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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

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

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

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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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Lucy's picture
Elementary Teacher

"Treat each student the way you would want to be treated"... and you'll have the best classroom environment ever! A positive approach is always the best way and eliminates any negativity. We all need motivation and positive self esteem in our lives- children thrive on this and work best when immersed in this environment :)

Miss Brenda's picture
Miss Brenda
Program Director at a Boys and Girls Club

You have already won. You are in charge, and therefore there is no need to argue or become upset or show that you have power by winning the fight between yourself and the kids. You have already won. They can either chose to side with you, the winner, or chose to lose.


Clémence Rincé's picture
Clémence Rincé
French teacher (IGCSE, IBDP)

To catch student attention, motivate them, keep them focused and interested, the best practice is transparency!
What are we learning today? Why are we learning that? What will we be able to do at the end of the lesson? How it will help you to improve? As a language teacher, it's important to keep a track on the progress because language is a skill-based subject! It requires a lot of practice which is sometimes a bit demotivating...
Clemence Rince-Bonsergent

MrsTeacherLady's picture

The best piece of classroom management advice that I ever got was from my Student Teacher Supervisor. She said "It's better to fight one battle rather than to fight 180 battles." She was a master of classroom management because she set out her expectations from day 1, and would let you know if there was a problem. Instead of letting a management problem escalate, she addressed it when it happened.

Dr. Tracey Garrett's picture
Dr. Tracey Garrett
Professor of Teacher Education

I think the best piece of advice I can offer is that teachers need to understand what classroom management really is. Classroom management is a process of key tasks that teachers must attend to in order to develop an environment conducive to learning. It is imperative to understand these key tasks and then develop a plan which incorporates practical strategies to address each key task.

Andrew Motz's picture
Andrew Motz
first year middle school social studies teacher

one of the simplest classroom management hints I got in my limited time was to not make promises that I couldn't keep. This is definately true, because if you can't follow through with, the students will continue to push the boundaries. This works in both positive and negative roles. If you can't give a student the incentive promised, they will not respect your offers.

Mindy Keller- Kyriakides's picture
Mindy Keller- Kyriakides
High school english teacher and blogger.

Best advice I received the week before I started teaching at a Title I high school: "Love them."

In retrospect, after ten years of teaching adolescents, I see that this one piece of advice has taken me further in classroom management than any other because that love evolved into mutual respect, which in turn, evolved into a functional, positive learning experience for our class.

Piet Bothma's picture
Piet Bothma
Dean: Faculty of Science and Engineering, Midrand Graduate Institute

Successful classroom management is the product of how educators see themselves and others. How does educators invite learner participation in the learning process is an integral part of inviting discipline into the educational environment. Inviting education is centered on four basic assumptions:
1. People are able, valuable, and capable of self-direction and should be
treaded accordingly.
2. The educational process is a cooperative alliance in which process is
as important as product.
3. People possess relatively untapped potential in all areas of human
4. This potential can best be realized by places, policies, programs and
processes that are intentionally designed to invite development and by
people who consistently seek to realize this potential in themselves
and others, personally and professionally.

The emphasis on the person in the process makes the concept of inviting education a powerful metaphor for teaching. Inviting suggest celebration. Educators that invite learners to be part of the educational process acknowledge students as partners in the educational activities'. Learners feel invited when they are accepted, valued and capable.

The learners self concept is a key focus point for invitational education. How learners view themselves largely determines how they act and how they learn. We can compare the learners self concept with a magnificent but empty filing system which will eventually become their self concept. Every message received is filed in the filing system and the learner's view of self grows accordingly. Many messages are soothing, encouraging and supportive. These messages encourage a positive self concept. On the other hand messages could be critical, discouraging, demeaning. These messages are negative and do not support a positive self concept. Learners respond to these negative messages in a dramatic fashion. They are troubled by them so much that it takes many positive messages to offset the one negative message. When there are many of these positive messages learners view themselves as valuable, able and responsible and proceed to behave accordingly. Invitational education begins with a specific "stance"; define as the theoretical position from which the teacher operates. This stage determines the educators personal and professional functioning. In invitational education the stance of the educator consists of four elements: Trust; Intentionality; Respect and Optimism. The acronym we can use for these four elements is TIRO. When applied to educational discipline, the TIRO stance offers the educator with an attitudinal structure and direction that can be dependably employed to create and maintain a productive educational environment.

Mindy Keller- Kyriakides's picture
Mindy Keller- Kyriakides
High school english teacher and blogger.

TIRO is very powerful, particularly at the secondary level. So many of my students commented to me that "you saw us as people, not just students". All of the elements of TIRO were achieved by doing so. : )

What advice would you give for those educators who are stuck in a negative loop, though? That is, "Students are so disrespectful and out of control that I CAN'T trust them." These teachers can't take step one!

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