A common problem in schools is getting students to work right away. This problem effects more than the individual student and the teacher. This problem effects the overall quality of learning for other students in the class room, and the level of effectiveness at which the teacher can provide instruction. One reason for this is that the teacher has to take away time from providing instruction to focus on one student who is not working. This also fails the individual student who is not receiving the optimal amount of instruction time to be a successful student. This problem also effects the other students of the class room who are unable to receive appropriate attention from the teacher because of a student who is off task. This may also lead to a domino effect in which more students begin to delay starting tasks, and stay off task. Behavior modifiers conducted a study to address this very issue. The study involved 3 students one in junior high, and two in high school. These students were described by their teachers as students who regularly engaged in disruptive behavior at the beginning of class. The study focused on having teachers greet the students as they came into class and then timing the amount of time it took for students to start their work once it was given to them. The students in this study typically took several minutes to start a task, usually this several minutes were filled with disruptive behavior, which would cause more delay in teaching. Each participant witnessed a significant reduction in time taken to start a task, which reached about 30 seconds during the greetings intervention. This is not the first time a study like this has been conducted and the results were similar in each. This is an easy intervention to use because it is not time consuming, does not require much effort on the part of the teacher, and is beneficial to the student as well as the teacher. In situations like this teachers can use a simple greeting as the student enters the class room, this simple acknowledgement is powerful for the student, and motivates the student to be on task.
Allday, R. A., Bush, M., Ticknor, N. & Walker, L. (2011, summer). Using teacher greetings to increase speed to task engagement. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 44(2), 393-396.