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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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Larry Hartog's picture

This is great advice. Saving face in tough situations is not easy. I will be experimenting with this technique during the Spring as I embark on a semester as a student teacher.

Larry Hartog's picture

The advice about taking a tough situation out into the hall is good. Saving face in tough situations is not easy. I will be experimenting with this technique during the Spring as I embark on a semester as a student teacher.

LindaC's picture

Tools For Teaching from Dr. Fred Jones is the number one essential to read and implement if you are a new teacher or a student teacher- any teacher really. Check out his work on you tube- there is a wonderful clip from new teachers and their mentors. His website is www.fredjones.com
He is an American treasure in education - classroom management, discipline instruction and motivation.
Happy New Year

Miranda Berry's picture

The best classroom managment advice that I got was to stick by what you say. A teacher cannot say one thing then change her mind the next minute. The students need consistentcy. I have started using this technique. It is hard but I am working on it. I have also found that the students need to feel respect from the teacher. This has helped me as well.


I have been looking for a group like this!
I am back in the classroom after 12 years coordinating the Talented and Gifted program 7-12; it has been a challenge to learn the curriculum and to manage the noise in the classroom. I remember being a great classroom teacher...The quote from Marvin Marshall " 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" will give me something for me to hang onto for today until I have more time to read the many helpful posts.

Love C. Diogu's picture

The best advice that I ever recieved as a teacher and a special education teacher at that was to not take it personal and DO NOT take it home with you. Rather be reflective and ask yourself how you can handle situations like these ones a little better. Do not be afraid to ask for help from fellow teachers. I always leaned on the advice of other resource teachers and master teachers. I have been teaching special education for 5 years now. Although there are some days that are more trying and difficult than others, I find solace in there are strategies that I can incorporate to once again regain control. So the best advice that I got was to not take it personal, seek advice and find a positive outlet.

Jenna Corbett's picture

This is my first year teaching and I also got the same advice "to choose my battles wisely." This is true because you waste precious and valuable learning time on small things. I have seen many teachers "hound" their students over very small things like getting out of their seat to throw trash away without permission. As long as they do it quietly, those type of things do not bother me. I have one child that will not sit in his seat, he is always on his knees or standing up, but he always finishes his work. He does not bother me or any of the other students, no one even notices if he is standing or sitting. This is just one battle I will not fight. I have also learned to be consistent. If you tell them not to do something one day, do not let them do it the next. This being my first year teaching, I still have a lot more improving to do on my classroom management.

Bob Sullo's picture
Bob Sullo
author, educational consultant

Hi Jenna....Sounds like you are having a successful first year. Good for you. The only thing I would encourage you to do is re-think the whole notion of this being "just one battle I will not fight." Clearly, you have the whole picture and I just have the snippet you provided, but it sounds like there's no battle here to fight or ignore. You have an active boy who needs to be physically active. When you structure your classroom in a way that lets him move, he gets his work done without even being noticed by his peers. I hope you'll give yourself credit for structuring your classroom in a way that lets different kinds of learners find ways to be successful. You haven't ignored a battle. You've done something much better! All the best...bob

Ann Hyde's picture
Ann Hyde
Special Ed English teacher, Anchorage, Alaska

An administrator told a group of 1st year teachers, "If you don't keep them busy, they will keep you busy." I have found that if I over plan, and stay flexible, kids are too busy to get into trouble. If they can see that there's a lot to do, and can stay engaged, they don't pass notes. I also like to have kids work together. This takes care of the talking issue. This same administrator warned us not to start out too nice. It's better to start out firm and a little stern and then ease up once trust is built. It can be almost impossible to start out lenient and then try to toughen things. Clear expectations are important too.

Jennie's picture

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.

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