One of the best ways to deter negative behaviors is to give students responsibilities.  Many teachers have classroom jobs, but I recommend taking this idea to a new level.  How about posting jobs in your class with job descriptions and having the students go through an interview process?  Start out the year with a bulletin board outside your class that has newspaper print as the background.  It can read… Wanted:  Successful Students – Inquire Within.

Explain to the students you are having a job fair the first week of each grading period.  In order to be considered for a job, students must fill out an application, go through a round or two of interviews, and get letters of recommendations from prior teachers.  Consider having a grade level job or two.  In this case, a student interviews with one teacher (round 1) and then does so again with the team of teachers (callbacks).  Some schools have jobs on a school-wide level with the last round of interviews being with the administrators.  An administrator can call selected students at home and offer them the jobs.

If you want to tie the system to academic goals and objectives, consider incorporating math objectives and “pay” students.  The currency earned can be used in many creative ways.  Please note:  This is very different than a token economy that “pays” students for their behavioral choices.  [There is not enough time in the day for me to articulate my concerns with regard to that type of system.]  I do believe it is appropriate for student’s behavioral choices to be discussed as part of the job responsibilities.  I would recommend doing this weekly, as well as during their “exit evaluation”, prior to hiring new students for the new grading period.

I have had a great deal of success implementing this concept with students who exhibited behavioral concerns.  I think it is because it provides them an opportunity to “be in control”, be a leader, and receive positive attention for contributing to the greater good.  If only this concept would work for parents.  Unfortunately, jobs in the school setting are considered chores at home.  And for some reason, even with payment, parents don’t report nearly the same success rate.