure their students stay engaged and on task. I use behavior modifications in my classroom management to have desirable behaviors in my classroom. One example of a method that I use in my classroom is our Bergen Buck Bank Accounts. My students are each given their own bank account. Their goal is to collect the most money for the trimester to then win a party for their homeroom. Students are also able to use their money to purchase prizes in the class. Students are rewarded for behaving properly in class. Students are also given deductions in their bank accounts for undesirable behavior. This has been a very effective method in my classroom because I usually reward positive behavior, which acts as a model to those students who are not earning money. Most students yearn to fill their bank account up with Bergen Bucks so when they see their peers earning money, they usually start acting properly to earn money as well.

Another method that I use is creating a one-on-one behavior chart. These charts come into effect when a student has an undesirable behavior that we are looking to eliminate. We try to look at it in a positive way, so we first discuss the proper behaviors that we want in the classroom. The student is then able to choose a reward that they would like if they were able to act accordingly throughout the day. We then agree that if we reach a certain number of points throughout the day, then the student will receive the reward at the end of the day. I have had a lot of success with this method this year. It’s great because the student has a large role in controlling the rewards and understanding what behaviors we are looking to eliminate and then have more of.

“The instructional strategy of reinforcing effort enhances students’ understanding of the relationship between effort and achievement by addressing their attitudes and beliefs about learning.” (Pitler, Hubbell, Kuhn & Malenoski, 2007) Another way that we can incorporate behaviorism into our classroom is by reinforcing effort with technology. So many times teachers make comments such as; more effort needed, but do we really ever define what effort is? Pitler, Hubble, Kuhn, & Malenoski (2007) suggest creating an effort rubric which clearly states what exactly is needed from a student as far as effort goes. The student is easily able to refer back to the rubric to make sure that they are following the guidelines to satisfy the rubric. Not only does this put more responsibility on the student, but it gives them clear directions that are easy to follow and interpret.. This is definitely a method that I will incorporate in my own classroom, I feel that this will give my students the guidelines they need when determining what I am expecting out of them as far as effort goes in the classroom environment.

We are also using behaviorism when assigning drills and homework, this practice multiple times reinforces the skill. I often drill students on their multiplication facts using a 50 fact test. We do these tests twice a week and it takes less than 5 minutes to complete the tests. I have students chart their progress to show them how continuing to do this has improved their retention of the facts. Our school also uses a program called, study island. Study Island is designed to help students prepare for our state standardized tests. The students log into the website and then complete mini lessons, or tutorials that connect with the mathematics and language arts standards for their grade. After the complete their tutorials they are able to answer questions connecting with that lesson, if students answer the questions correctly they are rewarded with a game. If they answer the questions incorrectly they are brought back to the tutorial to reinforce the lesson with more practice.

Pitler, H., Hubbell, E., Kuhn, M., & Malenoski, K. (2007). Using technology with classroom instruction that works. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

Standridge, M.. (2002). Behaviorism. In M. Orey (Ed.), Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology. Retrieved November 10, 2010 from http://projects.coe.uga.edu/epltt/


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Kristy Burrough
    Nov 11, 2010 @ 18:22:15

    Love your ideas! Will we ever reach a time when study learn because they enjoy it?

    We just a huge discussion over MP3 players in the classroom and how teachers need to lay down those rules. The students who use the appropriate behavior can use their MP3 players and those who don’t will not be able to.


  2. missengelhardt
    Nov 14, 2010 @ 14:34:07

    I really like that idea, not only with mp3’s but other devices as well. I personally do not see the distraction in having music playing while students are working, so as long as the mp3 player isn’t distracting anyone I would be absolutely fine with a student using it. I guess where the trouble comes in is losing that mp3 player throughout the day and then the school or other students being blamed for its disappearance.

    I am having a really great year with my 5th grade students so far because I really am trying to make learning as fun as I possibly can and I think they are figuring that out. Most students usually hate math, but they are coming to my classroom with enthusiasm and excitement so something must be going right this year!


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