Behavior management in cognitive early education

  • H. Carl Haywood
  • Anthony L. Brown


Even though behavior management is a very high priority of teachers of young children, systems of behavior management receive less attention than do methods of teaching academic content. Even when there are well developed sytems of behavior management, they do not necessarily reflect the same philosophy and methods of teaching that are used to teach content.

The authors report on “cognitive-mediational behavior management”, a system designed to be consistent with a cognitive early education program, the Cognitive Curriculum for Young Children. In both behavior management and all their other teaching, teachers use in this program a mediational teaching style. Teachers emphasize thinking processes rather than correct answers, take a problem-solving approach to learning, help children to acquire generalizable strategies of thinking and problem-solving rather than using trial-and-error learning, are optimistic about children’s abilities to learn, and facilitate children’s acquisition of fundamental thinking modes. This system is seen as basically incompatible with a behaviorist, contingent reinforcement system. Behavior sequences are suggested for working with unacceptable behavior so as to produce both behavior change and cognitive change.

Key words

Behavior management Cognitive education Thinking programs 

Le contrôle du comportement dans un programme d’éducation cognitive pour enfants d’âge préscolaire


Savoir contrôler le comportement est une priorité pour les enseignants de jeunes enfants. On a cependant été en général plus attentif aux méthodes d’enseignement des matières scolaires qu’aux méthodes de contrôle du comportement. Quand néanmoins on dispose de méthodes explicites de contrôle du comportement elles ne relèvent pas nécessairement de la philosophie et des principes éducatifs qui orientent l’enseignement des contenus scolaires.

Les auteurs proposent au contraire un système de contrôle du comportement conçu pour être cohérent avec un programme d’éducation cognitive destiné à des enfants d’âge préscolaire. Dans ce programme les enseignants respectent une orientation cognitive et médiationnelle aussi bien pour contrôler le comportement que pour enseigner les contenus. Ils insistent sur les processus de la pensée plutôt que sur les réponses correctes, font aborder les apprentissages comme des résolutions de problèmes, aident à acquérir des stratégies et des processus de résolution généralisables pour limiter l’apprentissage par essais et erreurs, sont optimistes à propos des capacités d’apprentissage des enfants et facilitent l’acquisition de modes de pensée fondamentaux. Ces principes sont incompatibles avec la position behavioriste fondée sur le renforcement contingent qui sous-tend généralement les programmes de contrôle du comportement. Les auteurs proposent enfin des séquences d’intervention pour prendre en compte les comportements inacceptables et produire des changements comportementaux et cognitifs.


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Copyright information

© Instituto Superior de Psicologia Aplicada, Lisbon, Portugal/ Springer Netherlands 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • H. Carl Haywood
    • 1
  • Anthony L. Brown
    • 2
  1. 1.Peabody CollegeVanderbilt UniversityNashvilleUSA
  2. 2.Vanderbilt UniversityNashvilleUSA

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