The growing need for effective procedures in disciplining and correcting undisciplined students in the US public schools has become nascent nowadays. Behaviour modification is essential in modelling young people who’ll become responsible members of the society. Effectiveness of behaviour modification procedures is seen to reduce deviance and problematic characters in a child.
The effectiveness of social skills and social inoculation procedures which have blown out sub-procedures are behaviour modification methodologies whose perspective is to use culture and organizations within the social context to enforce proper moral projections in public schools. Procedures to modify behaviour have transformed from aggressive methodologies like caning, but legislation and physiological research has downplayed the effectiveness and pointed out health implications emanating from these methodologies.
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Expulsions, suspensions and parental advice and parent-teacher collaboration to enforce, advice and correct indiscipline in students is an approach which is so far a commonplace practice. The need to understand these procedures, the profundity of their impacts and success in correcting and modifying behaviour in students in the US public schools is paramount and integral in the public school systems. US public schools are having problems implementing various behaviour modification procedures due to various legislation laws.
There is also the growing need to identify modalities to tackle the increasing implicit character and behaviours which are negatively affecting other students in these schools. Drug abuse, alcoholism, early sex, smoking, unconventional language and outward ness towards teachers, community and other students are problematic characters seen in the students and need to be modified. This paper explores the various strategies and methodologies employed to modify these problematic behaviours and disciplining students in the US public schools. Introduction
Social skills and social inoculation procedures have been intensively reviewed as collective and effective behavior modification procedures in public schools. These school-based strategies developed first in smoking prevention and later applied to other substances have been practically admissible due to their approach to teacher-parent and society collaboration to impart and correct irresponsible behavior in students. However, cognitive control methodologies have led to more terse approaches to disciplining and modifying behaviour in students.
Suspensions and expulsions have successfully instilled discipline and positive virtues in students. A zero tolerance on indiscipline approach has now become the lead methodology applied in US public schools. Zero tolerance approach as been in force as a proactive approach to a perceived rise in gangs, drugs, and violence in United States public schools and community. Typically, zero tolerance policies mandate predetermined consequences or punishments for specified offense. These policies have been subject to debate as to whether they are effective and whether they have unintended consequences that negatively affect students.
This approach has become the principle methodology in US public schools. This behavior modification approach is most often characterized by disciplinary action that punishes all students severely regardless of mitigating factors such as severity of infraction, age, or intent.. However, parents and some legislators often criticize the methodology citing consequential health implications. The need for espousing these procedures is important, especially in this wake of a huge populace in the United States. The multi cultural aspect of the community in which the populace is composed of various communities .
i. e. Caucasian, blacks and Whites is troublesome due to dissenting interests and attitudes towards education and moral facade of each student from each community. According to statistics, escalation of moral decadency and the overt-ness of sexuality in young people is more of an intricate social quagmire and an intrinsic social problem with wide spread implications on the long term and adverse socio-economic-health implications on family and the public domain. This has been manifested in public schools wherein the behaviours and indiscipline are seen.
On substance abuse and violence, teachers in school need to identify the time and place where their students engage in alcoholism. This will help in identifying proper means of creating recreational or rehabilitative timetables for these students. Drug abuse and alcoholic sprees usually happen between 3pm and 7pm (www. samhsa. gov) outside the school compound or homestead, or in the most neglected and limitedly visited areas of these two environments. The most common alcoholic substances abused are beer and spirits (www. samhsa. gov).
These escalations In moral problems in students and indulgence in sexual behaviors, violence, disrespectful, bullish, and various problematic characters is increasingly affecting the level of education in American public schools. Research indicate so many youths are now unable to finish schooling due to indulgence in bad morals and problematic activities and subsequently being expelled from school while others drop out in pursuit of these vices. The need to correct and modify these behaviours and arrest any escalation of these problems n the public schools is becoming integral in the education system.
Methodologies and approaches are being employed and comprehensively used to counter the situations and model students into responsible young people who are admissible in the modern American society. Besides, identifying problems in students and using the proper counselling and behaviour modification strategy is vital. Problems faced by US public school system regarding students with bad behaviour The problems faced by the public schools onset with dropping out school by students due to their indulgence and subsequent immersion in problematic lives like being parents or even going to jail.
Secondly, students nowadays have developed various behaviours which are deemed dangerous. There is also a growing trend of students practicing and exhibiting immoral projections which do not reflect respect of upright morals and behaviours and are deemed disrespectful. According to research conducted in Baltimore, the following are the problems faced in US public schools (Brecht Donoghue , 2004) • Possession, use or distribution of tobacco on school property • Disruptive behavior • Verbal harassment • Possession of drugs or alcohol • Possession of weapons or firearms • Arson
• Vandalizing, damaging, defacing, or destroying school property • Violent behaviors/assaults, vicious fighting • Extortion, coercion, blackmail, and robbery • Trespassing • Damaging property • Insubordination • Dress code violations • Cheating/copying the work of another • Fighting • Possession of electronic devices (e. g. , beepers, cell phones) • Sexual harassment • Sexual misconduct • Verbal abuse, ethnic slurs, vulgar statements or gestures, including the distribution of obscene material • Misbehavior on bus or school transportation • Disorderly conduct • Gambling
• Assault on school staff Behavior intervention approaches Frank M. Gresham (2004), argues that Behavioral interventions is conceptualized using four broad theoretical categories: (a) applied behavior analysis, (b) social learning theory, (c) cognitive behavior therapy, and (d) neobehavioristic S-R theory (Powers & Franks, 1988). Applied behavior analysis (ABA) descends directly from Skinner's (1953) operant conditioning work and is based on the three-term contingency that describes the functional relationship between antecedents, behaviors, and consequences (Gresham, 2004).
Social cognitive theory utilizes the concept of vicarious learning and the role of cognitive mediation processes in determining which environmental events are attended to, retained, and subsequently performed when an individual is exposed to modeling stimuli (Gresham, 2004 pp 327). Social learning theory is based on the notion of reciprocal determinism that describes the role an individual's behavior has on changing the environment and vice versa (Bandura, 1986). Much of the work in social skills interventions utilizes modeling as an essential treatment strategy (Elliott & Gresham, 1991; Gresham, 2002).
Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) assumes that an individual's behavior in response to environmental events is mediated by their cognitions or thoughts (327). The goal of CBT is to change maladaptive cognitions that, in turn, lead to changes in behavior. Techniques such as self-instruction, self evaluation, correction of maladaptive self talk, and problem solving are used in CBT to change behavior (Kendall, 1985). CBT interventions are commonly used in the clinical treatment of anxiety and mood (depression, dysthymia) problems (Kazdin, 1990; Laurent & Potter, 1998).
Neo-behavioristic S-R models are based on features of classical (respondent) conditioning and avoidance learning in which maladaptive responses are conditioned to stimuli in the environment (Gresham pp 327). Procedures such as systematic desensitization and exposure based treatments (e. g. , flooding, implosion) for treating anxiety disorders and obsessive-compulsive disorders are based on these S-R models of learning. These concepts have been dissected into simplistic approaches by school experts and education stakeholders.
They have been incorporated in the public school behavior correction faculties as methodologies whose effectiveness varies with the level of behavior intricacy and extent of effect on the respect and view by the teachers Behaviour modification methodologies used to correct this indiscipline Various modern approaches to these problems are in place. Teacher intervention techniques as well as school rules modification approaches are also in force. These approaches differ with effectiveness and time frame of implementation. Expulsions, suspensions, caning are commonplace.
They compose the zero tolerance methodology which is the common practice used in public schools. Drugs, alcoholism, language and violence are approached as cases which need to be addressed cognitively. Teacher intervention methods revolve around counselling and participating in initiating good behaviour and positive perceptions in the students who have these problematic behaviours. School teacher intervention The creation of a positive social interaction environment in a friendly and unrestrictive atmosphere offers the proper environment for the teacher to address the problem.
This kind of environment greatly increases recovery. It’s aimed at improving collective social behavior so as to inspire and correct the students. The school counselor should counsel the students, encourage them to share their problems, initiate recreational activities like playing chess, bridge, and other in-house games (Ken & David 2007). Through a cognitive-control system the teacher manifests self analysis, self recognition, and self help so as to regulate behavior. It involves reading materials wherein the teen reads her problem and follows a set of procedures like, playing with her pet, watching an inspiring video, etc.
The procedure is used in the environment created by the school teacher (above). The objective of the method is to create competing system within the brain and make adolescents lessen brain capacity to want physical engagement with substances. A school counselor should address the teen alcohol problem through an educative perspective; He gives complete clinical views on use and abuse of substances and comprehensively emphasizes the importance of the context (David Masci,, 2000). This perspective scope is on teenage cases who are supposed to actively attend and play roles in the education and during the classes.
The concept is to keep these teens safe from alcohol and to stop substance abuse. The school counselor should give social and drug life education to enable teenagers to make responsible decisions by providing honest information. Secondly, the student should emphatically give a complete clinical and legal overview of implications of both on substance abusers to discourage the teens from excessive or partial indulgence. The counselor is also supposed to advise the students to understand their place in the society and their future as citizens in the educative approach (Flannery, 2007).
After-school programs Students tend to have various social networks where they interact. The school counselor should integrate these networks as extracurricular activities by allocating time to be with the students. According to research, drug abuse takes place mostly after school and evening hours as stated above (Bachman, Johnston & O’Malley 1990). A school counselor is involved in participating, and listening to what students express and how they relate with their peers. In a group setting, he encourages the students to speak freely, express their views, thoughts, ideas, and perspectives.
He intervenes only while asking them why they feel or think a certain way, then offer his support. Students can have a friend or family member participate in order to improve the advice being offered. The setting is a homely, conducive, and well equipped with internet and all communication tools to help these students research their problem with guidance from the school counselor. This is a very effective method and creates a backbone for the gradual and even instant ceasing of alcohol habits.
According to (Rosenbaum, 2003), the after school programs form the basis of a communal approach to the problem. The students are able to understand their problem through guidance. If a student’s drug use becomes a problem, the after-school drop-in program enables her to make informal contact with a professional, even if she is not ready for formal treatment. If problems escalate, a referral to the appropriate agency can be made (Rosenbaum 2003). Peer mediation Education experts also suggest providing opportunities for students to become more engaged in school activities.
Adopting strategies that include students in the discipline process, including peer mediation and mentoring, may assist violence prevention efforts. In peer mediation, students are encouraged to sit down with a trained student mediator (often accompanied by an adult) and resolve their differences through dialogue. In many cases problems that would otherwise escalate can be resolved through mediation. However, if the problem is not solved, students may be required to meet with an adult or older student mentor once a week for further mediation and mentoring until all parties agree that the issue is resolved.
Approaching the student’s problem to foster an understanding that the student is capable of excelling in all aspects of life if he/she desists from substance abuse is helpful. The school counselor should as often as possible make groups which consist of most disciplined students to act as the role models. These role model groups actively integrate with other groups and incorporate the students who have drug problems. This makes these students sociable and gradually makes them feel acceptable in these groups and most important, desists from substance abuse due to the moral aspect of the group personality status.
Zero tolerance methodology These policies mandate predetermined consequences or punishments for specified offenses, especially those deemed very criminal in terms of the age and environment they are committed. Sex, drugs, violence, assault on a student, teacher, damaging school property and related cases are approached through the zero tolerance approach. The methodology is related to substantial drop in school crimes and is common practice (Ronnie Casella, 2000). Zero tolerance is a policy that mandates predetermined consequences or punishments for specified offenses.
It is intended to deter student misconduct by weeding out potential troublemakers and setting an example to others who might choose to misbehave, zero tolerance policies are most often characterized by a variety of high-tech detection methods (such as metal detectors and video surveillance) and strict discipline policies that punish all offenses equally severely without consideration of mitigating factors, such as the severity of the infraction or the intent or age of the individual (Russell Skiba, 2000.
In most cases, these policies mandate that perpetrators be subject to school exclusion disciplinary actions ranging from suspensions and expulsions to arrest by in-school police (Brecht Donoghue , 2004). Great results have been seen through this methodology, however, its harsh aspects and the suspension of the student affects the educational background of a student (V. K. Costenbacher and S. Markson, 1994). Proponents of zero tolerance argue that these policies are needed to remove disruptive elements from the classroom and keep schools free of violence.
Zero tolerance is implemented in cases where the student exhibits behaviors which are deemed too harsh to be contained in the school (C. Bowditch, 1993) . School student communities approach Public school administrations espouse building a sense of community within the school has been effective at preventing violence (Russell Skiba, 2000), because students are held accountable by their peers for harm they cause. Public school administrations adopted a community model in which students rectify their mistakes whenever possible.
In schools these communities institute pee juries or teen courts in which students accused of misbehavior must appear before a jury composed of fellow students. The accused student must explain his or her misbehavior to the jury, and then the jury is responsible for communicating to the student how the behavior violated the rules of the school community and develop an appropriate consequence (Brecht Donoghue , 2004). The student’s sentence is not punitive, but rather an attempt to reintegrate the student into the school community.
Most often, the student is required to make restitution for his or her action and engage in some type of community service Decision-making and problem-solving This approach emphasizes the development of cognitive and behavioral skills which are flexible and not situation-specific. On a cognitive level, students are taught decision-making and problem-solving techniques which will better prepare them to avoid peer pressure situations without alienating friends. Students are also taught specific self-instruction techniques that are designed to provide them with a framework for guiding themselves through high-risk situations.
Finally, students are taught basic interpersonal skills designed to enable them to implement specific decisions or act in a way which is consistent with what they want (Catherine S. Bell and Robert J. Battjes, 1984). Other measures used in US public schools Schools’ use of programmatic prevention efforts, such as conflict resolution and behavior management, help prevent student violence and aggression and eliminate the need for harsh disciplinary action (David Masci, 2000).
Conflict resolution has a moderate effect on the level of student aggression in schools, and helps students remember and employ alternatives to violence when solving conflict. More support and training in classroom management of behavioral problems helps teachers deescalate potentially violent situations. Expansion of training for principals and teachers in the development and implementation of behavioral management programs to help them learn strategies useful in deescalating potentially violent interactions.
This has helped more of the teachers in the public schools to have more efficiency and capacity in Expansion of violence prevention programs in schools accelerates awareness and proficiency in recognition of faulty behaviors. Introduction of school counselors in public schools is becoming a very effective methodology. As seen in the teacher intervention methodology, through a cognitive-control system the teacher manifests self analysis, self recognition, and self help so as to regulate behavior. This will help address the decline on the learned youths which is adversely affecting the social balance.
More Hipic youths, especially males, is on the declines. The effects on the society are more poor families, crime rate increase and joblessness. The long term effect is a social imbalance with Blacks and Hipics as well as other immigrants joining the lesser society and the poor Americans. A steady decline on stable families and the many unlearned and jobless children is affecting the national economic stability. Subsequently there will be more children, the poor and the aged in the population that the stable workers (Sandra Yin, 2007).
Parents and social involvement in correction of behaviour The role of parents in behavior modification is the most integral in the public school behavior modification approaches. The parents and community members have been involved in contributing as the guardians of proper social behaviors in the community. The counselor involves concepts of capacity building and establishment of more positive youth groups so as to build on youths’ strengths. This is through advising on developing positive mental attitude towards their abilities in education and entrepreneurship.
The teacher invites the community to lead in playing a role of advisors while he is the active leader. These community members and the school counselors have the obligation to present appropriate role-models and opportunities for remediation for young people growing up in the school community. The message to young adults and their peers must be that they understand the dangers of substance abuse and make appropriate choices when confronted with opportunities of drug use (David Masci, 2000).
In expulsions and suspensions, parents are involved in these decisions which are seen more punitive and applicable as ways to correct bad morals projected by students. Effective parenting onsets good behavior and structures long term proper characters in children. This proper behaviors and morals are carried to schools where these children meet children with different characters and up-bringing. Parenting skills have led to development of approaches to train parents in skills seen as necessary for a harmonious parent-child relationship and for the amelioration of a number of childhood problem (Pinsker & Geoffroy, 1981).
Parents with skills and knowledge about effective parenting have been able to address and reduce deviant child behaviours. This has also led to harmonisation of family and school perceptions in these children. School administrators have been approaching parents to attend as often ass possible school based behaviour modification approaches to arm the parents with enough knowledge on how to manage their children and the implications of immoral and indiscipline in school. The approach has been to intensify the knowledge of parents and their capacity on how to be proficient in behaviour modification.
Parents have increased their capacity in communication when discussing and reprimanding their children who show immoral characters and problematic behaviours. The public schools administrators and stakeholders have emphasised on parents to learn more effective means of dealing with typical parent-child relationship conflicts and develop a healthier parent-child relationship. Behaviour modification approach contains an emphasis on direct behaviour aims at direct behaviour change. Parent’s capacity to modify inappropriate behaviours is emphasised so as to arrest these problematic problems.
Parent’s capacity, based on the training attained and knowledge imparted in the school administrators, is aimed at making the communication approach of the parents to aim at focussing upon maladaptive communication patterns between parent and child that are seen as the cause of inappropriate child behaviour (Pinsker & Geoffroy, 1981). Impact of bad behaviour on good students The impact of the bad behaviour in the well behaved children in schools negatively impacts on those students who have good moral back grounds.
The consequence of these impacts are unsafe learning environments, exposure to smoking, drugs and other problems portrayed by the bad students. The students are intimidated and coerced so as to identify with these students. These impacts result to poor academic performance and profound moral decadency in the schools. Safety and correction to reduce harm and to reconstitute behavior and perception in the teens is important. The school counselor can actively and consistently provide extra attention and consideration to the teens with the problem and follow up their recovery.
The impacts of bullying and coercion lead to traumas and children seeking to leave these schools due to intimidations by these problematic students. Sources Bandura, A. (1986). Social foundations of thought and actions: A social cognitive theory. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall. Barbra Flannery, (2007) International Research Institute, Baltimore Brecht Donoghue, (2004): Zero Tolerance in Baltimore C. Bowditch(1993), “Getting Rid of Troublemakers: High School Disciplinary Procedures and the Production of Dropouts,” Social Problems, Vol. 40,
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