Student Behavior Management: Single-model Approach versus Eclectic Approach

There are different behavior models adopted by different schools; and these models were proven to be effective in teaching students proper behavior. However, as further studies were conducted regarding to the effective management of varying student behaviors, an eclectic approach came into process. In this paper, we will discuss single-model and eclectic approaches, including their respective advantages and disadvantages; and further conclude which approach is better in managing student behavior. Moreover, a particular adopted model will be provided.

As cited by Shambaugh and Magliaro (1998) in their A Reflexive Model for Teaching Instructional Design, a model of teaching is a plan designed for pedagogy and development and improvement of instructional materials.

This single model provides detailed teaching instructions that will lead to the achievement of specific and measurable learning objectives (Shambaugh & Magliaro, 1998). There are different models and theories available for adaptation in various fields of learning. Some of the commonly-used student behavior management models are designed by William Glasser, Lee Canter, Bill Rogers and Edward Ford.

The single-model approach is a common form of instruction and is advantageous in managing student behavior. First, such models “provide new teachers with a new approach and give experienced teachers a ‘jumping-off place’ to expand their repertoire” (Shambaugh & Magliaro, 1998). Basically, instructional models allow teachers to enhance their mode of teaching conceptually and technologically.

Second, instructional models provide basic information of a particular lesson (i.e. behavior), preventing a teacher from drifting to one explanation to another “on the basis of convenience, whim, or emotional reactions” (Brigham & Brigham, 2005).

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Models serve as guides to teachers so that important details of a lesson are always covered and conveyed to the students.

Third, in the students’ perspective, the single-model approach for the management of student behavior allows them to understand behavior in a more organized and systematic manner (Brigham & Brigham, 2005). For students, a theoretical anchor is important in order to effectively each information and idea being conveyed by the teacher.

However, along with these advantages come some flaws. First, students have different learning styles. Therefore, there is a possibility that a strategy of a single model will be effective for some students and ineffective for others. Second, a single model may not be able to cover all the concerns of the students in particular field of study. Third, an adopted model or theory may not be as effective as it was before. There is always a possibility that as time passes by, some theories or models may be out of date, most especially with the availability of technology which aids learning.

Meanwhile, many believe that there is no single approach which can be used to achieve effective learning. According to Brigham and Brigham (2005) in their An Introduction to Understanding Behavior, people rarely adheres to a single school of thought but uses different explanations to explain the different types of behavior. This is what is commonly called as an eclectic approach. In his Ten Faulty Notions about Teaching and Learning that hinder the Effectiveness of Special Education, Heward (2003) defined eclecticism as the “use of principles and methods from a variety of theories and models.” Eclecticism recognizes that no single theory or model is complete and infallible.

One advantage of an eclectic approach is that this provides flexibility; hence, it fits for different personalities of each individual. Mulis and Mulis (1981) notes that the use of a single discipline technique without the incorporation of other teaching strategies is ineffective. For example, according to their Early Childhood Education Journal, in our day-to-day communication, we combine different elements in order to convey our intended meaning. The tone of voice, facial expression, body language and even the environment are used to communicate a particular message to the receiver.

Another advantage of such kind of approach is that this recognizes the uniqueness of each individual (i.e. culture, experience, personal background, learning style, interest, talent and skills). The National Middle School Association’s (NMSA) Research Committee (2003) believes that there is no single method that will work for all students; and thus, varied strategies for teaching and learning are appropriate. Moreover, as cited by NMSA Research Committee, research points to the positive impact on student achievement through an eclectic approach.

Varied learning and teaching approaches, according to the NMSA Research Committee, provide higher probability of student success as academic, moral, personal and social needs and interests are recognized.

On the other hand, Heward (2003) sees the incorporation of different models and theories problematic. First, theories vary and are not “equally trustworthy or valuable” which may result to ineffective and even harmful teaching mix. Second, there is a possibility that teachers may overlook the effective and most important parts of a particular model. This is very possible. There can be times when the concern of the teacher is to adapt different models for different students, but then, as she is in the process of combining different strategies, she may miss out the important parts of a particular model.

Another disadvantage is that the strategies of a particular model will only work along with other models of the same model. Heward (2003) emphasizes that a set of teaching strategies are placed under a single model and should be implemented accordingly in order to make learning easier and more effective. In support of this, the author believes that the incorporated elements from different models may be incompatible with one another, making them ineffective.

Fourth, Heward believes that there is a possibility that eclecticism prevents continuous and intense implementation of models, and in turn affects their significant effects to learning. The author does not also exclude the possibility that the combination of the different models of instruction will lead to other possible flaws because the teachers themselves cannot implement those with fidelity and precision.

Student behavior is dynamic, it changes in time. In order to effectively inculcate behavioral change to students, a school must explore different theories or models which can keep up with and improve those changes.

While a single-model approach in learning is effective, a combination of strategies from different models or what is know to be as eclectic approach can be more effective. It is the school administrators, primarily the teachers, who can measure and know more about the personality of the students more than the people who proposed the different models. Therefore, if a school could find the proper mix of strategies from different models, an eclectic approach would be more effective compared with a single adopted model.

However, it is important to note one model which can surely help manage student behavior. This model which was developed by Edward Ford is called Responsible Thinking Process (RTP).

Responsible Thinking Process allows students to think in relation to the given rules or standards of their school. Basically, instead of making the teachers do the thinking, the teachers ask the students to do the thinking (Responsible Thinking Process, Inc., 1994). From this, they will learn to think and act responsibly, accounting the people around them.

RTP is the most appropriate model for managing student behavior because it fosters responsible thinking to students. This model promotes long-term behavioral change of the students because they are actually the ones who acted for their behavioral change while the teachers only initiated such action. Moreover, RTP allows the students to realize the consequences of their actions and eventually understand that sometimes, they also need to adjust their goals in order to “ensure the effective learning and safety of others in the school environment,” (Chisholm Catholic College, 2006).

Reference List
Brigham, J., & Brigham M. (2005). An Introduction to Understanding Behavior. Special Connections. University of Kansas. Retrieved May 11, 2009, from

Chisholm Catholic College. (2006). Responsible Thinking Classroom. Retrieved May 11, 2009, from

Heward, W. (2003). Ten Faulty Notions about Teaching and Learning that hinder the Effectiveness of Special Education. Journal of Special Education.

Mullis, R., & Mullis, A. (1981). Early Childhood Education Journal. Volume 1, Number 1. Springer Netherlands. Retrieved May 09, 2009, from

NMSA Research Committee. (2003). Multiple Learning and Teaching Approaches that Respond to their Diversity. National Middle School Association. Westerville, Ohio. Retrieved May 13, 2009, from

Responsible Thinking Process, Inc. (1994). Responsible Thinking Process. Retrieved May 08, 2009, from

Shambaugh, N., & Magliaro, S. (1998). A Reflexive Model for Teaching Instructional Design. Retrieved May 13, 2009, from

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Student Behavior Management: Single-model Approach versus Eclectic Approach. (2017, Apr 23). Retrieved from

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