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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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Eileen Dolan's picture
Eileen Dolan
Seventh grade LA teacher from CT

This works for me, too. I usually start out by saying, in a very concerned and understanding tone, "Are you ok? Is there something wrong? You are not your usual happy self today..." or something similar. They appreciate this attention, and most times re-enter class without a problem.

The Psycho-Educational Teacher's picture
The Psycho-Educational Teacher
Special Education Teacher and Blogger from Brooklyn, NY

The best advice I ever received came from my mentor teacher back in my college years, "Make them love you. When they love you, they'll do anything for you... even learn." This message seemed so simple, and yet was so powerful, that became my most important principle in behavior management, motivating me to develop skills in child guidance and psycho-education. My mentor's advice helped me understand that any teacher's ability to influence, persuade, and guide a habitually disruptive student towards positive classroom behavior depends on the bond, or rapport, established between the child and the adult. With rapport, and creating an alliance for change, teachers can shift the balance from negative interactions and disruptive behavior to positive interactions and compliance. Rapport with the student will be our best psycho-educational tool during difficult times, for example, during acting-out episodes or tantrums. The more the child likes us and wants to please us, the more compliance we get. On the other hand, without rapport, our ability to influence and guide the child will be very limited.

SharonWill1's picture
9th grade language arts teaches from Colorado

If I were to say what my best teaching tool is, I would say that it's letting your students know that you care about them as human beings and that you care passionately about their learning. But my best management tool is pace. Keep a sense of urgency throughout the period, have smooth transitions, keep time ("You have 30 seconds to think about this and share with your partner"), move on when you get the first sense that students are finishing ("It looks like you're about the finish"). So really, the best advice I've ever heard is to teach like your hair's on fire.

Oneal Jenkins's picture
Oneal Jenkins
To better myself, with higher education

Gary, this is or should be an inspiration to all teachers. As I reminisce about my school days I know I hated to be embarrassed in front of the class room and once it happened in any class I felt contempt for the class and the teacher. But you were right that you won the battle, in retrospect you did lose that one battle with the one student and this hurts a child's learning ability (I think) and carries over to other classes; that the student might have with his peers from that class in other classes and we all know how a child will not let go of an opportunity to keep ribbing or harassing fellow students. Great change in tactics, I commend you.

Oneal Jenkins's picture
Oneal Jenkins
To better myself, with higher education

LindaC, I have looked on Amazon and maybe I am over looking the book,but do you have anymore info about when the online courses might be avaliable? And how to acsess it, if so?

Beth Kaumeyer's picture
Beth Kaumeyer
Special Education teacher for seventh and eighth graders in Montclair, CA.

Your comment is right in line with the Love and Logic group. They publish 'Love and Logic in the Classroom' and in it the author encourages teachers to have a positive relationship with students so, when they want to quit, a teacher can say, "Would you try one more time...just for me?" It works. Before I ever read the book I always tried to build positive relationships with my students. The classroom becomes a place they want to be when students like their teacher. Loved your comment.

Kimberly R's picture
Kimberly R
Pre First teacher Georgia

We use the rewards concept with our students. We quietly observe them throughout the day putting tally marks on the white board for behavior by tables. The table with the most tally marks at the end of the week wins a prize -- extra recess, stinky feet (working with shoes off), lunch table choices, etc. We do take away tally marks from tables when they are too chatty or acting inappropriately. This helps a group effort and lets the students work as a team for positive behavior. They are accountable to each other, too.

Joy Farhat's picture
Joy Farhat
Elementary/Math Teacher

My advice would be:
"If you have a series issue with a student, it is always better to speak to the student alone and not in front of his/her classmates in order to avoid embarrassing the student and to have maximum impact on him/her".

Margie's picture
3rd grade teacher from Rochester New York

I am a 2nd year teacher which is why this particular topic is of extreme interest to me. Within my 1st year teaching, I was displaced mid-year from a 1st to a 4th grade class. (New School - New Rules) The best advice I have been given so far wasn't from when I was teaching - it was from when I was student teaching. A wonderful woman told me, "Try not to yell. Once you yell, they have won." I understand that now since I have had my moments of yelling. However, I get a much better response from students when I simply count backwards or just look at them. I keep Mariam words in my head all the time, I try not to yell and I have had a much more "close" environment with my students.

Emily's picture

I teach in an urban school district and the best advice I ever received was to build rapport. It has served me well because if the kids know you don't care, you won't get anywhere with them. My first year in this district was 2 years ago and I spent probably a good 4 months trying to build rapport with my kids. I would have kids come up during the lunch time to eat with me or to help me grade. Many kids would just come up to hang out because they wanted someone who cared about them to listen. I also spent time participating in their extracurricular activities. I would attend sporting events, concerts, etc to support them. Having this rapport has definitely paid off because if I need to have a heart-to-heart with a student in terms of their academic or behavior, I am able to accomplish so much more because I have developed a trusting and honest relationship with them. They really appreciate that someone takes the time to listen to what they're saying and to have a teacher who opens up about their life. We always talk about the things I do and what they do, and they realize we have so much in common! Building rapport is an absolute MUST DO in the classroom. It really pays off!

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