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.

What's The Best Classroom Management Advice You've Gotten?

Larry Ferlazzo I teach English & Social Studies at inner-city high school in Sacramento,CA

I thought it might be useful/interesting if people shared the best piece of classroom management advice they've gotten/read/heard...

Mine comes from Marvin Marshall, who is my favorite (by far) writer/thinker on positive classroom management. He’s written a question that we as teachers might want to consider asking ourselves regularly. He wrote:

Will what I am about to do or say bring me closer or will it push me away farther from the person with whom I am communicating?

Of course, we’re just human and all of this is far “easier said than done.” But it’s not a bad level to aspire towards…

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It wasn't advice, it was a tool

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I actively seek out advice. I may be addicted to edutopia articles because I'm always reviewing their latest ideas for fixing the problems I'm facing in my classroom. However, I sometimes feel overwhelmed by the advice, and worried that I don't have what it takes, (energy, resources, sanity, time, confidence) to really put that advice into action. After reading the ten tips for behavior management, I couldn't help but feel myself strongly pulled in opposite directions. The first instinct was "heck yeah" this is exactly what I need to do, in fact I'm going to paste this to my desk so I never forget what's really going to help my student's reach their highest potential. The second instinct was fear. "Wait, what was the third one?" "Oh, if I don't post this to my desk I'm going to forget everything." As a first year teacher this would have given me hives, not because it was wrong but because its SO right, and I was already so overwhelmed by trying to remember everything else, it would have been just "one more list" rather than a central tenant of my pedagogy. But I just got this free app. called Class Dojo that's going to enable me to act on this critical advice, and to me that makes this tool as important as the advice itself.

An app with great possibilities

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I just set up the Class Dojo and will be anxious to see how it works with my new class. Thank you for the tip!

Montessori 4-6th grade teacher

Connection Before Correction

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That's Jane Nelson's. It's a short version of the advise I got my first year assissting in a Montessori kindergarten. I was aghast at some of the nasty interactions between the children, and found it difficult to work with the children who were perpetrating the behavior. Rebecca Slavin, the master teacher in the classroom, informed me that my duty as their teacher was to "Love each and every child and to make sure that they are aware of that love."

Her words have been invaluable to me. I would never consider doing anything that might engender fear on the part of my students. If I ever scare them, it is entirely accidental. I'm surprised to see educators embracing Machiavellian principles. Intimidating children cannot be a useful part of any discipline repertoire if we expect students to take chances on learning and growing. Neuroscience backs the idea that positive emotional climate is essential to effective learning.

Though our society often casts the teacher/student relationship as adversarial, we are actually working toward the same goal: maximum student development. If our students are not pursuing these ends with relish, discipline is not the answer. I'm with those who advocate getting students busy with meaningful tasks that allow for freedom of choice, movement, and association. If we can't provide students with the sort of environment that supports these things, they oughtn't to feel obligated to sit and listen to us talk.

MK

8th grade English language arts teacher in urban school district

First of all...I just have to

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First of all...I just have to say I spent a semester in Madrid and LOVED all of it. From my amazing host family to the museums to dancing until 7am (how did I ever do that???).

It's so interesting to me how you and I have similar issues although I'm in Pennsylvania. I teach in an urban middle school with a large ESL community. This line from the essay really spoke to me: "However, the whole time I worked as a teacher of high school students I never ran into any idiot boy." I have worked with some tough students and every single one was was smart and savvy in many ways. Perhaps not in traditionally academic ways, but in ways that were real and practical. Thanks for that quote!

8th grade English language arts teacher in urban school district

First of all...I just have to

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First of all...I just have to say I spent a semester in Madrid and LOVED all of it. From my amazing host family to the museums to dancing until 7am (how did I ever do that???).

It's so interesting to me how you and I have similar issues although I'm in Pennsylvania. I teach in an urban middle school with a large ESL community. This line from the essay really spoke to me: "However, the whole time I worked as a teacher of high school students I never ran into any idiot boy." I have worked with some tough students and every single one was was smart and savvy in many ways. Perhaps not in traditionally academic ways, but in ways that were real and practical. Thanks for that quote!

8th grade English language arts teacher in urban school district

I took a class that was about

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I took a class that was about working with, as it was called at the time, students with social and emotional disabilities. The instructor told us that students who act out cause teachers to feel the same exact way. At first, I didn't believe it but the next day in my alternative high school classroom, I noticed that when a student was freaking out and was anxious, I paid a bit more attention to my reaction and sure enough, I was feeling freaked out and anxious! That has taught me to really take a breath or two before I try to deescalate a situation. I also let there be some silence in the room for a few seconds after the student has said what he/she needs to say or do (unless safety is compromised and then it's time to call for help).

I also learned from a counselor to ask students, "Why did you need to X (shout, throw your book, etc)?" It has worked really, really well. I think it's because it helps them reflect. Then we talk about alternatives to the action.

Fred Jones Tools For Teaching

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I must again share the Tools For Teaching Classroom Management : Discipline, Instruction, Motivation Program - it has raised achievement and lessened discipline problems, taking many schools from failing to exemplary , all around the nation! Fred's work is nationally award winning- you can see clips on you tube
One of my favorite bits of advice and a 'fredism" ( those who follow him for years call themselves 'Fred-heads") has to do with back talk " It takes one fool to backtalk- it takes two fools to make a conversation of it!" He also has an award winning parent training series. Any teacher will benefit from Fred's work. His book is cheap and has made such a difference for teachers and students. _

Edutopia Consulting Online Editor

Wait

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Don't talk when students are talking. Wait. Then wait even longer. Wait until it it is completely quiet. Don't talk over students. Be the only voice in the room when you do speak.

Best advice I ever received when it came to managing students. And time.

Rebecca
Edutopia

Co-founder, ClassDojo

Ruth - really excited to see

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Ruth - really excited to see how ClassDojo works for you. We are very early on in developing it, and we really want to hear from teachers (we were teachers ourselves!) about how we can be helpful to you. Please feel free to get in touch whenever on hello@classdojo.com, or with me personally at sam@classdojo.com, if there's any way we can help, or if there's anything you think we should be doing more or less of!

Cheers

Sam

Montessori 4-6th grade teacher

Fred Jones

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Boo Hoo, my library doesn't have any of Fred's books! It look s like he has a lot of good ideas, and I agree that the training process toward more emotionally healthy teaching practices can be transformational. We use most of these ideas at out school and it works very well.

MK

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