How Can I Manage Student Behavior With Behavior Conference?

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A teacher discussing falling grades with an angry teen student.A behavior conference is a brief meeting between teacher and student to discuss the student’s problem behavior(s). While the structure and content of a behavior conference will vary based on circumstances, it will typically include some or all of the following elements:

  • Description of the problem behavior: The teacher describes the student’s behavior and explains why it is presenting a problem in the classroom.
  • Open-ended questions and student input: The teacher asks open-ended questions to fully understand what factors are contributing to the problem behavior.
  • Problem-solving: The teacher and student discuss solutions to the problem behavior and agree to a plan.
  • Disciplinary reminder: If appropriate, the teacher concludes the conference by informing the student of the disciplinary consequence that will occur if the problem behavior continues.

When to Use: The behavior conference is a useful tool for the teacher who:

  • wishes to better understand reasons of the student problem behavior before acting.
  • wants to model that it is better for the student to communicate his or her needs through discussion rather than engage in acting-out behaviors.

Examples:

  • A teacher approaches the desk of a student who appears upset to explore what triggered that student’s current emotional distress and to figure out how best to respond to the situation.
  • A non-compliant student is taken aside for a brief in-class conference with the teacher. The teacher establishes that the student is in control of her behavior, states the behavioral expectations for the classroom, and informs the student that she will be given a disciplinary referral if her behaviors do not improve immediately.

Discuss here: What are some ways you address problem behaviors in your classrooms?

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