A Teacher Puts "Behavior" Into Action

Some really get this behavior thing. I received this email from a teacher out West.  Wouldn’t you like to have had all your teachers like him or have Scott teach your children?

I've been using the matrix largely to help students think about what they can do to change the behaviors they want to change.  When I ask most students what they need to do to improve their performance, most say that they need to study more.  I've been using the matrix to show them how to define both "study" and "more." This seems to help them think about what they need to do.  They also seem to appreciate that I'm not asking them to make radical changes in their performance.   I ask them to make one small change every week, the kind of change that they are sure that they can accomplish.   

I started using the performance matrix as part of our student support efforts to make sure lower performing students don't fail.  I didn't want this program to be stigmatized, so I have been offering it to all students without reference to its core purpose.  During focus groups with students about the matrix, I found that even high performing students are not confident about their ability to control their work, to do enough or to do it correctly.  One thing that surprised me was that some of the higher performing students asked for the matrix during these focus groups, even before I was ready to release it. They wanted a tool to help them do better.

I'll be tracking the success of the matrix based on the rate of adoption, the number of users, the number of pinpoints per user, change over time in grades of the original cohort of identified low performers (those with a C- in any class in the middle of the first trimester), and change over time of the rest of the student body based on their trimester and final grades.  I will have six grade marks throughout the year for the lower group and three throughout the year for the other group.  I hope to demonstrate more significant change over time for the group adopting the matrix.  Of course, I'll be perfectly happy if everybody improves their performance over time.  It will also be difficult to show change over time for those students at the top of the grade scale. I will keep copies of completed matrices to show how students' study behavior changes, even if their grades do not.

Posted by Aubrey Daniels, Ph.D.

Aubrey is a thought leader and expert on management, leadership, safety and workplace issues. For the past 40 years, he has been dedicated to helping people and organizations apply the laws of human behavior to optimize performance.