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Case Study 3

Ms. Wood knew her students well. When Colin began to be disruptive during a class discussion, she simply moved over to him and leaned on his desk, without interrupting the class discussion. When he stopped, she moved on. With Shawna, being proactive was more effective. Shawna frequently had to sharpen her pencil and, on the way to the sharpener, tended to annoy other students. Ms. Wood decreased the frequency of this behavior by watching Shawna carefully. The second she took out a sharpened pencil, Ms. Wood walked over and complimented her on being so prepared that she would not have to leave her seat during work time.

Many eighth graders, M. Foseid knew, did not like attention drawn to them, not even positive attention. He therefore established a more subtle “thumbs up” signed to reinforce positive behavior. His goal was, at least once every class period, to catch a student’s eye and giver him or her the signal. He knew that students coveted this acknowledgment, and he noticed that doing this made him feel better at the end of the day.