Behavior Management: Governing the Classroom Through Student Engagement

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Following the new Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESSA), districts and schools are looking to implement approaches that directly relate to school discipline, classroom management, and student self-management. Ultimately, these approaches will focus on the development of consistently positive and safe school and classroom settings; student engagement and the prevention of teasing, taunting, harassment, and bullying; and decreasing disproportionate office discipline referrals, suspensions and expulsions, and placements in alternative and juvenile justice programs.

One meta-analysis research project conducted earlier in this decade studied 213 school-based, universal social and emotional learning (SEL) programs involving 270,034 K-12 students. Compared to controls, SEL participants demonstrated significantly improved social and emotional skills, attitudes, behavior, and academic performance that reflected an 11-percentile-point gain in achievement.

Headed into a new school year, districts and schools are seeking to better understand the evidence-based components of an effective, multi-tiered discipline and behavior management system that focuses on facilitating students’ interpersonal, social problem-solving, conflict prevention and resolution, and emotional coping skills and behavior.

Meeting ESSA requirements and increasing academic performance outcomes can be supported by including and implementing research-proven intervention and supplemental programs in curriculum development action plans.

What do an individualized literacy program and an extensively tested teaching methodology have in common? The ability to create successful and engaged learners, and enhance behavior management strategies.

SRA FLEX Literacy and Direct Instruction are designed to accelerate learning for students of all levels. While these programs are beneficial to on and below-level students alike, they are proven to help students with behavioral issues become engaged learners. FLEX Literacy and Direct Instruction are particularly helpful to these students as they strive to gain comprehension skills, by allowing them to actively participate both inside and outside of the classroom.

Oftentimes, students act out in the classroom out of frustration or boredom; these programs help curb these unwanted actions through interactive scripted lessons, fun digital modules, and opportunities for students to apply their knowledge as they learn.

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FLEX Literacy fuses instruction, practice, assessment, and review to provide comprehensive reading and language arts instruction. With FLEX Literacy, teachers are given the tools to tailor instruction to their students’ specific needs through three different approaches: the Digital, Print and Project Experiences. These three styles of learning can be used in tandem to enhance the learning experience of students based on their unique learning styles. And, many schools implement FLEX Literacy in their 1:1 or 1:2 digital classrooms to complement core ELA instruction, and enrich as well as remediate literacy learning.

Direct Instruction is an extensively tested teaching methodology that utilizes quick-paced, scripted lessons to drive student engagement in math, language arts, and reading. This methodology helps create a dynamic and engaging classroom environment, by prompting student responses at specific times throughout lessons to keep students interested and actively participating.

Both programs provide teachers with tactics to keep students engaged and on their best behavior by placing an emphasis on teaching to mastery and utilizing a variety of teaching methods. Through a combination of the two strategies below, FLEX Literacy and Direct Instruction help ensure that all students have the potential to become engaged and successful learners.

Complete comprehension is key to enthusiastic students. When students do not understand the material, they can grow frustrated and apathetic, which causes them to associate learning with negative feelings.

The first step to teaching to mastery is ensuring that they begin at the proper level. Direct Instruction and FLEX Literacy are designed to place students at the proper level according to their skills, instead of their grade level. Through regular assessments, these programs give educators the tools they need to ensure that students master the material before moving forward.

This approach allows students to gain confidence in their abilities through continual advancement while building upon the knowledge they already possess. As students progress through the coursework, they gain confidence in their abilities, which increases engagement and can help create students who are enthusiastic about learning.

Both FLEX Literacy and Direct Instruction stress the significance of variety — after all, variety is the spice of life! When students are not engaged in the classroom, they can become restless and act out in response. This common reaction to a stagnant classroom environment is why FLEX Literacy and Direct Instruction focus on maintaining student interest through a variety of teaching methods.

  • FLEX Literacy features interactive digital modules, print work, and project-based learning. Providing these options helps vary daily activities for students, and allows them to apply what they are learning in different ways.
  • Direct Instruction has scripted lessons that offer quick pacing and involve regular group responses to keep students paying attention and prepared. In addition to group responses, Direct Instruction also utilizes individual responses, independent work, and cumulative review activities to keep students engaged and interested in the work they are doing.

Despite the differences in teaching and learning methods in FLEX Literacy and Direct Instruction, both emphasize the importance of offering students a variety of ways to learn and apply their knowledge. This also allows teachers to differentiate instruction to meet the needs of students with learning and behavioral issues, which makes for a better learning environment for all.

Read the white paper to learn more about SRA FLEX Literacy’s behavior management capabilities, or request your FLEX Literacy digital trial. To find out how Direct Instruction can help address classroom behavior management, visit or contact your representative for a consultative session.

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