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Discipline Checklist: Socializing

For socializing at inappropriate times, successful teachers usually begin by suggesting a variety of softer approaches, and then gradually escalate to more severe measures.

Consider the following sequence:

Begin by suggesting alternate times when students can socialize without interfering with learning. 
  • Remind students that they can socialize before or after school, or during lunch or recess.
  • Suggest to chronic socializers that they exchange phone numbers so they can talk to each other at home.

Provide time for socializing as a reward earned for good behavior.
Allow students to talk quietly to a friend during the last 5-10 minutes of school, if the class has earned such a privilege in one-minute increments throughout the day.

Reprimand students when necessary, and implement punishments when other methods have failed to stop the behavior.
  • Isolate the chief offender to a chair at the back of the room away from all students until the lesson is over.
  • Assign incomplete work resulting from socializing as homework, with parent contact or parent signature required.

Socializing is an important element of your students' day. Your goal isn't to stop it, only to confine it to appropriate times, when it won't interfere with learning.

Excerpted from Discipline Checklist: Advice from 60 Successful Teachers, available from the NEA Professional Library

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