Learning Our Lesson: How to Use Behavior Reflection Effectively

Child with learning difficulties

Life is filled with lessons to learn. Some, like how not to repeat the same mistake twice, are more difficult to swallow than others. A key to “learning our lesson” is reflecting on the behavior that got us into a difficult situation in the first place.

The same is true for the classroom, where behavior reflection is a crucial part of effective classroom management.

If a student forgets his or her homework, a teacher may have the student stay in at recess or during study hall and do the missing work. However, if the child is never asked to reflect on his or her behavior, the behavior is more likely to resurface. An easy way to encourage behavior reflection is to use a reflection form, like the one FOUND HERE.

This form is designed to have students think about what they did, why it was inappropriate, and how to avoid this behavior next time.  Students need to answer in complete sentences and thoughtfully.  The form is then taken home that evening, signed by the student’s parents, and brought back to school the next day.  It is a great way to keep parents informed of late work and a great way to keep the students on track with their responsibilities.

This form is only effective for those students who forget occasionally.  For the repeat offender, other measures will have to be taken.  Also, the reflection form is general enough that it can be used for other situations, such as a social problem that occurred that day in school. Filling out a sample reflection form together, as a whole class, would be a good way to model what is expected of the students.

If the teacher does not have a study hall time during which students can complete the form, consider getting some teachers in the same grade level to give up one lunch period to sit for study hall. Study hall duty would be on a rotating basis. The more teachers involved, the fewer lunches missed per teacher.  If this is not possible, the student should stay in from recess to fill out the reflection form and do the missing work.

TIP: The teacher may want to have a spot on the chalkboard or a small dry erase board for those students who are to go to study hall that day.  This will also serve as a reminder to the teacher and the students that they have a reflection form needing to be signed.  It is suggested to use their student numbers, rather than names, on this board to avoid embarrassment.

This is part two of a three-part series: Behavior Management Tips for Teachers. NEXT:  Part Three, Secret Workers

Contributed by: Teacher Created Resources


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