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Teacher: 10 Ways to Sabotage Classroom Management

Teacher: 10 Ways to Sabotage Classroom Management

Making sure to establish clear rules and conduct effective classroom management can be tough initially. It's even more challenging to keep on track with the expectations of students and the proper reinforcement of good behaviors throughout the school year. Teachers can sometimes even ruin their classroom's dynamic if they are not careful.

Former middle school language arts teacher Jennifer Gonzalez offers teachers ten practices teachers should avoid in the classroom that could "sabotage classroom management." Along with these actions, Gonzalez offers alternatives to those common practices. 

"You know the basics: Establish clear rules and consequences, be consistent, keep students engaged," she said. "But even with all that in place, the small things you do could be wreaking havoc on your whole system."

The first way to sabotage classroom management is "smiling at the wrong times," Gonzalez said.

"This was a big problem for me," she said. "I thought my students were pretty funny people, so when a kid took those first steps to get us off-track, I couldn’t help but smile. And that just encouraged him to continue. The irony was that five minutes later, I would be yelling at the whole class for getting too wild. Duh."

The alternative Gonzalez offers is for teachers to "make a conscious effort to hold a neutral, 'on-task' facial expression when you need your class to be focused."

"I still think it’s important to show students you have a sense of humor and appreciate theirs, but everyone needs to learn that there’s a time and place for it," she said. "Have a private conversation with your class clowns, letting them know that there will be times when you won’t react to their jokes – that will be your signal that it’s a 'serious' time."

Another way to sabotage classroom management is "making students choose between listening and reading."

"When you distribute a handout to students, do you give them quiet time to actually read it? Or do you keep talking, “going over it” and constantly interrupting them to the point where they can’t process any of it?" she said. "When you do this, you guarantee that students will either skip over something important on the document, or miss a vital bit of information you gave verbally. The brain can’t do both at once."

The alternative Gonzalez gives teachers is "if you have preliminary remarks to make before giving students written material, do your talking first, then pass out the papers."

"Once students have the document in hand, tell them you’re going to give them a few minutes to read it. Then…BE QUIET. If you must interrupt, have students turn their papers face-down and look at you, then give the announcement," she said.

Read the full story and comment below. 

Article by Kassondra Granata, Education World Contributor

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