Teachers need to clearly delineate and consistently enforce rules

Establishing, monitoring, and consistently reinforcing classroom rules is one of the most effective ways to prevent and reduce behavior problems. In this section, we have provided tools to reinforce classroom rules that can be customized for individual teachers and students.

1. Classroom Rules should be limited to five or six, stated in positive, pro-social terms, and posted in the classroom:

Classroom Rules

  • Do what your teacher asks

  • You can only talk and leave your seat with permission

  • Keep your hands and feet to your self

  • Have all necessary supplies for school (e.g., books, pencils, paper, etc.)

  • Complete and hand in all homework and class work on time

  • Be in your seat before the bell rings.

2. Begin the first week of school by establishing clear and predictable routines, rules, and procedures with the active participation of students. Consequences for following/not following classroom rules need to be clearly delineated. Developing and posting a "What If Chart" next to the classroom rules may be helpful.  Involve students in discussing and establishing classroom rules. The following chart can be implemented for the whole class, or individual students based on his/her unique needs. It enables students to be aware of the agreed upon contingencies and ensures teacher remembers consequences:

What if Chart

What if you do? What if you don't?

3. Reinforce appropriate behaviors ("Catch them being good!"). Acknowledge and reinforce, publicly or privately, student adherence to classroom rules.

4. Apply error correction strategies in a business-like manner.  Minimize attention to the problem behavior and in ways that do not cause students to "lose face" or feel disrespected. For low frequency and intensity rule violations, teachers should provide a brief signal that an error has occurred, indicate what the desired behavior should have been, and follow up with the established consequence.

5. Frequently discuss rules and behavior with students so they not only know what behaviors are "right" and "wrong" but also understand why. Helping students focus on the effects of their behavior on others may also help.

6. Monitor & provide feedback on student adherence to established rules. Monitoring student (s) adherence to classroom rules in a consistent and transparent way, as well as establishing and enforcing realistic goals are critical for improved classroom discipline and student behavior. The following tools may assist teachers in this endeavor. (Note Ė these forms can be changed to meet needs of an individual student or classroom)



Classroom Rules



Do What Your Teacher Asks



Talk and Leave Seat only with Permission



Keep Your Hands And Feet To Yourself



Have All Necessary Supplies and Materials (Books, Pencils, Papers)



Complete and Hand In All Homework and Class Work




Student's Name













Weekly Point Goal:

If weekly goal is met the student earns:______________


 7. Parental involvement and support for improved student behavior can be facilitated with ongoing communication, using regular notes like the following that can be modified to meet individual studentís and teacherís needs:

Parental Notice of Student Following Rules


Dear: (Parentís name)

Your child had a good week. As the included sheet indicates, the rule following goal was met. It would be appropriate for you to do something special for your child to reinforce this good work.


Classroom teacher

In addition, ensuring that parents are aware of school and classroom rules can help them practice and reinforce them at home.