News, resources, and links to help educators and home schoolers improve academic achievement.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Classroom Management Tips from Linkedin

Sharlane Reece, LinkedIn member and part-time teacher at Jamaica Foundation for Lifelong Learners, asks:
"How do you control the behaviour of a class where the majority of students are boys and the minority are girls?"

Here are some excerpts from over 50 "Comments" from LinkedIn members:
Jenn - 6th grade Math/Science Educator
"I started using a three strikes you are out system... They talk, they get a strike, they distract someone they get a strike, they have inappropriate behavior they get a strike. If they get three strikes then they lose their recess for the day or the next day. It has helped immensely!!!!!"
Nicole - Educational Technology Specialist at Hale School
"Perhaps look at times when the boys are misbehaving? Boys tend to get restless if they are not engaged. Research tells us that their attention span is their age, plus 1 as minutes. If your students are 10, your lessons should be segmented into short 10-12 minute tasks. This will increase engagement & reduce misbehaviour. Also, if it is a short session have a timer in the classroom so the boys know how long they have left to complete a task."
Lee Havis - Executive Director at International Montessori Society
"Punishment and reward to control behavior, is really creating more problems than it solves. So, let me propose we get to the core cause of the problem - some detrimental influences in the environment.

Treat each child, boy or girl, as perfect spiritual being, and you see that the environment is the cause of any misbehavior. Fix the problem in the environment, and you don't have to fix the blame. So, let's analyze what is the problem, and fix that.

Children, boys or girls, misbehave as a reflection of some abandonment or negativity from the adult supervising. The main problem is usually "abandonment" - giving too much opportunity for foolish mental wandering that leads to violence in the end. fixing that problem, for example, give children work that interests them, when they can't find it on their own. In addition, make a rule (for yourself) that no child gets up out of his/her chair without a purpose to do something positive, good, and intelligent. No wandering around. If a child seems to be "bored" or "inattentive", interact with questions or directions.

Children under six benefit most from work to handle objects. Over six, you have to inspire them with some idea that interests them. A question such as "what do you think?" or "what are you doing?" is often a good place to begin. Or, "What can you do about that?' Only when the child comes up with a sound, rational idea to work on something intelligently, do you allow the latitude to move around and interact with others.

In this approach, there is no blame or condemnation or punishment of children. It's all about taking responsibility for the environment. There is a scientific technology for following this way of being with children. International Montessori Society -
Negative attention, like writing names of those who "talk out of turn" does work to an extent, and in the short run, it seems to have a good effect, when you do it in a systematic, consistent manner. Writing names on the board, without emotion; and having a clear consequence, is certainly better than threats and yelling."
“….punishment of any kind from outside the person is really harmful in many hidden ways. It promotes the "tyranny" of adult control - since it is still consequence controlled and enforced by the teacher as an authority figure. It is NOT something that the class of students agree among themselves to do.

First, there must be a commitment of all the students to the task at hand. In the beginning of the class, for example, explain that it is their choice to be there, and the class will decide on rules of behavior and participation. Spend some time talking about what THEY want to achieve, and how they wish to function as a community of free-choice participants in the learning situation. If you can get this level of commitment to the social order, then the students themselves can have a meeting to decide on rules and punishment, if any. And, you will be teaching the students self-control and self-governance which is a lot more than "fractions" or "parts of speech". "

Brenda Kaiser - Author, Consultant, Speaker & Workshop Facilitator 
"Lee, you have made some excellent points. Let me add, that the place to begin is by you, the teacher, looking at yourself - your expectations, biases and teaching style. Believe in your students - their ability to learn and behave appropriately and create an environment which supports their abilities, not their 'disabilities.'"
Pam Lobacz - Kindergarten teacher at Waterford Graded School District
"I am a kindergarten teacher. I have found that it is not always the boys that have the bad behavior. I have had classes where it the reverse, the girls were very strong opinionated and had lots of controversy within the "girl" group. With that being said, I make sure we have sensory breaks, allow students to stand when they do their work, also there are students who have not known what is expected of them at school. Make sure students know what the expectation of their behavior is for school. Then they have the choice of their behavior and the teacher has the choice of the consequence. Reward positive behavior, frequently."
Enza Buonaiuto - Education Management Professional
"As far as disruptive behavior is concerned, I may give certain children who seem to have "trouble" in this department something extra to do in the classroom to help the teacher...some sort of responsibility to keep him or her out of trouble. It could be collecting scraps, helping me find a piece of an educational activity that I "lost", or helping me remember the words to a song. You really need to be creative with this, and I promise you it works like magic! Young children, FOR THE MOST PART, want to help and please the teacher.

.....and praising them for their help is paramount....even a cute postcard that goes home with them saying "Jimmy helped the teacher find the missing puzzle piece" (You get the idea!)

Over the years, I have found that names on the board (by the way....children love to see their names in print) just DOES NOT WORK for young children."
Teresa Strong - Science Specialist K-3rd Grade
"It's also possible that we can't be totally aware of everything they need, since children are now growing up in a world that didn't exist when we were growing up. That's why I think it's so important that we teach them how to communicate in a way that is positive and ensures that they will be heard and understood everywhere they go. It's an important skill. I would love to see basic manners come back into our classrooms. I always tell kids that manners are very important. They communicate to people that you care about them. It's a part of emotional intelligence. We gloss over this ability all the time, and it should be just as important as any other thing that is taught in schools."
TO OUR READERS:  Please feel free to post your classroom management suggestions below.