On a rainy Monday morning, the start of all of my hectic weeks, I arrived at my placement to a room with order; a calm during the storm of my busy schedule. Already I felt relaxed and at peace, as if I was where I belonged. The more I observed, the more I wondered: How is it that these rules have been enforced to the point where they are nearly second nature to my class of four-year-olds? As a pre-service teacher, oftentimes myself and my colleagues in my program wonder this same thing in hopes of learning the secret recipe for perfect classroom management to someday implement in our own classroom.
Throughout the morning, I observed and searched for my answer. It almost seemed as though these students were following the rules so well because they had been conditioned to in some way, however this conditioning was based on their concern of getting in trouble or being given consequences for not following the rules. This begs the question “How can we better use positive reinforcement rather than consequence and punishment to manage classroom behavior?” As I ponder this question and continue to research, I come across various articles, studies, etc. outlining different behavior management methods based on positive reinforcement. One study that I came across is called “Implementing Positive Behavior Support in Preschools: An Exploratory Study of CW-FIT Tier 1,” which outlines the use of PBIS in preschool settings. This results of this study indicated that the use of PBIS interventions influenced student on-task behavior during group work with a positive trend.
Following my days of questioning and research on this matter, I noticed a shift in the classroom management style of the classroom. One day, the teachers started using a more positive way to enforce and reward good behavior rather than reprimand poor behavior. This positive reinforcement took place in the form of the class Prize Box. Any time a student showed exemplary behavior or any behavior worth noting, they were allowed to pick a prize from the box to reward their behavior as a way to set an example for the rest of the class that this is model behavior. While this is not necessarily a specific PBIS intervention, I do pinpoint it as an improvement from the former behavior management model in that it was a more positive way to exemplify student behavior for the rest of the class to observe and take note of in order to hopefully be able to adopt the same types of positive behaviors.