Aug 02 2011
3 Steps to Effective Classroom Management…Protection-Based not Punishment-Based
It really is the beginning of August and that means it REALLY is time to start thinking about our upcoming school year. For me, that means preparing my room and my brain for the onslaught of 7th and 8th grade writers that are about to walk into my room. There is a huge difference in one year’s worth of maturation, but both grades still need my guidance when it comes to my classroom expectations, my classroom management, and ultimately, my classroom consequences.
What is the best advice I can give you for teaching well, and getting your students on track for a year of learning?
Your classroom management is more important than your curriculum…without the former, the latter is impossible.
Before the year ever starts, get your basics down and know what to do in even the most general situations…in my opinion, my students need to learn accountability for their actions first and foremost. The process of getting your kids to accept responsibility for their actions is a H-U-G-E step in the right direction for classroom management. The first step is ours. Our goal is to PROTECT the student, not PUNISH the student. We should never:
- Use anger to get a student to comply
- Punish a student for his behavior
- Withhold our attention
Instead, we should be:
- Helping our students look at the problem they create when they are off-task or not compliant
- Providing clear and even consequences to protect them (not punish them)
- Giving time for the student to work with us for compliance
3 Steps to Being Protection-Based: Working with students in trouble
Vocabulary: Teachers can also be really powerful with words…No! Not 4-letter ones=) Try to be more protection-based and less punishment-based with your vocabulary:
- You seem to be having a problem. How can I help you?
- You are off-task right now. What will help you get back on track?
- I see you are upset. Can I let you calm down in the safe seat? Would you like to talk to someone other than me?
Body Language: You may have the vocabulary down, but if your body language says, “I’m P.O.’d and I want to punch someone!”, your students will know. Try these suggestions to be protection-based:
- Place your unclenched hands at your side; don’t cross them in front of your chest
- Press your tongue to the roof of your mouth (you can’t clench your teeth)
- Breathe naturally
- Walk away for a minute if you feel angry…the misbehavior won’t stop until you address it, but your student will know you can control yourself
Intention: This is the most important…if you are just putting on a show, your kids will know. Your intentions should always be to PROTECT your student. You’ll prove this by:
- Working through your students problem with them (not for them)
- Helping determine when they are ready and okay to move on (never moving them just because we are tired of dealing with the misbehavior)
- Teaching them life skills and how to deal with difficult situations and doing things they may not want to do (classwork or homework)
I hope this helps you as August gets under way and a new year approaches…just remember: discipline before curriculum–it won’t work any other way.