This is a practice course blog for The University of South Alabama, EDM 510, Spring 2011
I can recommend a consistent, firm treatment for those students that tend to make the class atmosphere a little challenging. There are plenty of documented, researched strategies, but often times these techniques are not applicable to the students we teach in the Southeast. I always tell students that if they want to be treated like adults, then they should act like adults. I am unsure about techniques in the middle school atmosphere, but for the secondary arena, there exist a few quick strategies depending on what type of students you are dealing with. It is the case that more work and point deductions due to lack of participation are successful means in a class that actually cares about their performance; however, this is not as successful in those classes who do not care about their overall performance. I would recommend a strict, but consistent teaching style, but allow for more laidback discussion if possible.
Thank you for your suggestions. I suppose the biggest problem that I have is student motivation. The ones who really do not seem to care about grades, nothing seems to motivate them except the attention that they receive from their peers and that is difficult to compete with.
I agree with Mr. Kupfer. Consistency, consistency, consistency! Have you read Harry Wong’s books about classroom management? I would have never survived without them. I still use his strategies some 10 years later. I thought them quite silly when I first read them but had to try them to make it through my first year. I was amazed. Students need a set of clear and concise rules for the classroom community. A set of clear and concise positive and negative consequences must accompany the rules. Once these have been established, hopefully at the beginning of the year and made by the students, then it’s on. The rules in my class are titled, “This is how we roll.” They are the students’ rules and I am just the enforcer. Stick with it and try not to waver. Do not give “breaks” to some for this will undermine your respect. If the students know that you care about them and that the class rules are for everyone’s benefit, you may have better luck. P.S. Mr.Kupfer - what do you mean about techniques not being applicable to kids from the Southeast?
Now that you mention it, Wong was mentioned to me before, I had forgotten! Thanks! I will have to pick up a copy soon. What you said about "not giving in, you lose respect" I agree, if you give up territory it's almost impossible to regain it back. Alternatively, you are reinforcing bad behavior.
I plan to come up with a few clear and concise rules with my students' input. They will be posted so everyone can see them. Rewards and consequences will also be clearly posted. I plan on being firm, consistent, and fair. I also plan to keep my students so busy they will not have time to be disruptive! I also would like to establish good rapport with parents early on in the semester or year. Likewise, knowing that my school principal and vice-principals will support me if I have to send a student to the office will certainly help.
Parental support, has to happen.
My two suggestions are:--Minimize down time. Try to engage students with an activity as soon as they walk in the door. Especially with middle school, I find that it is important to keep them busy and have several activities planned.--Be consistant. Communicate expectations and be consistant in enforcing them.
I find that being consistent and calm are two positive aspects that will affect classroom management in a positive manner. Students respond better when they are not constantly being nagged at, so pick your battles. Of course, in a perfect world we would have a perfect classroom so find out what will make you happy and strive for that then you can try to improve the rest!
I agree the consistency is important and that having activities planned and set up in advance are great ways to improve classroom management. The Harry Wong Tapes stress both of these points very well. I also recommend you read the book How to be an Effective Teacher: The First Days of School by Harry Wong. Mr. Wong suggests that there are three characteristics of effective teachers. The characteristics are: A good classroom manager, designs lessons to reach mastery, and has positive or high expectations that students will be successful. I suggest that you enforce rules with consequences and reward students with good behavior. Make sure you clearly define classroom rules and procedures. If students have procedures and routines in place, then they will know what to do in class and take responsibility.
I would recommend open communication and comforting the issue right away. Don’t leave it for later. If you start working on it from the first day, your students will know when the time for play is and when is the time for serious work. Also, you can have a student in charge. Every day should be different student, which his/her responsibility will be to care that students are leaving the classroom clean and respect the rules. Each student will have opportunity to see how is hard to keep everything organized, and they will try to act different. Try it, they will love it, and you will get positive results.