Have you ever been told about the “class from hell”? What about the “bad group”? Maybe the “kid who I think lives out of district and should not be going to school here anyway.” I, like many, have been guilty of using these descriptions while explaining a challenging classroom management situation. I no longer use these tired, often inaccurate, and certainly too general expressions. This is because I was introduced to STOIC while learning about CHAMPS, a program of Safe and Civil Schools.

I learned about STOIC while reading CHAMPS by Randy Sprick. The book offers a proactive and positive approach to classroom management. The book is divided into sections that follow the STOIC acronym. Each part of STOIC is further divided into easy to follow tasks.

STOIC is an acronym that is used to shape behavior. Notice I said shape and not stop. Sometimes stopping behavior is necessary, but that is a temporary fix. To achieve longer lasting results, we must shape behavior. We can use STOIC to do just that. STOIC is Structure, Teach, Observe, Interact, and Correct.

STRUCTURE deals with your vision, organization, and management plan. Create a positive physical space that prevents common classroom management issues before they have a chance to occur. This includes establishing effective classroom rules as well as routines and procedures.

TEACH expectations to a nauseatingly clear level. Clarify you expectations for instructional activities and transitions. Develop lesson plans for teaching those expectations. If you expect it, then pre-correct it. Take the time to do this properly. Expectations should be taught at the beginning of the year and periodically throughout the year, especially after extended breaks. This will take some time on the front end, but it will save time as the year goes on.

OBSERVE the behavior of students. This is important for the classroom as well as common areas. Teach from your feet, not your seat. While in common areas, remember to Expect, Protect and Connect. Use data to adjust your classroom management plan.

INTERACT positively with students. Strive to have positive interactions with students at a 3:1 ratio. Catch students doing it right. We want to call attention to the students who get caught being good.

CORRECT fluently while shaping behavior. It is important to remain nonemotional while being nonnegotiable. Never resort to ridicule or an increase in emotional intensity.

There ARE NOT really “classes from hell.” There ARE high structure classes. High structure classes require more teaching, monitoring, and feedback (TMF). We use STOIC to TMF. Be nausiatingly clear while teaching expectations. Monitor relentlessly. Give students frequent feedback at a 3:1 ratio of positive interactions. The higher the structure, the more TMF.

Using STOIC to shape behavior helps us to move beyond the commentating of poor behavior with overused cliches and into the shaping of behavior. It has certainly helped me. If you would like to delve deeper into this topic I recommend Explicit Instruction by Anita Archer and Charles A. Smith and CHAMPS by Randy Sprick.

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