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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation
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Watch a Classroom Management Expert

Betty Ray

Director of Programming and Innovation @Edutopia

See how this 9th-grade English teacher connects with his students, earns their trust, and then invites them to contemplate their future with -- or without -- reading skills.

  • At the beginning, watch how he makes a connection with each student as they enter the classroom.
  • At 6:54 he gets students to talk about their previous jobs, and the work they want to do. (Note how he refers to work done for free as "slave labor" -- an interesting foreshadow to the section where they reflect on their future.)
  • At 12:33 he builds their trust by introducing some "crazy" books -- stories about teen suicide, poverty, and gang life. Powerful reactions from students, too.
  • At 16:59 he introduces a series of insightful prompts to encourage students to make the connection between literacy, employment, money and their futures.
  • At 20:35 he presents some scary facts about the relationship between literacy and prison.
  • At 50:36, he stresses the importance of being "fired up" for an impending quiz, and does a little interpretive dance to the Rocky theme song to bring that point home.
  • His last activity during the period is an introduction to various student jobs. At 1:06:06 he describes himself as "strict as a dragon" in his expectations of how the class will remain totally silent as they walk to different job stations around the room.
  • At 1:17:41, he has the students (silently) apply for the classroom jobs that most interest them. Note how he encourages each one, particularly in whispered one-to-one interactions.
  • After class is dismissed, at 1:31:04, he disciplines a couple of kids for talking, but -- wow -- check out the love and respect here!

Look for a guest post with some specific classroom management tips from this teacher, Tyler Hester, coming soon. In the mean time -- what are your tips and tricks for engaging your students?

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