Do you have any articles on School Code of Conduct?
I am on a committee in a Junior High School (Grade 7-9) for
the purpose of developing a code of conduct for the students to
Some of the issues we wish to address:
- behavior between classes (in the corridors)
- behavior on the school bus (I have read your article about
bus behavior on your home page)
- giving/showing respect
- consequences of negative behavior
I was hoping to get ideas from other schools and professionals
to present to the committee members in preparing our own code
Any help you can give would be appreciated.
Our book Positive Discipline
in the Classroom addresses a school code of conduct directly
and indirectly. I would like to start with your issue of giving/showing
respect. We believe in mutual respect -- that it is equally important
for teachers and all school personnel to show respect for students
as well as visa versa. The most important way to show respect
to students is to involve them in problem-solving. When students
are involved in creating a code of conduct they have an investment
in it and are motivated to cooperate.
Instead of consequences for negative behavior we have found
it much more effective to allow students to use problems as an
opportunity to learn problem-solving skills. I won't take the
time or space to repeat the whole book here, but Positive Discipline
in the Classroom includes the eight building blocksfor effective
class meetings -- a process that answers all your questions. During
class meetings students learn to "help each other" find
non-punitive solutions to problems. Students feel empowered to
improve their behavior when they are treated with respect, when
they are listened to, and when they have their thoughts and ideas
taken seriously and validated.
It is amazing what happens when teachers take the problem of
behavior between classes (in the corridors) to students and ask
them to develop guidelines -- or any other problem. Another useful
book is, Positive Discipline
A Teacher's A-Z Guide. The article you read about bus behavior is from that book.
Following is another article about lunchroom behavior that illustrates
the essence of what I'm trying to convey in answer to your questions.
I'm sure you will see how the suggestions could be adapted to
corridor behavior. The article gives suggestions for all ages
of students, (the example of utensils being thrown in the trash
was handled in a 7th grade class). Teachers can choose the suggestions
that fit best for their grade level -- or adapt others.
I hope this helps, Mary, and that you will come to our home
From book Positive Discipline
A Teacher's A-Z Guide, by Jane
Nelsen, Roslyn Duffy, Linda Escobar, Kate Ortolano, and Debbie
To "Do Lunch" means to let go of responsibilities,
forget routine and to socialize extensively for a very short period
of time. When the people who are "Doing Lunch" are students
within a school, the potential for chaos is great. It is important
to acknowledge that students need a break from their routine.
It is also important that they learn to find a balance between
relaxing and respecting others. Behavior in the lunchroom is a
good indicator of the leadership style of school personnel. Misbehavior
in the lunchroom could tell us that the leadership style is one
of control. A controlling leadership style invites rebellion,
resistance, and a lack of self-discipline, responsibility, cooperation
and social interest. Cooperative lunchroom behavior could tell
us that the school personnel leadership style is democratic. A
democratic leadership style invites students to learn self-discipline, responsibility,
cooperation and social interest.
- Anytime you see a problem behavior, simply ask the students
involved what they are supposed to be doing according to the
rules they helped create. (See No. 1 in Planning Ahead to Prevent
Future Problems.) Often this is enough to motivate a student
to change her behavior.
- Another possibility is to describe the behavior you see:
"I notice you are throwing food. I notice you are yelling.
I notice you did not pick up your trash." Then ask, "Can
you correct this problem, or would you like to put the problem
on the class meeting agenda for a discussion if you don't agree
with the rules, or to get help from the class?"
- Admit that the behavior is a problem for you (such as loud
shouting, shoving, running) even though it may not be a problem
as far as the students are concerned. Ask the student if she
would be willing to help you by working on a solution to the
- When the noise level in a lunchroom is very high, we believe
that we must speak in voice that competes with that noise. Rather
than yelling, lean close to the student or students and speak
in a soft tone of voice.
- Put all the students in the same boat. When a student at
a table is throwing food, involve all of the students at that
table in the clean up. "As soon as this table is cleaned
up you may leave."
- Let the student table monitor handle the misbehavior. (Student
table monitors should be trained in methods to gain cooperation
respectfully, such as using the suggestions herein. Otherwise
they may try to act like dictators and invite resistance and
- Hand a copy of the appropriate lunchroom behavior list to
a table or student and ask them in a quiet voice to locate the
misbehavior that they need to work on. Thank them for their cooperation.
- Use a class meeting to discuss problems with behavior
in the lunchroom. Invite lunchroom aides to put items on the agenda and to be
present for discussion and problem-solving.
PLANNING AHEAD TO PREVENT FUTURE PROBLEMS
- During a class meeting ask each class to brainstorm typical
lunchroom problems and then create rules that will prevent or
solve the problems. (We cannot emphasize enough how powerful
it is to invite students to solve problems so they will feel
respected and motivated to follow rules they have helped create.)
Students enjoy role playing disrespectful lunchroom behavior
followed by a role play of respectful behavior.
- Invite lunchroom personnel to visit class meetings and share
their concerns and ask for help and solutions. Many students
are not aware of how their behavior causes problems for others.
- To get students more involved in maintaining appropriate
lunchroom behavior, introduce a system of students monitoring
their own behavior. A position is created called a rotating monitor
who ensures and respectfully motivates appropriate behavior and
- Have students from the upper grades sit with younger classes
to help monitor and teach proper lunchroom behavior.
- Acknowledge and validate your students need for relaxation
and a break from their classroom routine. Share your own need
for a lunch break. Balance this with a discussion of behavior
which respects others and the property of the school.
- Don't expect perfection, but keep working for
improvement. Whenever something doesn't work, or works only for a short time,
put it back on the class meeting agenda so the kids can discuss it and work on
another solution or renewed interest in their old solution.
CLASS MEETING SOLUTIONS
During a two-day Positive Discipline in the Classroom workshop
at a Navajo Reservation School, the cafeteria personnel complained
about the students throwing their utensils in the garbage barrels
when they scraped their food trays. A representative from the
cafeteria came to a 7th grade class meeting. The students offered
several suggestions. The one they chose to implement was taking
turns as utensil monitors at the garbage barrels.
After about a month they decided they no longer needed utensil
monitors because the students were being more respectful of school
property, and were no longer throwing utensils in the garbage.
Mrs. T., an aide working in the lunchroom, put an item on the
agenda for Mr. Wong's fifth grade class meeting. She shared that
she was frustrated because she was having to spend a great deal
of time over by the fifth grade area because of their behavior
and because of the mess they were making. Mr. Wong asked her if
she would like some problem-solving help and have the students
in the class come up with a solution to the problem. She agreed.
The class brain stormed many ideas and voted to try one which
appealed to them because it involved them more in the solution.
They chose to start a system in which a student monitor at
each table would be responsible to help maintain order and to
make sure that students did not leave the area until any messes
were cleaned up. They decided to make this position one that rotated
among the students seated at the table. They were excited about
trying this and agreed to work with this system for a week and
then report back at the class meeting. Mrs. T. came to their meeting
one week later and was delighted to be able to talk with the students
about the changes she had seen. She told them that she wanted
them to share their system with other classes in the school. They
immediately started making plans about how they would spread the
word about the system they had created.
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