What To Do is a practice that involves giving students directions in a way that is clear and defined. The practice is based on the premise that some student noncompliance is due to students’ misunderstanding of the directions, not defiance. Directions should be specific enough that a teacher can distinguish between misunderstanding and defiance.
- Tell students what to do (“Keep your eyes on me”) as opposed to what not to do (“Don’t look around”).
- Ensure directions are:
- Specific: They must be manageable and precisely describe the actions students should take.
- Concrete: They must be clear, actionable tasks.
- Sequential: They must describe a sequence of concrete and specific actions.
- Observable: They must specifically communicate what you want to see the students doing. This ensures accountability.
- Re-teach students the desired behavior if they still misunderstand your expectations. Provide consequences if they are being defiant.