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A positive learning environment approach to middle school instruction.

Middle school teachers must be prepared to educate an increasingly diverse population of young adolescents (Manning, 1999/2000). Most of these students will respond positively to instruction, and will interact appropriately with both peers and adults. However, some students have persistent behavioral problems that, if unchecked, can intensify in·ten·si·fy  
v. in·ten·si·fied, in·ten·si·fy·ing, in·ten·si·fies
1. To make intense or more intense:
 and become more complicated. It is critical to intervene early with these students; failure to do so puts the student at increased risk for conflicts with classmates Classmates can refer to either:
  •, a social networking website.
  • Classmates (film), a 2006 Malayalam blockbuster directed by Lal Jose, starring Prithviraj, Jayasurya, Indragith, Sunil, Jagathy, Kavya Madhavan, Balachandra Menon, ...
, teachers, and family members (Asher & Coie, 1990; Patterson, Capaldi, & Bank, 1989; Webster-Stratton, 2000). That risk, in turn, is associated with academic problems. Indeed, mounting evidence indicates that a strong relationship exists between Student academic performance and classroom conduct (e.g., Cantwell & Baker, 1987; Delaney & Kaiser, 2001; Kaiser & Hester, 1997). Research also demonstrates that students who do not perform well in class often have an increased incidence of discipline problems (Nelson, Scott, & Polsgrove, 1999). Other classroom factors, such as improper curricular placement, negative management styles, and ineffective instruction, can exacerbate an already difficult situation (Kauffman, 2001). Given these circumstances, it follows that school personnel need to reconsider young adolescents' needs and create a learning environment that contributes to positive behavior as well as academic achievement.

In recent years, various researchers (e.g., Dodge, 1993; Kaiser & Hester, 1997) have underscored the critical role that early intervention ear·ly intervention
n. Abbr. EI
A process of assessment and therapy provided to children, especially those younger than age 6, to facilitate normal cognitive and emotional development and to prevent developmental disability or delay.
 plays in preventing behavior problems in schools. While few persons would argue against the idea of prevention, educators sometimes unwittingly hinder hin·der 1  
v. hin·dered, hin·der·ing, hin·ders
1. To be or get in the way of.

2. To obstruct or delay the progress of.

 efforts to address student learning/behavior problems (e.g., by withholding specialized supports until a student fails) (Kauffman, 2001). Prevention/ intervention is neither simple nor easy, and it often requires collaboration among various school personnel. It is important to recognize that the concept of "early intervention" is independent of a student's chronological age chron·o·log·i·cal age
n. Abbr. CA
The number of years a person has lived, used especially in psychometrics as a standard against which certain variables, such as behavior and intelligence, are measured.
 or grade level. Successful preventive intervention hinges Hinges may refer to:
  • Plural form of hinge, a mechanical device that connects two solid objects, allowing a rotation between them.
  • Hinges, a commune of the Pas-de-Calais département, in northern France
 on establishing a learning environment that supports students' positive and adaptive behaviors Adaptive behavior is a type of behavior that is used to adapt to another type of behavior or situation. This is often characterized by a kind of behavior that allows an individual to substitute an unconstructive or disruptive behavior to something more constructive. , identifying students who require more individualized in·di·vid·u·al·ize  
tr.v. in·di·vid·u·al·ized, in·di·vid·u·al·iz·ing, in·di·vid·u·al·iz·es
1. To give individuality to.

2. To consider or treat individually; particularize.

 programs, and determining ways to better serve all students. In the following discussion, the authors examine some common behavior problems in middle schools and then explore research-based implications for establishing a positive and supportive learning environment. Finally, they discuss the emergent emergent /emer·gent/ (e-mer´jent)
1. coming out from a cavity or other part.

2. pertaining to an emergency.


1. coming out from a cavity or other part.

2. coming on suddenly.
 role that school personnel play in promoting positive academic and behavioral outcomes for all students.

Understanding Young Adolescents' Behaviors

The current education scene in the United States United States, officially United States of America, republic (2005 est. pop. 295,734,000), 3,539,227 sq mi (9,166,598 sq km), North America. The United States is the world's third largest country in population and the fourth largest country in area.  is marked by changing demographics The attributes of people in a particular geographic area. Used for marketing purposes, population, ethnic origins, religion, spoken language, income and age range are examples of demographic data. , declining resources, and increasing pressure to produce positive student outcomes. Despite these challenges, many schools have reported improvements in student performance. Yet, we know that some students suffer disproportionally dis·pro·por·tion·al  

dispro·portion·al·ly adv.
 from the consequences of these forces--academically, emotionally/behaviorally, or both.

What responses do young adolescents demonstrate, and what might be the underlying reasons for misbehaviors that impede im·pede  
tr.v. im·ped·ed, im·ped·ing, im·pedes
To retard or obstruct the progress of. See Synonyms at hinder1.

[Latin imped
 instruction and socialization socialization /so·cial·iza·tion/ (so?shal-i-za´shun) the process by which society integrates the individual and the individual learns to behave in socially acceptable ways.

? How can educators convince young adolescents to assume greater responsibility for their own behavior? Assuming that the burden of appropriate behavior is a shared responsibility, how can middle school educators best promote positive behavioral responses?

Charles (2002) listed several categories of student misbehavior: 1) goofing off, 2) class disruptions, 3) defiance Defiance, city (1990 pop. 16,768), seat of Defiance co., NW Ohio, at the confluence of the Auglaize and Maumee rivers, in a farm area; settled 1790, inc. 1836. Its manufactures include machinery and food, fabricated-metal, and glass products. Gen.  of authority, and 4) aggression. While the most serious offenses (e.g., physical assaults) are more likely to make headlines, teachers most often deal with far less significant problems such as noncompliance noncompliance

failure of the owner to follow instructions, particularly in administering medication as prescribed; a cause of a less than expected response to treatment.

, calling out, and inattention in·at·ten·tion  
Lack of attention, notice, or regard.

Noun 1. inattention - lack of attention
basic cognitive process - cognitive processes involved in obtaining and storing knowledge
. Although these problems may seem to be relatively innocuous in·noc·u·ous
Having no adverse effect; harmless.

innocuous (i·näˈ·kyōō·
, they routinely interfere with instruction and challenge teachers to come up with strategies and techniques in response (Charles, 2002).

In examining Charles's four categories of behavior, the most misunderstood mis·un·der·stood  
Past tense and past participle of misunderstand.

1. Incorrectly understood or interpreted.

 problem is what Charles (2002) called goofing off--students sit idly, they talk to friends, and/or they fail to complete their work. The reasons for such behavior are many and varied. For example, whole-group instruction often fails to account for diverse student abilities. This can result in frustration and lead some students to withdraw from, or actively avoid, instruction. In other cases, the curricular content may lack relevance to students; or, it may be at odds with students' cultural and linguistic backgrounds (Cartledge et al., 2002). These and other factors can set the stage for what appears to be goofing off behavior.

Creating a Positive Middle School Learning Environment

Media headlines appear to suggest that schools today are hotbeds of aggressive and violent behavior. In fact, statistics show that these incidents, fortunately, occur very infrequently in·fre·quent  
1. Not occurring regularly; occasional or rare: an infrequent guest.

, and that schools remain the safest place for middle school students. Nevertheless, school personnel have a responsibility to recognize the effects of lesser yet more predictable misbehaviors on learning, and to take deliberate action to create a positive school environment. There is a growing consensus that a positive and safe learning environment is one that emphasizes cooperation, collaboration, and peaceful existence, and is one that is free from threats of psychological or physical harm--that is, an environment that reflects caring and concern for all students (Manning, 2000).

The current significance being attached to the school environment stems from several sources. First, several middle school documents (Carnegie Council on Adolescent Development, 1989; Jackson & Davis, 2000; Manning, 2000; National Middle School Association, 1995; Payne, Conroy, & Racine, 1998) underscore The underscore character (_) is often used to make file, field and variable names more readable when blank spaces are not allowed. For example, NOVEL_1A.DOC, FIRST_NAME and Start_Routine.

(character) underscore - _, ASCII 95.
 the benefits of a positive school environment on young adolescents' academic achievement and positive socialization. Second, a burgeoning amount of information on early adolescence suggests that 10- to 15-year-olds have a critical need for a positive atmosphere in which to socialize so·cial·ize  
v. so·cial·ized, so·cial·iz·ing, so·cial·iz·es
1. To place under government or group ownership or control.

2. To make fit for companionship with others; make sociable.
 and learn (Manning & Bucher, 2001). Third, mounting recognition exists that schools must accept a larger responsibility to establish and strengthen positive interpersonal relationships This article or section may contain original research or unverified claims.

Please help Wikipedia by adding references. See the for details.
This article has been tagged since September 2007.
 between students and teachers, as well as among learners themselves (Kerr & Zigmond, 1986; Manning & Bucher, 2001).

Drawing upon the accumulated literature, we found evidence that effective learning environments usually:

* Recognize and accept the differences among young adolescents' physical, psychosocial psychosocial /psy·cho·so·cial/ (si?ko-so´shul) pertaining to or involving both psychic and social aspects.

Involving aspects of both social and psychological behavior.
, and cognitive development, and provide developmentally appropriate instruction

* Place value on gender, sexual orientation sexual orientation
The direction of one's sexual interest toward members of the same, opposite, or both sexes, especially a direction seen to be dictated by physiologic rather than sociologic forces.
, cultural, and linguistic differences, and provide classroom organization and instructional approaches that account for these differences

* Provide curriculum that enhances young adolescents' acceptance of self and others, and that enables them to accept differences and similarities among people

* Provide instruction that ensures a high degree of academic engagement and success for all young adolescents

* Utilize management procedures that emphasize the idea that students constitute a community of learners, all of whom should accept (or be taught to accept) responsibility for their behavior

* Provide direct instruction to sub-groups or individual students who are unable or unwilling to comply with schedules and routines of instruction

* Recognize the importance of self-esteem and its influence on academic achievement, socialization, and overall personal development

* Encourage a sense of collaboration among students and educators

* Emphasize teamwork and trust, predicated on the principle that being fair to everyone means treating no two students exactly the same

* Recognize that each student brings diverse experiences to the classroom and possesses varied strengths and interests

* Help teachers teach more than academics so that students feel a commitment toward each other as well as a positive affiliation toward the school. (Manning & Bucher, 2001)

Table 1 summarizes strategies that teachers can use to prevent behavior problems among young adolescents.

Educators seeking to achieve positive educational outcomes face the challenge of making fundamental, systemic changes in schools. At the middle school level, education personnel must work to create environments that support young adolescents' social, academic, and emotional development and blunt the onset of behavior problems. Administrators and teachers can be made aware of the benefits associated with building-wide and classroom-level student supports and social interactions with parents, teachers, and peers. They also can recognize the importance of taking specific steps to rectify rec·ti·fy
1. To set right; correct.

2. To refine or purify, especially by distillation.
 a problem situation (e.g., a focused intervention plan stemming from an assessment of behavior when so-called "universal supports" are not effective).

Specific Developmentally Appropriate Management Strategies

Creating school environments that are conducive con·du·cive  
Tending to cause or bring about; contributive: working conditions not conducive to productivity. See Synonyms at favorable.
 to learning and positive behavior may require school personnel to redefine Verb 1. redefine - give a new or different definition to; "She redefined his duties"
define, delimit, delimitate, delineate, specify - determine the essential quality of

 both the structure and culture of the school (e.g., Gable gable

Triangular section formed by a roof with two slopes, extending from the eaves to the ridge where the two slopes meet. It may be miniaturized over a dormer window or entranceway.
 & Manning, 1996). In redefining the school environment to accentuate ac·cen·tu·ate  
tr.v. ac·cen·tu·at·ed, ac·cen·tu·at·ing, ac·cen·tu·ates
1. To stress or emphasize; intensify:
 positive aspects of students' behavior, the focus shifts from dealing with inappropriate, unacceptable, or disruptive behavior to creating a setting that supports the learning and practice of more appropriate behavior. This is accomplished in various ways. Typically, educators reframe Re`frame´   

v. t. 1. To frame again or anew.
 classroom and school rules/expectations for behaviors and directly teach all students specific expectations (Horner, 2000). Coupled with this strategy is the prolific use of positive affirmation (at least four times as many affirmations as there are acknowledgments of negative behaviors) with students adhering to these expectations (Lewis, Sugai, & Colvin, 1998). Some teachers have found it necessary to abandon longstanding practices (e.g., nagging or reprimanding students) (Shores et al., 1993), and instead directly engage students in interactions that support social/ communication skills (Kaiser & Hester, 1997).

A review of the literature indicates that in order to create the most appropriate learning environment and apply the most effective classroom management practices, middle school educators should consider young adolescents' developmental characteristics. Ample evidence indicates that the behavior of young adolescents is affected by changes in self-esteem, as seen in greater desire for increased socialization, peer approval, and general social interaction (Manning, 1999/2000). These and other developmental characteristics can have a powerful impact on young adolescents' behavior. For example, a low self-esteem stemming from academic failure or subsequent peer rejection might cause a student to bully others in an attempt to feel more powerful. A strong need for peer approval might motivate another student to disobey dis·o·bey  
v. dis·o·beyed, dis·o·bey·ing, dis·o·beys

To refuse or fail to follow an order or rule.
To refuse or fail to obey (an order or rule).
 a teacher. Furthermore, a longstanding pattern of academic problems may lead some students to avoid (either passively or actively) tasks that they perceive to be irrelevant or too challenging. By understanding how overall development, along with specific contextual events, affect student behavior, teachers can better organize classes to promote opportunities for socialization and collaborative learning--both of which can benefit young adolescents, especially those from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds (Cartledge et al., 2002).

Effective middle school educators increase the predictability of daily routines. By providing clear schoolwide expectations and consistently acknowledging appropriate student behavior, teachers can eliminate a major obstacle to effective instruction--namely, the lack of stability and predictability over time. And, in establishing a stable teaching/learning environment, educators are able to make better use of limited instructional time, energy, and resources. In short, predictability in daily routines/expectations; consistency in implementation of intervention strategies; and proactive, systematic, and situational support of appropriate social/communication skills are fundamental to preventing student behavior problems (Colvin, Sugai, & Patching, 1993; Gable, Quinn, Rutherford Rutherford (rŭth`ərfərd), borough (1990 pop. 17,790), Bergen co., NE N.J., a residential suburb of the New York City–N New Jersey metropolitan area; inc. 1881. Several pre-Revolutionary houses remain there. , & Howell, 1998; Kerr & Nelson, 2002).

Most teachers recognize the importance of providing students with a structured classroom environment (e.g., Kerr & Nelson, 2002). Such a setting includes a clearly defined schedule, preparation for student transitions, delineation, and instruction in appropriate responses to adults and peers, along with regular opportunities for students to learn and practice positive social/ communication skills. Indeed, these classroom attributes are prerequisite to effective academic and nonacademic instruction (Kerr & Nelson, 2002; Reitz, 1994).

Effective middle school educators give clear instructions, demonstrate consistency, model behavioral expectations, and follow through on consequences. Research in classroom management demonstrates the value of offering precise instruction, spelling out the consequences for both compliance and non-compliance, and consistently implementing these procedures (e.g., Alberto & Troutman, 1999). The most successful teachers give simple, straightforward instructions so that students know exactly what is expected of them. Then, teachers follow through each and every time. Although teachers must recognize that different students have varying capacities to respond appropriately, failure to react in some way to inappropriate behavior gives the student tacit approval to repeat it. For example, if a student ignores a specific direction (such as, "Kevin, please pay attention to your own work"), the teacher might have to repeat the direction. If Kevin fails to respond to the direction the second time, the teacher might: 1) move into closer physical proximity, 2) verbally prompt him to comply with the direction, and 3) acknowledge the appropriate behavior of a classmate. If Kevin demonstrates the requested behavior, the teacher would praise his cooperation. While consistency and predictability are critical supports for all students, teacher expectations should reflect pupils' specific strengths and weaknesses. Teacher decisions regarding specific demands should be predicated on a careful review of all available information about the students. Educators can elicit e·lic·it  
tr.v. e·lic·it·ed, e·lic·it·ing, e·lic·its
a. To bring or draw out (something latent); educe.

b. To arrive at (a truth, for example) by logic.

 positive behavior by encouraging students to participate actively in the rule-making process, to develop a rationale for specific rules/expectations, and to model behavior expectations for one another.

Effective middle school educators teach students appropriate replacement behaviors that serve the same function as the misbehavior. Absent more appropriate strategies, adults' attempts to address inappropriate student behavior sometimes are reactive and consist of some kind of punitive consequences (e.g., reprimands, time-outs, revoked privileges) (Conroy, Clark, Gable, & Fox, 1999). While these strategies temporarily may serve to suppress an inappropriate behavior (e.g., calling out), they fail to teach students more acceptable replacement behaviors (such as raising one's hand in order to be acknowledged). Accordingly, there is a high probability that the misbehavior will recur. Unless a student is taught alternative strategies to accomplish a particular outcome (e.g., gain attention)--one that works better than the inappropriate behavior--he or she will likely persist in Verb 1. persist in - do something repeatedly and showing no intention to stop; "We continued our research into the cause of the illness"; "The landlord persists in asking us to move"
 behaving inappropriately. Classroom interventions will be effective only to the extent that they successfully compete with and triumph over "existing contingencies" that support inappropriate behavior (e.g., calling out gains more attention than correct answers) (e.g., Gable, Quinn, Rutherford, & Howell, 1998; Mace, Lalli, & Lalli, 1991). Therefore, the traditional distinction between academic and non-academic instruction may need to be blurred blur  
v. blurred, blur·ring, blurs
1. To make indistinct and hazy in outline or appearance; obscure.

2. To smear or stain; smudge.

, so that school personnel will routinely teach both academic and non-academic behavior (Gable, Hendrickson, Tonelson, & Van Acker, in press).

Knowledge of students' academic and non-academic needs can be gained in various ways. For example, by observing students throughout the day, teachers can identify "early warning" signs of problems and determine how best to intervene proactively and instructionally before the little problems escalate es·ca·late  
v. es·ca·lat·ed, es·ca·lat·ing, es·ca·lates
To increase, enlarge, or intensify: escalated the hostilities in the Persian Gulf.

 and become major challenges. Such a proactive approach to instruction (or to non-academic issues) may be applied to a group of students or to an individual, depending on the behavior. For instance, some young adolescents may lack the necessary skills to negotiate a particular social interaction (e.g., initiate a positive verbal exchange with a classmate). To successfully address this problem, students must be directly and systematically taught the appropriate social skills (Reitz, 1994), usually through teacher modeling, role play/behavioral rehearsal, and individual interaction sessions in which the student learns specific communication skills for interacting with others (Kaiser & Hester, 1997).

In that there are a range of possible skills to be taught, selection of specific skills should depend on which behavior best fits the situation and is most likely to be reinforced not only in the classroom, but also beyond it. Another criterion relates to efficiency--how much effort must go into teaching/learning behavior "X" versus behavior "Y." The more manageable both students and teachers perceive the instructional process to be, the greater the likelihood of a successful outcome (Gable et al., in press). Some skills that educators see as important may have little or no significance for students at home or in the community. We must acknowledge that fact to the student, underscore the need to make choices according to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.

2. In keeping with: according to instructions.

 the setting, and teach students different skills for different settings. Indeed, such discrimination skills are a critical part of the socialization process. We know that these goals exceed the scope of traditional instruction. Nevertheless, teachers often discover that students' behavior improves as they experience greater feelings of success and higher rates of positive peer- and teacher-student interactions (Shores et al., 1993).

Effective middle school educators affirm positive behavior. Social reinforcement can be a powerful way to teach more accept able behaviors. For example, specific praise can help facilitate everything from spelling and math skills to positive communication strategies and self-help skills (Alberto & Troutman, 1999). Despite its documented effectiveness, teacher use of social reinforcement to acknowledge appropriate behavior and promote specific skills is often at such low rates as to be essentially ineffective (Gable, Hendrickson, Young, Shores, & Stowitschek, 1983; Shores et al., 1993). It is also important to recognize that neither praise nor punishment alone teaches students new behaviors (Kerr & Nelson, 2002). A positive comment or verbal command may signal that a certain consequence will follow a specific student response. But in no way does it ensure that the student will engage in the behavior if she or he does not know it, or if he or she sees it as less reinforcing than another response. In other words Adv. 1. in other words - otherwise stated; "in other words, we are broke"
put differently
, direct instruction of a particular behavior, coupled with multiple opportunities to engage in it, can encourage students to engage in appropriate behavior over time and across settings.

Effective middle school educators teach developmentally appropriate socialization skills. In addition to structuring a classroom environment that affords students positive support, middle school educators can provide experiences that improve young adolescents' socialization skills. Changes in social characteristics and situations that normally occur during early adolescence can have a profound impact on young adolescents. Middle school educators are finding it increasingly useful to teach developmentally appropriate socialization skills, even though such skills are not part of their traditional instructional responsibilities. Socialization skills can be taught informally through friendships and social interaction under various conditions (e.g., cooperative learning cooperative learning Education theory A student-centered teaching strategy in which heterogeneous groups of students work to achieve a common academic goal–eg, completing a case study or a evaluating a QC problem. See Problem-based learning, Socratic method.  activities) or formally through direct, systematic instruction. Sometimes, young adolescents may wish to work alone, and should be given the opportunity to do so. At other times, educators should encourage students to interact in more socially oriented o·ri·ent  
1. Orient The countries of Asia, especially of eastern Asia.

a. The luster characteristic of a pearl of high quality.

b. A pearl having exceptional luster.

 situations. To do so, a teacher might allow students to choose their learning groups, and they might encourage students' social interaction through participation in extracurricular activities.

A shift in young adolescents' allegiance from adults (especially, parents and teachers) to peers and friends is a natural part of early adolescence, a change that warrants educators' understanding and acceptance. This shift in allegiance, accompanied by various peer pressures, becomes a powerful influence on young adolescents' daily socialization. Young adolescents' quest for Verb 1. quest for - go in search of or hunt for; "pursue a hobby"
quest after, go after, pursue

look for, search, seek - try to locate or discover, or try to establish the existence of; "The police are searching for clues"; "They are searching for the
 freedom and independence also should be addressed as part of socialization skills instruction. In responding to this desire for increased freedom and independence, educators can provide students with routine opportunities to engage in decision making that reinforces the understanding that with freedom comes responsibilities. Once we recognize that students differ with regard to their repertoire of age appropriate social skills, it becomes easier to establish group-individual instructional priorities. School personnel can provide various students with opportunities to behave responsibly in specific ways and to demonstrate their growing capacity for self-control and self-management in safe and psychologically secure settings (Manning, 2002). Students who are unable or unwilling to demonstrate appropriate socialization skills will need additional instruction. Various traditional classroom management strategies, including the use of punishment, may exacerbate an already difficult instructional situation. Rather than teaching a student specific skills, the use of punishment can negatively affect adult-student relationships, causing students to avoid future interactions and, in turn, diminish the number of opportunities for teachers to demonstrate and reinforce appropriate behaviors. Furthermore, the use of punishment as a disciplinary tool can trigger in students feelings of anger, defiance, or a desire for revenge.

Recently, we observed a 6th-grade teacher working deliberately to build a positive, learner-centered classroom that would demonstrate that students could be managed without threats or punishments. She faced an especially difficult task because her students had learned during their previous school experiences to equate e·quate  
v. e·quat·ed, e·quat·ing, e·quates
1. To make equal or equivalent.

2. To reduce to a standard or an average; equalize.

 school with adult coercion coercion, in law, the unlawful act of compelling a person to do, or to abstain from doing, something by depriving him of the exercise of his free will, particularly by use or threat of physical or moral force. , manipulation, and control. In seeking to change student perspectives on schooling, the teacher worked daily to promote positive teacher-student and student-student collaboration, and to encourage students to make appropriate decisions about their learning. To ensure active engagement and high rates of student success, she took steps to align curricular content and instruction with the academic interests and needs of her class. Although by no means a simple undertaking, the teacher found that, over time, the benefits of redefining a positive classroom environment were well worth her efforts. In the weeks that followed, students' overall perspectives toward schooling improved, consonant consonant

Any speech sound characterized by an articulation in which a closure or narrowing of the vocal tract completely or partially blocks the flow of air; also, any letter or symbol representing such a sound.
 with their progress in both academics and socialization skills (Manning, 2002).

Concluding Remarks

Middle school educators today must deal with an increasingly diverse population of young adolescents (Manning, 1999/2000). Addressing the myriad challenges associated with students' diverse academic and social skills needs can consume a tremendous amount of time and energy. Effective middle school educators strongly support routine proactive approaches to improve student deportment de·port·ment  
A manner of personal conduct; behavior. See Synonyms at behavior.


the way in which a person moves and stands:
 as well as promote positive interactions between young adolescents and teachers. Without dismissing the significance of outside factors, the real burden of prevention/intervention rests with school personnel. Fortunately, the accumulated evidence clearly demonstrates that quality, sustained instruction can overcome virtually all potentially negative influences on student performance (e.g., socioeconomic status socioeconomic status,
n the position of an individual on a socio-economic scale that measures such factors as education, income, type of occupation, place of residence, and in some populations, ethnicity and religion.
) (Greenwood Greenwood.

1 City (1990 pop. 26,265), Johnson co., central Ind.; settled 1822, inc. as a city 1960. A residential suburb of Indianapolis, Greenwood is in a retail shopping area. Manufactures include motor vehicle parts and metal products.
, 2002). Such instruction should occur at the classroom and schoolwide levels. However, system-wide intervention means changing the school, the classroom, and the daily instruction in ways that teach, reinforce, and otherwise strengthen appropriate student behavior (e.g., Lewis et al., 1998). System-wide supports require that teachers establish nurturing classroom environments conducive to positive student behavior and successful academic performance. To accomplish that goal, school personnel must integrate the social, behavioral, and academic aspects of group-individual instruction. In all, a successful school environment reflects clear expectations, high rates of student engagement and academic success, and teacher acknowledgment acknowledgment, in law, formal declaration or admission by a person who executed an instrument (e.g., a will or a deed) that the instrument is his. The acknowledgment is made before a court, a notary public, or any other authorized person.  of appropriate behaviors, as well as direct systematic instruction of positive behavior to replace disruptive behavior.

The authors have argued that middle school educators can exercise a tremendous amount of control over the nature and quality of daily instruction. Although by no means a simple undertaking, we must strive to support and nurture NURTURE. The act of taking care of children and educating them: the right to the nurture of children generally belongs to the father till the child shall arrive at the age of fourteen years, and not longer. Till then, he is guardian by nurture. Co. Litt. 38 b.  appropriate student behaviors in ways that account for their diverse learning and behavioral characteristics. It is reassuring to know that teachers are finding new ways to approach and interact with young adolescents to create conditions that are conducive to positive outcomes for all students.

Table 1

Proactive Strategies for Supporting and Maintaining Positive Student Behavior


* Acknowledge and promote appropriate behavior throughout the day in all school settings (e.g., classes, advisory programs, and exploratories)

* Define behavioral expectations for appropriate school behavior

* Understand and plan for the effects of development on young adolescent behavior

* Teach students appropriate replacement skills for misbehavior so they have acceptable behaviors that serve the same function

* Affirm students' strengths, skills, and abilities--both academic and non-academic

* Acknowledge and support young adolescents' diversity of all types (e.g., developmental, cultural, gender, social class, and sexual orientation)


* Listen to young adolescents--their problems, concerns, and challenges

* Respond positively to student communication (e.g., respond to both verbal and non-verbal initiations)

* Use positive and nurturing affect (e.g., responsiveness, sensitivity) in interactions

* Teach positive social/communication skills so that students know positive, age-appropriate ways to interact

* Model appropriate social/communication strategies and build upon what the young adolescent says (e.g., expanding or seeking additional information)

* Teach developmentally appropriate conflict resolution skills for young adolescents acting angrily toward students and/or teachers

* Be consistent in implementing behavioral support strategies over time and in all settings, but take into account individual student strengths/weaknesses/differences


Alberto, P. A., & Troutman, A. C. (1999). Applied behavior analysis Some of the information in this article may not be verified by . It should be checked for inaccuracies and modified to cite reliable sources.

Applied behavior analysis (ABA)
 for teachers. Upper Saddle River Saddle River may refer to:
  • Saddle River, New Jersey, a borough in Bergen County, New Jersey
  • Saddle River (New Jersey), a tributary of the Passaic River in New Jersey
, NJ: Prentice-Hall.

Asher, S. R., & Coie, J. D. (1990). The rejected child. New York New York, state, United States
New York, Middle Atlantic state of the United States. It is bordered by Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and the Atlantic Ocean (E), New Jersey and Pennsylvania (S), Lakes Erie and Ontario and the Canadian province of
: Cambridge University Press Cambridge University Press (known colloquially as CUP) is a publisher given a Royal Charter by Henry VIII in 1534, and one of the two privileged presses (the other being Oxford University Press). .

Cantwell, D. P., & Baker, L. (1987). Prevalence and type of psychiatric psy·chi·at·ric
Of or relating to psychiatry.

psychiatric adjective Pertaining to psychiatry, mental disorders
 disorder and developmental disorders developmental disorder Psychiatry An impairment in normal development of language, motor, cognitive and/or motor skills, generally recognized before age 18 which is expected to continue indefinitely and constitutes a substantial impairment Etiology Mental  in three speech and language groups. Journal of Communication Disorders communication disorder
Any of various disorders, such as stuttering or perseveration, characterized by impaired written or verbal expression.
, 20, 151-160.

Carnegie Council on Adolescent Development. (1989). Turning points: Preparing American youth for the 21st century. Washington, DC: Author.

Cartledge, G., Tam, K. Y., Loe, S. A., Miranda, A. H., Lambert, M. C., Kea kea, in zoology
kea: see parrot.

Large, stocky parrot (Nestor notabilis, subfamily Nestorinae) of New Zealand. It lives in mountain habitats and is known for its curious and playful character.
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Conduct disorder (CD) is a behavioral and emotional disorder of childhood and adolescence. Children with conduct disorder act inappropriately, infringe on the rights of others, and violate the behavioral expectations of
. Development and Psychopathology psychopathology /psy·cho·pa·thol·o·gy/ (-pah-thol´ah-je)
1. the branch of medicine dealing with the causes and processes of mental disorders.

2. abnormal, maladaptive behavior or mental activity.
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 behavior. Research in Developmental Disabilities developmental disabilities (DD), the pathologic conditions that have their origin in the embryology and growth and development of an individual. DDs usually appear clinically before 18 years of age.
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Manning, M. L. (1999/2000). Developmentally responsive multicultural mul·ti·cul·tur·al  
1. Of, relating to, or including several cultures.

2. Of or relating to a social or educational theory that encourages interest in many cultures within a society rather than in only a mainstream culture.
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Criminal behaviour carried out by a juvenile. Young males make up the bulk of the delinquent population (about 80% in the U.S.) in all countries in which the behaviour is reported.
. In D. J. Pepler & K. H. Rubin (Eds.), The development and treatment of childhood aggression (pp. 139-168). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

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1. Any of various forms of behavior that are considered inappropriate by members of the social group to which an individual belongs.

2. A functional disorder or abnormality.
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Webster-Stratton, C. (2000). Oppositional-defiant and conduct-disordered children. In M. Hersen & R. T. Ammerman, (Eds.), Advanced abnormal child psychology (2nd ed., pp. 387-412). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Peggy Hester is Associate Professor and Robert A. Gable is Professor, Early Childhood, Speech Pathology speech pathology
The science concerned with the diagnosis and treatment of functional and organic speech defects and disorders. Also called speech-language pathology.
, and Special Education, and M. Lee Manning is Professor, Department of Educational Curriculum and Instruction, Old Dominion University “ODU” redirects here. For other uses, see ODU (disambiguation).

The university was recently named one of the best colleges in the Southeast by The Princeton Review.
, Norfolk, Virginia Norfolk is an independent city in the Commonwealth of Virginia, in the United States of America. With a population of 234,403 as of the 2000 census, Norfolk is Virginia's second-largest incorporated city. .
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Author:Manning, M. Lee
Publication:Childhood Education
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 22, 2003
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