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REL Central Ask A REL Response


March 2017


Can greeting K–12 students at the door decrease student behaviors?


Following an established REL Central research protocol, we conducted a search for research reports as well as descriptive study articles on greeting students at the door and its impact on student behaviors. The sources included ERIC and other federally funded databases and organizations, research institutions, academic research databases, and general Internet search engines. (For details, please see the methods section at the end of this memo.)

We have not evaluated the quality of references and the resources provided in this response, and we offer them only for your reference. Also, we compiled the references in the response from the most commonly used resources of research, but they are not comprehensive and other relevant references and resources may exist.

Research References

Allday, R. A. (2011). Responsive management: Practical strategies for avoiding overreaction to minor misbehavior. Intervention in School and Clinic, 46(5), 292–298. Retrieved from

From the abstract:

“Minor misbehavior causes frustration for many teachers and can serve as the catalyst for escalating into a public confrontation between student and teacher. This confrontation can be caused by teacher overreaction to minor misbehavior. When teachers take the initiative and predetermine their response to misbehavior, they reduce and possibly eliminate some minor misbehavior. This article suggests six simple strategies that teachers can implement to respond more positively to minor misbehavior, which helps reduce misbehavior and avoid a confrontation with students.”

Note. This reference now requires payment to view.

Allday, R. A., Bush, M., Ticknor, N., & Walker, L. (2011). Using teacher greetings to increase speed to task engagement. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 44(2), 393–396. Retrieved from
Full text available

From the abstract:

“We used a multiple baseline design across participants to determine if teacher greetings would reduce the latency to task engagement. Three participants were identified by their respective teachers as having difficulty initiating task-appropriate engagement at the beginning of class. Latency was measured from teacher greeting until the participant was actively engaged for 5 consecutive seconds. Results showed that teacher greetings were effective at reducing latency to task engagement for all participants.”

Allday, R. A., & Pakurar, K. (2007). Effects of teacher greetings on student on-task behavior. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 40(2), 317–320. Retrieved from
Full text available

From the abstract:

“A multiple baseline design across participants was used to determine how teacher greetings affected on-task behavior of 3 middle school students with problem behaviors. Momentary time sampling was used to measure on-task behavior during the first 10 min. of class. Teacher greetings produced increases in students’ on-task behavior from a mean of 45% in baseline to a mean of 72% during the intervention phase. Teacher greetings represent an antecedent manipulation that can easily be implemented in classrooms to improve students’ on-task behavior.”

O’Conner, R., De Feyter, J., Carr, A., Luo, J. L., & Romm, H. (2017). A review of the literature on social and emotional learning for students ages 3–8: Teacher and classroom strategies that contribute to social and emotional learning (part 3 of 4) (REL 2017-247). Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance, Regional Educational Laboratory Mid-Atlantic. Retrieved from

From the introduction:

“Social and emotional learning (SEL) is the process by which children and adults learn to understand and manage emotions, maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions. This is the third in a series of four related reports about what is known about SEL programs for students ages 3–8. The report series addresses four issues raised by the Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) Mid-Atlantic’s Early Childhood Education Research Alliance: characteristics of effective SEL programs (part 1), implementation strategies and state and district policies that support SEL programming (part 2), teacher and classroom strategies that contribute to social and emotional learning (part 3), and outcomes of social and emotional learning among different student populations and settings (part 4). This report provides educators with teacher and classroom strategies to promote social and emotional learning.”

Patterson, T. S. (2009). The effects of teacher-student small talk on out-of-seat behavior. Education and Treatment of Children, 32(1), 167–174. Retrieved from
Full text available

From the abstract:

“This paper presents the results of a function-based study initiated by a general education teacher to reduce a general education student’s out-of-seat behavior. Procedures included direct observation, data collection, functional behavior assessment using a Functional Assessment Protocol (FAP; Schroeder, n.d.), hypothesis development, and creating an intervention based on the hypothesis. The intervention, adapted from Wong and Wong (2001), involved greeting the target student at the classroom door and engaging him in conversation on any topic with comments from the teacher ranging from compliments to encouragement, coupled with verbal prompts (subtle, but direct instructions regarding teacher expectations). The intervention reduced the student’s out-of-seat behavior.”


Keywords and Strings

The following keywords and search strings were used to search the reference databases and other sources:

  • Can greeting students at the door decrease student behaviors?
  • Can greeting students AND at the door AND decrease student behaviors
  • Can greeting students AND decrease student behaviors
  • Can greeting students AND at the door

Databases and Resources

We searched ERIC for relevant resources. ERIC is a free online library of over 1.6 million citations of education research sponsored by the Institute of Education Sciences. Additionally, we searched Google Scholar and Google.

Reference Search and Selection Criteria

When searching and reviewing resources, we considered the following criteria:

  • Date of the Publication: References and resources published for last 10 years, from 2007 to present, were included in the search and review.
  • Search Priorities of Reference Sources: Search priority was given to ERIC, followed by Google Scholar and Google.
  • Methodology: The following methodological priorities/considerations were used in the review and selection of the references: (a) currency of available data; (b) study types–randomized control trials, quasi experiments, surveys, descriptive data analyses, literature reviews, etc.; (c) target population, samples (representativeness of the target population, sample size, volunteered or randomly selected samples, etc.), study duration, and so forth.

This memorandum is one in a series of quick-turnaround responses to specific questions posed by educational stakeholders in the Central Region (Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming), which is served by the Regional Educational Laboratory Central at Marzano Research. This memorandum was prepared by REL Central under a contract with the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences (IES), Contract ED-IES-17-C-0005, administered by Marzano Research. Its content does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of IES or the U.S. Department of Education nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.