An agreed upon behavioral curriculum, consistently upheld, is more important to effective discipline than specific rules or certain types of teaching approaches.


Fifteen Thousand Hours


Just as schools realize academic success through the clarity of their academic curriculum, success with discipline begins with clear behavioral expectations. This behavioral curriculum is not a list of prohibitive rules, but a vision of the highly successful student. Schools that set and communicate high expectations obtain better behavior from their students than schools who have low expectations. Although expectations may vary from school to school, we do not find effectively managed schools and classrooms operating without them. A behavioral curriculum limits inconsistent reactions to student misbehavior by staff and promotes unity through a common language. A behavioral curriculum allows staff to be proactive, focusing on teaching and catching students behaving responsibly. A comprehensive behavioral curriculum begins with statements of valued behaviors and attitudes or guiding principles, then further defines those principles through social skills, specific behaviors for success in common areas of the building, and classroom procedures. Do we have clear expectations for our students?

Sample Indicators

  1. Our valued behaviors and attitudes or guiding principles have been defined and are posted.

  2. Our staff and students know these guiding principles.

  3. Expectations for behavior in all our common areas are clarified and in writing.

  4. Our staff and students know common area expectations.

  5. Our teachers have clarified procedures for their classrooms; procedures are posted and referenced.

  6. Other behavioral curriculums have been selected as needed (e.g. social skills, anger control strategies, problem solving, conflict resolution processes, etc.).

“We found that a matrix was not sufficient to establish the high expectations for the social competence we sought. When we adopted the social skills curriculum, more thoroughly defined specific behaviors needed for success in our common areas, and had teachers clarify classroom procedures, Student behavior improved significantly.”