We wrapped up yesterday’s post by saying that we would:
And, we will – but let’s re-cap a little.
Perhaps, the best way to do this is by way of another nod to Harry K. Wong – a Jedi master of classroom management systems.
He reminds us that:
The number one problem in education is not discipline. It is the lack of procedures and routines, the lack of a plan that organises a classroom for success.
The goal of any teacher worth his/her salt is not to just teach a “subject” – but rather help our “little people” learn how to be better, more productive and more caring “big people”. And, as many parents seem to believe (wrongly, by the way) that this “job” belongs to us – our mission is even more critical than ever.
Our “kids” are just too important to be left to parents alone! Our classrooms are just too valuable to be left to “content” alone. We are in the business of “people building”… and the war against “McCulture” and “selfish materialism” has definitely gone into cease-fire mode!
The weapons of WWI, WWII and the “old 4Rs” of education (Remembering, Reasoning, Reciting and Regurgitating) are not enough for the “digital generation” of the 21st Century. We need to wheel out the “new 4Rs” – Resilience, Resourcefulness, Reflectiveness and Reciprocy (Guy Claxton).
These are the things we need to be “learning” our kids…
And, the “front line” is how we “walk-the-talk” of effective classroom management.
In Part One of this series, I suggested that:
- Classroom management has nothing to do with discipline.
- Teachers either “win” or “lose” their classes on the first few days of the school year.
This suggests that all teachers need to focus on designing systems and procedures that minimise the interruptions to learning, keep students engaged and “get-things-done” in the classroom – from Day One.
This include “procedures” for:
- Day One…itself – and the first few days of school!
- The Rules of the Game!
- Daily routines…
- Consequences…for when things go wrong!
It’s important to remember, however, that this task “belongs” to the teacher and it is our responsibility to think about THREE critical areas:
The best way to do this is to start by looking at your own classroom (or those that you share with other teachers) and identify the types of learning interruptions that are “typical”.
As you design “steps” to deal with the interruptions you have targetted, bear in mind the idea of “fitness-for-purpose” – solutions that directly meet the interruption head on (rather than just “indirectly”). Remember that a good system or procedure will involve both you and your students – working together.
Perhaps, the most important planning stage is related to the way that you tell your students about the procedure you have developed – here, clarity is the key. Make sure you write down exactly what you will say to the kids – and OUTLINE, PRACTICE and REINFORCE!
Following these steps shows students what should be your main focus: