Dr. Christopher Jones ’93, M.S. ’94, associate professor and director of special education

Deep Dive

In this graduate-level course, future teachers work one-on-one with K-12 students engaging in disruptive classroom behavior. The Longwood students pinpoint reasons for the behavior, develop and provide the classroom teacher with an alternate behavior plan for the student, and document the effectiveness of their recommendations. Repeated observations of the student as well as interviews with teachers, principals and parents, and an archival records review are part of their work. “This is a deep dive. Our students get their hands dirty collecting data,” Jones said.

Influence, Not Control

“We’re trying to avoid controlling students’ behavior—usually done through punishment, which controls it only temporarily—and instead trying to positively influence their choices through encouraging the child to select a ‘replacement’ behavior,” said Jones.

A Deal Breaker

The course was originally taught primarily through lectures and reading. Jones shifted the emphasis to hands-on experience with children in the classroom more than 10 years ago. “If you can’t manage the classroom, you’re going to leave the field,” he said. “While theory is important, you have to be able to do the job from day one—like a surgeon.”

Everyone Wins

This fall, 11 of the 26 Longwood students are working with students in Charlotte County, one of four participating school systems. At least 11 school divisions have partnered with the course.

Suggested Reading

Discipline in the Secondary Classroom: A Positive Approach to Behavior Management (third edition), Randy Strick, John Wiley & Sons, 2013.

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