Questions About Behavior and Discipline

Here are a few of the most common questions I receive from teachers regarding behavior and discipline. Some of them may resonate with you.

Question 1: I generally have few major behavior problems because I set high expectations and I keep students busy, but I do have problems with talking. Is talking a Level B behavior problem?

My reply:
Talking is a Level B issue only if your students are talking when they shouldn’t be. In such cases, I would teach a psychological lesson and develop a procedure such as illustrated at

UNLESS THE STUDENT HAS A PROCEDURE TO REDIRECT THE IMPULSE, the student will remain a victim of the talking impulse.

Question 2: How about doing their homework? Doing their best work?

My reply:
Homework is an instructional problem, not a discipline problem. You can no more force students to do their homework with quality work than you can force them to learn. However, you can help direct success in this area by painting pictures, e.g., “What time will you start your homework?” “What procedure will you implement if the time has arrived and you are enjoying yourself doing something else?” “Where will you do your homework?” “Will the TV be on?” It is the pictures in our minds that drive our behavior.

Question 3: If students behave in my class and misbehave in another class or outside, is this my responsibility and have I taught them discipline?

My reply:
YOU ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR ANYONE’S BEHAVIOR BUT YOUR OWN. A person’s behavior is that person’s responsibility and choice.