Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Attacking Problems

One problem I see in classroom management is that many teachers, at the beginning of the year, identify a few problem students and spend great efforts in trying to "solve" those problems.  Then all year long they go around trying to put out fires that come up and "accommodating" these students.  In most cases "accommodating" these kids is not the answer, because it isn't us that need to change.  It is the student.

To me it is more important to set up what will work for most of the students, get them working and producing in class.  THEN, as the majority of the class comes on line, you can use them to help you get the problem students to start coming on line too.  This is not a hard and fast rule, but I have found that if most of the class is being successful, that will have an influence in getting the others to come along.  It gives them hope that, if they put forth the effort to change, they would be able to succeed too.  Many of those with problems don't believe, or don't know they can change, or how they should react to difficulties.

Too many educators and parents today feel that it is the adult who needs to change, when it is usually the child that needs to change.  That is not always easy or fun, but it usually works better than trying to change the environment the student is in.

Continuity and consistency, in assignments and routine, builds confidence.  This is more important than spending all of a teacher's energies in having every activity or assignment a "higher level thinking skill."  The same is true with discipline in regards to rewards and punishments.

Punishments should not be big and onerous, but rather small, so that the teacher is not reluctant to administer them.  Not all punishments have to "fit the crime," because the teacher doesn't have time or resources to fit every deviation a student might commit.  The important thing is a consistent and minimal, but easily used, punishment.  Writing a simple sentence about obedience ten times at recess or five minutes of "sleeping" time at recess are usually sufficient, or just missing recess or P.E. until the assignments are completed and turned in.

Rewards for good work also need to be small and plentiful as well.  Green slips that go into a drawing for a variety of penny candy or cheap trinkets are plenty.

Sometimes teachers are made to feel guilty because every little action they do is not "authentic" or perfect.  It doesn't have to be.  It does need to be simple and consistent, not constantly under revision or only administered according to the mood of the teacher.

1 comment:

ConservativeTeacher said...

Banning kids from their one field trip a year, because they don't have their work in, is bad practice. It is more like revenge against the student rather than a consequence of not doing their work, and will be viewed that way by the student. It will never improve study habits. Consequences need to be smaller, consistent, and easily administered, not some big punishment at the end of the year.