Whether you're a first-year teacher or a seasoned pro, effective classroom management is a critical piece of any successful classroom. Share what works.

Behavior Management

John Bennett Emeritus Faculty in the School of Engineering / University of Connecticut

When classroom management is raised, i have always known how fortunate I was to be teaching university engineering students: qualified students choosing to take my classes. My classroom management was about pedagogy and materials that provide the environment and encouragement for my students to learn effectively - a joy to do for the 30 years prior to retirement.

In conversations with many teachers as I expand my outreach to K-12 following retirement, I realize even more how fortunate I was to be able to ignore the BEHAVIORAL MANAGEMENT aspect of classroom management. I strongly believe this aspect to be the largest detriment to effective learning in all too many classrooms AND most likely the cause of teacher burnout in all too many instances.

I'd really like to hear about BH. For so many classrooms, think how just improving BH will improve learning. May I suggest this to be a major difference when comparing countries?

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Educator

Enjoying the posts! I teach

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Enjoying the posts! I teach teachers and teaching classroom management and engaging students are two of my favorites. Here are some preventative techniques to avoid unwanted behavior: Know your students and how they learn. Provide relevant content. Deliver it in the ways that your students learn best (visual? kinesthic? auditory? interpersonal? etc.?). Read the room and provide brain compatible learning breaks and activities that go with the natural flow of the classroom energy throughout the day. See www.beginwiththebrain.com and www.recessitate.com for ideas.

Edutopia Consulting Online Editor

Emotional Intelligence

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Great suggestions, Ruth. So much of what you suggest has to do with emotional intelligence, knowing your students and of course, some important brain research as related to learning.

Anyone interested in taking our Emotional Intelligence quiz? The results may give you some things to reflect on when it comes to your classroom practice and connecting with students.

Best,
Rebecca Alber
Edutopia

7th grade US history teacher, CT

Nathan,! I thought teaching

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Nathan,! I thought teaching Middle School in the urban districts was tough.....

7th grade US history teacher, CT

Learning Styles

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Ruth,
You mentioned some of the learning styles, all of which are evident in any given classroom. But there is one that needs to be added that too many don't think of - digital learners. ALL of our students now are Digital, espically in the Middle and High school classrooms.

7th grade US history teacher, CT

BH

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As a teacher that any mentor program would say was at that golden level of 10+ years in... This should be my "reaching my stride" time where things have settled down and while constant adjustment is necessary, total changes should not be necessary. That would be true if NCLB were not in place and "teaching to the test" stress did not exist.
At the Middle school level and really every level, students need the structure of personal accountability for actions. Consistancy is key to all management in the classroom, school and district. In my classroom, I have the students create an agreement/compact that they all agree with and it includes the consequences for all types of actions, both good and bad. We all sign it and when it is broken we agree that it must be followed without question.

I agree that too much time is spent on behavior issues, it is said that the ratio should be 80-20 teaching/Behavior Management. In too many classrooms it is 20-80 and it is getting worse.

I am a teacher as well and am

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I am a teacher as well and am fortunate to have no behavior or "classroom management" issues either. The reason, my students are here because they want to be as well. That's the key--free choice.

When people have no choice or desire to be taught they do not chose to learn, it's as simple as that. Our education system is not "free" it's mandatory.

Responsive Classroom

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No one has yet mentioned Responsive Classroom - a program that recognizes that the "social curriculum" (behavior and attitude) is as important as the "academic curriculum." Responsive Classroom saved me when I taught in a very difficult urban environment by giving me a systematic way to teach the behaviors the students needed for the academic success. Consequences for misbehavior are logical and connected to the behavior. Students are never shamed, but are held accountable for their actions. In K-12 education we can't just teach the students who want to be there. But when we can make the classroom a respectful and fair place to be, where students feel part of a community of learners.

Educator

Rebecca - agreed! Another

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Rebecca - agreed! Another resource that teaches emotional intelligence is called WiseTalk and can be found at www.wiseinside.com. It's an activity that children play with grown-ups. My daughters will often bring WiseTalk over to me when they want to 'play.' The child picks a token with a letter on it which directs them to a little book organized alphabetically. Each letter has a feeling associated with it. On each page, you'll find prompts to share your stories about the feeling and how each of you have experienced them in your lives. It is a great opportunity to share and connect with your people and develop one's emotional intelligence. :)

Class Dojo: A behavior management tool for 21st century

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As a first year teacher, I noticed that few, if any, of my students consistently turned in their homework. This fact did not lead me to conclude that my were unmotivated or unconcerned about their work. Many of them were shocked when they learned that they were failing and quite upset by this realization. It lead me to consider what I could to make them more aware of cause and effect relationship between their actions and grades, so I created a behavior chart. This homework chart transformed my student’s behavior. Before the homework chart, fewer than 5% of my students were consistently turning in their homework. Within days of hanging the poster, 80% of my students were turning in homework and, within a week, the majority of my students were getting “A”s on the assignments they were turning in. These "A"s continued to be earned despite of the fact that my homework assignments became increasingly difficult. Since then, I have come across studies, mostly on edutopia, that may explain my student’s positive response to the poster. One explanation came from an article written by neurologist Dr. Judy Willis, which “ Makes the Case for the Video Game Model as a Learning Tool”. In it, she explains that “the human brain, much like that of most mammals, has hardwired physiological responses that had survival value at some point in evolutionary progression.” According to Willis' article, one reason my homework chart was so successful was because it heightened their awareness of their achievement, and enabled them to clearly recognize the actions that had led to it. Unlike before, my students began to take actions that would result in future opportunities to be successful. According to Dr. Willis, "[w]hen the brain receives feedback that this progress has been made, it reinforces the networks used to succeed. Through a feedback system, that neuronal circuit becomes stronger and more durable. In other words, memory of the mental or physical response used to achieve the dopamine reward is reinforced."

As you may have already figured, I was exhausted by the amount of work it took to update and maintain this chart. This summer, however, I got the chance to try out a new application called Class Dojo. With just one click of my mouse or touch from a smartphone, I can instantly award (or take away) points based on student's behavior or participation; it shows the point and specific behavior for which it was awarded/taken away as well as maintains record gives students and parents access to a profile page that is updated in real-time to display how the student is doing in class, and what points she earned in class. You get to choose what actions will earn or loose points (e.g., for helping other students, showing great creativity, doing homework, etc...). During class, Class Dojo's reward system provides instant visual notifications for students to see ('Well done Josh! +1 for helping others!'). These "game-like" notifications make students aware of their achievement, recognize the correct choices they made, and reinforce their understanding of the behaviors/skills necessary to succeed in class. Better yet, the app keeps track of those points for me and provides me with analytics of my student's behavior. I definitely recommend checking out Class Dojo. Its free and has been a transformative force in my classroom.

Excellent Post!

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I was very interested in your post about Class Dojo. Is this an app that is available for download? Android or Mac? I would love to use this for my classroom!

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