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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?

Related Tags: Classroom Management
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141 Replies 21829 Views
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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RUTH LEPOIDEVIN's picture

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!

Mary Kate Land's picture
Mary Kate Land
Montessori 4-6th grade teacher
Blogger 2014

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

Yo Miss's picture
Yo Miss
8th grade English language arts teacher in urban school district

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!

Yo Miss's picture
Yo Miss
8th grade English language arts teacher in urban school district

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!

Yo Miss's picture
Yo Miss
8th grade English language arts teacher in urban school district

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.

LindaC's picture

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. _

Rebecca Alber's picture
Rebecca Alber
Edutopia Consulting Online Editor
Blogger 2014

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

Sam Chaudhary's picture
Sam Chaudhary
Co-founder, ClassDojo

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

Mary Kate Land's picture
Mary Kate Land
Montessori 4-6th grade teacher
Blogger 2014

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

LindaC's picture

I think you can get Fred's book for less than $20 on Amazon -used- it is not only good for teachers but for parents!
He is also putting his training for parents and teachers into online courses which should be up soon.

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