It’s been said that “the best defense is a good offense.” Probably nowhere is this truer than when it comes to classroom management. Proactive prevention is the best ingredient in any creditable classroom management technique or system. The more preventative maintenance that can be done using proactive strategies, the less likely teachers will be encountering problem behaviors. But even the best managed classrooms will experience problems from time to time. For some teachers, behavior problems in the classroom will be a common occurrence or even a daily “routine.” Much of student misbehavior is a direct result from the growing “culture of disrespect” that has progressively infiltrated our schools. For others, discipline problems may be rare, occurring only in unusual circumstances or situations. But regardless of their frequency, we all know that sooner or later those troublesome little classroom authoritative clashes are bound to occur.
When challenging behavior does occur, teachers must be equipped with the necessary tools to handle such challenges. The response to misbehavior must be done in a professional, mutually respectful way, that holds the offending student(s) accountable for their disruption to the class. The teachers’ response must be calm, composed and swift while minimizing the interruptions to the learning process for the rest of the students. This is a tall order, but it can be achieved in all but the most extreme circumstances. By using one of many, well thought-out and appropriately reactive strategies and procedures taught in my course, essentially all minor problems can be “nipped in the bud.” If the skirmish on misconduct is stopped in its tracks, then the war on inappropriate classroom behavior can never start.
In all cases, a proper response to misbehavior begins early in the chain of events. Teachers must commit to dealing with problem behaviors when they first occur. By waiting to react, the instructor is showing the student that their behavior is appropriate and acceptable. This hesitation to correct the students misconduct or obstruction places the teacher at a disadvantage while propelling the student into a position of power. The instructor needs to evaluate the nature of, or threat to, student learning and then respond quickly and appropriately. When prompt attention is paid to emergent misbehavior, up to ninety percent of minor, pesky behavior problems can be eliminated. Early intervention strategies are the best way to interrupt classroom misconduct. Remember, conflict is inevitable, but combat is optional.
Classroom Management Beliefs
- Times have changed, and so must the field of education.
- Teachers are doing an incredible job.
- “Kids don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” Dr. Madeline Hunter
- Good discipline is a matter of good timing.
- Conflict is an essential part of growing up.
- Parenting affects student behavior.
- We cannot use poor parenting as an excuse for not teaching.
- Problem behavior can entangle and obstruct us from teaching.
- Curriculum is the building….. but fair and effective discipline – is the foundation
- Self-esteem matters to both students and teachers.
- Students do not necessarily know how to behave properly in a social situation (the classroom).
- Classroom rules and routines need to be systematically taught, and re-taught, again and again.
- Teaching succeeds where punishment fails.
- We need an effective, reasonable and swift consequence for low-level misbehavior.
- A successful discipline program focusses on teaching responsible behavior as opposed to doling out punishment.
- We can affect every child either positively or negatively, the choice is yours.
- Choose to be a Proactive not a Reactive teacher.