Respectful Classroom

This intervention uses review of classroom behavioral expectations, daily prompts, and (optional) student self-monitoring ' spot-checks' to improve classroom behaviors.


  • Respectful Classroom poster (see attachment at the bottom of this page)
  • (optional) student Respectful Classroom self-monitoring slips

Steps in Implementing This Intervention

Step 1:(Optional) Select an incentive that students can earn, either individually or as a group for appropriate classroom behavior.

For example, you may decide each week to award individual students grade points for exemplary behavior. Or you may instead create a classwide reward system, with points earned by individual students being added to the class total toward cumulative reward such as a pizza party.

Step 2: Set aside at least 15 minutes at the start of a class period to introduce the Respectful Classroom program.

Tell students that they are expected to follow the behavioral expectations listed on the "Respectful Classroom" poster that accompanies this intervention description.

For each of the behaviors below, give examples in which students would be in compliance or out of compliance, demonstrate (through role play and discussion) what these respectful behaviors look like, and answer any questions students may have about how each behavior is defined:

Respectful Classroom Behavioral Expectations:

  • Use a respectful tone of voice
  • Do not tease others or call them names
  • Follow adult requests quickly and without complaint
  • Pay attention in class and get our assigned work done

Step 3: Follow these guidelines when the program has begun:

  • At the start of each class period, pick one of the four behavioral expectations listed on the Respectful Classroom chart. Select a different behavior each day. Take 2 minutes to remind students of the rule and review examples of it. During the class period single out at least 3 students and praise them for using the behavior being showcased that day.
  • If a student clearly violates one of the posted rules, call the student's attention to the fact that he or she broke a rule. Ask the student to read the posted Respectful Classroom rules and to acknowledge which rule he or she violated. Ask the student what they might have selected as a better behavioral choice.
  • Inform the child that if he or she complains about your taking a point, you will deduct additional good behavior points.

Step 4:(optional) Once or twice per week, hand out student self-monitoring slips at the end of class. (Pick dates for student self-monitoring randomly so students cannot know beforehand if they will be rated.)

Tell students to think about how well their behavior in class that day conformed to the Respectful Classroom expectations--and to rate their behavior globally on the slip.

Collect the slips and dismiss the class, but randomly select 3-5 students to remain. Briefly review their behavioral ratings with each of the selected students. Give them feedback about why you agree or disagree with their ratings. Change a student's rating if it appears unrepresentative of their actual behavior.

Review all slips collected. If you agree with the student's rating and that student rates himself or herself at 3 or higher on the self-monitoring slip, assign the student points toward whatever incentive or reward program you have set up. If a student gets a rating below 3, make a point to meet with that student to discuss his or her behaviors.

Troubleshooting: How to Deal With Common Problems in Using 'Smooth Classroom Traffic'

Q: I like the framework for using this intervention but I want to customize the list of classroom behavior goals. Can I substitute some of my own classroom behavioral expectations for those on your Respectful Classroom list?

Feel free to customize, add to, delete from, or otherwise change any of the behavioral goals used in this intervention to match the needs of your classroom.

Q: I am using the Respectful Classroom intervention but am finding that it is becoming less effective. What can I do?

If you find that this intervention's effectiveness is fading, here are some suggestions for strengthening it:

  • Be sure that you are selecting and reviewing a Respectful Classroom behavior daily with students at the start of class and that you are singling out 2-3 students each day in the classroom who are showing the positive target behavior you have picked to emphasize.
  • If you are having students monitor their classroom behavior weekly, check to be sure that you are selecting random days for monitoring (so that students cannot predict beforehand what days will include self-monitoring). Also, promptly award to the class any incentives, privileges, or prizes that they have earned through their positive behavior.
  • If you are running the program as designed and yet your students still appear to have lost interest, hold a class meeting. Tell students that you want to recognize and reward their good study behaviors. Ask your students for suggestions for how to make the program more relevant and interesting to them while helping you to achieve your goal of maintaining a respectful classroom environment where problem behaviors do not interfere with student learning.

Jim's Hints

This strategy gives you the option of including student self-monitoring and reward elements if you choose. The Respectful Classroom intervention is likely to work without these added components but will probably be quite a bit more effective if it includes them.

As student behaviors improve, you may want to gradually 'fade' the procedure by only occasionally reviewing the expected behaviors at the start of class and by having students self-monitor less frequently than once per week.

If you are having students self-monitor and are finding that a student chronically exaggerates his or her behavior ratings, you may want to call that student routinely for 'spot-checks' until the student learns to rate his or her behaviors more accurately.