Positive effects of relaxation and music in limiting off-task behaviour of young children

Year: 1995

Author: Schofield, Neville

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Teachers frequently face the difficult task of controlling off-task behaviour in the classroom. This paper reports two related studies which sought to control the most commonly reported off-task behaviours in the K-2 setting. In the first study, base-line data on frequency of specific behaviours were collected over a three week period for 29 children in a 1/2 composite class. Independent observations were made over ten minute periods first thing in the morning after "news", after recess and after lunch. Over the next five weeks, five minute sessions of muscle relaxation and visual imagery were implemented immediately prior to observation periods. Post-intervention observations continued for two weeks. A significant reduction (almost half) in off-task behaviour was observed during the intervention period. Following the intervention, off-task behaviour again increased but not to the initial levels. The second study employed similar methodology with 28 Kindergarten children but in this study the intervention consisted of "easy listening" background music. Non-participant observations were made for ten second intervals at nine specific times during each day over three two-week periods. Results were even more dramatic with off-task behaviour dropping by almost 80% in the intervention period and reverting to base-line levels after the intervention was withdrawn.

These results suggest that simple, non-intrusive methods of behaviour management in the classroom can be effective with very young children.