Managing Student Misbehavior in Adapted Physical Education by Good Teaching Practices

By Cowart, Jim | Palaestra, Winter 2000 | Go to article overview

Managing Student Misbehavior in Adapted Physical Education by Good Teaching Practices


Cowart, Jim, Palaestra


Good teaching practices today include instructional strategies matched to each student's learning style, curriculum appropriate for that student, and applying good reinforcement practices. These are proven teaching techniques for maximizing student learning.

Interestingly, these practices are the same sound teaching strategies stressed in an 1840 publication by Horace Mann, On The Art of Teaching (Mann, 1989 edition). For more than 150 years, applications of these practices confirmed their soundness. Values of these teaching practices in managing misbehavior of students, however, have often been overlooked. These teaching practices, at their root, help to manage student misbehavior, such as tantruming, yelling, scratching, physical resistance, so instruction of planned curriculum may occur.

Focus of this article is on utilizing good teaching practices to reduce or eliminate occurrences of behaviors that interfere with student learning. Before looking at use of such teaching practices to manage misconduct, it is necessary to be aware of a critical component in their utilization--good observational skills. Thus, this author begins by reviewing observation as a skill for the teacher. After introduction to observational skills, the following are discussed--(a) instructional strategies matched to learning style, (b) curriculum appropriateness, and (c) reinforcement practices, each followed by sample questions that need to be asked in each of these areas for successfully managing misbehavior. Examples of applications of these questions to specific disruptive behaviors in adapted physical education are displayed in Table format following each section. Examples are based on the author's personal teaching experiences.

Observation

Importance of observational skills is generally recognized when assessing and monitoring a student's education program. Initial observations are important to find out present levels of performance. The teacher assesses a student's strengths and weaknesses in relation to the skill/activity to be taught. From information gathered, the teacher develops an individual education program.

The second major area of observation is monitoring the student's responses to instruction. Here feedback is critical to correct errors and promote learning. Major stumbling blocks occur for the teacher, however, when the student misbehaves. At this point, it is common for instruction to stop. Typical responses by the teacher include--student does not want to learn; student cannot learn; I don't have necessary skills to manage student misbehavior; student is misbehaving just to make my life miserable--ad infinitum.

It must be emphasized, however, that the physical educator is capable of managing most student misbehaviors. The skills are at his/her fingertips, and it all begins through expanding uses of observation skills to help determine a possible cause of misbehavior. The three teaching areas of instructional strategies, curriculum, and reinforcement must be addressed. Questions are formulated to assist in determining a possible cause of misbehavior; answers to such questions then provide a hunch as to cause of the misconduct. In turn, this information leads to a best guess for redesigning the student's educational program. Therein options for change are found as the teacher looks at his/her teaching practices to manage the student's misconduct. Once the change or changes have been made and implemented, the observational process is repeated.

Teaching Practices Instruction

Strategies a teacher uses to deliver instruction can have significant impacts on a student's behavior. Clarity of directions, effective demonstration, appropriate physical assistance, and provision for feedback are all associated with effective student learning. Each individual's path to learning is his/her own. The key is to match an instructional strategy or strategies with each student's style of learning. …

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