1.5 Responding to Misbehavior – Demo

1.5 Responding to Misbehavior


Instead of handling disruptions after they’ve happened, it is more effective to set up conditions in which they are less likely to occur. The previous lessons in this module are proactive ways in which substitute teachers can build a positive classroom culture to avoid misbehavior. However, substitutes will also need to be knowledgeable about just and fair ways to handle misbehaviors if they do arise. 


Public discipline systems are common in schools. These systems are visual ways of giving students feedback (examples include: point systems like class dojo, stoplights, writing names on the board). These systems can work for the short term, however, they quickly lose their novelty and cease working, Students who continuously lose points or have their names written on the board are publicly humiliated and for many that experience increases the negative behavior. (Responsive Classroom: Public Discipline Systems)The Responsive Classroom is an approach to teaching based on the belief that integrating academic and social-emotional skills creates and environment where the students can do their best learning. The 3R’s of teacher language (reinforce, reminding, and redirecting) is a powerful strategy to redirect misbehavior. The Center for Responsive Schools helps us to better understand this behavior management approach. (Responsive Schools, 2017)

  • Use reinforcing language when a student behaves positively - For example, when a student who usually argues during Four Square plays one round argument-free, you might say, “Sabrina, when someone called you out you went to the back of the line right away.” The words, along with your friendly and encouraging demeanor, tell Sabrina exactly what she did that was helpful and what she should keep doing
  • Use reminding language when you notice a student just starting to go off course. For example, when a student is beginning to struggle with listening, you can say quietly and matter-of-factly, “Remember what we said about being a respectful partner.”
  •  Try nonverbal cues when a child behaves in a problematic way. For example, put your finger to your lips as a silent reminder to listen or shake your head to signal a student to wait until you’re finished giving directions before reaching for the supplies. Even simply moving to stand next to a child who’s misbehaving will often restore positive behavior quickly
  • Redirecting Language  is used when nonverbal cues aren’t enough.  For example, Jed is running across the classroom with a pair of scissors. You say, kindly but very firmly, “Jed, stop now. Put the scissors down.” Once the unsafe behavior has stopped and you and Jed are both calm, you discuss the unsafe behavior he chose and the safe behavior you expect.


In some cases students may need more than a nonverbal cue or redirection to correct their behavior. Logical Consequences are a responsive classroom approach to managing misbehavior. Logical consequences help children to connect their behavior to its effects and repair any damage that behavior may have caused. Logical consequences provide reasonable solutions to address the problem and action and to not attack the child, the respect for the child must always remain intact. Other schools use Restorative Practices as a way to build community while also managing conflicts and tensions by repairing harm and building relationships. (International Institute for Restorative Practices). Both approaches recognize the importance of addressing conflict in a way that is proactive and healing for the community.

*Please note: In some cases the substitute teacher will need to seek additional support. Support may be from a colleague and/or administrator. Please review the district student code of conduct to get a better understanding of what types of behavior warrant additional interventions and supports. 


Strategy Backpack: The Toolkit for Restoring Justice allows for you to practice restorative justice with these role-playing scenarios.


Your Turn! 

Apply your learning by completing the following activities.


Activity #1

Watch the De-Escalating Meltdowns video, how might you apply your understanding of the 3 R’s to handle this situation?

Activity #2 

Review the logical consequences scenarios. What are some logical consequences that align to the scenario?

Your Turn sections are an opportunity to apply your learning! While you are not required to submit your work on these activities, you may choose to collect your responses in your Strategy Backpack for future reference.