Valdosta State University
Department of Psychology
PSY310  Edcational Psychology
Instructor: John H. Hummel, Ph.D.

Study Questions/Review
Classroom Management & Discipline

Classroom management & discipline (chapter 11)

1. Definitions: Discipline; engaged time; allocated time; transitions; misbehavior; routine misbehavior; serious misbehavior; behavior modification; timeout; withitness; momemtum; overlapping; smoothness

2. Describe one of the best, according to the text, ways to prevent misbehavior.

3. List several reasons why it is important for faculty to use the available instructional time wisely. List the sources of lost instructional time.

4. What is the distinction between: engaged and allocated time; routine & serious misbehavior; behavior modification & behavior analysis; punishment and the punishment paradigm;

5. Why are interruptions more damaging to a student's (and teacher's) engaged time than late starts or early finishes?

6. Why is it important to establish routine(s)/structure in our classes, and to do so early?

A. List the 6 characteristics associated with effective class managers.

7. List the three rules for managing transitions.

A. List the four rules for arranging (physically) classrooms

8. How can an overemphasis on engaged time be detrimental to student learning?

9. Develop a clear (1-4 sentences) rationale for establishing class rules. When should class rules be developed and implemented? List the principles for establishing class rules. Should the consequences associated with violating class rules be posted/known? Explain.

10. Why must effective teachers learn to control/manage routine misbehavior? List the 8 rules for handling routine misbehavior.

A. rule 7 involves repeated reminders. How could the "broken record" routine backfire?

11. Why is it important for teachers to focus on the behavior of a student rather than the person himself? Explain why consistency (similar to contingency in chapter 4) is important in establishing discipline.

12. Should behavior modification (BM) programs only be used once misbehavior is a problem? All of education is behavior modification. React to this statement.

13. List the three most common sources of positive reinforcers for misbehavior. Briefly describe two ways to handle misbehavior controlled by peer-attention.

14. Describe the steps common to all good BM programs.

A. Outline a BM program to modify the following behaviors: (1) increasing the accuracy level of homework; (2) decrease negative self statements made by one of your class' less popular students. Justify what you did at each step.

15. When is it ethical to use punishment (two situations)? List the rules (lecture) for using punishment effectively.

16. Describe a home-based reinforcement system and list its three advantages.

l7. What are group-contingencies? Describe the "good behavior game"

l8. What is DRL and why is it of value to classroom management?(class)

l9. Describe a token system, and indicate the two ways (class) one can produce tokens.

20. "Reinforcing good behavior is bribery!" This statement is false. Explain why.

21.Summarize the 7 rules that, if followed, may decrease the likelihood of serious misbehaviors from developing.

22. In order to develop and implement a BM program, one must be able to define and count the target behavior accurately. Define the ways to count behavior (frequency, latency, magnitude, rate, duration).

23. Given classroom examples, be prepared to analyze the situation and develop a remedy.

24. Describe the classroom management program YOU will employ in your own class. Explain why certain features are included and why you excluded certain features. This is a synthesis/evaluation opportunity.


1. Effective teachers manage their classes so that students spend their time (and the teacher her's) more productively (engaged time). One of the most significant sources that decreases engaged time is misbehavior. Types of misbehavior: minor (the more common) and serious. Teachers must learn how to both prevent and decrease minor misbehaviors if students are to effectively learn. Unfortunately, serious misbehavior is much more difficult to deal with (remember, society itself does not control serious misbehavior very well and it may not be realistic to believe that teachers/schools can). What a teacher can do is address both forms of misbehavior systematically. Additionally, if one prevents much of the minor misbehaviors and adequately decreases those that occur, more serious ones are much less likely to occur.

2. Preventing misbehavior. A classroom in which the teacher has complete lesson plans, structured organization (e.g., activities start/end [transitions] on schedule with minimum disruptions, and routine procedures are handled quickly and/or simultaneous with other activities) helps to increase engaged time while decreasing the probability of off-task behaviors. In a well-run class, students don't get bored and time is not wasted. Part of this is because they conscious/unconsciously model the tone set by the teacher.

A. Teachers must constantly be conscious of the necessity of catching them being good. This helps maintain group focus during lessons. Most teacher comments are neutral or negative; only about 5% is praise directed at the students' academic/social performance. For every negative or neutral comment made, a teacher should attempt at least two positive comments. Praise is a very effective social reinforcer. It doesn't "cost" anything and, if it is used contingently and distributed fairly (e.g., no teacher's pets), a teacher can use it to reinforce the behavior of every student in a class many times each day both directly and indirectly. Indirectly, you use a student who is on-task, etc., as a model. For example, "Bill, you are really concentrating on those problems, good job!" In this example, the teacher specifies the behavior being displayed. Other students are being provided with a cue for the type of response that will be reinforced/noticed if displayed. [If students get attention for "good" behavior they are less likely to act-out to get the teacher's attention.]

B. Establish and post general class rules, and their (graduated) consequences, at the beginning of the year. Explain the rules and model them for the students (include infractions). When all the students understand the rules in a class (and the reasons for them), they are less likely to violate them. One of the greatest mistakes managers in business, schools, etc., make is that they inadvertently extinguish compliance with rules (i.e., appropriate behaviors are ignored). Managers are usually quick to note infractions (and this is good) but they must also be as quick to reinforce appropriate responding (both academic and social).

3. Discipline is a process and a product. It is the process of internalizing the control of one's behavior. When this is done, the individual is not as dependent on external consequences to curb/inhibit disruptive behaviors. At each stage of development, society demands a greater degree of internal control. Thus, a well-socialized (or disciplined) adult does not have be told (very often, anyway) to not pass notes while the CEO is addressing the group.

4. A teacher should establish a token-economy at the beginning of the year. In this type of economic system, tokens/points can be (produced two ways: automatically or earned) removed when infractions occur. Even if tokens are automatically provided at the specified intervals (daily, weekly, etc.), students should have an opportunity to earn additional ones (to make up for those lost, etc.). At regular intervals (daily, once a week, etc.) students must be given an opportunity to exchange their accumulated tokens for other reinforcers (tokens are generalized conditioned reinforcers). A menu of the items/activities tokens can be exchanged for, should be displayed showing how much each item/activity costs.

A. Teachers can award tokens (a) when a proscribed response doesn't occur for a specified time period (DRO); (b) when one emits a response incompatible with the target behavior (a response one is trying to decrease); and/or (c) when a student emits appropriate responses (social and academic). You don't have to reinforce every appropriate response, but a consequence must follow each inappropriate one if you are to effectively decrease it. Teachers can also remove (response cost) tokens when a student violates a class rule. One of the advantages of a token system is that it allows you to realistically and easily apply the rules for using consequences effectively (immediacy, contingency, and power).

While teacher attention and tokens are powerful reinforcers, teachers must also remember that peer attention may be a consequence of a student's misbehavior. An effective teacher will also establish group contingencies. One of the best types of group contingencies is Barish and Saunder's Good Behavior Game since (a) it can be used with academic and/or social behaviors, and (b) every group can win.

5. Establishing an individualized behavior modification program.

A. Identify TB(s), how to measure it (f, rate, duration), and possible consequences.

B. Establish baseline (used to determine if the TB really is a problem and for evaluation of the effectiveness of the intervention)

C. Choose reinforcer(s) and criteria for reinforcement

D. Compare treatment data to baseline's. Modify program if necessary.

E. Establish internal validity (reversal or multiple baseline). Fade program.


Last Updated: July 9, 1997