The Behavior Code: excellent guide for K-6 teacher librarians


I discovered this new book from Jessica Minahan and Nancy Rappaport after reading a couple of Minahan’s articles online. Published in April, 2012 by Harvard Education Press, The Behavior Code is a clearly written, well organized guide to understanding and working successfully with K-6 students with challenging behaviors.

As a K-4 teacher librarian I found it very helpful, especially the chapter on teaching children with anxiety. The authors explain why anxious children may have inconsistent behavior patterns with outbursts that come “out of the blue.” Children with anxiety often struggle with transitions, which are a built-in feature of my library classes: from classroom (or lunchroom) to library, from sitting listening to a story to moving around picking out books, from enjoying books to leaving the library…my 40 minute classes contain a minimum of three major transitions. I’m going to use many of the practical suggestions in this chapter to try to help ease these transitions for my anxious students. The book also contains useful chapters on working with students with oppositional, withdrawn, and sexualized behaviors.

I also appreciated The Behavior Code’s “Essential Concepts for Understanding Behavior,” which include the concept that “misbehavior is a symptom of an underlying cause.” The authors suggest that teachers demphasize descriptions like “manipulative, bratty, spoiled, controlling, or obnoxious,” and instead view problematic behavior as “a symptom of an underdeveloped skill” in self-regulation, social interaction, etc.

I highly recommend The Behavior Code for K-6 teacher librarians (and other K-6 teachers) who are struggling to help their most challenging students succeed.


image from Harvard Education Press

cross posted on GoodReads


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