In the classroom, rules help control student behavior and set the tone for effective learning.
Plus, they guide children’s actions and promote consistency making the learning environment predictable. This gives children the safety they need to get ahead in their physical, emotional, and social development.
However, when the rules negatively focus on what not to do and emphasize punishment, they do the opposite of providing a safe space for children to learn and grow. This usually leads to student behavior taking a turn for the worse.
That’s why creating positive classroom rules carries the day when it comes to controlling behaviors, managing expectations, and fostering mutual respect between the teacher and students.
Let's explore some positive classroom rules to position your students for success in 2023.
Positive classroom rules are principles that govern children’s behavior through positive means. The rules are often agreed upon by the teacher and learners.
Positive rules differ from traditional rules in that they’re not based on what children shouldn’t do, but rather on the actions they should take to produce positive outcomes.
Moreover, unlike traditional rules, they don’t encourage punishment, which often sets children up for failure.
For example, instead of, “Stop talking out of turn or you’ll be punished,” positive rules say, “Raise your hand and ask your turn to speak so we can all listen to each other's views.”
In most cases, positive classroom rules don't just apply to the students; they govern the educators as well. By doing so, the teacher becomes the role model for the learners.
When it comes to setting rules there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. Each classroom needs a unique set of rules depending on the learners in your class and the school environment.
However, here are some basic guidelines you need to follow when setting your class rules:
With these guidelines in mind, you can create a set of rules that suits your specific situation.
It's extremely important to include the students in establishing these classroom rules. If the students don't accept the rules, they won’t be bothered to follow them, which will undermine any desired positive results.
Here are a few of the main overarching rules you can implement in your classroom.
Building a strong work ethic in your students right from the beginning can help them increase their focus.
This rule is about developing a positive work ethic in everything from how students participate in class to how they approach their assignments.
Specifically, this rule encompasses:
How you frame this rule will depend on your learners. For example, in a first-grade class, you might say, "We always do our best."
For middle school children, you might frame the rule to read, "We complete all our work on time and always do the very best we can."
This rule emphasizes the importance of respecting authority and always being responsive to instructions quickly.
It’ll govern how learners stick to established routines and follow the teachers’ expectations.
The rule on listening covers a range of behaviors that have to do with:
Respect is an essential ingredient in all communications. Establishing respect towards other people sets the tone for how students interact with the teacher and other learners.
Specifically, the rule entails:
Instead of making rules that focus on what not to do, like “don't hit others” and “don't fight,” this rule focuses on what students can do to make sure everyone is safe.
This broad rule prevents a lot of the issues that arise in the classroom like:
It promotes a safe classroom environment where everyone can learn and work together in peace.
Positive rules allow for a positive classroom environment. Students learn to respect the teacher and each other. The classroom becomes a safe place where all students can learn and try their best, leading to more successful educational outcomes.
Most importantly, positive rules set the platform for the holistic transformation of students. They develop a positive outlook towards life and challenges, setting them up to be well-adjusted individuals.
Imagine if positive rules didn't belong only in the classroom?
If the whole school implemented a program that focused on positive discipline and a positive curriculum, the result would be a phenomenal improvement in discipline and grades.
With Positive Action, the dream of a positive and successful learning environment is a reality.
"This is what school should be for all children everywhere: a place where people want to be; a place where they are safe to learn and grow."
This is what Dorothy Solomon (former Artist in Residence for the Arts in Education program in Utah) had to say when she came across schools that had implemented the Positive Action curriculum.
It's more than just a theory; the Positive Action curriculum has brought transformation to schools for many years. With Positive Action, the school becomes a launchpad of dreams.
Children grow a new found love for learning, teachers are happy—not overwhelmed, and the administrators can do their job and not spend hours handling disciplinary issues.
“Over a 12-year period, as I conducted writing residencies throughout the region, I learned to recognize Positive Action schools when I walked through the door. At a Positive Action school, I could count on receiving respect and attention from students, teachers and administrators; I knew that the students would do their best in their writing and their behavior. Our results were always amazing, our performance programs inspiring. So many students produced stellar work that I began to track the difference between "ordinary" schools and Positive Action schools.” Dorothy Solomon.
Positive Action’s curriculum is not all talk. It’s been tried and tested and has been proven to improve behavioral challenges and academic success.
The numbers don't lie. Statistics show the transformative power of the Positive Action curriculum in several outcomes ranging from absenteeism to mental health and drug use.
By implementing Positive Action in your school, you foster a positive sense of self-concept in your students that’ll be a stepping stone for their success in every sphere of life.
Schedule a webinar today to learn more about the Positive Action curriculum and discuss how best to implement the program in your school.