Characteristics of Intelligent Behavior

Cantor (2010) defines students learning to manage their behavior as learning, and behavioral correction as teaching. Based on this idea, I will be applying the Behavioral Intelligence to this area of education. Kellough & Kellough (2011) describe 12 characteristics of Intelligent Behavior:

Drawing on Knowledge and Applying it to New Situations, Finding Humor, Creating, Imagining, and Innovating, Listening with Understanding and Empathy, Managing Impulsivity, Persisting, Remaining Open to Continuous Learning, Responding with Wonderment and Awe, Striving for Accuracy, Taking Responsible Risks, Thinking and Communicating with Clarity and Precision, Thinking About Thinking (Metacognition), Thinking Flexibly, Thinking Interdependently, Using All the Senses, Questioning and Posing Problems

For the purposes of teaching and learning behavioral self-management, 6 will be considered due to their relation to behavioral management.

Cantor teaches that all students need to know that it is a teacher expectation that students pay attention instead of talking while the teacher is teaching, do class work instead of disruption the class and get along with classmates instead of arguing, provoking and disrespecting personal space. Each of the areas of misbehavior (that needs to be explicitly taught) will be viewed through the lens of intelligent behavior.

1.  The intelligent behavior of Finding (appropriate) Humor can help with reducing provoking.

“What did you say about my haircut!?” Teacher intervenes: Vincent, I’m going to talk to Johnny in just a moment, and he should not have made that disrespectful comment, but I am confident that you could you have shown more intelligent behavior by using humor instead of yelling. You want to find joke that doesn’t insult you, or the other student. For example… (teacher may need to model).

Benefit: The student who shows intelligent behavior can defuse situations easily with humor.

2.  The intelligent behavior of Listening with Understanding and Empathy can help with reducing arguing.

“Sam, I have the quiet signal up, please have a seat, face forward and sit quietly.” Why are you talking to me? Don’t you see everybody else talking? I’m not going to stop talking until they do? Sam, its important…. No. It’s not fair, why do they get to talk but you get on my case….”

The teacher showing intelligent behavior that she wants to model to the student will tell the student that they will listen to everything that the student has to say about the matter once the lesson is completed. The teacher then later listens to everything that the student has to say (time permitting), and then asks the student if he/she can say everything that the teacher needs to say. Teacher will show empathy to the student’s point of view, and will ask the student to do the same.

Benefit: The student who shows intelligent behavior can talk about their concerns calmly and without stress.

3.  The intelligent behavior of Managing Impulsivity can help with reducing disrespecting personal space.

Students may violate personal space due to impulsive behavior. When a personal space violation has occurred, the student will be asked to remove him or herself from the situation and will be asked to try the behavior over the correct way (if possible). Teacher will ask student to reflect upon the importance of boundaries.

Benefit: The student who shows intelligent behavior can move space appropriately and respect the boundaries of others.

4.  The intelligent behavior of Persisting can help with reducing lack of attention and not doing work.

Cantor (2011) recommends lecturing for no more than 7 – 8 minutes. However, there are simply times that instructions need to be given, or direct instruction carried out. Edutopia (2014) espouses the idea of the grit reflection to help students learn to persist. Students may self-assess their grit during work time and paying-attention time and track for improvement.

Benefit: The intelligent behavior of Persisting helps students carry out tasks and get important information.

5.  The intelligent behavior of Thinking and Communicating with Clarity and Precision can help with reducing arguing and provoking.

Sometimes provoking is intentional. However at times a student may misinterpret another’s comment. Teacher approaches the student making the comment, and asks them to restate comment clearly and precisely, reminding them that sometimes problems result when students think that somebody MIGHT be talking about them.

Benefit: The student who shows intelligent behavior is clear to others and does not get into needless conflicts.

6. The intelligent behavior of Drawing on Knowledge and Applying it to New Situations can help to produce more pro-social behaviors outside of the classroom.

the teacher should constantly remind students that expectations learned in the classroom can apply anywhere, and that they should use intelligent behavior wherever they go.

Benefit: The student who shows intelligent behavior applies lessons learned in the classroom, as appropriate, wherever he or she goes.

Miller, A. (2014). 5 Steps to Foster Grit in the Classroom. Retrieved from

Canter, L. (2010). Classroom Management for Academic Success, Solution Tree
Kellough, R. D., & Kellough, N. G. (2011). Secondary school teaching: A guide to methods and resources (4th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson.

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