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Saturday, January 17, 2009

Difference between Rules and Procedures

Rules are for undesirable behaviors that have set consequences while procedures are expected classroom behaviors with no set consequences for a violation. Anytime a student violates a rule in your classroom, you must act and a consequence must occur (See handout on Possible Consequences). Consequences should be realistic for both teacher and students and should progress if the rule is broken repeatedly. In other words if a student talks in class you would not write a referral on the 1st offense but you probably would if it continued to be a problem and you have tried other ways to control this behavior in your classroom. There can be consequences for violating procedures but the consequence never gets to the referral stage. You might redirect a student for violating a procedure, call the parent, or not allow the student to participate in a fun group activity, but a student should not be suspended for not following a procedure unless insubordination is involved. You need to remember that it is not the severity of the consequence, but the consistency that causes behavioral change in your classroom. In other words the teacher must Say What They Mean, Mean What They Say, and Do What They Said They Would Do.

Once rules and procedures have been created, it is important to teach, check for understanding, and practice proper behavior in the classroom. Below is a worksheet to focus you as you create your rules and procedures. I always filled out one of these sheets for each rule and procedure I had in class so that when I taught it I was sure that all students had received the same information. It is important to note that when explaining consequences to students that you tell them all the possible consequences. During the explanation phase you have to explain what the rule or procedure means to you. Respect may not mean the same thing to you as it does to your students. It is important to reach an understanding as to what both parties are thinking about each rule and procedure. You can reach this understanding when you do the check for understanding section of the rules and procedures worksheet. Practice makes perfect; rules and procedures are no different. Failure to practice procedures before you use them in a class activity will ensure total failure. As a fellow professional, I believe that the key to success in the classroom is to have a few rules and lots of procedures; help your students to understand what good behavior looks like through sound procedures in your classroom. I have enclosed some examples below of classroom procedures:

Examples of Procedures

1. How students move desks into a group activity.
2. How students enter the classroom.
3. How students turn in work.
4. How students listen to oral presentations.
5. How students get the teacher’s attention. How students get a new pen or pencil.


Click here for the original Word document

To get files related to this article please email me at smmcnamee@comcast.net

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For more Classroom Management Tips go to the Classroom Management Tips Page.


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