7 Features of Effective Classroom Rules

The Teacher Education and Special Education journal published a review of the literature on creating and managing effective classroom rules and behavior.  Teachers report that verbal disruptions, noncompliance, and being off-task are the most frequently observed challenging behaviors.   Ineffective classroom management changes the overall classroom environment, affecting students’ social and academic outcomes and teachers’ self-efficacy, attrition, and burnout.  Teachers may come to related service personnel to look for suggestions to help with classroom behavior for students.  In addition, related service providers may have small or large groups to manage for therapy that also would require managing behaviors and establishing rules.

The researchers identified seven features of effective classroom rules:

  1. Number of rules: Establishing a smaller number of rules is better than larger.
  2. Get student input when creating the rules:   Gather student feedback, discuss with the students and then create the rules with the students.
  3. Be positive:  Using wording that describes the desired behaviors when creating rules.  Tell the students what you want them to do, not what you don’t want them to do.
  4. Be specific:  Create specific and observable rules.
  5. Display the rules:  Hang up the rules to serve as a visual reminder for students and teachers.
  6. Teach the rules:  Make sure you actually take the time to teach the students.  For example, explain the rule, provide the reason for the rule, give examples of following the rule, provide examples of not following the rule and provide time to practice.
  7. Establish consequences:  Create positive and negative consequences.  Reinforce good behavior with positive rewards.  Make sure the consequences reinforce rule compliance and follow through.  Make the negative consequences logical and reteach the rule.

Overall, the research indicates that the two characteristics of classroom rules that were most important to their overall effectiveness were number 6 and number 7: teach the rule and and tie the rules to positive and/or negative consequences.

Read more about teaching rules on the playground.

Read more about positive reinforcement during therapy sessions.

Reference:  Alter, P., & Haydon, T. (2017). Characteristics of Effective Classroom Rules: A Review of the Literature. Teacher Education and Special Education, 0888406417700962.

Punch Cards and Reward Cards for Therapy

Punch Cards and Reward Cards: Download of 40 punch cards and 10 reward cards for motivation to complete pediatric therapy goals or following rules. Set goals and rules for the student to achieve. When the student completes an activity, punch a hole in the card. After 10 punches, the student chooses a reward card (with free prize suggestions). Also included is a list of 30 free or low cost rewards. FIND OUT MORE.