As part of my investigation of classroom management strategies, I have been reading an thoroughly practical and useful book called How to Plan for Behaviour Development and Classroom Management: Maximising Student Engagement by Bob Cope (2007). I know its a long title, but to me all of the key words in the title sum up my developing ideas on classroom management.
Maximising Student Engagement
To over-generalise a bit – take away the boredom by engaging your students in the learning process and you take away so much of the issues you may have had to deal with. Its that simple.
Kids don’t automatically know how to behave, and they certainly don’t remember if you just tell them once. It is my responsibility as a teacher to not just teach my subject but to help students learn about life skills like groupwork and persistence. Imposing some rules and then punishing kids for not following them already seemed like a bad idea to me, but Bob Cope describes the impact of this rather well.
Some very bad decisions from some of my teachers at uni this week (its a whole other story…when I’ve calmed down and gotten over it I may tell you about them) has really shown me what I, as a learner, value in a teacher. This is CLARITY and CONSISTENCY. I want to know what exactly is expected of me, and I want the teacher to be consistent with marking and expectations. The other major, major factor in effective teaching for me is that the teacher makes the learning engaging. I haven’t had much chance to work on this on rounds, but I do always try to be very consistent while on rounds. Clarity is something I think I need to work on, I think in part because I have been teaching to another teachers plans and wishes.
I guess after all that writing, the main things that I have drawn from Cope’s book is that preventative and proactive measures are essential in classroom management. I still must have appropriate consequences pre-prepared (for consistency and clarity), but so many issues can be prevented from occuring with the right prepartion, both mental and physical.
Reference: Cope, Bob, 2007, How to Plan for Behaviour Development and Classroom Management: Maximising Student Engagement, 2nd Edition, Pearson SprintPrint, New South Wales