Saturday, August 15, 2009

Searching for a better class management model

I am fairly skilled in managing my classes. My classes are quiet when I need them quiet, working when I need them working, and there are no major disruptions that I can't handle.

Still ... things could be better.

Students are out of control in hallways. Students do not recognize teacher authority in the lunchroom. And some few students take advantage of my reminder-warning-detention policy by making sure they earn their reminder and warning each and every day. I am getting worn out.

My policies worked inside the classroom, but ended there. I am not satisfied. This summer, I read several books, seeking a better idea.

I found excellent ideas in many books, but the one I intend to follow is from Marvin Marshall. In a nutshell, he posits that people act on one of four levels, only two of which are acceptable in the classroom. My very succinct poster sums these up. In his system, students are taught the levels and acknowledge that only levels C and D are desirable.

Here is the beauty of the plan. Should a student act up, the teacher simply asks, "On what level is your behavior right now?" The student is thus made aware, owns the problem, and is encouraged to make better choices. The teacher does not label, does not impose consequences. The point is to help the student recognize inappropriate behavior and self-correct. The focus is not on whether or not to give Johnny his umpteenth detention, but on how to help Johnny own and improve his behavior.

There is so much more -- interested? Read the book, hit the website, ... or check back in a month or two, when I weigh in on how well this is working in my classroom!

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