Type: Management
Pages: 6 | Words: 1504
Reading Time: 7 Minutes

Students require teachers who can make classroom environment suitable for teaching and learning. Every student is entitled to classroom with the suitable learning environment that is disruption free (Stiggins, 2003). Teachers should, on the other hand, assist students in developing appropriate behaviors at school. Most of the students, who are considered as behavior burdens, would not be so, if their teachers had taught them to behave appropriately in the classroom, and if their self esteem had risen, consequently.

Canter’s Behavior Management Cycle is a theory that outlines how to deal with children and children’s disciplinary regime. According to Canter (1992), student’s classroom behavior can be handled in a repetitive three step cycle. The steps comprise instructions and desirable behaviors; positive repetition, to achieve the desirable behavior into the child’s system; and, finally, negative assertion due to the failure of diplomacy; thereafter, the cycle starts again (Canter, 1992).The cycle outlines how to deal with children that show indiscipline, especially, in a classroom setting.

Case Study on Behavior Management Cycle

Ms. Lynn is teaching the lesson, and when she looks over she finds Jane talking to his neighbor, and the student is doing this the second time within the last couple of minutes. She stops what she was doing and reminds him whether he knows the rule about talking. Ms. Lynn then writes her name on the board. Another example is about Mr. Jackson, a lecture, in his class. He sees John talking to the student seated besides him. He calls out her name and warns her not to talk in his class, and then goes ahead to write her name on the board.

There should be a systematic discipline plan that contains various ways on how to handle a student who chooses to misbehave in the classroom. The teacher informs the students in advance what the consequences will be, in order for students to understand the implications of their misbehavior. In cases where there is no well stipulated plan, teachers need to develop appropriate consequences at times a student misbehaves. The teachers tend to be inconsistent if there is no plan. At some moments, they ignore students who are yelling, disrupting the class or talking. The following time, they may severely discipline students for the similar behavior. Moreover, teachers may respond differently to students depending on their racial, ethnic, or socioeconomic backgrounds.

Instructions and Desired Behaviours

The first step in Canter’s Behavior Management Cycle is the outlining of clear instructions and desired behaviors. The teachers need to state instructions and teach acceptable behaviors, if they desire students to follow a certain direction. Teachers must give directions for each activity to be performed during the day, such as the group works, lectures, and transition between activities, among other things. For every situation, the teacher should spell out his behavior expectations from the students. A problem may diminish, when the teacher assumes that the students know how they are expected to behave. For instance, teachers may desire that the students remain seated during the entire lecture; pay attention to the lecturer; remove all materials from their desk, except pencil and paper; raise their hands in cases, when they have comments or questions; and wait until they are called to speak.

Once the behavior for each situation is determined, the teachers have to teach students how to adhere to their directions. First, teachers need to state the directions. With the younger students, they need to write down the behaviors on a flip chart. Subsequently, they need to model the behaviors, allow students to restate the behaviors, give the question about the behaviors to ensure that students understand them, and then involve students in activity to ensure that they understand the directions.

Positive Repetition

The next step is positive repetition to get the desirable behavior into the system of student. Once the teaching of directions is done, teachers, particularly at the basic level,- must apply positive repetition to strengthen the children as far as follow the taught directions is concerned. Teachers need to focus attention on the students who follow the direction rather than those that do not obey. For example, “Jackson went back to his seat and is set to work” instead of “John you did not  go back to your seat” or “Lyn, what is wrong with you”. In most cases, teachers after giving directions to students pay attention to students who do not obey. Instead, they need to shift their attention on those that follow instructions in order to rephrase the previous direction with a positive connotation.

Negative Assertion 

The last step is negative assertion due to the failure of diplomacy. If the student persists to misbehave after being taught directions, and the teacher has used positive repetition to reinforce the direction, the only alternative left with the teacher is to apply the negative consequences that are prescribed in his or her Assertive Disciple Plan. It is a general rule that a teacher should not implement a disciplinary action to a student till the teacher, at least, has strengthened students for the desired behavior. It is advisable that teachers be positive first. Teachers should emphasize that the negative behavior of students is getting their attention, which shows that the teacher is negative and in turn portrays classroom as a negative place.

An effective discipline plan ensures that consequences are applied fairly to all students across the board. All those, who willfully interfere with classroom and bring a class to a stop, incur similar consequences. A written plan would be better since it can be circulated to parents, who will be informed prior to the teachers’ standards and the consequences to be suffered by the children, if they misbehave. This will ensure that there are no surprises and complaints, in case a parent is called by a teacher (Canter, 1992).

Teachers have to undergo trainings on how to administer assertive discipline. More often, teachers are not taught on how to maintain students in their seats for the entire lecture time. Behavior management, in most cases, is taught through a smorgasbord (Canter, 1992). This approach of training teachers is similar to a swimming class, whereby non-swimmers are shortly introduced without any prior practice. In short terms, teachers are told to either swim or sink, of which many teachers are sinking. According to Canter (1992), many beginning teachers drop out of the teaching profession because of the inability to manage students’ behavior. They need to be thoroughly trained in a classroom, how to attain management skills. Teaching the content is never enough. Teachers will not get to the content if they do not know how to make favorable classroom environment.

In brief, a well developed discipline plan is required, in order to manage the behavior of various students in the classroom. A well developed discipline plan should contain a maximum of five consequences for violating the desired directions, out of which teachers choose those that they are comfortable with. For instance, the first time a student violate the rules, he or she is warned. The next time he breaks the rule he is given a 10-minute timeout, with a 15-minute timeout the third time. If he breaks the rule the fourth time, his parents are called by the teacher; and lastly, the student goes to the principal, if he breaks the rule the fifth time. The plan should not allow teachers administer consequences that are not suitable for students and do not account students’ interests. It is necessary to note that the consequences should not result in any physical or psychological damage to the student, for example, by making the student stand before the others in the classroom or treating a student in a way that degrades him or her.

Canter (1992) suggests that writing of names and checks on the board are equally necessary though they should not interrupt class sessions. Some teachers, besides names and checks on the board, go ahead to comment on the matter, for example, “you have talked out once more”, or “you are impossible”. The issuing of reprimands interferes with class sessions and should be eliminated. Writing of student’s name on the board does not only calm the student in a non-grading manner, but also gives record keeping system for the teacher. However, some parents do not appreciate the writing of student’s name and checks on the boards and misinterpret it to the mean shaming of their children. In conclusion, the behavior management of a student should be the joint responsibility of teachers, administrators and parents, at large.


In conclusion, Assertive Discipline is not everything, and instead it is just a beginning point. All teachers should apply counseling skills; group process skills together with other skills to assist students, who have behavioral problems, learn suitable classroom behaviors. Besides other professional skills, behavior management should be part of teachers continuing professional development (Stoughton, 2007). It requires a lot of effort and continuing training for teachers to understand classroom management skills. Parents also need to support disciplinary efforts of teachers. In many cases, teachers lose moral stamina when the whole responsibility of behavioral management has been abdicated to them by the parents.

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