Improving Classroom Behavior through Effective Instruction: An Illustrative Program Example Using SRA FLEX Literacy

By Martella, Ronald C.; Marchand-Martella, Nancy E. | Education & Treatment of Children, May 2015 | Go to article overview

Improving Classroom Behavior through Effective Instruction: An Illustrative Program Example Using SRA FLEX Literacy


Martella, Ronald C., Marchand-Martella, Nancy E., Education & Treatment of Children


Abstract

Research has demonstrated a strong positive correlation between behavior problems and low academic achievement. Student success and/or failures are in large part determined by how well teachers provide effective instruction to their students. This article overviews key behavior-management approaches related to academic and behavioral success that are integrated within a reading intervention system for struggling readers in grades 3-12 (i.e., SRA FLEX Literacy). These management approaches have been shown to enhance classroom behavior and set the occasion for better academic performance. Specific program examples are shared to illustrate these management approaches.

Keywords: behavior management, effective instruction, SRA FLEX Literacy, reading, computerized instruction, digital-based learning

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Student misbehavior has been and still is the main concern of educators across the country (Dunlap, Iovannone, Wilson, Kincaid, & Strain, 2010; Martella, Nelson, Marchand-Martella, & O'Reilly, 2012; Westling, 2010). In fact, "there may be no greater hurdle in public schools today than that presented by students who exhibit challenging behavior" (Westling, 2010, p. 48). When students misbehave, they learn less. "Disruptive behavior in any classroom impedes learning ... and the time spent in redirecting students back to task takes away from valuable instruction time, which in turn affects student academic performance" (Musti-Rao & Haydon, 2011, pp. 91-92). In addition, students who misbehave interfere with the learning of their peers and consume teachers' time, disrupting the classroom and school. McKinney, Campbell-Whately, and Kea (2005) and Crothers and Kolbert (2008) indicate that difficulty managing student behavior is a factor associated with teacher burnout, stress, and dissatisfaction. For example, "50 percent of urban teachers leave the profession within the first five years of their career, citing behavior problems and management as factors influencing their decision to leave" (McKinney et al., 2005, p. 16). More should be done to create effective classroom environments through the use of better classroom management and instructional approaches (Crothers & Kolbert, 2008; Kern & Clemens, 2007; McKinney et al., 2005; Westling, 2010).

Historically, classroom management has been considered separately from classroom instruction, yet everything that goes on in the classroom should be thought of as instruction (Ausdemore, Martella, & Marchand-Martella, 2005). Behavior management involves the creation of successful learning environments for both classroom behavior and academic performance. Therefore, the focus should be on how to provide instruction in a manner that not only increases academic performance but also improves classroom behavior (Martella & Nelson, 2003). Specifically, teachers should provide a comprehensive approach where instruction for both behavioral and academic skills is consistent with what has been found to be effective through empirical investigation (Gable, Tonelson, Sheth, Wilson, & Park, 2012; Kern & Clemens, 2007; Nelson, Martella, & Marchand-Martella, 2002).

Positive or negative student behavior is affected by teacher performance in creating an effective environment for student learning experiences (Stewart, Benner, Martella, & Marchand-Martella, 2007; Stewart, Martella, Marchand-Martella, & Benner, 2005). Research has demonstrated a strong positive correlation between behavior problems and low academic achievement (Gest & Gest, 2005; Landrum, Tankersley, & Kauffman, 2003). Above and beyond being correlated, Payne, Marks, and Bogan (2007) report that behavioral and academic problems are reciprocal in nature. In other words, behavior problems may cause a disruption in academic engagement and, as a result, students may fail to master skills because of this lack of academic engagement. …

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