What will do the most to reduce time spent on classroom management?

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Nicholas K. La Bruno (not verified)

I have over 20 years in an

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I have over 20 years in an urban school in Jersey City. My school is the largest grammar school (1,500+), with the largest diversified population (over 70 nationalities). The bulk of my experience is with 8th graders, however I've taught every grade including a pre-vocational (think blackboard jungle) class. I've had as few as 18 and as many as 42 students with about 25 as the norm. The best answer I would give is you could benefit from some of all the proposals, however the best for me is that which comes from within me. The class is an extension of all that I am. Classroom management is often spoken of as an external element, something which once aware of and implemented brings success. The reality is the mechanism by which one employs management must first be compatible with the philosophies and procedures through which you, as the nexus of educational competence, will allow. Students see through transparent behavior and beliefs. To maintain credibility you must conduct yourself with the dignity, dedication, and love of discovery you expect your students to develop. That, is internal.
Roan Garcia-Quintana (not verified)

There are way too many

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There are way too many rules. Consequently, you have selective enforcement. Furthermore, students know that the consequences for breaking most rules are light if any at all. You also have administrators telling and treating teachers as if the students and teachers are brothers and sisters and they (the administrators) are the parents. The students pick up on this unprofessional treatment of teachers very clearly. They know that teachers can get in as much trouble than students. Principals, who many are FORMER coaches, appear to be on an ego trip that entails putting down teachers either in front of students or "calling" teachers to their office via the intercom. Everyone knows what those calls are about. Going back to consequences...It was not too many years ago that a suspended student received no credit for work missed during his/her suspension and the days suspended counted against them. Now, when a student gets suspended, the days don't count as absences and the student gets to make up ALL missed work. This is not a suspension, this is a vacation that puts the burden on the teachers.
Dr. Barbara Berman (not verified)

Although I am now a

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Although I am now a psychologist, I am also a former teacher and administrator (23 years in the Boston Public Schools.) I find these polls less than useful. For example, to do real research of this kind, we have to differentiate between elementary school, middle school, or high school, as well as between self contained classes, blended classes and single subject classes. We also have to differentiate between many other factors including, but not limited to community committment to public education, resources available etc. All that having been said, what I believe is that all of these factors are important. No one can realistically expect to teach 5 classes of High School English with 30 kids in a class without a great deal of skill. So, I would vote for the factors in this order:1. Better teacher preparation through credentialing programs, mentors, and ongoing professional development. 2.Reduced class sizes. and 3. Effective classroom rules and innovative systems such as a student-run court. In truth, all three are needed to get our educatioonal system of the rut it is in where (with some few wonderful exceptions) only the very bright and the very privileged get a great educational experience, and not even all of them do. (tricky sentence!) What is needed is to recognize the impact of less than quality education on our culture. Kids are our greatest asset. A democracy can not really function without quality public education. What about putting back art and music; what about providing real mental health resources for adolescents who all are struggling with the complexity of life; What about businesses REALLY contributing (See Private Industry Council in Boston.) There is no limit to what we can do to improve education - the only limit is our lack of intention.
Tim McMullen (not verified)

Smaller classes, engaging

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Smaller classes, engaging curriculum, enthusiastic and knowledgeable teachers, supportive administrators, a positive school climate, and an active and cooperative community are all useful in achieving positive behavior in students, but most of these are ideals that don't often happen in the same place at the same time. A few years ago, several of us from the English department were asked to help create a class for freshmen who were not otherwise connected to the school and its educational offerings. In other words, the class was designed for those students who were not enrolled in a foreign language, a performing art. or other similarly engaging activity. We came up with a rather unique class that we called VISTA (Vocational Issues, Skills, and Technological Applications). The course taught an intro to keyboarding and presentation software; an investigation of careers, including interviews of people in their selected careers; and a final computer project presenting the students' findings. As anticipated, despite the innate appeal of the technology, the targeted students were particularly disinterested and disengaged; furthermore, most of the positive, academic role models had been removed by the selection process. I realized immediately that the typical list of "class rules" would be never ending. I needed a much simpler process that would address all disruptive behavior. I came up with six basic rules for success in school and in life: Courtesy, Cooperation, Concentration, Common Sense, Self Control, and Courage. These rules were our first order of business. Students wrote their own definitions for each concept; then they added the dictionary definitions, and we discussed them in class. For homework, they wrote five examples of each term with at least three of the examples applying directly to school. The next day we discussed their examples. After this initial discussion, whenever a student would act out, I would ask the student which rule they had broken. They were surprisingly compliant and willing to recognize their specific error, noting that often one foolish act transgressed three or four rules. Other students would also help identify the broken rules. Within a couple of days, the disruptive behavior was very infrequent and immediately squelched by a simple, "Which rule?" I later tried the same methods in freshman English classes with similar succes. As a Mentor Teacher for twelve years and a pre-intern coach for five, I have shared this simple approach with many teachers who have found it to be surprisingly effective. Clear course expectations, including parental expectations; rigourous application of simple rules applied from the first day; and the students' clear, intellectual understanding of the underpinnings of those rules: these offer the potential for a minimum of disruptive behavior and disciplinary action.
Helen (not verified)

How often do you hear, "My

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How often do you hear, "My teacher just doesn't know me!" Start by really getting to know the kids. Be interested in them as people and share your interests with them too. I believe this is the first step in creating a great learning environment.
Beverly Shaner (not verified)

I agree with the comments

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I agree with the comments that all students (people) do not learn in the same manner, at the same rate or in the same time frame. There needs to be adjustments for differences in learning styles, rates and abilities. Truly challenging the students can minimize disruptions and misbehavior. I believe there also needs to be: 1. Respect that runs completely through the education system - for and from students, parents, teachers and staff, 2. An attitude that we all have to EARN our way instead of deserving the best by doing the least amount of work, and 3. Accountability for everyone - don't just sit back and blame someone else, get involved and take the necessary steps to correct the problem(s) - this includes parents, students, teachers and staff, community-at-large and businesses. It is not just a school problem, it is EVERYONE'S problem! It is time for everyone to look at the BIG picture and not just at their small piece of the puzzle.
Nachum Sorkin (not verified)

Reduced class size and

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Reduced class size and better prepared teachers will certainly help the situation. In my experience, however, good lesson planning that engages the majority of students and good pacing are critical. Also a system of management which is clear to the TEACHER as well as the students. In other words, have a carefully thought-out response to the common disruptive behaviors, follow through and have pre-planned backup of supervisor so that disruptive behaviors do not waste yet more time because of your handling of them. A quick desist and on with the rhythm of the lesson. With the above in mind ANY system works. NS
Bob Green (not verified)

Many of my colleagues and I

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Many of my colleagues and I agree that the government should order a 1 year MORATORIUM on "standard" education (3 R's) and have ALL students attend a full load of classes geared toward better citizenship, behavior, attitude, self-esteem, and understanding that wrong action yields consequences. Too much of our classroom time is spent on subduing anarchy and putting out pit fires before they escalate into full-blown conflagrations!
Dan Rogers (not verified)

The one thing that would

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The one thing that would help the most in my nearly 25 years of experience is less useless paperwork which could be done by a secretary or assistant with minimal computer skills. I have been involved with many different student tracking systems, and I have always had to stop and fill out a paper form of the statistical information on my students. If teachers could just teach students and not be statisticians or MIS people, then teaching would be much easier.
Ms. Murano (not verified)

It is the parents'

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It is the parents' responsibility to teach respect in the home. I know that this is not completely realistic. But without the help, support and respect from parents, how can we expect their children to behave any better?
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