Individual: Canter's Behavior Management Cycle: Essay

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She had read Canter's various books; had seen his skills in practice, and was impressed. She decided to use Paul as 'case study' in order to base Canter's techniques on him.

The Cycle in practice

1. Rules

On Ms. Z's first day in school she underlines three letters on the blackboard: SWL. This she explains stands for:

Students Will Learn.

Beneath these she groups 4 rules (1. No calling out; 2. No leaving chair, 3. No eating in class, 4. Respectful talking and conduct to teacher and classmates.) On the wall, has already been pasted a colorful chart with the exact same rules, pictures illustrating their intent.

Miss Z. then carefully and thoroughly walks their content, explaining the rules and their parallel consequence (both reward and punishment -- although Canter seems to emphasize punishment) when obeyed or disobeyed. Miss Z. then asks students to restate the rules in their own language, questions the students to ascertain that they have understood the directions, and immediately engages the students in a particular activity in order to test their understanding.

The consequences are phrased so as to closely reflect the rules. For instance, Paul snaps another student's pencil; he has to buy her a new one. Most importantly, the teacher has to choose consequences with which she is comfortable, and the consequences should never be psychologically or physically harmful to the students. A student should never be humiliated, for instance having to stand in front of the class as object of ridicule. Preferably, names and checks on the board should not be used either. Although Canter (1976) once suggested the latter as consequence, he now advocates teacher's writing an offending student's name on a clipboard or in the roll book and telling student, "you broke a rule (e.g. talked out of context).
That's a check." (1992)

2. Positive repetition

Teachers tend to focus on student's negative behavior, not according them attention when they behave. Hence Paul's negative conduct gets exacerbated for it is reinforced. Miss Z. is determined to break that pattern, by zoning in on Paul when he adheres to class rules, and by then accentuating that positive behavior.

3. Negative consequence

Only when Paul persists in his negative conduct, would Miss Z. then turn to her chart point to the transgressed rule and to its co relational consequence. Desiring to be an effective teacher, Miss Z. would instantly impose the consequence precisely as written, modeled, and articulated. The key words here are being consistent, fair, and thorough in rules and outcome.


Canter's system is preventative rather than prescriptive (or, rather it practices both in conjunction). Rather than waiting until after the child has disrupted the class, Canter takes a preemptive approach and, in so doing, aims to prevent the behavior from occurring in the first place. When applied to Paul, Miss Z. hopes to break his staunch his disturbing pattern of conduct by addressing it before it occurs. Using Canter's cycle of specific directions, positive reinforcement, and negative consequences as last resort, Miss Z. has laid out for herself a program with which to deal with his (mis-) behavior.


Canter, L. Assertive discipline: More than names on the board and marbles in a jar. Web.

Canter, L. (1976). Assertive discipline: A take-charge approach for today's educator. Seal Beach: Canter & Assoc.

Canter, L. & Canter, M. (1992). Canter's assertive discipline: Positive behavior management for today's classroom. CA:….....

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