I was listening to the radio the other day and happened upon an interview with a Donna Jones on the Focus on the Family radio program. After s few short minutes I was hooked. Donna is the author of a book by the title of Raising Kids with Good Manners. An interesting enough topic for us parents and grandparents. However, it was her approach to teaching that caught my interest.
Donna spoke about the 4 “R’s” and how she uses this to not only teach manners but to reinforce and instill manners in her students. These are not the “R’s” we normally associate with teaching as in reading, writing and arithmetic.
The first “R” that she talked about is rehearsal. In the beginning you're trying to teach your students a behavior that they are currently not doing so you have to show them with that behavior is. Whether it's not blurting out in class; not paying attention or not following directions, the first step is to model that behavior and show them what it is you want them to do.
The second “R” is to remind them. When I am putting Theme Contest* on or writing NFD on the chalkboard I start by telling them what it is that I expect them to do. This is my reminder to my students that I expect a certain behavior. I am putting them on notice.
The next “R” is for reinforcement. Reinforcing a behavior can be either in the form of a positive reinforcement or a negative reinforcement. An example of a negative reinforcement is to let them know when they haven't lived up to the expected behavior and as a result they need to fill out a Reflection Sheet or walk laps at recess. Conversely if they are modeling the behavior that we want them to take we want to give them positive reinforcement i.e. praise for a job well done.
Those are the first three “R's”. The last R is reflection. This is sort of a postmortem review of their performance. Did they meet our expectations or not. We want them to understand what they are to do and why.
And that's it. It's very simple but also very effective. If you implement these four steps or stages in the training of your students in any desired behavior you are sure to see progress* Theme Contest trains students not to blurt out in class.