Our 3 Laws

First Law: Reward Good Behavior – You’ll get more of it.

Second Law: Teach to MasteryEvery child will learn.

Third Law: Watch the Children – If they are not behaving or learning, you are not following the first two laws.


The Three Laws for Managing Successful Schools:

First Law:  Reward Good Behavior – You’ll get more of it.

What kinds of good behavior? What kinds of rewards?

  • Good manners                                                   Praise- “Hey, John. That’s nice handwriting!”
  • Good posture                                                     Gratitude- “Thanks for getting that trash, Jill.”
  • Good study habits                                            Attention- “Class, look at Antwan’s picture.”
  • Good sportsmanship                                       Approval- “I like how you did that, Sam.”
  • Good grooming                                                  Favors- “Be line-leader, Sue, for good work.”
  • Good classroom work                                     Privileges- “You all worked so quietly you may have 5 minutes extra recess.”

Note: Rewards must be earned. Rewards must be given immediately to effectively influence behavior.
Who has published the data?  B. F. Skinner; J. O. Cooper; R. W. Malott
More information: Paul Chance, First Course in Applied Behavior Analysis, Wadsworth, 1997, ISBN: 0534339360


Second Law: Teach to Mastery – Every child will learn.

Teach What?

  • Break the skill into its small component parts.
  • Teach each of the small parts in sequence.

Teach How?

  • Model– demonstrate the skill or behavior.                        “Watch me do it!”
  • Lead–    lead the group in performing the skill.                 “Let’s all do it together!”
  • Test–     have the group demonstrate the skill.                  “Now, show me how you do it!”
  • Repeat until firm. This means mastery.  Use lots of examples and non-examples.
  • Practice learned skills.  Advance to the next small skill.

Who has published the data?S. Englemann; D. Carnine; O. Lindsley
More Information: S. Englemann and D. Carnine, Theory of Instruction: Principles and Applications, Ardent, 1982, ASIN: 0829009779


Third Law: Watch the Children –  If they are not behaving or learning, you are not following the first two laws.

Why watch the children?

The First Law and Second Law always work when properly applied. But what if they don’t?

If the children aren’t behaving, there are insufficient rewards or there is excessive punishment.   Monitor the classroom and provide coaching and training to the teacher.

If the children aren’t learning, either the tasks are not sequenced correctly or the model-lead-test cycle is not being followed correctly.  Change the task sequence or monitor and coach the teacher in proper techniques.

The children will always behave and learn when properly taught by using effective, research-based curricula and methods of instruction.

More Information: D. Moran and R. Malott, Evidence-Based Educational Methods, Elsevier, 2004, ISBN: 0-12-506041-6
J. S. Vargus, Behavior Analysis for Effective Teaching, Routledge, 2009, ISBN: 0-415-99007-6

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