Whether in the classroom or other school contexts, rules provide the basis for maintaining safe and effective learning environments. Rules are defined as verbal statements that describe a behavioral contingency, that is, the relationship among the elements of the ABC (antecedent-response [behavior]-consequence) relationship. For example, “When in class discussions you have a question [A], raise your hand [B] to get teacher attention [C].” Experts generally agree that several factors can enhance the effectiveness of rules: (a) defining expected behaviors, (b) communicating rules to students, (c) acknowledging appropriate behavior, and (d) dealing with instances of “rulebreaking” behavior.

Defining Expectations

Selection of rules should begin with determination of the specific behaviors that are necessary for successful learning and social interaction within the ...

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