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Classroom Management Project

My Spring 2018 Sabbatical Project was to study techniques and ideas of classroom management.  The result was a set of documents and resources that I am placing here in blog format to easily share with my colleagues and any other interested party.

Comments and questions are welcome, and I will respond as time allows.  Feel free to share these posts.

Sincerely,

Tracy Johnston
Palomar College Mathematics Department

Table of Contents

List of the individual topics covered — Click on active links to go to that section.

PDF of entire project for download:  Classroom Management Project Spring 2018

  1. Classroom Management
  2. Self-Assessment with Blank Questionnaires
  3. Specific Teacher Skills
  4. Common Mistakes
  5. How to Handle Hecklers
  6. Hostile Students
  7. Effective Communication Strategies
  8. Role Play Scenarios
  9. Classroom Management Guidelines
  10. Perry’s Stages of Cognitive Development
  11. Teacher Fears
  12. Overcoming Stage Fright
  13. Frustration Assumptions
  14. Secondary Trauma Stress with Professional Quality of Life Scale
  15. Other Resources
  16. Classroom Purpose PPT
  17. Classroom Management Questionnaire with Responses
  18. Complete List of Cited Web Sites
  19. Book Reviews
    1. Games Students Play
    2. Games People Play
    3. Between Parent and Child
    4. I’m OK – You’re OK
    5. Getting Past No
  20. Article Reviews
    1. Students Who Yell
    2. Informing Students of Consequences
    3. Caring Too Much
    4. Motivating Students
    5. Having More Authority
  21. Summary Report
    with My Classroom Management Plan

 

What is Classroom Management?

PDF version of this document for download:   Text: 02 Classroom Management    Citations:  02a Citations for Classroom Management

Links to citations listed at the bottom of the post.

What is Classroom Management?

I wanted to deeply understand the idea of classroom management.  It helped to start with the basic idea of a classroom as a place where teachers and students gather for the purpose of learning.  Ideally, everyone involved is there with good attitudes and behaviors, and a willingness to learn.  The teacher presents the lesson, the students absorb the material, and everything goes well.  However, this ideal is not always achieved.

Classroom management, then, consists of techniques and attitudes “through which a teacher controls their classroom environment so that student learning prevails because student misbehavior is effectively minimized and redirected.”  (cpi management strategies)

Just as important, it addresses “the prevention of disruptive behavior preemptively, as well as effectively responding to it after it happens” (Wikipedia Classroom Management)

Classroom management is action-oriented and also goal-oriented.  Those actions and goals will be examined in detail later, but we can consider the “big picture” goals now:

  • to create a successful learning environment; indeed, having a positive impact on students achieving (Wikipedia Classroom Management)
  • to create an environment that supports and facilitates academic and social-emotional learning (Wikipedia Classroom Management)
  • to not only maintain order but to optimize student learning (Wikipedia Classroom Management)
  • to encourage, and establish, student self-control by promoting positive student achievement and behavior. (UniversalClass Understanding CM)
  • From a student’s perspective, effective classroom management involves clear communication of behavioral and academic expectations as well as a cooperative learning environment (Wikipedia Classroom Management)

In other words, classroom management’s primary goal is to create the ideal classroom through teacher efforts and student training.  One advantage I infer is that when students experience a well-managed classroom, they are more likely to cooperate in creating another, thus helping their future teachers and classmates.

Why Classroom Management?

My education did not include training for classroom management.  My student experience showed me that poor behavior could exist, but I saw very little of it during my undergraduate studies and almost none during my graduate studies.  It was easy for me to believe that teaching at a community college meant I would have very little poor behavior and what did occur could be quickly dealt with.  This belief was incorrect.

My lack of skill here meant that some situations got out-of-hand, while others were not resolved in a manner that made me proud of my actions.  I felt like I was the only teacher with this problem and dreaded those semesters where problems occurred.  To my surprise, I found colleagues who felt the same way and who wished they knew how to handle demanding situations.

Even more surprising was discovering K through 12 teachers, people who had gone through teacher certification programs, who had not had classroom management training, or much of it.

It is a difficult aspect of teaching for many teachers.  …   Teachers do not focus on learning classroom management, because higher education programs do not put an emphasis on the teacher attaining classroom management; indeed, the focus is on creating a conducive learning atmosphere for the student.  (Wikipedia Classroom Management)

But poor student behavior can impact that learning atmosphere for others:

  • the time a teacher must take to correct misbehavior caused by poor classroom management skills results in a lower rate of academic engagement in the classroom (Wikipedia Classroom Management)
  • a high incidence of classroom disciplinary problems has a significant negative impact on the effectiveness of teaching and learning (UniversalClass Understanding CM)

So, in order to teach effectively, we need classroom management skills: “Teachers who apply strong and consistent management and utilize organizational skills have classrooms that experience fewer discipline problems.”  (UniversalClass Understanding CM) And, “if continuous minor problems are not addressed properly, they will eventually turn into bigger, harder-to-control issues” (UniversalClass Understanding CM)

Those are not the only reasons: “research has shown that confidence in classroom management is important for a teacher’s sense of well-being and emotional health. Gaining skills in this area can decrease stress levels, burnout and resignations. This is significant considering the UK, USA and Australia lose 30-50% of their teachers in the first 5 years.”  (liz’s early learning)

I would summarize this to say that good classroom management helps to attain the ideal learning experience while addressing the health of both the teacher and the students.   “With a classroom environment like that in place, a teacher would have time to teach”.   (cpi management strategies)

Classroom Management Basics

We can see that, as teachers, we want to influence and control student behavior.  We want to be pre-emptive as much as possible — I see this as defining a positive classroom environment – and we want to respond well to poor behavior – I see this as stopping it quickly.  But sometimes a student’s response will escalate the situation, so what are we to do about that?

Consider this:

many in the field of teaching are not exactly clear on what constitutes classroom management and discipline and how these two concepts work together to create a stable, structured classroom that inspires learning and reduces conflict (UniversalClass Understanding CM)

Let me emphasize one part of the previous quote: “classroom management and discipline and how these two concepts work together”.  This tells me that even the best classroom manager will face situations where deflecting and redirecting poor behavior will fail.  Discipline enters the picture here, so we will need to address how to apply it correctly.

These ideas form the structure for the rest of this document.

 

Citations

Format: 

reference name in text
link
access date

cpi management strategies
https://www.crisisprevention.com/Blog/May-2016/Classroom-Management-Strategies-for-Educators
accessed 14jan18

liz’s early learning
https://www.lizs-early-learning-spot.com/classroom-management-and-new-teacher-anxiety/
accessed 16jan18

UniversalClass Understanding CM
https://www.universalclass.com/articles/self-help/understanding-classroom-management.htm
accessed 14jan18

Wikipedia Classroom Management:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Classroom_management
accessed 14jan18

 

Self-Assessment

PDF version of this document for download:   Text: 03 Self-Assessment   Citations:  03a Citations for Self-Assessment 

03d Self Assessment Questionnaire 1                 03e Self Assessment Questionnaire 2

Links to citations listed at the bottom of the post.

 

Why should we self-assess our classroom management style?

Classroom management basically involves organizing the activities of 25-35 young people. What a daunting task! Few teachers feel that they have mastered management and often when they do, an extremely challenging class comes along that disrupts their newfound self-efficacy.  Making improvements in one’s skill level typically involves some assessment of starting skill
level, establishing goals, and then determining specific steps, use of certain strategies, or other actions that one will take to achieve the goal(s). (indiana SACM)

It is important to determine your personal classroom management style and then to assess your skill level. Following is a simple questionnaire to help you get started. I feel it is better to answer the questions before reading about the different styles, so your answers are unbiased.

Instructions:

What is your classroom management profile?
Answer these 12 questions and learn more about your classroom management profile. The steps are simple:
* Read each statement carefully.
* Write your response, from the scale below, on a sheet of paper.
* Respond to each statement based upon either actual or imagined classroom experience.
* Then, follow the scoring instructions below. It couldn’t be easier!

1. = Strongly Disagree
2. = Disagree
3. = Neutral
4. = Agree
5. = Strongly Agree

(information from cbv.ns)

The wording of the questions has been modified slightly to suit the community college classroom.

(1) If a student is disruptive during class, I remove him/her from the classroom, without further discussion.

(2) I don’t want to impose any rules on my students.

(3) The classroom must be quiet in order for students to learn.

(4) I am concerned about both what my students learn and how they learn.

(5) If a student turns in a late homework assignment, it is not my problem.

(6) I don’t want to reprimand a student because it might hurt his/her feelings.

(7) Class preparation isn’t worth the effort.

(8) I always try to explain the reasons behind my rules and decisions.

(9) I will not accept excuses from a student who is tardy.

(10) The emotional well-being of my students is more important than classroom control.

(11) My students understand that they can interrupt my lecture if they have a relevant question.

(12) If a student requests to leave the room, I always honor the request.

(information from cbv.ns, with minor modifications)

Continue reading after you have provided a score for each question.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

To score your quiz, add your responses to statements 1, 3, and 9. This is your score for the authoritarian style.
Statements 4, 8 and 11 refer to the authoritative style.
Statements 6, 10, and 12 refer to the laissez-faire style.
Statements 2, 5, and 7 refer to the indifferent style.

The result is your classroom management profile. Your score for each management style can range from 3 to15. A high score indicates a strong preference for that particular style. After you have scored your quiz, and determined your profile, read the descriptions of each management style. You may see a little bit of yourself in each one.

As you gain teaching experience, you may find that your preferred style(s) will change. Over time, your profile may become more diverse or more focused. Also, it may be suitable to rely upon a specific style when addressing a particular situation or subject. Perhaps the successful teacher is one who can evaluate a situation and then apply the appropriate style. Finally, remember that the intent of this exercise is to inform you and arouse your curiosity regarding classroom management styles.

The classroom management styles are adaptations of the parenting styles discussed in Adolescence, by John T. Santrock.

(information from cbv.ns)

This questionnaire assumes four basic classroom management styles: authoritarian, authoritative, laissez-faire, and indifferent. We will explore their definitions, how they interact, and how they might affect a teaching performance.

It is important to remember that identifying your current style does not lock you into that style forever. You can make choices, make changes, and, as pointed out above, “evaluate a situation and then apply the appropriate style.” I suspect this is an excellent skill to have considering the variations in classroom “personalities” I have experienced.

Authoritarian Style

The authoritarian, “coercive”, or autocratic style of management is defined as:

characterized by numerous behavioral regulations, is often seen as punitive and restrictive, and students have neither a say in their management, nor are they seen to need explanations; the teacher’s character is sometimes perceived as being cold, even punishing. (phi.ilstu)

when a leader dictates policies and procedures, decides what goals are to be achieved, and directs and controls all activities without any meaningful participation by the subordinates. Such a leader has full control of the team, leaving low autonomy within the group. (Wikipedia authoritarian)

“If this style were summed up in one phrase, it would be ‘Do what I tell you.’” (fast company)

Some typical characteristics are:

• The leader tells and enforces
• Little feedback is sought or needed from team members
• Decisions on processes, tasks, goals are all created by the leader
• There is a sense that team members are rarely trusted with tasks and methods
• The leadership style points at a method of just getting the job done
• No real sense of empowerment normally morale can suffer in the long term

(educational business)

There are benefits to authoritarian management.

Most appropriately, if tasks have to be completed with great urgency and are time critical, setting clear tasks and expectations whilst making the decisions seems a logical step, as often there is no time for discussion. In such conditions, one needs structure, discipline and to get the job done.

… also if a team member’s skill for the task is very low or novice. In which case, giving clear direction and making the right decisions allows the person to focus on learning or applying their skills.

(educational business)

But there are downsides, too.

People that normally opt for this style regularly, can be seen as bossy, cold, and a dictator. …

Long term use of its use can also build to resentment and a feeling of festering, whereby those team members are never given a chance to grow, proceeding to the feeling of being undervalued and distrusted.

Research has indicated that due to the nature of an authoritarian leader, and that he/she makes decisions and controls the group, creative problem solving is often thwarted as a result.

(educational business)

Consider using this management style in these situations:

• When a task is urgent and needs to be completed quickly, with little time for thought and planning
• … Use this style when skills are in short supply and people need to be guided through a task or tasks with clarity and structure.
• Where there is little margin for error.
• When conditions are dangerous – rigid rules can keep people out of harm’s way.

(educational business)

Although the term “authoritarian” might carry a negative connotation, we can see from the descriptions and benefits that it is not necessarily a “wrong” approach to managing your classroom. Often, in my math classroom, I need to show my students a process and I need them to follow it precisely as shown. In this case, a “do what I tell you” attitude is exactly what is required. Students who are comfortable with this authoritarian style will recognize the value of following directions, whereas some students see my directions as “this is just the teacher’s opinion of what should be done” and often fail to complete the process.

Authoritative Style

Authoritative, “coaching,” or “selling” style,

is characterized by behavioral principles, high expectations of appropriate behavior, clear
statements about why certain behaviors are acceptable and others not acceptable, and warm
student-teacher relationships. (phi.ilstu)

is slightly less autocratic, it still requires a good degree of direction from the leader, whereby
he/she now begins to explain ideas and the reasons for such. This approach helps the
individual/team to start to develop their skills and reasoning. With this style, leaders begin to
sell their message to influence and develop the team. (educational business, situational)

“If this style were summed up in one phrase, it would be ‘Come with me.’” (fast company)

There are advantages to authoritative management.

The high level of student involvement that comes with authoritative management often fosters a high
level of student self-motivation. Encouraging discussions helps to build social competence. The
mixture of lecturing and class discussions makes it easy for the teacher to put variety into the
class period, which increases attentiveness. (scribd.com)

This teacher has a positive, kind and supportive relationship with her students, but they know when
she “means business.” Because she has an effective discipline plan and her classroom is orderly,
the students trust her and respect her. There is more time for academics. This teacher feels
empowered and energized because she sees positive growth and development in her students. Her
students feel safe as well as capable. (bridges4kids)

Such a combination aims at preventing problems, and also has the dual purpose of managing behaviour
in the short term and developing responsibility among pupils in the long term. (icsei.net)

is most clearly associated with appropriate student behavior (local.lsu)

And there are disadvantages, too.

It is least effective when teammates are defiant and unwilling to change or learn, or if the leader lacks proficiency. (fast company)

Many of the websites I visited while learning about the authoritative style were emphatic that this is the best management style of them all. Some were so sure that they described the other styles with negative or derogatory words. My interpretation is that it is a very good style for many classrooms because it gives the necessary structure for or control over student behavior while offering positive support for student learning. But I also see that not every teacher will have or want “warm student-teacher relationships” and my own experience is that some student groups won’t accept the effort they must put in if they accept a coaching or selling teaching style.

Laissez-faire Style

This is also known as the “indulgent” or “delegative” style.

“The laissez-faire teacher places few demand [sic] or controls on the students. ‘Do your own thing’ describes this classroom. This teacher accepts the student’s impulses and actions and is less likely to monitor their behavior.” (cbv.ns)

Loosely translated, laissez-faire means “let it be” or “leave it alone.”

Typical characteristics for laissez-faire managers are:

• They want students to like them and they want to be helpful, so they are warm and supportive but not very good at setting limits.
• Permissive teachers may focus on effort while de-emphasizing the quality of students’ productions.
• Disruptive behavior may be ignored or handled with weak, soft-spoken “reprimands” or pleading.
(bridges4kids)

The benefits of this style are:

• can be effective in situations where group members are highly skilled, motivated, and capable of working on their own. (verywell.com)
• can be used in situations where followers have a high-level of passion and intrinsic motivation for their work. (verywell.com)
• the learners are actively supported in their effort to seek their own needs using reasonable means (local.lsu)
• students often like this teacher (cbv.ns)

The disadvantages are:

• this overindulgent style is associated with students [sic] lack of social competence and self-control. It is difficult for students to learn socially acceptable behavior when the teacher is so permissive. (cbv.ns)
• With few demands placed upon them, these students frequently have lower motivation to achieve. (cbv.ns)
• not ideal in situations where group members lack the knowledge or experience they need to complete tasks and make decisions (verywell.com)

My initial reaction to this style was “Oh, no, I would not do this, ever.” However, I have had groups of students who were highly motivated to learn, and I realized that I had applied these techniques to them. It was fun to see them “take the wheel” with a project and apply their knowledge and experiences to completing it. What was interesting was seeing the natural leaders step up to guide the group and to provide their own corrections when someone got off task. This recollection reminded me that a good classroom manager finds the appropriate style for the group at hand. I have had other student groups where this technique would not have worked because the students were not as motivated or self-directed.

Indifferent Style

Typical characteristics of an indifferent or “permissive” teacher are:

• is not very involved in the classroom
• places few demands, if any, on the students and appears generally uninterested
• just doesn’t want to impose on the students. As such, he/she often feels that class preparation is not worth the effort
• will use the same materials, year after year
(cbv.ns)

Advantages:

• the students … enjoy a lot of freedom (local.lsu)
Disadvantages:
• classroom discipline is lacking. This teacher may lack the skills, confidence, or courage to discipline students.
• The students sense and reflect the teacher’s indifferent attitude. Accordingly, very little learning occurs. Everyone is just “going through the motions” and killing time.
• With few demands placed on them and very little discipline, students have low achievement motivation and lack self-control. (cbv.ns)

It was difficult to find anyone who listed an advantage to using this teaching style, and the site that did made me think that advantage was rather dubious. It appeared that everyone agreed it is not a desirable choice.

I hope I never use this style, but I can see how a teacher could come to choose it. When you are tired, when you have had your fill of student misbehavior, when life pulls you in so many directions you just don’t have the energy or time to pay attention to updating your curriculum; all of these can push you to indifference.

Teaching versus Parenting Styles

We saw at the end of the questionnaire text box that the labels for the four teaching styles have their origins with the four parenting styles. This article suggests a reason for it.

Whenever professors get together, you can bet that at least one of them will complain about students. The most common lament is that today’s students lack motivation, hold disrespectful attitudes, are irresponsible about completing assignments on time (or at all), are too dependent on their instructors, cheat on tests or plagiarize papers and feel entitled to good grades and special treatment simply because they come to class. These professors contrast today’s troublesome students with the honest, motivated, responsible, independent and humble students that they were back in the day. There is debate about whether unmotivated, dependent, irresponsible, dishonest and hyper-entitled students are more numerous now than in the past …, but there is no doubt that having such students in class can create problems for their professors. Whether they actually do create those problems depends to a great extent on the professor, which may explain why some classes seem to have so many more problematic students in them than others do.

Traditional wisdom suggests that the most potentially problematic students in higher education come from homes where parents either failed to properly socialize them or, more likely, coddled them, overprotected them and covered for them to such an extent that many entered kindergarten with an artificially inflated level of self-esteem, an underdeveloped sense of responsibility, overdeveloped sense of entitlement, minimal respect for authority and a readiness to blame others for their own shortcomings.

These behaviors and attitudes may be formed in childhood, but they are shaped further by social forces outside the home, including the teaching styles, which students encounter at all levels of education. Like parenting styles, there appear to be four main teaching styles, each of which reflects a different blend of teacher involvement and teacher discipline.
(apa.org parenting)

The author uses different terminology for two of the styles: “permissive-indulgent” for laissez-faire, “permissive-neglectful” for indifferent. He goes on to describe the behaviors children might develop from the four parenting styles.

Permissive-indulgent, permissive-neglectful and authoritarian parenting have all been associated with a variety of problematic personal, social and emotional characteristics that can play out in academic settings in the form of anxiety and low achievement, but also in irresponsibility, impulsivity, dependency, lack of persistence, unreasonable expectations and demands and dishonesty. Authoritative parenting tends to be associated with the most adaptive social, emotional and moral development and with the fullest expression of children’s intellectual capabilities. (apa.org parenting)

This made me consider my personal parenting style and compare it with my personal teaching style. I see overlaps between them and my attitudes towards a child’s and a student’s behavior.

He points out a specific parenting style as a possible culprit for poor student behavior:

parenting research is consistent with the notion that permissive-indulgent parenting may play a particularly significant role in laying the groundwork for many of the student behaviors and attitudes teachers in postsecondary education dislike so much. (apa.org parenting)

He then describes the various teaching styles. Those descriptions are very similar to the ones I listed above, however he does add to the description of permissive-indulgent:

• Permissive-indulgent teachers are deeply involved in teaching, and like helicopter parents, perhaps too much so. Though they are devoted to teaching, they fear doing anything that might create stress for students, stifle their personal growth or hurt their self-esteem.

• Often, their lectures and other class activities follow the convoy principle in that they are pitched and paced at a level that is appropriate for the slowest students.

• These teachers see students as children who need help and support to come to class, do their reading and get good grades, so they supplement their lectures with study sheets, PowerPoint slides, lecture notes, practice tests, rewards for coming to class and completing assigned reading and many other student support aids designed to make it difficult or impossible for anyone to fail.

• Some permissive-indulgent teachers allow students to influence the content of the course and may even offer a menu of testing options ranging from standard multiple-choice or essay exams to various kinds of papers, classroom presentations, posters and the like. Their goal is to allow students to choose the testing option that best suits their needs and preferences, including their perceived learning styles. They do so despite the fact that there is little or no scientific evidence that learning styles operate in a significant way, except as learning preferences.

• Although permissive-indulgent teachers establish course requirements and deadlines, they tend to be flexible in enforcing them and sometimes make special arrangements with, and allowances for, individual students on a case-by-case basis.

• They are eager to help students succeed, even if it means lowering standards for success, including by offering certain individuals extra credit opportunities. They spend countless hours working with students who ask for help.

• Of particular significance is their belief that students’ efforts to succeed are at least as deserving of reward as the outcome of those efforts, as embodied in test scores and other performance assessments. One observer invoked the addiction literature in describing these teachers as “co-dependent enablers” of their students’ lack of motivation, irresponsibility and other academic problems.

(apa.org parenting)

In fact, he offers a list of possible motivations for a teacher to choose this style:

• A permissive-indulgent style can protect a teacher’s self-esteem, too, because many such teachers believe that when students don’t do well it is mostly the teacher’s fault.

• A permissive-indulgent style also provides a way to avoid unpleasant conflicts over rules and grades, because the rules can so easily be bent, especially for the most demanding or apparently deserving students.

• permissive-indulgent teachers may expect that their style — especially if accompanied by a generous grading system — can enhance student evaluations and thus their chances for tenure, promotion and pay raises.

(apa.org parenting)

I find this enlightening, because I see a push to teach this way growing in the secondary education world and I see students arriving in my classroom with the expectation that I will do all these things for them. The idea that I should do everything for my students to keep them from failing has always struck me as wrong. There are advantages to knowing you can fail and there is much to be learned if you have to put in the time and effort to make your own study aids.

I truly do not want to be a “co-dependent enabler.”

In fact, I am drawn to his description of an authoritative teacher:

• Authoritative teachers, like authoritative parents, employ a blend of high involvement and firm but fair discipline.

• They care about their teaching and their students, but they reward outcome, not effort.

• These teachers see students as responsible adults, so although they are always willing to help, they are careful not to create dependency or to let themselves be exploited or manipulated.

• They reward academic success with praise as well as high grades, they encourage students to try harder when they need to, and they grant requests for special consideration only if disability or other circumstances clearly justify doing so under school policies.

• They think carefully about their rules and standards, announce them in advance, explain why they are necessary and enforce them consistently.

(apa.org parenting)

The author summarizes these observations here:

Assuming that differing teaching styles, like different parenting styles, have differing impacts, the permissive-indulgent style in particular may be serving to reinforce undesirable student attitudes and behaviors. In other words, permissive-indulgent professors should not be surprised if they always seem to have more than their fair share of problematic students. Parenting research, a small number of empirical studies on teaching styles in higher education … and the wisdom accumulated over the years by experienced teachers … suggest that an authoritative style is the one most likely to promote student learning, critical thinking and personal development and least likely to nurture student misbehavior. (apa.org parenting)

While reading this, I asked myself, “Why don’t all teachers use the authoritative style?” The author replies,

Some have simply not been exposed to authoritative teaching during their own educations, so they can’t emulate it. And even if they have seen this style in action, not everyone wants to be authoritative; other teaching styles might be better matched to their personalities or are more attractive because they require less effort. (apa.org parenting)

Teaching is a Performance Art

You can choose your teaching style and change it as needed. You should choose the one that is appropriate for the situation at hand. And you need to keep in mind how your behavior is influencing your students.

It has been said before and in all probability that the single most significant factor in a student’s learning is the teacher. This claim is attested by Ginott who declared that the decisive element in the classroom is the teacher. This is so since the teacher’s personal approach is primarily the factor that creates the climate and his or her daily mood makes the weather. A teacher therefore, possesses a tremendous power to make a student’s life miserable or joyous. Furthermore, a teacher can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration; can humiliate or humor, hurt or heal or can even humanize or dehumanize a learner, concluded Ginott. (local.lsu)

This as a huge responsibility but not an insurmountable one. I see teaching as a performance art. The teacher is the lead actor, and can influence the moods of the audience, AKA the students.

The process of maintaining a calm and productive classroom environment starts with the teacher. The action and attitudes of a teacher toward a student who is misbehaving can make the situation better or worse. Have you ever noticed that on a day that you are not feeling well, the students are more poorly behaved? Students look to the teacher for consistency and safety in the classroom. Some kids will become anxious and withdraw if it appears that a teacher cannot handle behavior problems. Other students, however, will retaliate if they feel a teacher is overreacting to a situation in a hostile and unnecessary way. (bridges4kids)

In choosing the most appropriate classroom management style, a teacher must see to it that such style must aid him/her in getting the tasks of teaching, marking, and assessment done excellently. Fiddler and Atton pointed out that teachers must perform satisfactorily in order to become effective in carrying out their tasks especially in teaching. This implies that a teacher should not be only concerned with his or her style in classroom management. Moreover, he/she must also be fully conscious of his/her performance in the classroom. (local.lsu)

In summary,

the classroom management process is purposive, that is, the teacher uses various managerial styles or approaches to achieve a well-defined, clearly identified purpose – the establishment and maintenance of those classroom conditions the teacher feels will facilitate effective and efficient instruction with students. (local.lsu)

Self-Assessment, Part Two

What follows are a series of questions you can utilize as a checklist for behaviors you want to have in your classroom. Some are more appropriate for one management style than another, so I recommend you skip the ones that don’t apply to you. I see using this list as a valuable tool to get me in the right mindset before the semester starts and also to get me back to the right mindset if I have dealt with problem students or a challenge in my personal life. It, quite possibly, can help me avoid becoming an “indifferent teacher.”

1. Maximize structure and predictability in the classroom

a) I establish and explicitly teach student procedures.
b) I arrange my room to maximize (teacher to-student) proximity and minimize crowding and distraction.
c) I actively supervise (move, scan, interact, reinforce).

2. Establish, teach, and positively state classroom expectations.

a) My rules are stated as “do’s” instead of “nos” or “don’ts.”
b) I actively involve students in establishing classroom rules.
c) I explicitly teach and review these expectations or classroom “rules” in the context of routines.

3. Managing behavior through effective instructional delivery

a) I conduct smooth and efficient transitions between activities.
b) I am prepared for lessons/activities (filler activities, materials readied, fluent presentation, clear directions).
c) I provide a clear explanation of outcomes/objectives.
d) I end lessons/activities with specific feedback.

4. Actively engage students in observable ways

a) I maximize multiple and varied opportunities for each student to respond during my instruction.
b) I engage my students in observable ways during teacher directed instruction (i.e., I use response cards, choral responding, votes, and other methods).
c) I frequently check for student understanding.

5. Evaluate Instruction

a) At the end of the activity, I know how many students have met the objective
b) I provide extra time and assistance for students who struggle.
c) I consider and note needed improvements (to lesson) for next time.

7. Use a continuum of strategies to acknowledge appropriate behavior

a) I provide specific and immediate contingent acknowledgement for academic and social behaviors (e.g., following expectations).
b) I also use multiple systems to acknowledge appropriate behavior (teacher reaction, group contingencies, behavior contracts, or token systems).
c) I use differential reinforcement strategies to address problem behavior.

8. Use a continuum of strategies to respond to inappropriate behavior

a) I provide specific, contingent, and brief error corrections (stating expected behavior) for academic and social errors.
b) In addition, I use the least restrictive procedure to discourage inappropriate behavior (non-verbals, proximity, teacher reaction, re-teaching, etc.) and proceed to more restrictive procedures.
c) I respond to inappropriate behavior in a calm, emotionally objective and business-like manner.

9. Developing caring and supportive relationships

a) I learn and use student names by the end of week 2.
b) I use explicit activities to learn about students.
c) I communicate with students/families before school starts and continue frequent contact.
d) I speak to students with dignity and respect—even when providing correction!

10. Teach about responsibility and provide opportunities for students to contribute to the good functioning of the classroom

a) I use general classroom procedures and student jobs to enhance student responsibility.
b) I provide students with self-control and self-monitoring strategies.
c) I provide social skills instruction and problem-solving strategies.
d) I provide specific activities for students to get to know one another and solve problems collaboratively.

All information from (indiana SACM). Item 6 was omitted as not applicable for a college classroom.

I recommend that you assess yourself on a scale of “need to do”, “need to improve” and “goal achieved” for all items you want to apply to your classroom. This can help you track your progress as well as identify your areas for improvement.

 

Cited web sites for “Self-Assessment”
Format:
reference name in text
link
access date

apa.org parenting
http://www.apa.org/ed/precollege/ptn/2013/09/parenting-teaching.aspx
2-Feb-18

bridges4kids
http://www.bridges4kids.org/articles/2005/8-05/Phelan7-05.html
31-Jan-18

cbv.ns
http://www.cbv.ns.ca/sstudies/gen3.html
25-Jan-18

educational business
http://www.educational-business-articles.com/authoritarian-leadership/
31-Jan-18

educational business, situational
http://www.educational-business-articles.com/situational-leadership-theory/
31-Jan-18

fast company
https://www.fastcompany.com/1838481/6-leadership-styles-and-when-you-should-use-them
31-Jan-18

icsei.net
http://www.icsei.net/icsei2011/Full%20Papers/0146_B.pdf
31-Jan-18

indiana SACM
indiana.edu/~pbisin/resources/ClassroomMgtSelfAssess.doc
30-Jan-18

local.lsu
http://local.lsu.edu.ph/institutional_research_office/publications/vol.13no.2/5.html
2-Feb-18

phi.ilstu
http://www2.phy.ilstu.edu/pte/311content/classmgt/mgtstyle.html
25-Jan-18

scribd.com
https://www.scribd.com/document/293007855/10-Qualities-of-Authoritative-Teacher
31-Jan-18

verywell.com
https://www.verywell.com/what-is-laissez-faire-leadership-2795316
1-Feb-18

Wikipedia authoritarian
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Authoritarian_leadership_style
31-Jan-18

Specific Teacher Skills

PDF version for download:  04 Specific Teacher Skills          04a Citations for Specific Teacher Skills

Teaching, in a nutshell!

The teacher … is expected to elicit work from students. Students in all subjects and activities must engage in directed activities which are believed to produce learning. Their behavior, in short, should be purposeful, normatively controlled, and steady; concerns with discipline and control, in fact, largely revolve around the need to get work done by immature, changeful, and divergent persons who are confined in a small space. (lib.dr.iastate)

Specifically, how do we do this? There are skills a teacher can have to achieve better classroom management and reduce student distractions. They fall under some general categories from (edglossary).

Behavior

• the ability to monitor student behavior provides an awareness of what happens at all times in the classroom which prevents potential problems escalating into serious distractions (lib.dr.iastate)
• the ability to do more than one thing at the same time (lib.dr.iastate)
• willing to assume responsibility for solving problems (lib.dr.iastate)
• is always alert to opportunities that promote student self-discipline (lib.dr.iastate)
• using erect posture … not timid, and remain confident and just (Wikipedia Classroom Management)
• [using] the appropriate tone of voice depending on the situation … do not use an abrasive, sarcastic, or hostile tone when disciplining students (Wikipedia Classroom Management)
• taking care not to ignore inappropriate behavior by taking action (Wikipedia Classroom Management)

Environment

• the impression that the teacher creates as a “helping person” (lib.dr.iastate)
• orchestrate smooth transitions between activities [to] prevent the potential for distraction (lib.dr.iastate)
• planning the time available (thoughtco)

Expectations

• set high expectations for student behavior and for academics (thoughtco)
• explicit in communicating expectations (lib.dr.iastate)

Activities

• to challenge students with a variety of activities that generate interest and enthusiasm (lib.dr.iastate)
• establish a consistent, daily routine that begins as soon as students enter the classroom (edglossary)
• use long-term, solution-oriented approaches concentrating on helping students understand and cope with conflicts or problems that caused their inappropriate behaviors (lib.dr.iastate)
• specific corrective feedback was applied to students who misbehaved (lib.dr.iastate)
• redirected those either confused or inattentive back to the lesson at hand (lib.dr.iastate)

Improving Student Behaviors

We’ll start with techniques designed to improve the way your students, as a group, behave in your classroom.

One technique is called the “How Not” strategy.

The “how not” strategy is so powerful because it clarifies for students exactly what unacceptable behavior looks like, and they’ll immediately recognize it. In fact, when you use this strategy, you’ll find your students laughing and nodding their heads knowingly.

Some of its power comes from its entertaining qualities. When you use the “how not” strategy, your students will be fully engaged. They may even clamor for you to teach it again.
After using detailed modeling to demonstrate a specific part of your plan, or a certain classroom procedure, model how not to do it.

Ham it up and have fun with it.
The more you exaggerate the unwanted behavior, the more memorable it will be for your students.

The “how not” strategy works so well because it points out the absurdity of poor behavior.

Seeing things from a different perspective changes the way students view their world. Allow your students to see what their poor behavior looks like and how it affects others, and it will hit home like no other classroom management strategy.
(smart classroom improve)

While I am not certain I would use this technique for every behavior I want my students to have, it certainly might work well for certain issues, like “how to behave when you arrive late to class.”

Another is called “A Simple Way to Improve Listening”.

Stand in one place.

Find a spot in your room where your students can see you without turning in their seats. Pause there a moment and ask for their attention. You’ll not only give your directions from here, but you’ll stay in this spot until they’re finished following them.

Give your directions once.

After receiving their quiet attention, give the directions you want them to follow one time—which is the key the strategy. Speak in a normal voice, erring on the side of too softly than too loudly.

Let them flounder.

The first time you use this strategy your students may struggle. How much they struggle will be an indicator of how bad things have gotten and how readily they disregard the sound of your voice. Go ahead and let them be confused and unsure of what to do.

Remain motionless.

Resist the urge to jump in and repeat yourself, cajole, or talk them through what you want them to do. Just stand in place and observe. Reveal nothing in terms of what you’re doing or why you’re doing it.

Let your leaders take over.

Slowly, leaders will emerge to either model for the others what to do or speak up and do the cajoling and repeating for you. This is good. Allow them to take on this responsibility.

Wait.

Don’t move or say anything until they’re finished following your directions and quiet. Pause for 30 seconds or so to let the lesson sink in.

Give the next direction.

When you’re satisfied that all of the science folders are out on their desks, or whatever direction was given, give your next direction. The second time should be noticeably better—faster, sharper, and needing fewer leaders.

Continue giving directions once.

If the second direction went better than the first, then you’re on the right track. Go ahead and give another. Eventually, and as long as you’re giving directions only one time, you’ll be able to increase the complexity.

Make it practice in the beginning.

You may want your first foray into this directions-only-once strategy to be practice. Start slow. Ask your students to do one simple thing—like clear their desks. In time, your students will be able to follow multiple step directions with ease.

If the first time is a disaster . . .

If the first time you try this strategy your students are unable to get it completed (arguing, confusion, disharmony), that’s okay. All hope isn’t lost. Simply ask for and wait for their attention, then start over from the beginning. They’ll get it.

Why It Works

Students become poor listeners when they know they don’t have to listen.

You see, when they know you’ll repeat yourself and hold their hand through every direction and every lesson, they have no reason to listen.

When they haven’t been forced—or even allowed—to think for themselves, when they’re unburdened by any responsibility to pay attention, they tune out. They daydream. They let life happen to them.

It’s human nature.

But when you give directions only one time, and your students know that that’s all they’re getting, then they learn quite naturally, automatically even, to tune in to the sound of your voice.

They learn to listen for what you want.

And each time you use this strategy, which isn’t so much a strategy as the way things ought to be, more and more students will come on board. More and more students will become less dependent on you and more dependent on themselves.

Habits will change.

Maturity and independence will grow.

And listening will become a matter of routine.

(smart classroom simple)

This harks back to the classroom management styles, where you don’t want to be a co-dependent enabler. It also sets students up well for the next class they take and even for their jobs and careers.

I think the first direction to give is to get them to pay attention to you in the first place. That looks like a good starting point, especially for the first day of class. Here is a suggested technique:

The ability to ask for and receive your students’ attention is crucial.

It’s crucial because it saves precious learning time. It improves listening and performance.

It allows you to give instruction anytime you need to and know that it will be heard and understood.

Step 1: Explain why.

It’s good practice to explain why what you’re asking of your students is important and worth practicing—in all areas of classroom management.

This is a critical step in motivating them to not only go along with your expectations, but to agree with them on the basis that they make the classroom better and more enjoyable.

This underscores the importance of selling not just your lessons, but anything and everything you want your students to be able to do well.

Step 2: Choose a signal.

Many teachers prefer train whistles, bells, and other manufactured sounds to signal for attention.

And although these can work fine (as long as you remain in the classroom), your voice is a better option—because it will help develop the habit of listening attentively whenever you speak.
It will develop the habit of consistently following your directions.

It’s an act of respect that will affect how they view you as the leader of the classroom. I recommend a simple: “Can I have your attention please?”

Step 3: Expect an immediate response.

The biggest mistake teachers make is allowing students more time than they need to respond. This is key.

When you frame your expectations in any terms other than immediate, your students will push their response time back further and further.

The result is that you’ll be waiting for their attention for increasingly longer periods of time until, at some point, they just won’t bother.

By expecting your students to be looking and listening to you before you even get to the end of your sentence, you’ll never have to wait and rarely have to reteach.

Step 4: Model it.

Your students need to see exactly what giving you their attention looks like. To that end, sit at a student’s desk and pretend you’re working independently or as part of a group.

You may also want to model other common scenarios like, for example, if they’re up and getting a tissue or playing a learning game or rotating through centers.

Have a student play the part of the teacher while you engage in the activity. Upon their signal, stop what you’re doing, turn your body to face them, and listen without moving.

You’re setting your expectations and thus should model precisely what you want. Adding how not to do it is also a good idea.

Step 5: Make practice fun.

Practicing routines and expectations with a spirit of fun will always result in greater buy-in.

If you give your students something silly to say while they’re pretending to work in groups, or engaged in other scenarios, learning will be faster, deeper, and longer lasting.

Any nonsensical phrase will do. In the past, I’ve used “hey, hey, whaddya say,” “murmur, murmur,” and “blah, blah, blah,” as well as a few others. The goofier, the better.

Allow them to talk for 30 seconds or so, and then ask for their attention. Practice until they’re able to be still, silent, and looking at you in less than two seconds.

Everything Easier

It’s best to put the routine into play as soon as possible.

(smart classroom attention)

The next technique addresses students talking on the side.

Side-talking can be especially frustrating because, although it’s done out of earshot, it’s remarkably disruptive.

When your students turn their attention away from you and to a neighbor, they miss important instruction and learning time …

It can also delay them from getting their independent work done and distract them from deeper understanding. Furthermore, side-talking begets more side-talking, as students catch the contagion and pass it along to others.

Ignoring the problem just isn’t an option.

You can certainly enforce a consequence, but an oft-repeated and valid complaint from teachers is that it can be difficult to determine who exactly is doing the side-talking and who is merely listening or asking the other to stop.

1. Define it.

Before you can begin fixing the problem of side-talking, you must define it for your students. They need to know specifically what your definition of side-talking is and what it looks like.

There may be times when you allow it—or a form of it. If so, your students need to know when those times are and what appropriate side-talking looks like. Modeling all forms—right and wrong, appropriate and not—is key to their understanding.

2. Provide them a tool.

Once your students are clear about what side-talking is, and when it is and isn’t okay, the next step is to empower them with a tool they can use to curb inappropriate side-talking on their own and without saying a word.

The tool you’ll show them is a simple hand gesture they’ll display to whoever attempts to side-talk with them during a lesson, while immersed in independent work, or whenever you deem unacceptable.

3. Teach them how to use it.

As long as it isn’t culturally offensive, any sign or motion of the hand will do. Crossing the first two fingers and shaking lightly is a good way to go. It’s a gesture conspicuous enough for you to see from across the room and all students can perform it easily.

To show how it works, sit at a student’s desk or in a table group while your class is circled around. Pretend to be focused on your work or a lesson when a classmate leans in to interrupt. Quickly and pleasantly show your signal and then turn back to whatever you were doing.

4. Practice politeness.

It’s important to emphasize that the gesture is nothing more than a polite reminder to a friend. It’s like saying, “I’m sorry, but I can’t talk right now.” It isn’t aggressive or angry and it should never accompany any talking or admonition.

Pair students up or put them in groups and have them practice, reminding them to use pleasant facial expressions and body language. Show them precisely and thoroughly how it’s done this first time, and they won’t do it any other way.

Be sure and also practice the appropriate response when on the receiving end of the gesture. Namely, a quick nod of the head and then back to fulfilling their responsibilities.

This simple, nonverbal communication between two students attacks the problem at the source and sends the message, each time its given, that interrupting a fellow student during critical listening or independent learning time is off limits.

And because it comes from within, it is a powerful deterrent.

(smart classroom curb)

One thing you, as instructor, will have to do before implementing this technique is decide when it is and is not appropriate to have side-talking. Think about your experiences both as student and teacher. Then make a list and label them as acceptable and not.

Next up is the idea of using pauses in your talking to help students learn and focus.

One of the most common errors teachers make when presenting lessons, providing directions, or otherwise addressing students is to string sentences together with very little gap between them.

In other words, the teacher will move from one thought, idea, or bit of information to the next without delay—often filling the gaps with ands, ums, likes, and meaningless words.

It’s how most of us speak in our day-to-day life.

But the negative effect it can have on students, and on your ability to keep their attention, is substantial. You see, bridging phrases together without allowing your students time to absorb them makes you uninteresting and difficult to follow.

It causes students to turn their attention away from you and toward the daydreams, distractions, and misbehavior opportunities around them.

A simple way to correct this problem, and at the same time become a more effective teacher, is to include frequent, and at times even lengthy, pauses in your speech.

Here’s why these little gems of silence are so powerful:

They’re predictive.

Anticipating answers and outcomes improves learning, and when you pause, your students will instinctively predict what you’re going to say next. You can use this instinct to your advantage by pausing before revealing important ideas, words, theories, or points of emphasis.

They build suspense.

When used strategically, a pause creates suspense and curiosity in the listener, causing them to sit up straighter and lean in closer. It can make the most mundane information seem interesting and worth listening to—making easier a critical skill many teachers struggle with.

They add depth and drama.

Pausing can be as important as content when presenting lessons. With the right timing and pace—and a bit of attitude—it can infuse your words and the visualizations you create with depth and drama, flair and emotion. It can help bring your curriculum to life, giving it the punch and energy it needs to matter to your students.

They discourage misbehavior.

Speaking without intentional pausing sounds like droning to students, who are quick to lose interest, grow bored, and misbehave. An occasional two or three second pause breaks up the familiar tone of your voice, keeps students on their toes, and helps them stay checked in and on task.

They allow you to adjust.

A pause gives you a moment to quickly assess your students’ understanding. It allows you to make eye contact, stay in touch, and make adjustments to your teaching along the way. It trains you to be sensitive to their needs and attuned to their nonverbal reactions to your lessons.

They help your students retain information.

An occasional pause, if for only a second or two, breaks ideas, theories, and directives into chunks, allowing them to sink in before your students are rushed along to the next thing. This improves memory and understanding and gives your students a framework from which to build upon more learning.

It’s The Simple Things

There are no hard and fast rules about when, how often, or how long you should pause. You learn and become better and nimbler at using them through experience.

At first, pausing just a couple of seconds may seem like a long time. It may feel strange and uncomfortable—even for your students.

But in time, you’ll love the impact it has on your teaching.

You’ll find yourself speaking with more confidence—using your body and facial expressions more, becoming more dynamic and more willing to take chances with storytelling, playacting, and the like.

Your words will have more power. Your lessons will prove more effective. Your students will be more attentive and more interested in you—and less interested in misbehaving.

Like much of classroom management, it is the simple things—the tried and true—when applied consistently, day after day, and perfected over time . . .

That adds up to great teaching.

(smart classroom pause)

I have noticed that pausing after I say something important often gives students a chance to ask a question – and that question addresses the very next point I plan on making. Not only does this help me assess student learning, but it gives me the opportunity to point out to the student what a great question it is.

Another important aspect of improving student behavior is setting limits. The advice here is insightful and specific, and helps set the right attitude for creating and stating those limits.

• Setting a limit is not the same as issuing an ultimatum.
Limits aren’t threats—If you don’t attend group, your weekend privileges will be suspended.

Limits offer choices with consequences—If you attend group and follow the other steps in your plan, you’ll be able to attend all of the special activities this weekend. If you don’t attend group, then you’ll have to stay behind. It’s your decision.

  • The purpose of limits is to teach, not to punish.

Through limits, people begin to understand that their actions, positive or negative, result in predictable consequences. By giving such choices and consequences, staff members provide a structure for good decision making.

  • Setting limits is more about listening than talking.

Taking the time to really listen to those in your charge will help you better understand their thoughts and feelings. By listening, you will learn more about what’s important to them, and that will help you set more meaningful limits.

(cpi setting limits)

The same site offers a five-step approach to limit setting.  They offer it as “a productive way to deal with out-of-control individuals,” but I see it as a way to deal with any individual who needs to understand societal rules and norms.

  1. Explain which behavior is inappropriate.

Saying “Stop that!” may not be enough. The person may not know if you are objecting to how loudly he is talking or objecting to the language that he is using. Be specific.

  1. Explain why the behavior is inappropriate.

Again, don’t assume that the person knows why her behavior is not acceptable. Is she disturbing others? Being disrespectful? Not doing a task she’s been assigned?

  1. Give reasonable choices with consequences.

Instead of issuing an ultimatum (“Do this or else”), tell the person what his choices are, and what the consequences of those choices will be. Ultimatums often lead to power struggles because no one wants to be forced to do something. By providing choices with consequences, you are admitting that you cannot force his decision. But you can determine what the consequences for his choices will be.

  1. Allow time.

Generally, it’s best to allow the person a few moments to make her decision. Remember that if she’s upset, she may not be thinking clearly. It may take longer for her to think through what you’ve said to her.

  1. Be prepared to enforce your consequences.

Limit setting is meaningless if you don’t consistently enforce the consequences you’ve set. For that reason, it’s important to set consequences that are reasonable, enforceable, within your authority, and within the policies and procedures of your facility or school.

Limits are powerful tools for teaching appropriate behavior. Their purpose is not to show who’s boss, but to give the individuals in your charge guidance, respect, and a feeling of security.

(cpi setting limits)

Improving You, The Teacher

These techniques are designed to help you manage your class and make your teaching life easier in the long run.

The first is considering the way you speak to your students.

It’s common for teachers to bemoan the state of listening in their classroom.

Rarely will they look inward and analyze their own practice.

They assume that students either listen well or they don’t, and that they have little to do about it.

But the truth is, you have a profound effect on listening.

Consistency, temperament, likability, clarity, presentation skills, and even tidiness are all important factors.

There are also strategies that can improve listening almost instantaneously, which you can find in our archive.

But one of the most important factors is how you speak when giving directions. What follows are three simple changes that can make a big difference.

  1. Talk less.

Most teachers talk too much. Their voice is a looping soundtrack to every day—reminding, warning, micromanaging, and guiding students through every this and that.

If you cut the amount of talking you do by a third, and focus only on what your students need to know, then what you say will have greater impact.

Your words will reach their intended destination, and your students will begin tuning you in rather than tuning you out.

  1. Lower your voice.

It’s common to increase your volume to get students to listen better. But a loud voice is unpleasant and too easy to hear. It causes them to look away and busy themselves with other things.

When you lower your voice, however, and speak just loud enough for students in the back of the room to hear, they instinctively lean in. They stop moving and rustling.

They read your lips, facial expressions, and body language. By requiring a small amount of effort, your students will listen more intently.

  1. Stop repeating.

When you repeat the same directions over and over, you train your students not to listen to you the first time. You encourage apathy and lighten their load of responsibility.

Saying it once creates urgency. It motivates action and causes students to stay locked in to the sound of your voice.

It also invests them in their learning. They begin to understand that education isn’t something that is done to them. Rather, it’s something they go out and get for themselves.

Stay The Course

If you’re struggling with listening, the above strategies will do wonders. At first, however, they may cause things to get worse.

Because your students have grown accustomed to you taking on the burden for their listening, they may very well ignore you.

They may become even slower to action.

This is normal. It tells you how far learned helplessness has taken root in your classroom. But once they feel the shift in responsibility from you to them, they’ll begin to change.

They’ll begin looking at you, tracking your movements, and anticipating what you want them to do next.

They’ll begin nodding their heads and eagerly completing your directions.

They’ll become empowered to do for themselves because responsibility feels good. It’s important. It fills with pride.

It makes good listeners.

(smart classroom speaking)

A related technique is how you conduct yourself in your classroom:  stage presence.

There is a common misconception that you must have a big presence to be an effective leader.

You must psych yourself up, throw your shoulders back, and move boldly among your students.

Your voice must boom.

Your walk must swagger.

Your eyes must squint and narrow in on your charges.

And while classroom presence is important, it isn’t born of overconfidence, forcefulness, or aggression.

It’s born of gentleness.

Here’s why:

Gentleness is respected.

21st-century students respond best to a calm, even-handed approach to classroom management. They appreciate honesty and kindness. They respect it, and thus, are quick to listen and please their teacher.

The older the students are, the more this is true.

Gentleness lowers stress.

Without saying a word, a gentle presence removes classroom stress, tension, and anxiety. It soothes and alleviates excitability and distraction—which are two major causes of misbehavior.

It equals a happier, more productive classroom.

Gentleness curtails pushback.

Enforcing consequences calmly and consistently diminishes the possibility that your students will argue, complain, or lie to you about their misbehavior.

Instead, they’ll quietly take responsibility.

Gentleness builds rapport.

When you carry yourself with a gentle demeanor, you become more likable to your students. In fact, it’s an easy and predictable way to build powerful leverage, influence, and rapport.

Which makes everything easier.

Gentleness feels good.

Beginning each morning with a poised, easygoing manner will make you a lot happier. Inconveniences won’t get on your nerves. Difficult students won’t get under your skin.

You’ll be refreshed at the end of every day.

Gentleness Isn’t Weakness

Weakness is when you lose emotional control.

It’s when you lecture, berate, and admonish students instead of following your classroom management plan.

It’s when you take misbehavior personally.

Gentleness, on the other hand, is strong. It’s capable and confident. It says that you’re in control and that your students can relax and focus on their responsibilities.

This doesn’t mean your lessons won’t be dynamic and passionate. It doesn’t mean you won’t be enthusiastic or you won’t demand excellence from your students.

Gentleness isn’t sleepiness. Nor is it afraid and cowering in a corner.

It’s a calm, reassuring approach to managing your classroom that communicates to every student that you’re a leader worth following.

Martin Luther King Jr. was gentle. So were Rosa Parks and Abraham Lincoln.

And so are the happiest and most effective teachers on earth.

(smart classroom gentleness)

Have you ever given your students “the look”?  Here is an argument against that strategy.  Note that this is different from making eye contact with your students, which can be a beneficial move.

It’s a popular strategy.

You notice two students talking and giggling during a lesson, for example.

So you move into their field of vision and give them “the look.”

You deliver the old evil eye.

You communicate with your piercing stare and tight lips that you dislike what they’re doing.

That they better cut it out, or else.

Which may indeed stop them from continuing to disrupt your lesson.

The problem, however, is that the strategy causes more misbehavior in the future.

Here’s why:

It’s antagonistic.

Whenever you glare at students, or otherwise try to intimidate them into behaving, you create a you-against-them relationship.

You make it personal. You give the impression that not only are you angry, but you dislike them personally. After all, when someone gives a dirty look, that’s the natural conclusion—especially with children.

It causes private hurt and resentment and ultimately results in you having far less influence over their behavior choices.

It’s confusing.

When you give a “look,” you have no way of knowing whether your students understand what it means. They may not even be sure you’re looking at them or what behavior you’re referring to.

Short of saying, “Hey Emily, I gave you that look earlier because you weren’t on task,” chances are they’ll be confused.

Effective classroom management requires you to communicate clearly with your students, to tell them directly how they transgressed the rules and what will happen as a result.

It’s inconsistent.

When you promise to follow your classroom management plan, but then go back on your word and glare instead, you send the message that you can’t be trusted.

Furthermore, the use of intimidation, no matter how mild it seems in the moment, isn’t accountability. It doesn’t result in students taking responsibility or vowing to do better in the future.

It just makes them angry and emboldened to misbehave behind your back. A leader worth following is someone who does what they say they’re going to do.

No Friction

Giving a “look” is another in a long line of strategies that can curb misbehavior in the moment, but that make classroom management more difficult down the line.

Sadly, this strategy is recommended by more than a few educational “experts.” It’s passed around as a viable solution because, by golly, it gets Robert back on track.

But now Robert can’t stand his teacher and has little motivation to push himself academically.

To create a peaceful learning environment that frees you to be the inspiring and influential teacher you were meant to be, you must be able to hold your students accountable without causing friction.

You must follow your classroom management plan as its written and give them an opportunity to take responsibility all on their own—without your dirty looks, lectures, or two cents.

In this way, you maintain your likability and influence. You safeguard your relationships. You create a world that makes sense, a world your students love being part of.

A world where you can teach without disruption.

(smart classroom the look)

What about student accountability?  I have no problem expecting my students to be responsible for their choices but then I worry about how this could make me a “mean teacher” and have groups of students running to the dean about it.

Building rapport is one of the secrets to reaching, influencing, and then transforming the most difficult students and classrooms.

But it can also be a source of confusion.

Many teachers become so committed to this one important strategy that they lose perspective. They go too far. They venture beyond effective means of building rapport and into unhealthy deference.

Before long they’re kowtowing to students—bargaining, giving in, walking on eggshells, and looking the other way in the face of misbehavior.

They fear that if they truly hold them accountable, the relationship will suffer. Their students won’t like them anymore, and they’ll lose the precious influence they’ve worked so hard to achieve.

But it isn’t true.

In fact, when you let misbehavior go without a consequence, when you let poorly followed routines slide and difficult students off the hook, you lose influence. You never gain it.

Without fixed and faithfully defended boundary lines of behavior, without sky-high expectations for courteousness and respect, without detailed, here’s-how-we-do-it instruction backed by fair accountability, your students will disregard you.

It doesn’t matter how kind and understanding you are. It doesn’t matter how sympathetic or friendly or funny. It doesn’t matter if you shower them with the love of ten people.

If you fear accountability, your students will walk all over you. They’ll become flippant and blasé, brazen and disrespectful. They’ll become too cool for school and absolutely, positively too cool for you.

They’ll view you not as a leader worth looking up to, but as a weak-kneed peer they can manipulate and dismiss with a wave of the hand. Of course, not all students will behave this way, but the tone and tenor of your classroom will surely reflect this inescapable truth.

One of the most overlooked aspects of building a strong relationship with students is your ability to protect them from disruption, disorder, chaos, and the like. It’s your ability to engender confidence that when they come to school, you’ve got their back.

Although important, building rapport isn’t all about likability. It’s also about strength and leadership. It’s about doing what you say you will and safeguarding every student’s right to learn and enjoy school.

It’s about doing what is best for them and their learning—which may entail redoing routines and procedures. It may entail being late for recess to reteach how to work in groups. It may entail sending a student to time-out during the coolest lesson of the week.

Yes, they may grumble and complain under their breath. They may sigh and look to the heavens. They may practice walking in line for the second time in a row like they’re heading for the gallows.

But they know deep down that coming from you it’s justified.

It’s right and true and one of the reasons why your classroom is the best and happiest they’ve ever been part of. It also reflects a world that makes sense, that resonates with the innate truth of right and wrong etched upon every heart.

In the hands of a fair and consistent teacher, accountability works. It works in the suburbs and in the inner city. It works in the backwoods, the small town, and the largest metropolis.

It prepares students for what is required for success in school and beyond. It teaches, it protects, it humbles in the healthiest, most wonderful way.

(smart classroom accountability)

Many teachers I’ve spoken to for this project have said it is important to “pick your battles.”  Here is an argument against it.

The idea behind this popular strategy is that if you get involved in every misbehavior, then you’ll find yourself in an argument, a confrontation, or a battle of which you have little time for.

The thinking is that it isn’t worth the stress and trouble, that it may even cause behavior to get worse. Better to ignore the little things and respond only to serious or more disruptive infractions.

It’s often cited as a good strategy to use with certain students, particular classrooms, or even as a general rule of thumb with all students.

But here’s the thing, the straight scoop: Picking your battles will prevent you from ever turning around difficult students or creating the well-behaved classroom you really want.

Here’s why.

It causes resentment.

Choosing to respond to misbehavior sometimes and not others breeds resentment—because it’s unfair and students know it. From their perspective it looks like you’re playing favorites. Why does he get away with talking during lessons and I don’t? It’s a question every student will ponder and grumble over.

You’ll lose trust.

Whenever you fail to follow your classroom management plan as promised, your integrity takes a hit. Trust is key to developing likability, respect, and an easy rapport with your students. Without it, you won’t have the influence you need to effectively manage your classroom.

It’s confrontational.

When teachers speak of picking their battles, they’re referring to having a confrontation. In other words, they intend to lecture, scold, question, or otherwise persuade students into compliance. It’s often ugly, always personal, and catastrophic to the critical student-teacher relationship.

It encourages arguing.

Because it’s personal, few students will take your third degree without a response. It’s a battle, after all, and they’re going to fight back. This might include lying, talking back, offering excuses and denials, and a silent promise to misbehave again the first chance they get.

Note: Many difficult students have become so battle weary and sensitive that they’ll argue at even the slightest, gentlest correction.

It causes disrespect.

Teachers often “pick their battles” with students who are prone to disrespect. But inconsistency and confrontation are like adding fuel to the fire. Together, they all but cause disrespect by poking, prodding, and frustrating your most challenging students into angry and contemptuous behavior.

You’ll be tested.

As soon as your students see evidence of inconsistency, they’ll begin testing you at every turn. It is among the most predictable of student behaviors. Unfixed boundary lines lose their effectiveness, and with it, you lose your ability to fairly and without drama hold your students accountable.

It’s unnerving to students.

How does one go about picking battles? Is it based on the severity of the misbehavior, who is doing the misbehaving, the teacher’s mood at the time? The truth is, leaving classroom management so haphazardly defined causes tension and anxiety and creates a climate students don’t want to be part of.

Never A Need To Battle

With confrontation and inconsistency equal parts of the toxic brew, picking your battles is like shooting yourself in the foot and pulling the rug out from under yourself at the same time. It’s a circus gaffe that has somehow become common, even sage, advice.

To build and maintain your trust, rapport, and likability, to be respected and looked up to, to manage your classroom effectively and gracefully, you must never “pick your battles.” Or engage in battles whatsoever.

For there is no need, not with a well-taught classroom management plan to do the heavy lifting for you. Let it be your statement of accountability. Let it define and defend your boundary lines of behavior.

Let it free you from the arguments and confrontations, the wasted time and the stress of picking your battles. Let it safeguard your influence, protect your relationships, and restore peace and fairness to your classroom.

In other words, let it do its job.

(smart classroom battles)

What I like about this argument is that it enforces the idea that there should never be a battle in the first place.  Correct the behavior and go on teaching.  Be gentle, be fair, talk calmly, and avoid escalation.

 

One website gives a very good idea for helping a teacher keep calm and enforce the rules:

It’s a simple analogy, but it helps clarify how best to hold students accountable.

The advice is this: When enforcing consequences, think like a referee.

A referee’s job is to make sure players abide by the agreed-upon rules of the game. That’s it. They make no judgments or decisions of their own accord.

They have a rule book that lays out the parameters of the game, and they pledge to follow it to the letter.

They watch the action closely, and when they see a foul or penalty, they blow their whistle and apply the specified consequence. It’s automatic, something they do without pause or timidity.

A good referee is defined by their calm and consistent adherence to the rule book—the purpose of which is to make the game safe and fair for all participants.

When a good referee is in charge of a game, play is smooth, competitive, and representative of good sportsmanship.

(smart classroom keep cool)

What Not to Do

All the techniques discussed so far may or may not be applicable to you and your classroom.  However, you might still have management issues.  Below is a discussion of how classroom management should work and also a checklist of things you shouldn’t do, just in case you haven’t noticed yourself doing them.

Classroom management shouldn’t feel difficult.

If you’re straining, trying hard, and feeling heavy burdened, if you’re stressed-out and exhausted at the end of the day, then something is amiss.

You see, exceptional classroom management is knowledge based, not effort based.

It’s knowing what works and putting it into action and what doesn’t and discarding it.

It’s letting proven strategies do the heavy lifting for you, giving you the confidence to take any group of students, no matter how challenging or unruly, and transform them into the class you really want.

Done right, classroom management should feel liberating. In large part, this feeling of liberation comes from what you don’t have to do.

Below is a list of 50 ineffective, stressful, and burdensome methods of classroom management.

Some are myths. Some are misconceptions. And others you just may feel like you have no choice but to do.

But the truth is, by replacing them with what really works, with what really results in a happy, well-behaved classroom, you’re gloriously free to pitch them all on the scrap heap.

50 Things You Don’t Have To Do

  1. You don’t have to lecture, yell, or scold.
  2. You don’t have to micromanage.
  3. You don’t have to ignore misbehavior.
  4. You don’t have to be unlikable.
  5. You don’t have to tolerate call-outs and interruptions.
  6. You don’t have to use bribery.
  7. You don’t have to walk on eggshells around difficult students.
  8. You don’t have to give false praise.
  9. You don’t have to send students to the office.
  10. You don’t have to implore your students to pay attention.
  11. You don’t have to say things you don’t truly believe.
  12. You don’t have to be humorless, stern, or overly serious.
  13. You don’t have to repeat yourself over and over again.
  14. You don’t have to work on building community.
  15. You don’t have to beg or coax or convince your students into behaving.
  16. You don’t have to waste time and attention on difficult students.
  17. You don’t have to do more or say more to have better control.
  18. You don’t have to show anger or lose your cool.
  19. You don’t have to lower your behavior standards.
  20. You don’t have to talk so much, so often, or so loud.
  21. You don’t have to have an antagonistic or demanding relationship with difficult students.
  22. You don’t have to shush your students or ask repeatedly for quiet.
  23. You don’t have to give frequent reminders and exhortations.
  24. You don’t have to show hurt or disappointment to get your message across.
  25. You don’t have to guide, direct, or handhold your students through every moment of the day.
  26. You don’t have to be thought of as a “mean” teacher.
  27. You don’t have to use threats or intimidation to get students to behave.
  28. You don’t have to have friction or resentment between you and any of your students.
  29. You don’t have to use behavior contracts to turn around difficult students.
  30. You don’t have to give over-the-top or gratuitous praise.
  31. You don’t have to plead with your students to follow your directions.
  32. You don’t have to use different strategies for different students.
  33. You don’t have to tolerate a noisy, chaotic, or unruly classroom.
  34. You don’t have to talk over your students or move on until you’re ready.
  35. You don’t have to accept being disrespected, cursed at, or ignored.
  36. You don’t have use complicated classroom management methods.
  37. You don’t have to be fearful of holding your students strictly accountable.
  38. You don’t have to hold time-consuming community circles or hashing-out sessions.
  39. You don’t have to be negative or critical to motivate your students.
  40. You don’t have to cover up your personality or hold back from having fun.
  41. You don’t have to tolerate arguing and talking back.
  42. You don’t have to ask two or three times or more for your students’ attention.
  43. You don’t have to offer praise for expected behavior.
  44. You don’t have to rely on parents, the principal, or anyone else to turn around difficult students.
  45. You don’t have to be overbearing or suffocating to have excellent control.
  46. You don’t have to give incessant talking-tos to difficult and disrespectful students.
  47. You don’t have to ask students why they misbehaved or force assurances from them.
  48. You don’t have to have a boring, no-fun classroom to keep a lid on whole-class misbehavior.
  49. You don’t have to be tense, tired, and sick of dealing with misbehavior.
  50. You never, ever have to be at the mercy of your students.

(smart classroom not to do)

 

 

Cited web sites for “Specific Teacher Skills”

Format:

reference name in text
link
access date

 

cpi setting limits
http://webcourses.csc4learning.com/CPI_website/images/ArtofSettingLimits_CPI.pdf
23-Apr-18

edglossary
http://edglossary.org/classroom-management/
24-Jan-18

lib.dr.iastate
https://lib.dr.iastate.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?referer=https://www.google.com/&httpsredir=1&article=8975&context=rtd
5-Feb-18

smart classroom accountability
https://www.smartclassroommanagement.com/2014/12/13/are-you-afraid-to-hold-students-accountable/
24-Jan-18

smart classroom attention
https://www.smartclassroommanagement.com/2016/03/19/how-to-ask-for-and-receive-your-students-attention-within-two-seconds/
24-Jan-18

smart classroom battles
https://www.smartclassroommanagement.com/2013/06/08/why-picking-your-battles-is-a-poor-strategy/
24-Jan-18

smart classroom curb
https://www.smartclassroommanagement.com/2013/06/29/a-simple-way-to-curb-side-talking/
24-Jan-18

smart classroom gentleness
https://www.smartclassroommanagement.com/2016/01/16/why-gentleness-is-a-strong-classroom-management-strategy/
24-Jan-18

smart classroom improve
https://www.smartclassroommanagement.com/2009/10/03/how-to-improve-classroom-behavior-in-one-lesson/
24-Jan-18

smart classroom keep cool
https://www.smartclassroommanagement.com/2016/01/09/an-easy-way-to-keep-your-cool-when-students-misbehave/
24-Jan-18

smart classroom not to do
https://www.smartclassroommanagement.com/2012/03/03/50-things-you-dont-have-to-do-for-effective-classroom-management/
24-Jan-18

smart classroom pause
https://www.smartclassroommanagement.com/2012/11/17/why-a-simple-pause-is-a-powerful-classroom-management-strategy/
24-Jan-18

smart classroom simple
https://www.smartclassroommanagement.com/2012/10/27/a-simple-way-to-improve-listening/
24-Jan-18

smart classroom speaking
https://www.smartclassroommanagement.com/2016/01/23/how-to-speak-so-students-listen/
24-Jan-18

smart classroom the look
https://www.smartclassroommanagement.com/2015/09/12/why-giving-a-look-is-a-poor-classroom-management-strategy/
24-Jan-18

thoughtco
https://www.thoughtco.com/definition-of-classroom-management-7734
14-Jan-18

Wikipedia Classroom Management:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Classroom_management
14-Jan-18

 

Common Mistakes

PDF version for download:   05 Common Mistakes           05a Bad ideas 1        05b Bad ideas 2           05c Citations for Common Mistakes

___________________

I am presenting this information as given on the websites.
___________________

Mistake:  “to define the problem behavior by how it looks without considering its function”  (Wikipedia Classroom Management)

Suggestion:  “Instead:  Define misbehavior by its function … we need to ask ourselves, ‘What was the function of this misbehavior?’ Or more simply, ‘What did the student gain from the misbehavior?’”  (Barbetta, Common mistakes)

“Although some behavior problems are the result of organic issues (e.g., hyperactivity) most misbehaviors function for one of two following reasons: (a) to get something (e.g., attention from another student or teacher, gain a privilege, get a toy) or (b) to avoid something (e.g., schoolwork, teacher demands). … For the attention-seeking student, we could ignore his or her off-task behavior and only give him our attention when he is behaving appropriately. For the academically frustrated student, a change in his or her assignment (e.g., fewer problems to solve, clearer directions) might eliminate the off-task behaviors. Clearly, these misbehaviors serve dissimilar functions and need to be solved differently.” (Barbetta, Common mistakes)

 

Mistake:  “Asking, “Why Did You Do That?” …  Although we are tempted, it is not a good idea to ask our students, “Why did you do that?” First, many times our students will not know the reasons why they misbehaved. Second, we often will not like their answers.”  (Barbetta, Common mistakes)

Suggestion:  “Assess the Behavior Directly to Determine its Function. … we need to study what is happening in the classroom before and after it occurs.  This information-gathering procedure is called a functional assessment. … A functional assessment might reveal that changes in our teaching methods are needed. … For complex behavior problems, a more detailed, multifaceted functional assessment may be needed. At those times, we should contact a behavior-management specialist, school psychologist, or other trained professional for a more thorough assessment. Conducting a functional assessment can be time consuming. However, research shows that behavior-change programs designed from this process tend to be more effective than those begun without the comprehensive information provided by this assessment”  (Barbetta, Common mistakes)

 

Mistake:  “for the teacher to become increasingly frustrated and negative when an approach is not working”  (Wikipedia Classroom Management)

along with

Mistake:  “When an Approach Isn’t Working, Try Harder …  The problem is that we most often try harder negatively. We make loud, disapproving statements, increase negative consequences, or remove more privileges. This does not do anything to teach appropriate behavior.” (Barbetta, Common mistakes)  “The teacher may raise his or her voice or increase adverse consequences in an effort to make the approach work.” (Wikipedia Classroom Management)

Suggestion:  “When an approach is not working, instead of trying harder, we should try another way. Some examples include verbal redirecting, proximity control, reinforcing incompatible behaviors, changing the academic tasks and providing additional cues or prompts. These approaches are more effective, simpler to use, and create a more positive classroom climate than trying harder.” (Barbetta, Common mistakes)

“Instead of increasing negative consequences, we should increase the frequency of contingent praise for appropriate student behavior. Teacher praise is easy to deliver and is one of the most powerful tools available to us. In fact, praise (or some type of reinforcement) should be included in all approaches to behavior change.” (Barbetta, Common mistakes)  [emphasis mine]

“Finally, when we find ourselves making more stop than start requests, we need to reverse our behavior. For example, instead of asking Sam to stop talking, ask him to work on his assignment. When he complies, provide praise.”  (Barbetta, Common mistakes)

 

Mistake:  “Violating the Principles of Good Classroom Rules … Too often, rules are posted at the beginning of the year, briefly reviewed once, and then attended to minimally. When this is the case, they have little to no effect on student behavior.”  (Barbetta, Common mistakes)  “Inconsistency in expectations and consequences” (Wikipedia Classroom Management)

Suggestion:   “To avoid this, teachers should communicate expectations to students clearly and be sufficiently committed to the classroom management procedures to enforce them consistently.”  (Wikipedia Classroom Management)

“To be more effective, our classrooms should have four-to-six rules that could govern most classroom situations. Too many rules can make it difficult for students to comply and for teachers to enforce. … Classroom rules should be simple, specific, clear, and measurable. The degree of rule simplicity depends on the age and ability levels of our students.” (Barbetta, Common mistakes)

“Rules are specific when they are clear and unambiguous. For example, the rule ‘bring books, paper, and pencils to class’ is much clearer than the rule ‘be ready to learn.’ Clearly stated rules are easily observed and measured.” (Barbetta, Common mistakes)

“Another characteristic of effective rules is that they are stated positively. Positively stated rules are ‘do’ rules. Do rules provide information as to how to behave and set the occasion for teacher praise.” (Barbetta, Common mistakes)

“We consistently need to carry out the consequences and noncompliance of our classroom rules or they will mean very little. … We need to make clear the consequences for following and not following the rules.” (Barbetta, Common mistakes)

“the guidelines for classroom rules include the following: (a) develop 4–6 measurable, observable, positive classroom rules and include students in rule development; (b) teach the rules and subrules directly; (c) post the rules and review them frequently; and, (d) be sure to carry out the consequences for rule compliance and noncompliance.” (Barbetta, Common mistakes)

 

Mistake:  “Treating All Misbehaviors as ‘Won’t Dos’ … When students misbehave, it often seems as though it is exclusively a motivational issue. At times, this is true. On those occasions, we need to increase the reinforcement for appropriate behavior and eliminate it for inappropriate behavior. However, several misbehaviors are due to a lack of appropriate skills not a lack of motivation. We call these behaviors ‘can’t dos.’” (Barbetta, Common mistakes)

Suggestion:  “We should deal with can’t do misbehaviors the same way that we deal with student’s academic mistakes. When students make repeated errors during our lessons, we make changes in how we teach (e.g., provide more examples, allow students to practice more), and provide more intensive instruction.” (Barbetta, Common mistakes)

“We would be more effective in solving chronic misbehaviors if we moved into the precorrective mode. The following are seven major precorrection steps: Step 1. Identify the context and the predictable behavior (where and when the misbehavior occurs); Step 2. Specify expected behavior (what we want instead); Step 3. Systematically modify the context (e.g., changes in instruction, tasks, schedules, seating arrangements); Step 4. Conduct behavior rehearsals (have students practice the appropriate behavior); Step 5. Provide strong reinforcement such as frequent and immediate teacher praise; Step 6. Prompt expected behaviors; and Step 7. Monitor the plan (collect data on student performance).”  (Barbetta, Common mistakes)

 

Mistake:  “Lack of Planning for Transition Time … a significant amount of class time is spent transitioning from one subject to another or from one place to another. Without proper planning, transitioning can be one of the most frustrating times of the day for teachers. … Why? At times students are not ready for the transition. Inconsistent expectations cause transition problems. Furthermore, because we are often transitioning with the students, our attention is diverted away from them, making transitions longer and inviting even more misbehavior.”  (Barbetta, Common mistakes)

Suggestion:  “Transition problems can be reduced significantly by following a few practical procedures. First, it is best that our transition expectations are consistent, meaning the same rules apply for each type of transition. Consistency begins by developing transition rules with our students (e.g., quietly put materials away, keep your hands and feet to yourself.)” (Barbetta, Common mistakes)

“Once we have developed our transition rules, we should teach them to our students.” (Barbetta, Common mistakes)

Mistake:  “Ignoring All or Nothing at All … Ignoring can be a valuable tool in reducing misbehaviors when used with behavior-building strategies. However, it’s difficult for many of us to determine which behaviors to ignore and which to give attention. We tend to take ignoring to extremes by ignoring almost all misbehaviors or none at all. Neither approach is effective.” (Barbetta, Common mistakes)

Suggestion:  “We should only ignore the behaviors motivated for our attention. … when behaviors are attention seeking we need to ignore continuously (every single time). As soon as we begin to ignore our student’s misbehavior, he or she will seek it elsewhere, most likely from peers. It can be difficult for peers to ignore misbehaviors. Therefore, ignoring misbehavior should be a classroom rule that receives powerful reinforcement. Also, we need to plan for the misbehavior to get worse (happen more often and more intensely) before it improves. When this happens, we must continue to ignore.” (Barbetta, Common mistakes)

“Ignoring must be used in combination with behavior-building strategies, such as reinforcement of appropriate behaviors, teaching replacement behaviors, and reinforcing peers. Ignoring teaches students what not to do, but does not teach them what they should do instead.” (Barbetta, Common mistakes)

There are occasions when ignoring is inappropriate. These include when there are concerns for observational learning of misbehaviors, when our students are engaging in extreme or dangerous behaviors, and, as stated earlier, when the misbehavior is not attention seeking.” (Barbetta, Common mistakes)

 

Mistake:Overuse and Misuse of Time Out … Time out occurs when a teacher removes a student for a specific time from a chance to receive reinforcement.”  (Barbetta, Common mistakes)

Suggestion:  “we must remember that time out is not a place. Instead it is a process whereby all opportunities to get reinforced are withdrawn. Consequently, for it to work, the time-in area (the activity) must be more reinforcing than the time-out area.” (Barbetta, Common mistakes)

“Despite our frustrations, we should administer time out with a calm, neutral tone of voice. We should also give our students a brief explanation for the time out to help build an association between the misbehavior and the time-out consequence.” (Barbetta, Common mistakes)

 

Mistake:Inconsistent Expectations and Consequences … Students are often given mixed signals as to what is expected and what will happen if they do not meet these expectations. Inconsistent expectations cause student confusion and frustration. Inconsistent consequences maintain misbehaviors and can even cause the behavior to occur more frequently or intensely. In addition, we find ourselves constantly reminding and threatening which, in turn, enhances our frustration.” (Barbetta, Common mistakes)

Suggestion:  “Have Clear Expectations That Are Enforced and Reinforced Consistently … Expectations are clear when they are identifiable and consistent. Reviewing expectations and rehearsing rules help build routines and minimize the potential for problems. We can do this by asking our students to read the expectations prior to each activity.” (Barbetta, Common mistakes)

“Expectations are pointless if they are not backed up with reinforcement for compliance and reasonable negative consequences for noncompliance. For rule compliance, positive consequences should be applied continuously at first (every time the student is appropriate) and then intermittently (every so often).” (Barbetta, Common mistakes)

“On the other hand, negative consequences (punishment procedures) are most effective when applied continuously.” (Barbetta, Common mistakes)

 

Mistake:  “Viewing Ourselves as the Only Classroom Manager” (Barbetta, Common mistakes)

Suggestion: “Include Students, Parents, and Others in Management Efforts … Fortunately, there are many others who can assist in our behavior management efforts, including students, their peers, fellow teachers, administrators, parents, and other school personnel.” (Barbetta, Common mistakes)

“When including administrators in behavior management, we tend to make two mistakes that are at opposite ends of the support spectrum … We either send students to them too frequently or we wait too long to get them involved. It is best to resolve as many behavior problems in our class and only involve administrators for more serious situations, such as physical aggression.” (Barbetta, Common mistakes)

 

Mistake:  “Missing the Link Between Instruction and Behavior … Perhaps our lesson is too easy or difficult, ineffective, or nonstimulating, which can lead to student misbehavior” (Barbetta, Common mistakes)

Suggestion:  “The first line of defense in managing student behavior is effective instruction. Good teachers have always known this and research supports this notion. …  when teachers demystify learning, achievement and behavior improve dramatically.” (Barbetta, Common mistakes)

“Effective teaching practices include (but are not limited to) instruction that is fast paced, includes high rates of active student responding, involves modeling new behaviors, and provides guided practice and positive and corrective feedback.” (Barbetta, Common mistakes)

 

Mistake:  “Taking Student Behavior Too Personally … When students misbehave, it often feels like a personal attack, and for good reason. Some of our students are very good at making it feel personal. When we take students’ misbehavior personally, we tend to lose our objectivity, look for quick management fixes that rarely work, and get emotionally upset, which takes time and energy away from our teaching.”  (Barbetta, Common mistakes)

Suggestion:  “Take Student Misbehavior Professionally, Not Personally … When we take misbehavior professionally, we view behavior management as our responsibility. Professionals know the importance of having a sound management system in place that deals with classwide [sic] issues and individual student problems. Professionals have realistic expectations for improvement in behavior and know that there are no quick fixes with lasting effects. Most importantly, confident professionals ask for assistance when it is needed.” (Barbetta, Common mistakes)

“When we are more effective, we’re calmer and less likely to react personally to student misbehavior. Although some student misbehavior may appear to be targeted toward us, these behaviors may be an outcome of their own wants and needs, lack of skills, or emotional difficulties and frustrations. The time and energy wasted being upset at our students’ misbehavior is better spent celebrating our students’ success.” (Barbetta, Common mistakes)

______________________________________________________________________________

The following pages are presented as they were published.  I thought they were good advice from experienced teachers.

Ten Worst Teaching Mistakes by Felder and Brent (ncsu lockers 1 and ncsu lockers 2)

05a Bad ideas 1

05b Bad ideas 2

 

 

Cited web sites for “Common Mistakes”

Format:

reference name in text
link
access date

 

Barbetta, Common mistakes:  https://pll.asu.edu/p/sites/default/files/lrm/attachments/Classroom_Mistakes_week2.pdf
15-Jan-18

ncsu lockers 1
http://www4.ncsu.edu/unity/lockers/users/f/felder/public/Columns/BadIdeasI.pdf
15-Mar-18

ncsu lockers 2
http://www4.ncsu.edu/unity/lockers/users/f/felder/public/Columns/BadIdeasII.pdf
15-Mar-18

Wikipedia Classroom Management:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Classroom_management
14-Jan-18

How to Handle Hecklers

PDF version for download:  06 How to Handle Hecklers           06a Citations for How to Handle Hecklers

 

How to Handle Hecklers

We have all had “that student,” the one who wants to take over lecture, to challenge every point you make, to shift the topic to one he wants to address instead, or to put on a show for his classmates.  We need to be able to regain control of the situation and redirect his behavior appropriately.

And we need to do this in a professional and instructive manner.  It was recommended to me to find out what professional stand-up comedians do for this, but I found their techniques use ridicule, insults, sarcasm, and even putting the heckler “on the spot” by inviting them on stage.  I feel these methods would be detrimental to the classroom, especially since we see our “audience” more than once.

I found the best advice came from professional speakers.  There are two types of heckling:

Active heckling is when an audience member interrupts and starts talking directly to you in the middle of your presentation. This is the worst kind.

Passive heckling is a more mild form of disrespect. This kind of heckling usually takes the form of someone having their own conversation with their neighbor or playing with their smartphone. Although less abrasive, it can throw you and your audience off.

(speakerhub heckler)

There are also four types of hecklers:

1) The Talker / Know it all
This is the eager beaver, the show-off. They are well informed and want everyone to know it.

2) The Griper
This person has been sent to your presentation and doesn’t want to be there and they’re going to take it out on you. They might think they know as much as you and will air their views or will stop listening altogether.

3) The Hassler
This person is insecure, aggressive and has a lack of interest in what you are presenting.

4) The Whisperer
This person either doesn’t understand your presentation, or is bored or is being deliberately mischievous.

(thought leadership)

When someone interrupts, the first question you have to ask yourself is, “Is this person a heckler or not?”  This is important, as we see here:

Someone who is asking a difficult question, especially when prompted to during a Q&A session, will come across as thoughtful, respectful, and intelligent: using logic and reasoning. While they might be disagreeing with you, this stems from their genuine desire to have a discussion as opposed to brawl.

On the other hand, a heckler will jump right into a rant. They will make things personal, and will be insulting. They will poke and prod at anything, from your slides to your clothing to your ideas.

Make sure you know which kind of individual you are dealing with, because if you mistakenly start to “deal” with someone who is just trying to open a dialogue, you can risk turning your audience off.

If you want them to accept your ideas, they will need to think that you are level headed, reasonable and intelligent, and if you freak out because someone questions you, you might lose some of your credibility, and your audience.

Once you are certain you are dealing with a heckler, it’s time to disarm them and get your presentation on back on track.

(speakerhub heckler)

Once you are sure you are dealing with a heckler, you have options on how to deal with him.

#1: Never reward interrupting.

What do you do if someone starts to talk over you? Keep talking.

It might take few seconds, but the majority of the audience will not notice, and ultimately, it will make the interrupter look like the rude party. Nine times out of ten, they will stop talking.

Once they stop talking, focus on the rest of the audience. Ostracise the interrupter for a few minutes by using body language to exclude them (such as avoiding eye contact for a few minutes); this should put a stop to future interruptions.

#2: Don’t try to be funny.

While you can still be light and pleasant, it is better to deal with the heckler directly, and get back on track as soon as possible.

#3: Manage your own emotional state.

In this kind of situation, most people will go into a reactionary mode. This can raise your stress levels, and make you defensive and aggressive.

The risk is that it will be difficult to shake this mindset once you are in it, and this can throw off your entire presentation, dashing your natural charisma and preventing you from thinking clearly.

Take a deep breath, and stay calm. Remove your emotional attachment to the situation and deal with it in a level and relaxed way.

If you can, try role-playing these situations with friends or colleagues. It can be very useful to train yourself to override your impulsive reactions and react consciously and calmly.

#4: Let the heckler have their say.

We mentioned that you should never allow someone to interrupt your session. While this will weed out the majority of interrupters, sometimes you will get a persistent heckler, and it can be beneficial to hear them out.

They will continue to interrupt and heckle if they feel they were shut down, not getting a response may activate a deeper need to be heard.

Let them go on for a few minutes, maybe even just a little bit too long. Once they feel like they’ve been heard, they’re less likely to interrupt again.

#5: Listen to them.

You can disarm the heckler by hearing them out, then calmly acknowledge them.

While you don’t need to validate or agree with them, sometimes just being heard is enough to pacify the audience member.

You will seem more reasonable to the audience if you understand where someone is coming from. It can also help you determine whether you are dealing with a heckler or someone who is asking difficult questions.

#6: Actually respond.

Sometimes, it is necessary to respond to the comments. When you are responding, it’s crucial to address the whole audience, not just the heckler.

Top tip: don’t end your response by looking directly at the heckler. They will see this as an invitation to keep the going. Look at a person on the other side of the room as you conclude your response. Then jump directly back into your presentation.

If you are dealing with a heckler, and they start sounding off, becoming insulting, and can’t back up what they say, this will become obvious to your audience.

#7: Don’t let it get personal.

Your initial reaction might be to respond harshly back. If you believe that they have “gone too far” or attacked your integrity, you might be hell-bent on serving it back to them.

Don’t.

If you take the bait, you’ll fall into their trap.

The most common result from this tactic is that those who are listening may jump up and take sides with the individuals, instead of the ideas.

Focus entirely on what is being discussed, and avoid attacking them personally at all costs.

#8: Be gracious.

Be courteous, kind, and pleasant: even to the heckler.

Never lose your temper. Even if you feel like they have completely ruined your moment, and you are raging on the inside, if you lose control, you will not be able to get it back.

The best course of action is to maintain a level head, be polite and get your presentation back on track as quickly as possible.

#9: Ask them to stop.

If you’ve got a heckler who keeps on going (even after you’ve heard them out and calmly responded) make a firm request that they stop.

Here are some examples:

“I’m finding it difficult to progress with my presentation. Please could you hold any more comments until the end of the presentation?”

“I love it when audience members are active and participating, but I’d like to get back to my presentation, and would appreciate it if you’d let me do so.”

“Interesting point. We can discuss this further after the presentation, thank you.”

#10: Get the rest of the audience on your side.

Do not underestimate the power of the crowd. Social pressure can have a tremendous effect on a heckler’s willingness to keep talking.

The audience has come to hear you speak, not the heckler. If they wanted to hear a comedian, they’d go to a stand-up show.

Use this to your advantage: ask the audience whether they would prefer to listen to you finish your presentation, or whether they want to hear more from the heckler.

There might be a second or two of awkward silence, but most of the time the audience will collectively say they’d prefer you to keep going. Sometimes you might even get a cheer as they will be just as fed up with the heckler as you are. In the extremely rare situation that they opt to hear more from the heckler, simply accept it and bow out graciously.

It takes an extremely brave (or foolish) person to carry on heckling against the whole crowd. Normally, the heckler will get embarrassed, and stay silent for the rest of the session.

#11: The last resort: have them removed.

In the most extreme cases none of the above will work, and you will be forced to make the tough decision to have the heckler removed from the audience.

Only ever do this if the heckler absolutely refuses to stop, and you are past the point of being able to control the situation.

Ask for security or the event organizer to escort the heckler out of the room.

#12: Don’t dwell on it.

After you have effectively dealt with the heckler, it’s time to get back on track.

Take a deep breath and put yourself back into the right mindframe. Remember: you are in control.

While you can reference the situation briefly, do not focus on it and absolutely avoid referencing it more than once. If you move on quickly and gracefully, your audience will come with you.

(speakerhub heckler)

There are some other good techniques, too:

Use reflective listening before you respond

Reflect back to the heckler what they said. This means expressing in your own words your understanding of what they’ve said. You may think that this technique looks transparent, but the heckler will most likely be totally oblivious – they will simply feel “you’ve listened to me”. Or if your understanding is wrong, they’ll correct you and then you can have another attempt at reflecting back what they’ve said.

Once again, this is prevention. Responding thoroughly and fairly to the heckler the first time means it’s more likely to be the only time they interrupt.

(speakingaboutpresenting)

Silence

Somewhat surprisingly the simplest solution is often the most effective. If you stop speaking and turn and stare at the heckler, everyone else will turn to see what you are looking at. In 95% of heckler cases this kind of social embarrassment is all that it takes to shut a heckler up.

(accidentalcommunicator)

If you get asked antagonistic questions, throw them back to the audience for discussion.

Getting the audience to answer the question does two things: first it allows the audience to throw out answers (and they might give the answer you are looking for) and second, it gives you time to think so that you can come up with the answer you need.

(thought leadership)

Avoid shooting them down prematurely.

Find out what exactly they’re complaining or arguing for by asking probing questions. You can ask questions like, “What exactly are you trying to accomplish or point out?” or “How is your opinion on (topic) relevant to _____?”

If you listen closely, their answers will reveal why they’re heckling you in the first place. Sometimes it’s a grudge, sometimes it’s a misplaced anger, other times it’s just to vent. Whatever their reason, you’ll be more prepared to address the problem once you know what’s really happening.

(riklanresources)

Move toward the heckler

A questioner threatened to take the entire Q and A – and more.  Now, I pride myself on listening respectfully and being able to incorporate just about any point of view into the dialogue, so my vanity prevented me from interrupting sooner.  But eventually it became clear that interruption was essential, unless the building was just about to be set on fire, struck by a tsunami, or leveled with an earthquake.

As none of those outcomes seemed forthcoming, it was time for me to step up and act like the leader.  And so I did the counter-intuitive thing, the move that the chatterbox never expects – I moved toward the person until I was standing next to him.

That made him turn slightly, so that he could keep an eye or two on me, and all that extra effort of shifting his attention meant that he had to shut up, at least temporarily.

And so I took that opportunity to leap in, verbally speaking, and take back the night, or at least the speech.

(public words)

Ignorance is not bliss

Ignoring hecklers just makes matters worse.

In most cases they will keep going and just get louder. Wishing them away is not going to work. The best thing to do is to speak very clearly and slowly and say that you’ve heard them. Say you’ll speak with them after you’ve finished. But you are now going to continue on with your talk. And if they’re standing up, then ask them to please sit down.

(linkedin hecklers)

 

It is always important to avoid asking the heckler questions when you can’t really control the answers.  You don’t want to give the heckler opportunities to add to his heckling.

 

Cited web sites for “How to Handle Hecklers”

Format:

reference name in text
link
access date

 

accidentalcommunicator
http://theaccidentalcommunicator.com/present/5-ways-that-presenters-handle-hecklers
9-Mar-18

linkedin hecklers
https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/handling-hecklers-public-speaking-3-little-tricks-help-newbronner-6125942144168456192
9-Mar-18

public words
http://www.publicwords.com/2014/08/05/how-to-handle-hecklers-and-loudmouths/
9-Mar-18

riklanresources
http://www.riklanresources.com/articles/4-strategies-for-handling-hecklers-while-giving-a-speech/
9-Mar-18

speakingaboutpresenting
https://speakingaboutpresenting.com/audience/handle-a-heckler/
9-Mar-18

speakerhub heckler
https://speakerhub.com/skillcamp/12-ways-handle-heckler-professional-speaker
9-Mar-18

thought leadership
http://thought-leadership.top-consultant.com/US/How-deal-with-heckling-during-a-presentation-training–2234.html
9-Mar-18

 

Hostile Students

PDF version for download:    07 Hostile Students           07a Citations for Hostile Students

 

Hostile Students

This is a good analysis of the possible background of hostile students, and helpful advice, too.  Keep in mind that this is aimed at the K-12 classroom, and that in community college, we have the right to remove the student from the class:

Students who are hostile-aggressive are encountered (and certainly dreaded) by just about every teacher. These are the students classically regarded as “problem students.” They often have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, emotional or behavioral disorders, or are below grade level in achievement. They are capable of dominating and controlling others through intimidation and irrational, often explosive behavior. This blog post looks at the characteristics of the classic hostile-aggressive student, examines reasons for such behavior, and gives suggestions for dealing with such students.

How does the hostile-aggressive student act out?

One can categorize the acting-out behavior of hostile-aggressive students into three general categories: verbal aggression, physical aggression and vandalism. What distinguishes these behaviors as exhibited by the hostile aggressive student is that they are done with intent to do harm, whether that be physical, emotional, or for revenge and retaliation.

Verbal aggression includes defiance, continuous arguing, cut-downs, threats, swearing, bossing, sarcasm and teasing. Physical aggression can be exhibited as kicking, hitting, fighting, spitting, throwing materials with intent to do harm (either to a person or to objects, e.g., a window) and biting, among others. (Be sure to learn as much as you can about the student from his or her file as well as through observation; some of these behaviors could be a result of Tourette’s Disorder.) Vandalism includes not only destruction or damage to property but theft as well.

What causes students to behave this way?

There are many theories as to what causes hostile-aggressive behavior in children. Several of which are especially important to teachers are as follows:

Modeling: Children observe hostile-aggressive behavior modeled by parents, teachers, peers, and in the media. Threats from parents, yelled reprimands from teachers, and violence among peers and in the media are then mimicked by the child.

Peer Reinforcement: Behavior such as fighting is reinforced by peers when they take sides in or cheer for individuals who are fighting. This leads to an increase in hostile-aggressive behavior.

Social Skills Deficit: Children lack the social skills necessary to deal with stressful situations in an assertive rather than aggressive manner. Their repertoire of problem-solving skills is limited to aggression, so they use this to fulfill their needs.

Low Self-Esteem: The hostile-aggressive child acts out of anger. According to researcher J.M. Medick, his reflects poor self-image and an identity of failure “resulting from an inability to satisfy two basic needs: giving and receiving love, and having a sense of worth.” They believe that it is not alright to feel anger and frustration and think they are bad people when they do have these feelings. Their behavior has led to rejection by both adults and peers, which causes their self-esteem to further plummet.

What causes conflict with the hostile-aggressive student to escalate?

Student frustration triggers hostile-aggressive behavior. Frustration with others or oneself is dealt with through physical or verbal aggression or vandalism. With this behavior, the student gains negative attention from the teacher or peers. The teacher instinctively responds by reprimanding the student or asking him or her to cease the behavior which the student is using to gain attention.

This leads to the next phase of the cycle: student defensiveness. The student begins to lose control and will verbally lash out at the teacher, usually assuming the role of the victim (“You always pick on me,” “Leave me alone,” “I didn’t do anything”).

At this point, the teacher is probably angry, confused and wants to re-establish that “the teacher is in control and will be listened to and obeyed at all costs.” Through his or her hostile acts, the student has succeeded in getting the teacher to aggress.

The student will now begin to exhibit more hostile-aggressive behaviors until the teacher “lays down the law,” which, although it ends the cycle, reinforces the student’s belief that he or she is the victim and that adults unfairly take their anger out on students.

The teacher is left with feelings of failure, defeat and confusion, while negative feelings toward the student are reinforced. This leads to the probability that the teacher will respond more quickly and angrily to the student in the future, reinforcing the student’s behavior and leading to further deterioration of both student and teacher self-esteem.

What are the typical teacher responses to these behaviors, and how do students react to these responses?

Teachers typically respond in one of two ways: authoritatively or attempting to reason with the student. When teachers respond authoritatively, it is because they feel they have lost control over the situation. Reacting as an authoritarian figure, the teacher gives ultimatums: “You better do what I say or else.” The hostile-aggressive student responds by acting as if he or she really does not care what the teacher says or does and continues hostile aggressive behavior, whether physically or verbally: “I hate you! You can’t make me do anything.” The irony of this is that they are right. You cannot make any student do anything. While reacting authoritatively is an understandable response from the teacher, it is simply ineffective.

The other way teachers typically respond is by attempting to reason with the hostile-aggressive student. They understand that the student’s behavior is not a personal attack but indicative of an inferior ability to deal with emotions. This teacher attempts to explain with kindness and understanding what is really going on. However sincere these attempts are, they usually lead to circular arguments, dead ends or resentment from the student. The teacher ends up expending huge amounts of energy and is left feeling frustrated and unsuccessful.

 

How do I intervene with a hostile-aggressive student?

Identify those behaviors which are inappropriate and perform a functional assessment. Doing an “A-B-C” (antecedent, behavior, consequence) chart can be very helpful in understanding what particular situations tend to set the student off.

Next, examine how you have been dealing with the behavior and evaluate what has been contributing to conflict and whether anything has de-escalated these situations in the past. Drop what is not working and identify any methods which are working. A good rule of thumb is if you are left feeling angry and out of control, your method is ineffective.

After you have evaluated the behavior of both the student and yourself, it is time to put together a proactive intervention plan. This includes outlining proactive behavior modification strategies, reinforcement plans, and teaching new functional behavior which will replace the student’s inappropriate ways of dealing with emotion. It can be helpful to hold a conference with the student and, if possible, with the student’s parents. Let the student know what is and is not acceptable and how you will help him or her to learn behavior which is appropriate. Using a cue when you sense the student’s behavior is escalating can be helpful in teaching the student to be aware of his or her own behavior and to remind the student to use the appropriate behaviors which you have taught.

Stick to and periodically evaluate your intervention. Keep in mind that it took the student a long time to learn these behaviors and it will likely take a long time to replace them with others. Do not let yourself fall into old patterns of reacting angrily.

Let the student know you care about him or her. Make it a point to give the student some brief friendly attention each day. Give the student the opportunity to talk about feelings and give reinforcement. Give the student special responsibilities. This will show that while you do not appreciate his or her behavior, you do see him or her as a worthwhile and capable individual.

It is important that the student learn that it is okay to feel frustrated and angry and that there are acceptable ways of expressing these emotions

What proactive interventions are effective in changing hostile-aggressive behavior?

Positive reinforcement is very important in improving the student’s self-esteem and changing his or her self-perception. Modeling and role-playing help the student learn new behavior. Token economies can also be useful in motivating the student to change behavior. Cooperative learning gives students the opportunity to learn from their peers. Self-monitoring and cueing can help a student assume more responsibility for his or her behavior.

How do I avoid being drawn into the conflict or get out of it once I recognize that it is going on?

Remember, these tactics are only to help you avoid or get out of a conflict cycle. They alone will not ultimately change the student’s behavior. To do this, you must perform a functional assessment and implement a long-term proactive intervention plan, including techniques such as those listed earlier.

First, you must learn to not allow yourself to be emotionally manipulated. Use self-talk to tell yourself, “I know what the student is doing and why. It is not a personal attack against me, and I will remain calm while trying to help the student.”

When you recognize the student is becoming hostile, remember that this stems from frustration. The student needs support. Helping the student to recognize his or her emotions and giving the student the opportunity to deal with them effectively will help. You might have a quiet spot in the room where students can go when they feel that their emotions are getting the best of them.

If the cycle has not been stopped at the frustration stage, you will have to deal with the next stage: defensiveness. At this point, you will need to set limits for the student. For example, if the student has been verbally abusive to another student, you might establish limits in the context of a choice: “Lisa, you need to either quietly continue with your English assignment or put your head down on your desk until you are calm and ready to talk about this.” You have defined the limits and left the decision up to the student. You have also stepped out of a conflict cycle by remaining calm.

If the student persists and becomes more aggressive, for example, by beginning to verbally abuse you, you need to provide control. Say, “Lisa, come with me,” leave the room, and wait for her to follow. Do not give her the opportunity to argue with you and escalate the conflict further. When you are alone, you could tell her, “Your behavior is unacceptable. You can either come and sit quietly in the class or you can sit here in the hall until you are able to control yourself. Either way, I need to attend to the other students in the class. We will talk about this after you have demonstrated that you are in control by either sitting quietly here or in the classroom until I am ready to speak with you.”

Once the student has regained control, you will want to take time to talk to her about what occurred and how you can both work to prevent it from happening again.

How will I know that progress is being made in changing the student’s behavior?

The ultimate measure is the degree to which the student’s behavior is maintained and generalized. The student may begin to behave acceptably in your classroom, but is he or she improving in other classrooms/situations? Often hostile-aggressive students see authority figures as deliberately waiting for them to mess up, as waiting to set them up for failure, and this view can hinder progress. It can be confronted by having a private conference with the student. You may begin by talking about all the progress and positive change you have seen. Let the student know that you see that he or she can continue to have more and more success, but that this will be difficult if teachers, etc., are seen as enemies and treated suspiciously. Engage the student in a conversation about what generally happens to students (or people in general) who do and do not cooperate with teachers and other authority figures and rules. Remain calm and courteous so that you display the fact that you do care and that you do want the student to succeed. Finally, let the student know that it is up to him or her to decide whether to take this final step. Do not expect the student to make a decision then and there. It may take time, so continue to be caring and courteous, modeling a friendly authority figure.

Not every student will make that final leap and it is something which only the student can decide. Continue to be consistent in dealing with the student and do not hold yourself responsible for the student’s decisions. Remember that there are many other areas in the student’s life (home, friendship, etc.) which exert great influence over the student and over which you have no control.

One thing you can continue to do, no matter what, is to work with the student to build their self-esteem. This may help the student to choose to see authority figures as people who can help and to see him- or herself as worthy and entitled to this help. Positive reinforcement, being given special responsibilities in the classroom, and tutoring peers are all ways to help build student self-esteem.

Other issues in dealing with hostile-aggressive students

First, as you get to know a student and he or she begins to make progress, there may be times when the student appears to be behaving in a hostile fashion, but closer observation reveals that he or she is following through with what has been requested. For example, Josh has knocked all of his books on the floor in frustration and you have said, “Josh, that is not acceptable behavior. If you want help, raise your hand. In the meantime, please pick up your books.” Josh retorts, “You’re always picking on me. I hate this stupid class and I hate you, too!” But you observe that Josh is, in fact, picking up his books. This is a time to ignore his outburst, let him pick up his books, cool off, and talk about it later.

Second, never corner a student who is emotionally out of control. Leave a student who is out of control with a large personal space and a way out of the room. Running out of the room is much more appropriate than hitting a teacher.

Finally, do not argue with students. Give choices and the option to discuss an incident later, but do not argue. These are not the same. Discussion leads to collaborative solutions while arguments lead to defensiveness.

(cehs)

There are other resources that give advice on handling students who are escalating the situation.  This one is short and direct on how the teacher can act.

Remain Calm.
Remember, the verbally escalating person is beginning to lose control. If the person you’re intervening with senses that you’re losing control, the situation will escalate. Try to keep your cool, even when challenged, insulted, or threatened.

Isolate the Individual.
Onlookers, especially those who are the peers of the verbally escalating person, tend to fuel the fire. They often become cheerleaders, encouraging the individual. Isolate the person you’re verbally intervening with. You will be more effective one-on-one.

Keep It Simple.
Be clear and direct in your message. Avoid jargon and complex options.

Watch Your Body Language.
Be aware of your space, posture, and gestures. Make sure your nonverbal behavior is consistent with your verbal message.

Use Silence.
Ironically, silence is one of the most effective verbal intervention techniques. Silence on your part allows the individual to clarify and restate. This often leads to a clearer understanding of the true source of the individual’s conflict.

Use Reflective Questioning.
Paraphrase and restate comments. By repeating or reflecting the person’s statement in the form of a question, you’ll help the individual gain valuable insight.

Watch Your Paraverbals.
Any two identical statements can have completely opposite meanings, depending on how the tone, volume, and cadence of your voice are altered. Make sure the words you use are consistent with voice inflection to avoid a double message.

(cpi verbal intervention)

It is possible that a student might bring a weapon into the situation, and we need to know how to react to that, too.

Despite our best efforts at prevention, incidents involving weapons can occur. These are dangerous emergency situations that are best left to professionally trained law enforcement personnel. But, if you ever find yourself trapped with a person who has a weapon, here are some key points to keep in mind before professional assistance arrives.

Take a deep breath, remember the importance of the CPI Supportive StanceSM *, and:

  • Step back.
  • Remain calm.
  • Make a plan.

If a weapon is involved in a crisis incident or if a threat involves actual, potential, or perceived weapons, invoke your organization’s policies and procedures for responding, while keeping in mind CPI’s Four Priorities for Violence Response Procedures.

These could be some of the most important steps during any crisis response. Complex and horrific crises may surprise us, and “remain calm” may be the last thought that comes to mind. Taking a step back physically and emotionally will help crisis response team members remain calm and:

  • Keep yourself safe.
  • Assess the situation.
  • Summon assistance.
  • Make the environment as safe as possible.

Consider any applicable requirements under the laws in specific jurisdictions, other regulations, standards, best practices, or mandates relating to your crisis response team.

Also keep in mind that the presence of a weapon does not necessarily indicate the probability of violence. 

Some jurisdictions may allow some individuals to carry concealed or unconcealed weapons but may also give employers or facility owners the right to prohibit the presence of weapons within a building or work context. Please consult with applicable policies, procedures, regulations, and laws within your jurisdiction for proper guidance on these issues.

If you are confronted by a person who has a weapon, keep in mind that a person who threatens you with a weapon hasn’t necessarily decided to use it.

If the person senses that you’re losing control, their behavior will most likely escalate. So keep the following tips in mind until professional assistance arrives:

  • Take threats seriously. If anyone communicates any possibility of using a weapon against you, assume that they have one even if you can’t see it or verify it immediately.
  • Step back. Try to negotiate permission to take at least three steps away from the individual. If allowed, the increased distance can reduce both anxiety and weapon accuracy.
  • Avoid reaching for the weapon. Attempting to disarm a person with a weapon can be extremely dangerous.
  • Focus on the individual rather than the weapon. When threatened, we tend to focus on the weapon. Shifting your focus to the individual will remind you that the real danger is not in the weapon itself, but in the aggressor’s behavior.
  • Make basic requests to solicit affirmative responses. The more the aggressor says “yes” to you, the less likely the weapon is to be used against you.
  • Buy time. Time is an asset. The longer you can talk to an aggressive individual, the less likely it is that the weapon will be used.

Perhaps most important of all, remember that any previous interactions will play a critical role in the outcome of an incident involving a weapon. Not all gun violence involves people who know each other. And no one can guarantee that if you treat people well they will never attempt to use a weapon against you. But if you consistently interact with people in a considerate and respectful manner, you are less likely to become a target of violence.

* From what I can find on the web, the stance involves body language that gives the student space, shows them honor as a person, and does not escalate the situation any further.

(cpi weapon)

All good advice.  The hard part is remembering it if the problem ever occurs.

 

Cited web sites for “Hostile Students”

Format:

reference name in text
link
access date

 

cehs
https://cehdvision2020.umn.edu/blog/aggressive-behavior-in-students/
19-Mar-18

cpi verbal intervention
https://www.crisisprevention.com/Blog/June-2011/Verbal-Intervention
17-Jan-18

cpi weapon
https://www.crisisprevention.com/Blog/June-2016/Behavioral-Strategies-When-Confronted-With-a-Weapo
17-Jan-18

 

Effective Communication Strategies

PDF version for download:    08 Effective Communication Strategies          08a Citations for Effective Communication Strategies

 

Effective Communication Strategies

It is worthwhile to include a focus just on good and effective communication strategies.  Not only is it important while you are teaching, it can be a game-changer if you are dealing with a stressed student.

Guidelines involved in effectively communicating with a person in crisis when working alone are similar to those important in any crisis situation:

  • Treat the person with dignity, respect, and courtesy.
  • Listen actively to the person.
  • Speak directly to the person.
  • Remain calm.
  • Offer assistance but do not insist or be offended if your offer is not accepted.
  • Do not overassist or be patronizing.
  • Reduce background noise if possible.
  • Be prepared to repeat what you say.
  • Don’t pretend to understand if you do not. Ask the person to repeat what was said.
  • Recall the Integrated Experience.
  • Be aware of how your own personal space, body language, and paraverbals may affect the individual in crisis.
  • Be patient, flexible, and supportive. Take time to understand the individual and make sure the individual understands you.
  • Focus on the person’s strengths and adapt your communication skills to the person’s needs.
  • Allow the person time to say or do things at her own pace.
  • If warranted, provide reasonable accommodations according to current laws and policies.

(cpi training concepts)

We need a definition of the “Integrated Experience:”

CPI describes the Integrated Experience as how my attitudes and behaviors affect your attitudes and behaviors and vice versa. If my attitude and behavior is positive, it will most likely yield positive results.

The reverse is true as well. If I have a poor attitude or I’m exhibiting rude, disrespectful behavior, my results will likely not be great, and could contribute to someone escalating to verbal aggression or worse—physical assault.

(cpi customer service)

And also, a definition of “paraverbal:”

Paraverbal refers to how we say the words we say, for example do we seem happy, sad, angry, determined or forceful. Some researchers suggest it accounts for about 30% of what we communicate.

Tone of voice and the way in which we choose our words is important here. When we are angry, we tend to speak more rapidly and at a higher pitch. If we feel someone is attacking us, we tend to respond in short, curt, sentences. You can usually tell if a person is bored by a tendency towards a slow and monotone delivery.

However, the paraverbal can also be misread. Regional or culturally influenced accents can confuse our reading of tone. Some people tend to end their sentences on an upward note, others on a downward note, regardless of the mood they are in.

(ucdpreceptors)

Here is more on paraverbals.

When we are talking to someone (or even when we are not talking but within sight of someone) we are giving all sorts of non-verbal signals. Cantor (1992) estimates that 65% of all communication is non-verbal. Our body language is therefore important in our communication with others.

Argyle (1994) suggests that a number of factors are worth considering and gives examples of ways in which we can make non-verbal signals effective communication strategies:

  • Proximity: being physically closer, leaning forward while seated.
  • Orientation: either face to face or side to side depending on the situation.
  • Gaze: regular eye contact.
  • Facial expression: smiling face is more effective for good communication.
  • Gestures: head nods, encouraging gestures.
  • Postures: open arms, non-cross legged, gives an expression of openness.
  • Touch: appropriate touch, perhaps hand on a shoulder or guidance in movement of a particular skill.

(ucdpreceptors 2)

This idea of your words and body language being misunderstood or culturally misinterpreted is important.  Also, you could be misinterpreting the other person’s words or body language:  this works both ways.  The safer strategy is to use several communication modes, to increase your chance of being heard and understood as you intend.

Note that body language in itself can be misinterpreted. For example, a person may sit with clenched fists, but this could be done to personal habit rather than anger. A person could have her arms folded just because the room is cold.

There could also be cultural reasons behind body language, postures and signals. Japanese tend to remain more silent than westerners when negotiating; some cultures are quite uncomfortable with eye contact. Hand signals mean different things in different countries. Indeed one of the first things you should do when starting to work with a learner, is to explore and establish his or her cultural mores or norms.

There are two important learning points here:

  • Any single communication mode, whether writing, verbal or body language, can be misinterpreted. Some people make the mistake of relying too much on their preferred communication mode. It is better to use a full communication range, to build as complete an understanding as possible of what the person is really saying.
  • Using more than one mode also gives you the chance to see if there is any conflict between them. A person may be saying one thing but their paraverbal or body language modes may be communicating something else. You need to try to resolve those conflicts.

(ucdpreceptors 3)

The counterpoint to having someone listen to your communications is for you to listen to them.  You also need to be able to assess the truth or falsity of their statements by looking at their paraverbals.

Principles of Active Listening

  • Open body language generally.
  • Good eye contact.
  • Appropriate questioning.
  • Paraphrasing to confirm understanding.
  • Non-judgmental.
  • Empathy, not sympathy.

 

Keypoint

Check to see if there is any conflict between the different ways the person is communicating. For example, your learner can say “I’ll have that assignment done by Friday” but the lack of eye contact could mean she may be a little ‘economical with the truth’. Or the paraverbal could be conflicting with the spoken assertion that “I’m absolutely fine with your assessment of my progress.”

(ucdpreceptors 4)

Some of our verbal communications are on the phone, where paraverbals are not visible.  Another aspect to consider is keeping your audience in mind:  do they know the vocabulary you will be using?

Again clarity and directness is [sic] important.

A telephone call is not as ‘rounded’ or complete a form of communication as face-to-face is. … But when you can’t see the person you are talking to, you can’t read his or her body language – the eyes or hand gestures, for example. This puts a limit of the effectiveness of the call.

Using understandable language is also important. Think, for example, of the learner in their first exposure to the clinical setting, they may not understand many of the terms and jargon that surround clinical practice that you have become accustomed to.

(ucdpreceptors 6)

When your communications are in writing, there are important points to keep in mind.

This includes handwritten and electronic communications. … it is important to be clear, concise and accurate.

There can be some dangers in written communication, especially email and text:

  • You cannot read humour or irony as easily as if you were in the presence of the person.
  • Reading ‘between the lines’ can be dangerous. If you receive a very short email, you could read it as being deliberately curt, whereas the sender might just have been in a hurry to come back to you.
  • Misinterpretation is more likely with exclusively written communication.
  • Written communications can be difficult to retract if you change your mind about something.

(ucdpreceptors 5)

Teaching is communication, through reading, writing, and speaking.  We can consider how we are communicating through all these methods, while keeping in mind cultural interpretations.  I don’t see this as meaning we have to be worried about misinterpretations; just to be aware they can happen and respond well if a student voices questions or concerns.

Classroom management requires us to be able to assess a student’s words and body language.  This helps us determine a good response that will not escalate or even de-escalate the situation.  Effective communication strategies make us that much better at it.

 

Cited web sites for “Effective Communication Strategies”

Format:

reference name in text
link
access date

 

cpi customer service
https://www.crisisprevention.com/Blog/September-2012/Customer-Service-and-Violence-Prevention
17-Jan-18

cpi training concepts
https://www.crisisprevention.com/Blog/February-2011/Applying-Prepare-Training-Concepts-and-Skills-When
17-Jan-18

ucdpreceptors
http://ucdpreceptors.hseland.ie/module3/modes3.asp
17-Jan-18

ucdpreceptors 2
http://ucdpreceptors.hseland.ie/module3/modes5.asp
17-Jan-18

ucdpreceptors 3
http://ucdpreceptors.hseland.ie/module3/modes7.asp
17-Jan-18

ucdpreceptors 4
http://ucdpreceptors.hseland.ie/module3/active.asp
17-Jan-18

ucdpreceptors 5
http://ucdpreceptors.hseland.ie/module3/modes1.asp
17-Jan-18

ucdpreceptors 6
http://ucdpreceptors.hseland.ie/module3/modes2.asp
17-Jan-18

 

Role Play Scenarios

PDF version for download: 09 Role Play Scenarios           09a Citations for Role Play Scenarios

 

Role Play Scenarios

Sometimes it is helpful to think about how you would react to a situation before you actually encounter it.  You can also discuss the situations with colleagues to broaden your point of view and options.  Following are a variety of scenarios we might encounter in a community college classroom.

When considering them, you might want to write down what you have done in the past.  Was it an effective response?  What would you do differently, now that you know more about classroom management?

Situation:  One table of students keep talking to one another while you are trying to present material.  What do you do?                                (DOE Virginia)

 

Situation:  You have your students sitting in pods of four. At one table one of the more fidgety students is pestering one of the other students at the table (e.g., taking things off her desk, staring at her paper, etc.). You have warned the students to stop but the pestering has not lessened. What do you do?                          (DOE Virginia)

 

Situation:  You are asking your class deeper-level questions to help them process a lesson you are teaching. One of your students is acting particularly silly, raising a hand and offering flippant and irresponsibly incorrect answers. What do you do?                 (DOE Virginia)

 

Situation:  You are giving a test. You see one of your students copying answers from a neighbor. It is obvious that they are trying to cheat. You have a rule against cheating in your class. What do you do?                  (DOE Virginia)

 

Situation: As you are lecturing, three girls in the class begin to pass a make-up set among one another, and use it when you are not looking. What do you do?            (DOE Virginia)

 

Situation:  As you are teaching, a handful of students find themselves being pulled into a negative interaction. It starts small with a minor put-down, but soon grows as each student escalates the conflict with greater and more significant put downs.                 (DOE Virginia)

 

Situation:  Derek is early to class every day, but since he comes there from lunch, he needs to go to the bathroom during the class time. He asks to go to the bathroom about 20 minutes into class. This is a habitual practice of Derek’s. He misses a lot of instruction time because he is gone for 10 to 15 minutes at a time.                               (Prentiss)

 

Situation:  Randy has recently been hired in a part-time job and has to work until midnight four nights a week. He is falling asleep in most of his classes. His other teachers have all noticed and have discussed it— they feel that if Randy cares enough to learn, he will stay awake and pay attention in class. Randy … is getting ready to graduate, but if he fails his classes, he won’t be able to graduate …  (Prentiss)

 

Situation:  Emilio often looks bored in class and today, like many days, he finished his work long before the other students. He has spent most of the rest of his class time bothering the girls in the row ahead of him. He has consistently earned A’s on all the tests and assigned projects, and you suspect that the work is simply not challenging enough for him.        (Prentiss)

 

Situation:  Since November, Darla’s grades have suddenly dropped from a “B+” to a “D” average. In class, she seems distracted and not herself. Ms. Gonzalez, her mathematics teacher, finds out that Darla’s parents are in the process of getting a divorce.     (Prentiss)

 

Situation:  Bill, complains in a very belligerent manner in class about the type of questions on an exam. He believes that the questions were not what had been covered in the class and in homework assignments. He continues to be a disruption to you as you review the test.                      (Prentiss)

 

Situation:  A student approaches you and tells you that he has ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder). He can’t take the test within the time allotted, can’t turn in assignments on time, or can’t take notes, etc. He is requesting special consideration. Other students in the class overhear your conversation and start to whisper among themselves.         (usf.edu)

 

Situation:  You’ve assigned on-line discussion groups. You are reviewing student postings and discover inappropriate language and sexual references to persons being discussed.               (usf.edu)

 

Situation:  John recently began teaching at USF. In the fourth week of the term, he administered the first exam. Mary, a traditional-age student, was a “no-show” who had also missed the previous week. After the exam, John telephoned her at the number she had provided on her student profile. A man answered the phone. John identified himself as Mary’s professor and asked for her. The man identified himself as Mary’s father, told John that Mary was not home, then asked the nature of the call. John replied that Mary had missed the test and went on to speculate about its impact on her grade.             (usf.edu)

 

Situation:  A student comes to class who is obviously on drugs or drunk.       (usf.edu)

 

Situation:  For a second time, a student arrives to your classroom late (the student is in a wheelchair). Your syllabus specifies a reduction in points for repeated tardiness.            (usf.edu)

 

Situation:  A student receives an “F” on a test. He protests his grade and is adamant about your changing his grade or allowing him to re-take the exam. You stand firm on your position and tell him that there are no make-ups or extra credit. His tone becomes increasingly aggressive. He calls you, he emails you, and he waits for you after class.         (usf.edu)

 

Situation:  Teri will frequently become upset over her grades and will ask for extra credit. While normally you would be supportive of someone with her motivation, you are concerned because she frequently gets A’s and is often worried because of only a few points.             (usf.edu)

 

Situation:  A student misses a mid-term exam worth 40% of her grade. She tells you she was in the hospital. You have a “NO MAKE UP EXAM” policy and the student appears to be in good health. (usf.edu)

 

Situation:  Mid-term is approaching. A student comes to you (who has been working very hard) but is in danger of failing the class. The student tells you that he has to pass this class to keep his financial aid. (usf.edu)

 

Situation:  Many of your students come from different cultures with different ethnic and linguistic backgrounds. You have been lecturing and students are complaining that they cannot understand you or follow your logic.      (usf.edu)

Situation:  George … is a know-it-all and calls attention to your mistakes whenever you wander into his field of expertise, so that you now fear discussing anything related to his field.         (usf.edu)

 

Situation:  Christopher, an older student in your class, is continuing his training by taking classes in his field. Because of his experience with the topic, the rest of the class defers to his opinion and will often wait until he has the first word. This is compounded by the fact that he frequently will make jokes or interrupt other students, especially if he disagrees with their opinion.              (usf.edu)

 

Situation:  After recently modifying your lesson plans to include in-class small team assignments you notice that Genevieve with her head on her desk while her partners are working through the problem. After asking her if something is wrong, she’s replies that group work is a “waste of time” and thinks that “teachers should actually teach during class.”             (usf.edu)

 

Situation:  Incensed by his failing essay grade, Michael demands a private meeting at your office, but he shuts the door as he enters, raises his voice, and gesticulates wildly. You notice his brawny arms, and you start to fear for your physical safety.                          (usf.edu)

 

Situation:  Student Sam struggled the entire term in Janet’s class. Janet provided him extra support and tutoring after class, and by the final class period it appeared he would get a satisfactory grade. Sam was genuinely appreciative, saying, “No instructor has ever gone out of their way like you!” As Sam came into the room for the final exam, he handed Janet a small bag with a wrapped gift. Janet was quite surprised when, after all of the students had left, she opened the package to find a pair of gold earrings.  (usf.edu)

 

Situation:  Marina finds spelling and grammar errors in your sentences on the board with embarrassing consistency, and she comes around after class to give you her critical opinion of the course. When she’s in class, you feel like you’re being constantly monitored.                               (usf.edu)

 

Situation: Mr. Gotto Coverit has been trying to get through several of the objectives which are part of the school district’s curriculum. He has repeatedly told students that the material will be on the test and has wondered if they really understand the seriousness of what he has been trying to tell them for three days. When he gave the test his thoughts were confirmed. When he talked to them as a group, they claimed they knew it and they have been paying attention in class. They claimed that the test was unfair because it was confusing and they did not understand for sure what he wanted.      (Bob)

 

Situation: Mr. Gnu empathizes with students about how difficult it is to be quiet for long periods of time. He remembers his desire to share information with others about the lesson, after-school activities, and gossip. He believes that if students are not given an opportunity to do so they will be consumed with the ideas and unable to pay attention. Therefore, he allows students to talk whenever there is a break in the action (assignments and materials being passed or collected and transition times). This worked fine at the beginning, however lately it is harder to bring the students back together, to have them focus on their work, and to have meaningful on task discussions without students getting off task.      (Bob)

 

Situation: Ms. Wanto Helplearn begins each class by asking students what they know about a topic, reviewing past learnings, explaining what students are to do, making an assignment, asking students what questions they have, and letting the students work. The same students volunteer ideas while others are not very attentive and do not volunteer answers. When she has completed her instruction and students are working on an assignment she roams the room and helps students with individual problems. As she helps she is constantly checking to see if students are on task and if not dealing with them before helping others. She also is able to check on students who may have trouble, based on her understanding of the student’s needs and assessment data. Lately there seems to be more students who seek help, some who finish very quickly, and a general decrease in the quality of about half of the students’ work. The early finishers talk, pass notes, walk around the class and visit. Occasionally a student will engage in a silly behavior behind Ms. Wanto Helplearn’s back and make the rest of the class giggle.      (Bob)

 

Situation: Mr. Must Doit believes students must be active if they are to learn, generalize, and be able to solve real life problems. He also believes students learn by communicating their ideas and that what they need to learn is not always in a textbook. At the beginning of the year things seemed to go pretty good. Lately the productivity of the students seems to have decreased. Students take longer to decide what they are going to do, who is going to do what, and argue about it. When they see that the allotted time is about to expire, they make hasty decisions and complete the task quickly, which reduces the quality of work. He was going to talk about this to the students yesterday when a similar situation arose. However, he did not. The class’s behavior was incredible. The students’ achievement was quality, the atmosphere was relaxed, the noise level was appropriate, and students were cooperative, congenial, and very satisfied with their products. The day ended very well. Mr. Must Doit is wondering what he should do. He hopes things will continue as yesterday, but he isn’t sure it will since it has not in the past.                 (Bob)

Situation: Ms. Goal Setter believes students need to be empowered by making choices and setting goals. She has had very good experiences with most of the students. However, there are a few that are really hard to reach. She has days where they set goals and achieve them and days when they do nothing, just a little bit, or just enough to get by. Her usual procedure is to have students decide on a task, how to do it, and supporting them while they work (plan, do, review or state of the classroom). When they are done she usually gives them feedback, feed forward, and praise for their accomplishments.                         (Bob)

 

Situation:  Kyle covertly bangs on the bottom of his desk, making distracting noises while you are teaching.  When you ask him to stop, he looks innocent and claims he is not doing anything.  And yet when you go back to teaching, he continues the noise again.  What do you do?              (TJ)

 

Situation: Devon is the ringleader of a group of students he has recruited to create distractions in your classroom.  How do you stop the group and their actions before it gets any worse?    (TJ)

 

Cited web sites for “Role Play Scenarios”

Format:

reference name in text
link
access date

 

Bob
http://www.homeofbob.com/cman/fictn/simulatns/clsrms.html
16-Jan-18

DOE Virginia
www.doe.virginia.gov/support/school…classroom_mgt/session-8_guidebook.docx
16-Jan-18

Prentiss
<<http://images.pcmac.org/SiSFiles/Schools/MS/PrentissCounty/PrentissCountyVoTech/Uploads/DocumentsSubCategories/Documents/Classroom_Management_Role_Playing.pdf>>
16-Jan-18
<Note:  Link no longer exists.  21Sept2020>

TJ
Tracy Johnston’s contribution

usf.edu
http://www.usf.edu/atle/documents/handout-classroom-management.pdf
16-Jan-18

 

 

 

 

Classroom Management Guidelines

PDF version for download:  10 Classroom Management Guidelines         10a Citations for Classroom Management Guidelines

 

Classroom Management Guidelines

It often helps to have the ideas, concepts, and tips put into a short, summarized list.  Below are various lists I found that support the previous sections.

Curwin and Mendler’s Nine Steps for Consequence Implementation

  1. Always implement a consequence: Be consistent.
  2. Simply state the rule and consequence.
  3. Be physically close: use the power of proximity.
  4. Make direct eye contact.
  5. Use a soft voice.
  6. Catch the student being good.
  7. Don’t embarrass the student in front of the class.
  8. Be firm, but anger free when giving the consequence.
  9. Don’t accept excuses, bargaining or whining.

(DOE Virginia)

 

Classroom Management Best Practices

Barbara Gross Davis, Tools for Teaching:

Make it clear you value all comments

  1. Avoid singling out students as spokespersons
  2. Discourage students who monopolize discussion
  3. Tactfully correct wrong answers
  4. Emphasize mastery and learning rather than grades
  5. Give speedy feedback

 

McKeachie’s Teaching Tips:

Recognize Perry’s stages of cognitive development (Ed. Note: see next section)

  1. Quiz early and often to set expectations
  2. Establish fair policies
  3. Ratchet up response only as needed
  4. For low attention, switch activities
  5. Start with an assumption of honesty—don’t believe the worst in students
  6. Get to know students to head off angry confrontations
  7. Keep your cool – don’t respond instantly
  8. Remember that students are human who need sympathy and help

 

Linda Nilson, Teaching at its Best

  1. Balance authority and approachability
  2. Model correct behavior, and reward it in students
  3. Be aware of your voice and non-verbal communication; use them to subtly communicate your desired response
  4. Avoid overly long lectures
  5. Keep cool and don’t be baited
  6. Consult with problem students in private whenever possible

(usf.edu)

 

Five Golden Rules

  1. Be friendly but firm (andragogy, not pedagogy)
  2. Be an ally… for their learning (not grade)
  3. De-escale rather than De-fensive (Listen first. Speak softly)
  4. Revise syllabus policies to be realistic
  5. When in doubt, “fairness rules”

(usf.edu)

 

Spectrum of response:

  1. Do nothing (hope for extinction)
  2. Stand nearby
  3. Call on them to answer a plenary question
  4. Pause meaningfully (silence fills room)
  5. Generic plenary address
  6. Private talk
  7. Paper trail (email and otherwise)
  8. Public confrontation
  9. Kick them out

 

  • If you start too easy, you then have to over-compensate to ‘catch up’ to lessened expectations. Better to choose wisely to start with (but don’t over do the first one!)

(usf.edu)

 

The 5 core components that every teacher needs to understand and master in order … to create the maximum positive impact in the classroom.

  1. Always give adequate, timely, and fair consequences for disruptive behavior.
  2. Teach to expectations.
  3. Arrange the classroom for maximum performance.
  4. Never take the debate bait.
  5. Convey an unconditional positive regard for all.

(cpi management strategies)

 

  1. Do not use vague rules.
  2. Do not have rules that you are unwilling to enforce.
  3. Do not ignore student behaviors that violate school or classroom rules (they will not go away).
  4. Do not engage in ambiguous or inconsistent treatment of misbehavior.
  5. Do not use overly harsh or embarrassing punishments or punishments delivered without accompanying support.
  6. Do not use corporal punishment.
  7. Avoid out-of-school suspension whenever possible
  8. Do not try to solve problems alone if you have serious concerns about a student. Refer to your school psychologist or special education professional.

(apa.org CM)

 

NEGATIVE RESPONSE TO REQUESTS AND RULES

What can you do when you are confronted with students who are negative about rational requests and/or rules?

  1. Try to use these guidelines when establishing classroom rules:a) Involve your class in making up the rules.     b) State the rules positively.     c) Keep rules brief and to the point.     d) Review rules periodically with the class.

  2. Arrange private conferences with students to discuss the problem in depth.

  3. Ask the student(s) to write down the disturbing behavior in a class logbook. Have them write some appropriate alternative ways of responding to negativity, for future reference.

  4. Give students choices, in order to minimize negative reactions (e.g., “Would you rather stay an extra ten minutes and finish the exercise before lunch, or go to lunch now and finish it when you come back?”).

  5. Try to have frequent, positive interaction in the class (e.g., praise, group projects, discussions, etc.).

  6. Make sure students clearly understand what is expected from them. (In some cases, it’s the student’s confusion that causes oppositional behavior.)

  7. Handle difficult students individually outside the classroom, so that there is less chance that others will get involved.

  8. Contact the parents, the principal, and/or the counselor to discuss the student’s inappropriate behavior.(teachervision.com)

 

LACK OF RESPECT

What do you do with students who show a lack of respect for adults, peers, their belongings, and the property of others?

  1. The teacher should practice the 3 R’s: Respect, Responsibility, and Reciprocity.

  2. Role-play situations where there is lack of respect. For example: Someone fails a test and others make fun of that person. Follow with group analysis and discussion of the situation and alternative actions.

  3. Clearly state the reasons for respecting other people’s property. Publicly acknowledge those who demonstrate respect for others’ property, so their peers can model their behavior.

  4. Show videos dealing with respect and then discuss them. See Guidance Associates materials. Obtain materials from your county audio library.

  5. Don’t make unrealistic requests, dictate rules without explanations, or give an ultimatum that presents students with a boundary they might be tempted to cross because they feel it is unreasonable.

  6. Listen to each student. Never assume that you know what the student is going to say to explain his/her actions.

  7. Show that even though, as the teacher, you are in charge of the class, you respect the student and expect respect in return.

  8. Never make idle, sarcastic threats (e.g., “How many times have I told you to sit down? I am going to have to take away your recess time for the semester unless you behave.”)

(teachervision.com)

 

BEHAVIOR PROBLEMS

What steps can be followed to resolve a child’s constant misbehavior?

  1. If possible, meet with the child and describe in exact terms the behavior you find unacceptable in the classroom.

  2. During the discussion, explain the reason(s) why you find the behavior unacceptable.

  3. Be sure the child understands that it is not he/she who is unacceptable, but rather the behavior.

  4. Let the student know exactly what will happen if the problem continues.

  5. If the misbehavior occurs again, follow through with the previously planned disciplinary action.

  6. Throughout the process, keep the parents and the principal informed of the progress or lack of progress.

  7. If the child continues to misbehave and you feel that you have utilized all of your options and resources, send the child to the principal’s office. Explain to the child that he/she is welcome to return when he/she is ready to follow the classroom rules.

(teachervision.com)

 

ARGUMENTATIVE STUDENT

How can the teacher deal with a child who becomes argumentative upon confrontation?

  1. Do not confront the student in a group situation.

  2. Do not use an accusatory tone upon approaching the student.

  3. Evaluate the situation that led to the confrontation.

  4. Do not back the student into a corner. Leave room for options.

  5. Do not make threats that cannot be carried out.

  6. Allow your emotions to cool before approaching the student.

  7. Maintain the appearance of control at all times. Use a clear, firm voice.

  8. Give the child an opportunity to speak his/her piece.

  9. Allow for role-playing, doing role reversal.

  10. Try to explore and discover what led to the confrontation. Avoid repeating these circumstances.

  11. If you made an error, admit it!

(teachervision.com)

 

Cited web sites for “Classroom Management Guidelines”

Format:

reference name in text
link
access date

 

apa.org CM
http://www.apa.org/education/k12/classroom-mgmt.aspx
24-Jan-18

cpi management strategies
https://www.crisisprevention.com/Blog/May-2016/Classroom-Management-Strategies-for-Educators
14-Jan-18

DOE Virginia
www.doe.virginia.gov/support/school…classroom_mgt/session-8_guidebook.docx
16-Jan-18

teachervision.com
https://www.teachervision.com/setting-limits-effective-behavior-management
24-Jan-18

usf.edu
http://www.usf.edu/atle/documents/handout-classroom-management.pdf
16-Jan-18

 

 

 

 

 

 

Perry’s Stages of Cognitive Development

PDF version for download: 11 Perry’s Stages of Cognitive Development     11a Citations for Perry’s Stages of Cognitive Development

 

Perry’s Stages of Cognitive Development

I could write about this in my own words, but I found several websites that explained it so well that I decided to present them in their entirety.  What follows are their words, not mine, including any in-text citations.

__________________________________________________________

William Perry claimed (and his claims have been substantiated by subsequent research) that college students (but others, too) “journey” through 9 “positions” with respect to intellectual (and moral) development. These stages can be characterized in terms of the student’s attitude towards knowledge. The 9 positions, grouped into 4 categories, are:

  1. Dualism/Received Knowledge:
    There are right/wrong answers, engraved on Golden Tablets in the sky, known to Authorities.

    1. Basic Duality:
      All problems are solvable;
      Therefore, the student’s task is to learn the Right Solutions

    2. Full Dualism:
      Some Authorities (literature, philosophy) disagree;
      others (science, math) agree.
      Therefore, there are Right Solutions, but some teachers’ views of the Tablets are obscured.
      Therefore, student’s task is to learn the Right Solutions and ignore the others!
    • Rapaport’s speculation, part 1: Perhaps we begin as Dualists because we begin by accepting information from the world and reacting to it.
  1. Multiplicity/Subjective Knowledge:
    There are conflicting answers;
    therefore, students must trust their “inner voices”, not external Authority.
    1. Early Multiplicity:
      There are 2 kinds of problems:

      • those whose solutions we know
      • those whose solutions we don’t know yet

(thus, a kind of dualism).
Student’s task is to learn how to find the Right Solutions.

    1. Late Multiplicity:
      Most problems are of the second kind;
      therefore, everyone has a right to their own opinion;

or

some problems are unsolvable;
therefore, it doesn’t matter which (if any) solution you choose.

Student’s task is to shoot the bull.
(Most freshman are at this position, which is a kind of relativism)

At this point, some students become alienated, and either retreat to an earlier (“safer”) position (“I think I’ll study math, not literature, because there are clear answers and not as much uncertainty”) or else escape (drop out) (“I can’t stand college; all they want is right answers” or else “I can’t stand college; no one gives you the right answers”.)

    • Rapaport’s speculation, part 2: Perhaps we evolve into Multiplists after we learn things tacitly and have internal or implicit “feelings” or intuitions about things, but not conscious or explicit beliefs that can be explained or justified.
  1. Relativism/Procedural Knowledge:
    There are disciplinary reasoning methods:
    Connected knowledge: empathetic (why do you believe X?; what does this poem say to me?)
    vs. Separated knowledge: “objective analysis” (what techniques can I use to analyze this poem?)
    1. Contextual Relativism:
      All proposed solutions are supported by reasons;
      i.e., must be viewed in context & relative to support.
      Some solutions are better than others, depending on context.
      Student’s task is to learn to evaluate solutions.

      • Rapaport’s speculation, part 3: Perhaps we then evolve into Contextual Relativists when we can express our intuitions in language and seek justifications for them and relationships among them.
    2. “Pre-Commitment”:
      Student sees the necessity of:

      • making choices
      • committing to a solution
  1. Commitment/Constructed Knowledge:
    Integration of knowledge learned from others with personal experience and reflection.
    1. Commitment:
      Student makes a commitment.
    2. Challenges to Commitment:
      Student experiences implications of commitment.
      Student explores issues of responsibility.
    3. “Post-Commitment”:
      Student realizes commitment is an ongoing, unfolding, evolving activity

The journey is sometimes repeated; and one can be at different stages at the same time with respect to different subjects.

(cse buffalo)

 

MEET YOUR STUDENTS
7. DAVE, MARTHA, AND ROBERTO

Richard M. Felder
Department of Chemical Engineering
North Carolina State University
Raleigh, NC 27695-7905

Three engineering classmates are heading for lunch after a heat transfer test. Martha and Roberto are discussing the test and Dave is listening silently and looking grim.

Martha: “OK, so Problems 1 and 2 were pretty much out of the book, but Problem 3 was typical Brenner–he gives us a heat exchanger design and asks us to criticize it. I said the design might be too expensive, but we could say anything and he couldn’t tell us we’re wrong.”

Roberto: “Sure he could–it was a lousy design. They were putting a viscous solution through the tube side so you’d have a big pressure drop to overcome, the flow was laminar so you’d have a low heat transfer rate, the salt would probably corrode those carbon steel tubes, the…”

M: “Maybe, but it’s just a matter of opinion in questions like that–it’s like my English teacher taking off points because of awkward expression or something when anyone with half a brain would know exactly what I was saying.”

R: “Come on, Martha–most real problems don’t have just one solution, and he’s trying to…”

M: “Yeah, yeah–he’s just trying to get us to think and I’m okay with that game as long as I don’t lose points if my opinion isn’t the same as his. What do you think, Dave?

Dave: “I think that problem sucks! Which formula are you supposed to use for it?”

M: “It’s not that kind of question–not everything has a formula you can…”

D: “OK, so when did he tell us the answer? I memorized every lousy word he said after I bombed that last test and not one had anything to do with…”

R: “It’s a thinking question–you have to try to come up with as many…”

D: “That’s bull, man! I already know how to think–I’m here to learn how to be an engineer.”

M: “Dave, not everything in the world is black and white–some things are fuzzy.”

D: “Yeah, in those airhead humanities courses and those science courses where they spout all those theories but not in engineering-those questions have answers, and Brenner’s job is to teach them to me, not to play guessing games or put us in those dumb groups and ask us to…”

M: “Yeah, I’m not too crazy about those groups either, but…”

D: “…and that’s not all–Monday Roberto asked him that question about the best exchanger tube material and he starts out by saying ‘it depends’…I’m paying tuition for the answers, and if this bozo doesn’t know them he shouldn’t be up there.”

R: “Look, the teachers don’t know everything…you have to get information wherever you can–like in those groups you two were trashing–and then evaluate it and decide for yourself, and then you can…”

D: “That’s a crock of…”

M: “Um, what did you guys get for Problem 2? I used the Dittus-Boelter formula and got 4.3 square meters for the heat transfer area. How does that sound?”

R: “I don’t think it’s right. I did the same thing at first, but then I started to think about it some more and I remembered that you have to be in turbulent flow to use Dittus-Boelter and the Reynolds number was only 550, so I redid it with the laminar flow correlation and got…”

M: “Whoa-he never did anything like that in class.”

D: “I say we go straight to the Dean!” 

These three students illustrate three levels of the Perry Model of Intellectual Development.The model was developed in the 1960’s by William Perry, an educational psychologist at Harvard, who observed that students varied considerably in their attitudes toward courses and instructors and their own roles in the learning process. The Perry model is a hierarchy of nine levels grouped into four categories:

Dualism (Levels 1 and 2). Knowledge is black and white, every problem has one and only one correct solution, the authority (in school, the teacher) has all the solutions, and the job of the student is to memorize and repeat them. Dualists want facts and formulas and don’t like theories or abstract models, open-ended questions, or active or cooperative learning (“I’m paying tuition for him to teach me, not to teach myself.”) At Level 2, students begin to see that some questions may seem to have multiple answers but they still believe that one of them must be right. Like many entering college students, Dave is at Level 2.

Multiplicity (Levels 3 and 4). Some questions may not have answers now but the answers will eventually be known (Level 3) or responses to some (or most) questions may always remain matters of opinion (Level 4). Open-ended questions and cooperative learning are tolerated, but not if they have too much of an effect on grades. Students start using supporting evidence to resolve issues rather than relying completely on what authorities say, but they count preconceptions and prejudices as acceptable evidence and once they have reached a solution they have little inclination to examine alternatives. Many entering college students are at Level 3, and most college graduates are at Level 3 or 4. Martha is at Level 4.

Relativism (Levels 5 and 6). Students in relativism see that knowledge and values depend on context and individual perspective rather than being externally and objectively based, as Level 1-4 students believe them to be. Using real evidence to reach and support conclusions becomes habitual and not just something professors want them to do. At Level 6, they begin to see the need for commitment to a course of action even in the absence of certainty, basing the commitment on critical evaluation rather than on external authority. A few college graduates like Roberto attain Level 5.

Commitment within relativism (Levels 7-9). At the highest category of the Perry model, individuals start to make actual commitments in personal direction and values (Level 7), evaluate the consequences and implications of their commitments and attempt to resolve conflicts (Level 8), and finally acknowledge that the conflicts may never be fully resolved and come to terms with the continuing struggle (Level 9). These levels are rarely reached by college students.

The key to helping students move up this developmental scale is to provide an appropriate balance of challenge and support, occasionally posing problems one or two levels above the students’ current position. (They are unlikely to comprehend wider gaps than that.) If teaching is confined to single-answer problems, students will never be impelled to move beyond dualist thinking; on the other hand, expecting most freshmen to think critically when solving problems and to appreciate multiple viewpoints is a sure recipe for frustration. Instructors should assign open-ended real-world problems throughout the curriculum but should not make course grades heavily dependent on the outcomes, especially in the freshman and sophomore years. They should have students work in small groups (automatically exposing them to multiplicity), model the type of thinking being sought, and provide supportive feedback on the students’ initial attempts to achieve it. While doing those things won’t guarantee that all of our students will reach Level 5 or higher by the time they graduate, the more we move them in that direction the better we will be doing our job.

(ncsu unity)

 

Women’s Ways of Knowing: The Development of Self, Voice, and Mind

“All women grow up having to deal with historically and culturally engrained definitions of femininity and womanhood…” (Belenky, Clinchy, Goldberger, and Tarule, 1986). A woman does not think or reason like a man nor does she look at those in authority the same way due to her experiences and interactions with parents, culture, and her economic situation. The parental aspect is complex, leading into religious and moral issues along with physical, sexual, and mental abuse. Belenky et al. (1986) conducted a project in the late 1970’s based on the study and analysis of topics and aspects unique to women revealing a model of intellectual development.

Overview of Belenky, Clinchy, Goldberger, and Tarule Model

The five year project conducted by Belenky et al. (1986) involved interviewing 90 women from educational institutions and 45 women from the “invisible colleges” or human services agencies. These women came from different ethnic backgrounds and social classes in order to analyze a broader range of voices. Interview questions revolved around the topics of self-image, decision making, relationships, education and learning, personal changes and growth and what encouraged them to initiate changes. The analysis of the interview responses revealed five levels or stages of a woman’s development or growth that include silence, received knowledge, subjective knowledge, procedural knowledge, and constructed knowledge.

Stages of Intellectual Development

Silence:  A woman of silence is totally dependent on those in authority, not questioning or voicing an opinion (Belenky et al., 1986). Expressing her personal thoughts is very difficult as she lives in the present and normally speaks of specific concrete behaviors. A woman of silence usually has experienced physical, mental, or sexual abuse and feels that she is to be seen and not heard. If she should voice her opinion or ask a question, punishment is the most likely result. A woman of silence views decisions as either right or wrong with no room for reasoning.

Received Knowledge:  Belenky et al. (1986) places a woman at the receiving knowledge level if she is listening but does not have the confidence to voice her opinion. As the receiver she will listen and pass knowledge on to others, shaping her thoughts to match those in authority. When asked about herself, the receiver of knowledge will reply with what other individuals have stated, unable to voice her feelings. Abuse is still prevalent in the life of a woman receiving knowledge.

Subjective Knowledge:  About half of those participating in the project were at the subjective knowledge level (Belenky et al., 1986). Something usually happens in a woman’s life to encourage her to go from a receiver of knowledge to progress to the level of subjectivity. The woman begins to accept that she has a voice, “an inner source of strength” lying within herself, and an opinion that is due to past experiences. She recognizes that she does not have to agree with the authority but is still cautious about voicing opinions. Truth is experienced within oneself but not acted upon for fear of jeopardizing the associations one has with others at the same level.

Procedural Knowledge:  Belenky et al. (1986) describes procedural knowledge as divided into two areas, separate and connected knowing. A woman in either area realizes that she has voice, is still cautious of others and their actions, however now she is not threatened and is more willing to listen to what is being said. A separatist will not project her feelings into a situation and is able to speak taking on the requested view. A connected knower empathizes with others and feels it is her responsibility to help them understand their situation so they might make the best decision.

Constructed Knowledge:  A constructivist realizes that one must speak, listen, share ideas, explore, and question, analyzing who, why, and how (Belenky et al., 1986). Speaking and listening does not remain within oneself but includes speaking and listening to others at the same time.  She wants a better quality of life for herself and for others.

Analysis

Growth Stages of a Woman Compared to a Man

William Perry’s project of male students from Harvard University established four main levels of intellectual development: dualism, multiplicity, relativism, and commitment (Rapaport, 2006). Dualism is similar to a receiver of knowledge with the man identifying with those in authority whereas a woman is unable to do so (Belenky et al., 1986). William Rapaport (2006) placed multiplicity and subjectivism at similar levels. He states that a man has his opinion but has difficulty expressing it to authorities; a woman feels powerless to express her opinion (Belenky et al., 1986). Rapaport (2006) relates commitment and constructivism as similar with a man viewing knowledge as an ongoing unfolding activity whereas a woman brings her personal experiences and reflection into the integration of knowledge.

Progression Between Stages

Belenky et al. (1986) does not state that the flow from one level to another is linear, spiraling, or overlapping. Rapaport (2006) however alludes to the progression as a journey that can be repeated where one might be at different levels at the same time with respect to different subjects. William Peirce’s (2007) comparison of the Belenky et al. and Perry models reveals that both begin by accepting, without questioning, the knowledge of authorities. He goes on to state that both have a final position where a mature thinker seeks to fully understand an issue and is able to make up his or her mind. Both models agree that the progression to another level takes time and is not always easy but how one goes between the steps is also not always clear cut.

Critique

The progression from one level to another for a woman is like the bloom of a Morning Glory. A woman will become more confident with her feelings and voice but under certain conditions might step back, reassess, and then go forward once more like the blooming of the flower. It is not that she will retreat permanently but will use her reasoning skills and her concern for others to determine the best route to obtain the goal. A woman is not always as delicate as the flower but can persevere through many situations to become a pressed flower, firm in her thoughts and expectations.

Discussion of families and education at the end of the book evokes controversy (Belenky et al., 1986). It states that children are told to listen but not be heard. In some matters children are unable to make decisions and need to listen; this may also be called showing respect. Education is also referred to as the road to life changes. Is it the educational experience or is it a time that the woman is growing emotionally and learning more about herself? This leads to the non-inclusion of the working woman in the study. Women that get decent jobs and go on to have productive lives were ignored; why did they decide not to go on to school, if they were abused in some way, or their perspectives with those in authority were not studied.

The Belenky et al. (1986) project encourages one to think about how and why one may reason or voice an opinion. Looking back on the lives of family and friends one begins to also question and analyze actions and moral or religious issues. Why do I do what I do?

(mason gmu)

 

[On teaching, using Perry’s model]

For dualistic students…

  • Instructor: Seen as the only legitimate source of knowledge
  • Themselves: Seen as receivers & demonstrators of knowledge
  • Other students: Not seen as legitimate sources of knowledge
  • On evaluation: Wrong answer = bad person; Evaluations should be clear-cut
  • Support: Need high degree of structure.  Dualistic students like lectures, hate seminars

Voices of Dualism:

“In a lecture, you get taught by an expert, which means the information is credible.”

“I’m lost [in this class]; the professor lacks a clue.”  I.e., it’s the prof’s fault; he’s the Authority

For early multiplists…

  • Instructor: Seen as source of right way to get knowledge
  • Themselves: Seen as learning how to learn; Seen as working hard
  • Other students: Seen as in the same boat, therefore OK
  • On evaluation: Of central concern; Fairness is important; Quantity of work counts
  • Support: From peers, some structure

Late multiplists…

  • Instructor: Seen as source of the thinking process; Or else (cynical form) seen as irrelevant – everyone’s entitled to their own opinion
  • Themselves: Seen as learning to think for themselves; Seen as expressing opinions (whether believed/supported or not)
  • Other students: Seen as legitimate
  • On evaluation: Independent thought deserves good grades; Or (cynical form):  “I’ll do what they want.”
  • Get support from: diversity; lack of structure.  Late multiplists hate lectures, like seminars

 

 

Voice of Dualism Confronted with Multiplism

“I really enjoyed this course.  I had lots of trouble till about 2/3 into the course, because I was looking for answers [dualism].  Once I realized there were no answers [multiplism] & you had to figure things out for yourself, it became easier.”

Voices of Multiplism

“You know, it seems to me that there are 2 different kinds of things we study—things where there are answers & things where there aren’t any!”

“There are many of us students who spend from 3-9 hours working on one lab assignment.  When we get our grades back, they don’t meet our satisfaction.  I spend a lot of time thinking and trying out my program.  When I get a D, I get upset.  Maybe the grade should include more for effort than just if the program runs properly.”

“I attend recitation to hopefully gain some information I did not catch or understand in class.  Regretfully I learn more on my own time than in recitation…”

Contextual relativists…

  • Instructors: Seen as source of expertise… as long as they follow contextual rules for good thinking
  • Themselves: Seen as studying different contexts; Seeing different perspectives
  • Other students: Legitimate if they follow contextual rules for good thinking
  • On evaluation: Evaluation of work does not equal evaluation of self; Evaluation is part of learning
  • Get support from: Instructor, Diversity

Voice of Multiplism Confronted with Contextual Relativism

“Since the material tends to be subjective [multiplism], it helps to see the reasoning of another person [CR] sometimes.”

Voices of Contextual Relativism

“The answer is Markus Hess; now go home.  If you’re only interested in the solution, leave.  If you’re interested in good science & want to know how I solved the puzzle, stay.”

“It is not knowledge, but the act of learning, not possession but the act of getting there, which grants the greatest enjoyment.” (Gauss)

Students Make Their Own Meanings

What Teachers Say vs. What Students Hear

  • Teacher: Today we’ll discuss 3 algorithms for computer GCD.
  • Dualist: 3!  Which is the correct one?  Why bother with the wrong ones?
  • Multiplist: Only 3?  Heck, I can think of a dozen!
  • Contextual relativist: What principles underlie the 3 algorithms?  Which is the most efficient?  Which should I use on my project?

Your Goals as Teacher

  • To challenge students, so that they will move from dualism to multiplism to contextual relativism (& beyond)
  • To support students, as they move from the “comfort” of one approach to the strangeness of another

(cse buffalo teaching)

 

Cited web sites for “Perry’s Stages of Cognitive Development”

Format:

reference name in text
link
access date

 

cse buffalo
https://www.cse.buffalo.edu/~rapaport/perry.positions.html
14-Mar-18

cse buffalo teaching
https://www.cse.buffalo.edu//~rapaport/501/501teaching.html
15-Mar-18

mason gmu
http://mason.gmu.edu/~pbailey2/portfolio/docs/educ800waysofknowing/paperonwomenswok.htm
14-Mar-18

ncsu unity
http://www4.ncsu.edu/unity/lockers/users/f/felder/public/Columns/Perry.html
14-Mar-18

Teacher Fears

PDF version for download:  12 Teacher Fears          12a Citations for Teacher Fears

 

Teacher Fears

It is normal and rational to have fears, concerns, or questions about your teaching.  Your inexperience, your experiences, and your professionalism all contribute to this:  Having high standards for yourself and your work can cause you to worry.

What follows are comments made by and advice from teachers, given to teachers.  The first lists fears about their own preparedness.

Being asked difficult questions which I think I cannot answer.

Being discovered unprepared for the class.

…maybe even just that I lose my train of thought and there’s just silence for a couple of minutes.

I was asked by a student for the answer to a question I had brought up. I suddenly did not know the answer and was unable to respond during the class.

(depts.washington)

Next, a veteran teacher describes the feelings they had about going to class and how they dealt with them.

However, as the years passed and I became more and more tired and unhappy, I realized that I was becoming afraid of walking into the classroom.

My fear was the result of trauma.  Regardless of how many terrific students I had, I was confused by the students who cheated, spoke to me rudely, or refused to engage.  I’d had difficult students before, but I’d had more time and energy to break through their defenses.  Now, I was taking negative attitudes personally, and I was hurt.  I shut down, put up walls, and held all my students at arm’s length, to avoid feeling victimized.

My fears were threefold:

Fear of being disliked.  In the past, most students had liked me.  I was young; I was good-looking “for a teacher;” I really cared about them and their success.  In most of my teaching jobs, I wasn’t responsible for grading or disciplining students; I’d rarely been obliged to say “no.”  All this had changed.

Fear of confrontation.  In life, as in the classroom, I detest fights.  Aggression and displays of anger upset me deeply.  When I’m angry, I become icy cold.  When faced with inappropriate behavior – whether in a student or a friend – I tend to ignore it, at least outwardly, although I can stew about it for years.  I was afraid of confronting students who behaved inappropriately; I froze them out and ignored them, and this made things worse.

Fear of doing a bad job.  My sense of identity was now tied to being a “good teacher.”  However, my definition of “good teacher” wasn’t accurate.  Until now, I’d rarely considered how much my students were learning – instead, I was concerned about whether they were enjoying themselves, and me.  I was afraid that if my students didn’t all love me, I wasn’t good at my job.  But of course, this isn’t true.  My job is to help them learn, not to win their approval.

Identifying these fears was a major step in recovering from my burnout.  As I unpacked them, I realized that I needed to change my conception of “good teaching,” I needed to confront classroom difficulties head-on, and I needed to let go of the fantasy that I’d one day walk into the classroom with total confidence that everything would go well.

Fear is a part of any important work.  We don’t need to get over it, but we may need to change our approach to it.  In my next post, I’ll discuss one way I tried to deal with my fears: I got more training.

(siobhancurious)

This section discusses many common teaching fears and gives constructive advice on how to view them.  While we at the community college don’t often deal with parents, they do occasionally show up and we need to know how to talk to them.

One: What If I’m Not Ready?

If you ever find yourself doubting your own credentials, just think back to the veritable mountain of assignments, projects, and theses you had to complete in order to get where you are today. You’re never going to feel 100% prepared, so trust your instincts and training and you’ll do just fine.

Fortunately, this is also the first fear to be conquered. As your level of experience in the classroom continues to increase, so too will your worries diminish. Better yet, you’re only going to get better as time passes. Experience is indeed the best teacher, and every single day you’ll learn something new that will make you a better educator.

Two: What If I Make a Mistake?

Although to err is human, your students may not always see it that way. Unruly students are constantly looking for ways to undermine your authority and will jump on any chance to point out your faults.

Internally, remind yourself that everyone makes mistakes. Nobody’s perfect and even the best teachers misspell a word or temporarily forget a mathematical formula. Just because you’re not a student, it doesn’t mean you can’t keep learning. If you notice that any particular subject is giving you trouble, spend a little time reacquainting yourself with the material to avoid future missteps.

Externally, find a way to take things in stride without letting your students see you sweat. For example, give out small rewards to any students who can find a typo on an assignment. Instead of an embarrassing mistake, it looks like a teaching moment, with your students none the wiser.

Three: What If I Can’t Control My Students?

A deep understanding of the academic content is only half the battle when it comes to managing a class of 20 or more students. You’ll also need to keep control of your students, and that can mean dealing with unruly and challenging kids.

At times like these, it’s a good idea to reach out to more experienced teachers. Ask your coworkers for advice about dealing with rowdy classes. There’s also plenty of online support…

Four: What If Parents Give Me Trouble?

As if dealing with students wasn’t hard enough, you’ll also need to contend with their parents. While the majority of parents are only too happy to cooperate with and support your efforts, you’re bound to encounter a troublesome parent. They may be completely uninterested in their child, or they may be too interested (the dreaded ‘helicopter parent’ is not just a myth.)

When dealing with uncooperative or aggressive parents, it’s important to remember that you’re on the same side. You both want what’s best for the child, even if you don’t agree on the best way to go about it. Keep your cool, stay professional, and be patient; giving into your emotions and engaging in an argument will accomplish nothing and could lead to disciplinary action. Remain composed and stand your ground; in time, you will reach a solution.

Five: What If I’m Not Good at Teaching?

Perhaps the most common fear in all professions, not just teaching, is that of inadequacy. Whether you’re a professional athlete or career politician, everyone has his or her own moments of doubt.

As with the fear of not being prepared, you need only look back at how much you’ve already accomplished. Colleges and universities don’t just give degrees to anyone, and between your bachelor’s and master’s degree programs, certification exams, and whatever else you’ve had to go through, you’ve more than proved that you’re capable of enjoying a long career as an educator.

Don’t let one bad day early on in your career scare you off. Everyone goes through a rough patch, but if you keep at it, your persistence will pay off when a compliment from an administrator, a parent, or a student will lead to the acknowledgement that, yes, you are a good teacher!

(study.com 5 fears)

Here are some solid ideas for facing your fears and getting yourself ready to handle your classroom.

First, document any areas in which you have fears or anxieties as a teacher. Try and take a step back from yourself. Move away from your emotions and closer to your truth. For example, you might say you have a fear of trying new activities in class. If you have observed this, see if you can get to the core of what it is that you are afraid of. Is it that you are uncertain that the activity will work? Or, is it that you’re not sure what you will do if it doesn’t work? Do you feel that you don’t have a strategy in place for repairing an activity you perceive as having failed, or that you would be uncomfortable abandoning it and moving on to something else?

In my teacher training I emphasize the importance of getting comfortable with being uncomfortable. To begin this process, start by operating at the edge of your comfort zone, rather than in the middle of it. Ask yourself, “What is the worst that could happen?” The answer is probably a temporary silence in which you might feel awkward or embarrassed. It is precisely these moments that we need to take ownership of and deal with proactively. After all, we all make mistakes. It can be encouraging for our students if they see us get back on track with dignity and humor, rather than struggling to hide something that everyone is aware of.

A clear example of this would be when a student asks a grammar question and the teacher is unable to immediately answer it. We all understand the urge to provide the answer immediately and many of us have probably experienced the process of attempting to provide one before realizing that it either isn’t an answer or that it may be inaccurate or wrong. The better response would be to say that you are not sure what the answer is or that you don’t know the answer but you know where you can find it and you will come back with the answer by a specific time. The key is to follow through, find the answer, and bring it to class, reminding the class of the question and providing the answer. This strategy will earn the trust and respect of students and provide the teacher with more confidence.

Most of the fears a teacher experiences can be overcome provided they are dealt with seriously and calmly. The first step is to articulate what the fear is. This can be done effectively through writing. Here it is important to dig deep and to ask the powerful questions in a systematic way. For example, if you are afraid of being observed, ask yourself, “What is it that I’m afraid of?”, “Do I think I’m not good enough?”, “Do I worry about being judged?” etc. Articulating one’s fears is the first step towards overcoming them. The next step is to provide the counter argument. In this case, the reasons why you are good enough and how being observed can be a positive experience leading to growth and improvement.

One of the pleasures of teaching is that of continuing to find ways to be better. Naturally, one way of doing this is to try new things, and take risks. Over time, what we originally experienced as fears may become opportunities.”

(itdi.pro)

This next part is similar but takes a different look at our fears, and also offers some thought questions with a matching exercise.

Last week I sent around a short questionnaire asking fellow teachers about “fear”. A handful of people suggested “fear” wasn’t really the right word. They said ‘‘anxiety” is more appropriate. Indeed, the term “anxiety” is often found in the literature in regards to individual learners, learner groups, teachers, and its effect on motivation, learning, and (to a lesser degree) teaching.

I didn’t recall or edit the survey, though. I thought that while most respondents would automatically equate the term with anxiety anyway, sticking with “fear” might prove interesting because it connotes a more objective threat and stronger emotions. Anxiety is typically associated with chronic, lingering dis-ease, while fear – with more immediate, intense, and temporary reactions in specific situations. We have anxiety about something, and a fear of something. But clearly there’s a lot of overlap. Together, anxiety and fear trace a fair bit of territory on the heart-map of the teacher’s identity which, I declare, is a land of emotion…stronger emotion than we might usually acknowledge.

In fact, right now I’d like to acknowledge that while I may not be experiencing extreme fear writing this piece for the iTDi Blog, I’m certainly anxious! What will the readers think? Is my writing okay? Just how disappointing will it be? I hear a voice within, and it’s a fearful voice. It’s saying, “someone’s going to find you out”.

Anyway, let’s get back to the survey. When respondents shared about fears they remember from their early days as teachers, what do you think was front and center? The most common thread running through their accounts was the often intensely fearful “impostor syndrome”:

“I was afraid of students finding out how much I relied on the textbook because I was just learning how to be a teacher, and I did not have any formal training in TESOL…”

“…Screwing up complicated classroom management or a task set up and that someone would realise what an impostor I was…” 

“The first time I taught I had butterflies in my stomach, I was afraid of being labeled ‘stupid’, of not knowing something I should know (‘my native language’), of being asked questions and having no answer, of being an impostor…” 

Does any of that ring a bell? Or perhaps flap a butterfly wing? The next question asked about fears they encountered as more experienced teachers. The responses here were more varied, as well as much more specific.

1 – “I fear students get confused about my instructions or writing prompts”

2 – “Now and then think I may someday get bored or tired and want to leave the profession”

3  - “My fear now is that my students (who pay for English classes) won’t get their money’s worth out of the class”

4 – “Now that I am into teacher training I am afraid that I might project my own perceptions of good/bad teaching on my trainees”

5 – “I still always get nervous when facing new classes”

Interestingly, to me these read more like “fears” than the first batch. Do we tend to shift from experiencing a more overarching “anxiety” to having more “focused fears” as we develop? Another thing to note is that many responses in the first question about the early teaching days ignored the prompt to report what they did in the face of the fear they experienced. In contrast, there was much more about facing the fear and responding to the situation in connection with more recent fears. And since I’m a teacher, I’m now going to have you do a little matching task with some of these comments. Match the four responses A-D below with the items 1-5 above. Yes, there’s one without a match! (Answers below)

A – That’s why I always talk to them in regards to specified criteria

B – I get feedback from students about class activities

C – I always try new things and seek further professional development

D – I think it’s a good thing and I try to stay open to new experiences

These comments reflect the resilience and resourcefulness teachers develop over their careers. It’s not that anxiety or fear in the face of problems disappears. Rather, there’s a shift. Expert teachers have been described as “working at the edge of their competence”, thereby maximizing opportunities for both encountering and solving problems. They invite challenges, lean into them, and live the questions that once caused fear. And as they develop they increasingly live out the famous Maya Angelou quote, “Having courage does not mean that we are unafraid. Having courage and showing courage mean we face our fears.”

Respondents to my survey also identified what they thought were common teacher fears. Can you relate to any of these? Take a minute to simply reflectively connect one or more of them to your own experience. These are memories of the past, but what might you take out of this recall and reflection for tomorrow? If there is fear or other negative emotion around it, what could be your first step through it?

“That they may be missing out on something else career-wise”

“A lot of teachers just want their students to like them, but fear they don’t” 

“Not feeling respected and appreciated for their hard work”

“Murphy’s Law and technology – constantly on edge: will it work?!?”

Finally, some of the additional prompts teachers offered for reflection on teacher’s fear and anxiety:

“The impact of fear is on teacher’s professional development choices. Does it spark a bigger desire to learn or does it paralyze the teacher? Sort of like what happens with anxiety, which can be positive if it is not overwhelming”

“I really enjoy being in the class and feel comfortable 99% of the time, but I am busy and I have been worried about exhaustion and burnout”

“Do teachers feel that their English proficiency causes them fear as well?”

“Teachers need to know they do not know everything. Putting our defences down is a great way to open our hearts and learn from students”

… what is very clear to me is this: the negative side of fear thrives in isolation. Dan Lortie called teaching “the egg-carton profession” because we may work in close proximity to our peers but too rarely connect and collaborate in important ways. As one of my respondents commented, “Schools should have an open door policy and teachers should walk in and out of each other’s teaching rooms!”. Now that’s unafraid! And it’s beautiful. It’s also, unfortunately, unrealistic. So while we keep working to break down the more physical walls, we should use the connective vessel of the internet to share thoughts, experiences, and especially emotions with colleagues through social media and teacher networks like iTDi. This is one powerful way for teachers to beat fear and be free.

Matching task answers: 4 – A, 1 – B, 2 – C, 5 – D.

(itdi.pro fear factor)

And finally, more advice on dealing with your fears of anything, not just teaching, as well as tips for self-care.

Teacher Stress Busting Secret #1: Kill Worry By Accepting the Worst and Working to Improve It

The best technique for dealing with anxiety comes from Dale Carnegie’s How to Stop Worrying and Start Living. Carnegie interviewed Willis H. Carrier, the engineer and founder of the Carrier Corporation, the company many of us use for our air conditioning system. Early in his career, Carrier had made a mistake and installed a massive air handling system that didn’t work. After nights of not sleeping, Carrier adopted three steps that changed his life.

Analyze the situation fearlessly and honestly and figure out the worst that can happen as a result.

Accept the worst outcome

Calmly devote time and energy to improve upon the worst which has already been accepted mentally.

When I’m worried, I grab pen and paper and start by listing the worst thing that can happen. I go ahead and accept the worst, and then, I start improving it. …

Teacher Stress Busting Secret #2: Interrupt Negative Thought Loops and Replace Them With Positive Ones

Your thoughts can swirl into a tornado — taking you to places of purpose or pathetic places of self-induced agony.

Your thoughts create a mental momentum that spills over into your physical world.

On a recent episode of Every Classroom Matters, Sir John Hargrave, author of Mindhacking, talked about “thought loops.” Thought loops are those repeated loops of things we say to ourselves. Part of self-awareness and metacognition is the ability to pull back and observe your thoughts from a distance.

Gandhi said, “I will not let anyone walk through my mind with his dirty feet.”

Sometimes we’re the one with dirty feet and the negativity comes from ourselves. Sometimes our thoughts echo negative things people have said to us that we won’t let go. We can master our thoughts and redirect our abilities. Interrupt your negative thoughts and replace them with positive ones. Even if you have to talk to yourself. Redirect your thoughts and regain your mind.

Teacher Stress Busting Secret #3: Keep a Joy Journal

Looking for joy is like looking for a color. When you look for the color blue, you see it everywhere. Start noticing and writing down things that bring you joy. You’ll re-set your mindset and become happier.

Research has shown that keeping a joy journal will improve your “long term well being” more than winning a million dollars in the lottery.

Most of us are naturally tuned to notice certain things. Some people always see the negative, like old Eeyore in Winnie the Pooh. …

Some of us just need to re-set our mindset. Listing five things a day will have you looking for those things. The kind word, the fun time you had playing with the dog, the romantic dinner you had last night, the surprise phone call from an old friend. We all have moments of joy if we start noticing them instead of feeling blue.

Teacher Stress Busting Secret #4: Make Sleep a Priority

A tired teacher is a powderkeg looking for a match. Set an evening alarm to remind yourself that it is time to go to sleep. Sleep loss makes it harder to think, harms your health and worsens your mood. Women who sleep less than seven hours a night are more likely to be obese. Norbert Schwarz says, “Making $60,000 more in annual income has less of an effect on your daily happiness than getting one extra hour of sleep a night.”

Brooks and Lack found that a ten-minute nap was ideal, but that even a five-minute snooze was better than nothing.

Teacher Stress Busting Secret #5: Drink Enough Water

Take time to drink water.  Seventy-five percent of Americans suffer from chronic dehydration. Dehydration is shown to impact your mood and cognitive processes negatively. The effects of dehydration are real and especially detrimental to teachers who must stay positive and think clearly.

Many suffer not from lack of water, but an inability to take time to drink it. Apply the “mud puddle principle” and put a glass by each sink in your home. Drink a whole glass of water at the beginning of break and lunch. Drinking water must become part of your habits, so you do it automatically.

Teacher Stress Busting Secret #6: Exercise (preferably outside)

Sitting is the new cigarette. Every 90 minutes a human needs to move. We’re not stuck on a ship, after all, we can walk around the building or visit a friend across campus. Some of us can even walk to work.

Just five minutes of exercise gives you a positive mood-enhancing impact.  Exercising outdoors will boost your mood even more.

Teacher Stress Busting Secret #7: Make Time for Faith

A strong correlation exists between religion and positive mental health. Research-proven ways of handling stress include meditationdeep breathing,aromatherapylistening to musicvisualization and prayer. …

Teacher Stress Busting Secret #8: Develop deep relationships

As humans, we need intimacy. But just being together is not enough. Be careful that your stressful career doesn’t ruin your close relationships. While journaling your problems is shown to reduce stress, just talking about them with another person is not. And cynical gossip has an intensely negative impact on your life.

Build healthy relationships of mutual respect and common interests. Do fun things together. Take time off from work-worries and just be a human being, not a human doing.

Teacher Stress Busting Secret #9: Make Physical Affection Part of Your Day

Kissing, hugging, and even massages are proven ways to reduce stress. Even a simple, appropriate hug or pat on the back can help.

Teacher Stress Busting Secret #10: Unplug, Recharge, and Focus

A distracted captain can run his ship aground. A distracted person is a danger to himself and those he cares for most.

Constant interruptions can make you feel like a human doing and not a human being.

Unplug. First, we need at least an hour before bed when we are not looking at or around our brightly lit devices. Technology devices wake us up and interrupt our circadian rhythms, making it difficult to sleep. Stop using technology one hour before bedtime.

Recharge.  Charge your phone outside of the bedroom. Even in airplane mode and do not disturb, some apps can wake us up.

Have a Do Not Disturb Time. You need uninterrupted moments of DND (Do Not Disturb) time. Any time you’re at an event and want to focus on the event, set your phone to DND, particularly if using your phone as the camera. This way, you won’t be interrupted with an “urgent” email when you go to snap a picture of a never-to-be-repeated moment.  You will also be more productive at work. Teachers who mess around with computer instead of focusing on students, make a mess of great teaching opportunities.

Teaching: An Epic Quest for Excellence

It would be nice to calm the storm and sail quiet seas all the time. But some of the most hated weather by sailors is dead calm. You have nothing to propel you forward — no wind. When you teach, you have to accept the weather we navigate. What you do not have to accept is that you have to stress out about it and have no quality of life.

(coolcatteacher)

There is a lot of good advice here!  It is very easy to neglect ourselves in order to be the “best teacher we can be.”  However, if we are not feeling well and healthy, we can’t expect to do our best in the classroom day after day.  Our careers are long-term, so our self-care and positive attitudes need to reflect that.

 

Cited web sites for “Teacher Fears”

Format:

reference name in text
link
access date

 

coolcatteacher
http://www.coolcatteacher.com/manage-teaching-stress/
16-Jan-18

depts.washington
http://depts.washington.edu/lingta/diff-class-sitch-2009-ta-training.pdf
16-Jan-18

itdi.pro
http://itdi.pro/blog/2016/05/24/teachers-fears/
16-Jan-18

itdi.pro fear factor
http://itdi.pro/blog/2016/05/24/the-fear-factor/
16-Jan-18

siobhancurious
https://siobhancurious.com/2012/02/27/how-i-saved-my-teaching-career-step-4-face-your-fears/
16-Jan-18

study.com 5 fears
https://study.com/blog/the-5-biggest-fears-about-becoming-a-teacher-how-to-overcome-them.html
16-Jan-18

 

 

 

Overcoming Stage Fright

PDF version for download:  13 Overcoming Stage Fright         13a Citations for Overcoming Stage Fright

 

Overcoming Stage Fright

New teachers as well as seasoned veterans can get nervous or worried before getting up in front of a class.  It could be the beginning of a new semester, and you are excited about starting up after break.  It could be that you’ve had some rough times and you are worried this day might also be rough.  Whatever the reason, it helps to have some techniques to help you relax.

Move, laugh, and breathe. Before class, release nervous energy by jumping up and down 15 times in the bathroom. It will make you laugh. Shake your limbs to release nervous tension. Breathe slowly and deeply from the belly with your hands on the back of your hips.

“Power pose” for two minutes. After leaping up 72 stairs in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art in the film Rocky, Sly Stallone raises his fists in what Harvard professor Amy Cuddy calls the power pose. As HuffingtonPost.com explains: “Cuddy’s research… has shown that adopting the body language associated with dominance for just 120 seconds is enough to create a 20 percent increase in testosterone and a 25 percent decrease in the stress hormone cortisol. In other words, adopting these postures makes a person feel more powerful.”

Deposit Easter eggs into your curriculum. Dreading students’ negative response to a lesson that is conceptually confusing? Plant some surprises in the lesson for you and the class to look forward to: a slide featuring Ryan Gosling, popcorn, an energizer, a short video, a Bob Dylan break, or a review game. Playfulness is confidence building and contagious.

Start the class off with a ritual. The first couple minutes of a new class can be the most intimidating. I begin all my classes with 60 seconds of good news. Students report birthdays, new cars, successful surgeries, or relatives returning from Afghanistan. Besides marinating everyone in warm connections, the spotlight is on students, not you.

Reinforce content. Bring ancillary materials: posters, handouts, advance organizers, or a PowerPoint presentation. Don’t try to be as verbally gifted as Noam Chomsky—your materials will convey needed content.

Don’t cede your center. Avoid interpreting blank student faces as uninterested or angry (see “critical-parent syndrome”).

Commit to an emotion. Right before class begins, recall the last time you were happy and excited. When class starts, you’ll feel more relaxed and animated.

Count chairs. Counting rhythmically will help keep your adrenaline more regulated.

It’s not about you. Remember to concentrate on students learning instead of you performing perfectly.

Lastly, find inspiration in Eleanor Roosevelt’s words: “You can gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’… You must do the thing you cannot do.”

(edutopia stage fright)

 

Cited web sites for “Overcoming Stage Fright”

Format:

reference name in text
link
access date

 

edutopia stage fright
https://www.edutopia.org/blog/overcoming-classroom-stage-fright-todd-finley
16-Jan-18

 

Frustration Assumptions

PDF version for download:   14 Frustration Assumptions          14a Citations for Frustration Assumptions

 

Frustration Assumptions

It is easy to fall into the trap of expecting everything in your teaching day to go a certain way.  Between your planning, your experience, and your knowledge of your students, you should have it down, right?  But this can lead to frustration and dissatisfaction with your abilities.  Here are some insights to help you accept that problems will happen.

  1. I should know this. No matter how well the lesson is planned, no matter how many times you’ve taught it already, the class in front of you is a new group. Their needs are different from those of the last class. So every year involves some relearning how to teach them. Their culture changes, their lives and families change, and you change, too. Demographics change, standards change.

Stasis is not the norm. Knowing your content is not the same as understanding your new students. In other words, knowledge is not insight. Both are essential for effective and compassionate teaching.

You might also find that you do need to relearn the content. You’ve taught the Fall of Rome before, for example, and your unit is laid out, ready to go in Google Drive. But you find, as you begin preparation or instruction, that you must study the causes again, that some of the anecdotes you told are forgotten. The facts are rusty, but the details return as the lesson unfolds.

Let me tell you something: The teaching mind is full, a Ferris wheel of moving parts that rise and fall, come and go. That you have forgotten some details is a sure sign of efficiency, that the carnival ride attendant is alive and well. A way around this? Preview the unit, keep summary notes, and trust that once you dive back into teaching it, the “aha!” of recognition will return.

  1. The kids should know this.Dr. Anita Archer calls this “committing assumicide.” An example: You’ve just rolled out a lab that involves measurement, and it’s suddenly become evident that students don’t know how to use rulers. Students can’t distinguish the increments and lines, and the lab is taking an unwelcome turn.

It’s common at this point—and I say this with empathy and self-recognition—to shift blame onto prior teachers, to blame the students, to point at poverty, culture, the state of education funding. Our sense of being overwhelmed becomes a frustrated arrow back onto the world.

But the point, the heart of this, is really: What will you do? To pause and teach ruler use at this moment would be a strength, not a failure. Set aside the pacing guide and see what students need, at this moment, here and now. Reality and the present moment are your friends, and along with support and conscientious practice, they will help you and your students grow.

  1. I should be better/do better.The impulse to grow and better serve students is a worthy one, yet the road to effective teaching is not a straight line. At some point we take stock of where we’ve traveled and realize how far we have yet to go. Like the poet Gary Snyder on top of the mountain, we’re “looking down for miles.”

This pause, if we can really pause, offers an opportunity to note our progress, our current state, and plan next steps. And it’s important to temper this reflective state with self-compassion, noting honestly where we’ve stumbled. In David and Goliath, Malcolm Gladwell considers how even repeated failures may be an essential part of growth. Errors are where we develop stamina and where we practice choosing to begin again.

A FEW MORE IDEAS

If you find yourself in the land of these assumptions, here are a few ways to exit:

  • Find time to reflect: Talk, write, read, slow down.
  • Ask questions: Who are my students? What kind of teacher do they need me to be? Shifting the focus from ourselves to our students can better inform our next steps.
  • Practice self-compassion: Even slow learning is learning. Your pace is yours. Practice mindful breathing and kind self-talk—they will help you see what’s in front of you and make more effective choices.
  • Enlist help: Call a friend, talk to a colleague, seek the help of a coach or trusted peer.

 

(edutopia frustration assumptions)

 

Cited web sites for “Frustration Assumptions”

Format:

reference name in text
link
access date

 

edutopia frustration assumptions
https://www.edutopia.org/article/3-assumptions-teachers-should-avoid
16-Jan-18

 

Secondary Trauma Stress

PDF version for download: 15 Secondary Trauma Stress          15a Citations for Secondary Trauma Stress         ProQOL_5_English_Self-Score_3-2012

 

Secondary Trauma Stress

Our classrooms are not the idyllic examples we might have envisioned when we considered becoming teachers:  Happy students eagerly working on the amazing activities we provide for them or listening attentively to our fascinating presentations.  We get students who have experienced abuse, homelessness, poverty, gang violence, addiction, and more.  They might share some of that with us, and that helps us understand why they are having problems concentrating, getting their work done, coming to class, or behaving well.

Hearing the trauma can leave us with an emotional weight, called secondary trauma stress.  The symptoms include: “anger, cynicism, anxiousness, avoidance, chronic exhaustion, disconnection, fear, guilt, hopelessness, hypervigilance, inability to listen, loss of creativity, poor boundaries, poor self-care, and sleeplessness.”  (edutopia secondary traumatic stress)

One way you can assess yourself and your feelings is by taking the Professional Quality of Life survey.  It measures “Compassion Satisfaction and Compassion Fatique.”  There is a copy of the survey at the end of this section, or you can visit their website and download the PDF.  (proqol pdf)

Here are some techniques to use as part of your self-care, especially if you are experiencing secondary trauma stress:

  1. Connect with quality friends: Every Thursday morning at 5:30, I show up in a music teacher’s driveway for a 50-minute “walk & talk.” Eddie and I always discuss teaching problems. Besides being a good listener, my friend reminds me that my feelings matter, and that I’m enough. Regardless of my difficulties, I end the walk feeling emotionally recharged.

  2. Write it out:Teaching requires mental and emotional dexterity. When one is weakened, the other is compromised. But writing can help. According to one study, expressive writing (describing feelings) “‘offloads’ worries from working memory, therefore relieving the distracting effects of worry on cognition.” Set a timer for eight minutes and let it all out on paper.

  3. Use drive time for self-talk: If I’m feeling out of sorts while driving to work, I talk about my concerns aloud and in the third person. For example: “Todd is feeling raw and fragile because of the crying jag that X had yesterday. He’ll be OK today if he doesn’t get overpowered by X’s feelings.” This emotional distancing, according to research on third-person self-talk, boosts rationality and improves people’s “ability to control their thoughts, feelings, and behavior under stress.” After that, I put Aloe Blacc’s “The Man” on full blast and float into my classroom.

  4. Avoid toxic colleagues: Research shows that toxic co-workers 1) are selfish, 2) display overconfidence, and 3) are found to declare “emphatically that the rules should always be followed no matter what.” If a toxic co-worker hangs out in the break room, eat elsewhere with colleagues who smile with their eyes.

  5. Do something tangible: To avoid marinating in diminished compassion, recharge by completing a small task—something specific and concrete. Run on an elliptical machine for 30 minutes or send a card to a friend. Teresa Amabile and Steven Kramer, authors of The Progress Principle: Using Small Wins to Ignite Joy, Engagement, and Creativity at Work, describe how small victories promote a more positive inner life, which “also leads people to do better work.”

  6. Don’t suppress painful feelings: When I’m worried about a student, I remember that I don’t have to be perfect and that there are weeks left to make a difference. “Mastering the ability to reframe problems is an important tool for increasing your imagination because it unlocks a vast array of solutions.” A good psychotherapist can help you reframe issues, boost your emotional resilience, and enhance your classroom effectiveness.

Finally, don’t forget the most important thing. “It’s easy to say, ‘It’s not my child, not my community, not my world, not my problem,’” said Fred Rogers. “Then there are those who see the need and respond. I consider those people my heroes.” Don’t forget who you are.

(edutopia secondary traumatic stress)

 

Cited web sites for “Secondary Trauma Stress”

Format:

reference name in text
link
access date

 

edutopia secondary traumatic stress
https://www.edutopia.org/article/are-you-risk-secondary-traumatic-stress
16-Jan-18

proqol pdf
http://proqol.org/uploads/ProQOL_5_English_Self-Score_3-2012.pdf
23-Apr-18

 

Classroom Purpose

PDF version for download:  17 Classroom Purpose         17a Classroom Purpose PPT

 

Classroom Purpose

After understanding that students do not always enter my classroom knowing they are there to learn, I wanted to find a way to help them acquire that mindset.  I created a short PowerPoint presentation to show them at the beginning of the semester.  While I don’t expect it to be successful for every student, I hope it will get enough students to recognize our shared goal and to help reduce problem behaviors.

17a Classroom Purpose PPT      in PDF format

 

Classroom Management Questionnaire

PDF version for download:  18 Classroom Management Questionnaire and Results         18a CM Questionnaire        18b Exemplary Response to Questionnaire         18c CM Questionnaire Results 1          18c CM Questionnaire Results 2

 

Classroom Management Questionnaire

For this project I attended three classes relating to classroom management.  I noticed that most of the students were K through 12 teachers, so I took advantage of that and asked them to fill out a classroom management questionnaire of my own design.  I also sent out a general request online, through social media, for teachers who were interested in filling out my questionnaire.   I felt it would be advantageous to tap into their experiences and training, and to see how much training they had.

The responses were enlightening.  I was surprised at how little training some had, given that professionals strongly agree that good classroom management was key to being a good teacher.  I concluded that mainly new teachers were expected to absorb the tenets from their mentor teachers or to just figure it out on their own, along the way.

Most felt they were good classroom managers.  Some were experiencing challenging classes and so felt they were only somewhat good or not good at all.  I appreciated their advice and ideas on how they managed their classrooms.  I did not agree with all of it, but I did keep in mind they were teaching students younger than what I receive in my community college classroom.

In this section are:

  1. The questionnaire:  18a CM Questionnaire
  2. An exemplary response to the questionnaire:  18b Exemplary Response to Questionnaire
  3. A summary of respondents’ training and experience:  18c CM Questionnaire Results 1
  4. A compilation of respondents’ answers to questions on challenges, thoughts, and advice:  18c CM Questionnaire Results 2

 

Complete List of Citations

PDF version for download:  19 Complete List of Citations

 

Complete list of cited web sites

Format:

reference name in text
link
access date

accidentalcommunicator
http://theaccidentalcommunicator.com/present/5-ways-that-presenters-handle-hecklers
9-Mar-18

apa.org CM
http://www.apa.org/education/k12/classroom-mgmt.aspx
24-Jan-18

apa.org parenting
http://www.apa.org/ed/precollege/ptn/2013/09/parenting-teaching.aspx
2-Feb-18

Barbetta, Common mistakes:  https://pll.asu.edu/p/sites/default/files/lrm/attachments/Classroom_Mistakes_week2.pdf
15-Jan-18

Bob
http://www.homeofbob.com/cman/fictn/simulatns/clsrms.html
16-Jan-18

bridges4kids
http://www.bridges4kids.org/articles/2005/8-05/Phelan7-05.html
31-Jan-18

cbv.ns
http://www.cbv.ns.ca/sstudies/gen3.html
25-Jan18

cehs
https://cehdvision2020.umn.edu/blog/aggressive-behavior-in-students/
19-Mar-18

coolcatteacher
http://www.coolcatteacher.com/manage-teaching-stress/
16-Jan-18

cornerstones
https://thecornerstoneforteachers.com/truth-for-teachers-podcast/find-embrace-your-unique-classroom-management-style/
25-Jan-18

cpi customer service
https://www.crisisprevention.com/Blog/September-2012/Customer-Service-and-Violence-Prevention
17-Jan-18

cpi management strategies
https://www.crisisprevention.com/Blog/May-2016/Classroom-Management-Strategies-for-Educators
14-Jan-18

cpi remain calm
http://resources.crisisprevention.com/Remain-Calm–Respond-Right-When-A-Student-Challenges.html?code=ITG010071012CM&src=Pay-Per-Click&gclid=CjwKCAiA1uHSBRBUEiwAkBCtzQc8HDaJf4sd6yU_bXRQbs-25WqeNs14whNCqv-W_sgctW0hGe3liRoCFUMQAvD_BwE
14-Jan-18

cpi setting limits
http://webcourses.csc4learning.com/CPI_website/images/ArtofSettingLimits_CPI.pdf
23-Apr-18

cpi training concepts
https://www.crisisprevention.com/Blog/February-2011/Applying-Prepare-Training-Concepts-and-Skills-When
17-Jan-18

cpi verbal intervention
https://www.crisisprevention.com/Blog/June-2011/Verbal-Intervention
17-Jan-18

cpi weapon
https://www.crisisprevention.com/Blog/June-2016/Behavioral-Strategies-When-Confronted-With-a-Weapo
17-Jan-18

cse buffalo
https://www.cse.buffalo.edu/~rapaport/perry.positions.html
14-Mar-18

cse buffalo teaching
https://www.cse.buffalo.edu//~rapaport/501/501teaching.html
15-Mar-18

depts.washington
http://depts.washington.edu/lingta/diff-class-sitch-2009-ta-training.pdf
16-Jan-18

DOE Virginia
www.doe.virginia.gov/support/school…classroom_mgt/session-8_guidebook.docx
16-Jan-18

educational business
http://www.educational-business-articles.com/authoritarian-leadership/
31-Jan-18

educational business, situational
http://www.educational-business-articles.com/situational-leadership-theory/
31-Jan-18

edutopia frustration assumptions
https://www.edutopia.org/article/3-assumptions-teachers-should-avoid
16-Jan-18

edutopia secondary traumatic stress
https://www.edutopia.org/article/are-you-risk-secondary-traumatic-stress
16-Jan-18

edutopia stage fright
https://www.edutopia.org/blog/overcoming-classroom-stage-fright-todd-finley
16-Jan-18

edglossary
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14-Jan-18

 

 

 

 

Book Reviews

PDF versions for download:  1 Book Review – Games Students Play      2 Book Review – Games People Play      3 Book Review – Between Parent and Child      4 Book Review – I’m OK–You’re OK                 5 Book Review – Getting Past No

 

My project required me to write five book reviews, of books that were relevant to classroom management.  I looked for ones that were not the typical classroom management books because I felt I had already seen much of current material through online sources.  My choices were:

Games Students Play  by Ken Ernst

Games People Play by Eric Berne

Between Parent and Child by Thomas A. Harris, M.D.

I’m OK — You’re OK by Thomas A. Harris, M.D.

Getting Past No by William Ury

You can read the PDF versions (above) or read the reviews in full below.

____________________

 

Games Students Play by Ken Ernst, published 1975 by Celestial Arts, ISBN 0-912310-16-2

This book uses the concept of Transactional Analysis from Games People Play and applies it to the classroom.

Games Students Play (GSP) is an application of transactional analysis techniques specifically for the classroom.  Transactional analysis is defined by Wikipedia as

psychoanalytic theory and method of therapy wherein social transactions are analyzed to determine the ego state of the patient (whether parent-like, child-like, or adult-like) as a basis for understanding behavior. In transactional analysis, the patient is taught to alter the ego state as a way to solve emotional problems. The method deviates from Freudian psychoanalysis which focuses on increasing awareness of the contents of unconsciously held ideas. Eric Berne developed the concept and paradigm of transactional analysis in the late 1950s. (Wikipedia, “Transactional analysis”, accessed 21Feb2018)

The book starts out with a description of what the “games” are and how the “players” operate in them.  In particular, how the students are the players and how they use the games to disrupt the teacher and the classroom goals.

The word “game” in this book is used in a specific sense.  A game has a seemingly plausible and innocent surface statement, or opening move, which is aimed at getting a sympathetic response from a listener.  If this response is given, the game goes into more detailed maneuvers, with two or more players engaged.

The players choose specific rules which are interchangeable, and the play is conducted in a way ranging from passive to aggressive – that is, to a soft, medium, or hard degree.  These psychological games are not much like childhood games; they are more closely allied to thoughtful activities like chess, contract bridge, or puzzle-solving.

Every game has predictable causes, moves, and payoffs.  Of course, no two games … are exactly alike… But the moves are not random.  The informed teacher or parent can spot the rules governing the seemingly random moves made by the players.

The essential characteristics of a game is that it has two levels – one obvious and the other ulterior.

(GSP, page 9)

It also points out how someone who is savvy to these games can begin to identify them and shut them down.

When anything goes badly in school, this “game detector” can help him figure out who is trying to do what to whom and how to stop it, if it needs stopping.  Games Students Play is designed for this purpose.

Everyone, in effect, plays some sort of game; but some players address themselves to the constructive side of life and should be encouraged, while others are playing for ends that can only be called anti-social.  The first problem for any player, of course, is to know what game he is playing, and then to follow the rules as carefully as possible.  Knowing them, he can avoid games and get on with more creative objectives.

(GSP, page 10)

The book presents a fictional teacher, Mr. Johnson, whose students are playing various games in his classroom.  We access his thought processes and strategies to see how he begins to deal with these games.

Teachers are paid to teach.  Disruptions interfere with the job.  What does the teacher do with a disruptor?

He had long ago learned to listen carefully to roll responses.  He had learned to listen for the opening move in a long series of transactions that are not happenstance, not coincidental, but as subconsciously calculated … Each student had an objective in mind and a favorite strategy to use.

Every student … had long ago learned what to expect from his mother and father and other grownups.  Each had learned the best way of getting along in the world of mom, dad, and other big people.

By watching someone’s behavior, words, intonation, facial expressions, gestures, and mannerism a person can begin to see basically three distinct ego states or personalities.  With practice he can see which of these is in control of a person at any one time.

(GSP, pages 13-14)

The ego states are listed without much definition.  See Games People Play for more details.

These three distinct personalities will be shown as three circles:  Parent, Adult, and Child.

The Child ego state or Child personality is the same one the person had when he was eight or younger.

(GSP, page 15)

The book gives an example of one type of Child state and how to recognize it from its physical manifestations.

… her head was tipped up and tilted to one side.  There were already visible horizontal lines etched on her forehead.  Her jaw jutted.  Her eyes would snap shut for two or three seconds at a time with the eyeball looking up.  She was a perfect example of the defiant Child listener.

(GSP, page 15)

It then continues to give a description of the other two states.

The Adult ego state is basically a computer.  It receives information through the senses, stores it logically, recalls data, and makes predictions.  The Adult, like a computer, has no feelings or emotions.  It develops gradually during the years of childhood and, if given a chance, throughout life.

Mr. Johnson’s Parent ego state is behavior copied from his own parents and modified by copying other authority figures.  When he is in his Parent ego state, Mr. Johnson is like a cassette recorder.  He plugs in an old tape that his mother, father, uncle, or someone else gave him.  Then he will play it through, often with his father’s mannerisms and inflections.

(GSP, page 16)

The Parent state has parts or functions, along with cautions on how they can be overused.

The Parent ego state has two basic functions.  One is nurturing, taking care of the young and protecting them without qualification.  This is a good and necessary function, even though it can be overused to the point of being smothering and over-protective.  The other function of the Parent is to act on prejudiced ideas, which have been accepted uncritically, and which came largely from one’s own parents, grandparents, and teachers.  It is a real advantage to be able to act quickly and without much thought in solve many everyday problems; it would be enormously time-consuming to subject every small daily problem to careful rational scrutiny.  But the prejudiced or critical Parent can also be overused, filling the person in that ego state with many inappropriate “Do’s” and “Don’ts.”

(GSP, page 16)

Similarly, the Child state has two parts.

The natural or free Child is curious, fun-loving, spontaneous, creative.  The adapted or compliant Child state developed in response to pressure from one’s own parents, and acts in ways calculated to please or satisfy them.

(GSP, page 17)

Finally, we get a glimpse of the motivation behind the game playing.

… will play their games … with those persons who promise the most attention in return.  The “when” can be explained by the concept of “trading stamps.”

… Psychological stamps, like the paper variety, come in regular and giant sizes.

There is a physiological reason for collecting psychological trading stamps.  It is that one of the main functions of the brain is to store energy.  Sometimes when we can’t get what we want immediately we have to wait.  We store the desire until we can satisfy it later.

Children learn early how to collect psychological stamps and what to trade them for.

The only difference between paper trading stamps and psychological stamps is that the latter can be reused.

(GSP, page 18)

 

After this introduction, the book lists game types, varieties, and categories.  The first category is the “Trouble-Maker Games.”  Its first variety is “Disruptor Games” and the first game listed is “Uproar.”

Uproar

In this scenario, the fictional student, Muriel, initiates the game with a loud, whining response to Mr. Johnson’s mispronunciation of her name.  Mr. Johnson has to analyze Muriel’s approach and determine an effective response.

The book gives us a description of how “Uproar” is played.

… an advanced “Uproar” player, is determined to get all authority figures to play “Uproar” or an allied game.  Her opening attack included knuckle-cracking, gum-popping, finger-tapping, pen-clicking, hair-combing, dress-straightening, pencil-sharpening, paper-rattling, clock-watching, coughing, whispering, pencil and book-dropping, paper-tossing, note-passing, turning around, wiggling, coming in late, acting stupid, and trying to sidetrack the lecture.

… “bugging” the teacher with a series of small incidents to force him to blow up at her.  If Mr. Johnson controlled his temper, she had him at bay and could continue to goad him until he did blow up.  Then she would win; she could complain to her friends, other teachers, the principal, and to her parents that he was “unfair” and had picked on her.  Her whole aim was to get a game of “Uproar” going.

(GSP, page 17)

Mr. Johnson has several possible responses.

  1. Blow up and bawl out Muriel, as the Tyrant Teacher might.

  2. Suffer in silence, as the Martyr Teacher might.

  3. Feel hurt, as the Whining Teacher might.

  4. Argue, as the Scrapping Teacher might.

  5. Kick her out, as the Impatient Teacher might.

  6. Fear her, as the Timid Teacher might.

  7. Turn her game off by using the Transactional Analysis suggested in this book.

(GSP, page 19)

The book gives descriptions of the different “teacher types”.  As you can see from the list, all are reactions a person might have in this situation and the book gives reasons why the first six are not effective.

The seventh item, using transactional analysis, is explored in detail.

…He should look for the reasons people play this game, and very carefully the antithesis, or how to turn off the game. … She wants attention.

(GSP, page 25)

Mr. Johnson also needs to form a very specific goal for his response.

Muriel is an “Uproar” player with sixteen years of experience.  Mr. Johnson has to remember that he is not likely to change her life style.  What he aims for is to knock off the disruptive part of the game in his classroom.

(GSP, page 28)

The book then lists the steps Mr. Johnson can take to shut down Muriel’s game of “Uproar.”

  1. He confirms she is an “Uproar” player. … If she gets punished regularly for noisy and provocative behavior, he can be sure she is a game player.

  2. He tells her in a calm and firm Adult voice to see him after school. This is a critical point.  Johnson has practiced his Parent, Adult, and Child voices, using a tape recorder to learn the difference.  Muriel is looking for a Parent voice, so he must take special care to be clearly Adult.

  3. This step is taken when Muriel comes in after school. It will only be effective if made without a Parent criticism. … Mr. Johnson tells Muriel about the game of “Uproar” and explains how the game interferes with work and interferes with friendship.

  4. Johnson explains that he is a teacher and that he is paid to help students learn. He must also prevent disruptions.

  5. He tells her that school is like a free supermarket. The student can go in, load up, and leave without paying because her parents have already paid.  If Muriel does not like the grocery clerk she can get even with him by not taking the goodies, or she can ignore her dislike for him and load up anyway.

  6. Johnson does not reply directly to any of Muriel’s “Uproar” comments. His reply is to listen.  Active or reflective listening gives verbal feedback of the content and a guess at the feeling implicit in the spoken words or acts.  Mr. Johnson might say to Muriel’s complaints, “Class seemed boring today and you are angry at having your name mispronounced.  Is that right?”

  7. The final step is for Mr. Johnson to establish some sort of rapport with Muriel or get another faculty member to do so.

(GSP, pages 26 – 27)

The point of the last step is to give Muriel positive attention, to give her the opportunity to stop the “Uproar” game because she can get the attention she craves in a meaningful way.

The next game is a variation of “Uproar” but differs in a significant way.

“Chip on the Shoulder”

In this scenario, Dean is a student who only initiates his game when he has his “chip knocked off his shoulder.”  Dean has a sensitive spot, his “chip”, and creates a ruckus to deflect attention away from himself when that chip is knocked off, whereas Muriel actively looked for opportunities to play “Uproar.”

The given antithesis is “to find out what the student is trying to avoid and then offer him a mutually acceptable alternative.”  (GSP, pg 30)

Stupid

Here Denny would do things that others would find “stupid”, like bringing the wrong book to class or holding the wrong end of the baseball bat.  He did this so often that after a while, people would call him “stupid” while others would make excuses for him.

Mr. Johnson observed Denny and noticed a pattern in his behavior.  Basically, Denny would initiate a “stupid” move in front of an audience, be made fun of, then would smile slyly.  Apparently, Denny used this game to get attention, much like Muriel did.

From this observation, Mr. Johnson confronted Denny in a friendly way, letting Denny know he was aware of the game playing.  Although it did not cure Denny of the behavior entirely, it did stop the game in Mr. Johnson’s classroom.

Clown

This student would imitate Mr. Johnson to make the class laugh.  The book points out that this isn’t necessarily a game, however Mr. Johnson needs to make sure he doesn’t react negatively as long as the behavior is not disrupting class.

Schlemiel

This student causes problems by “messing up” other people’s possessions.  For example, knocking papers off a desk or stepping on someone’s purse on the floor.  Most reactions fall in two categories, “persecutor” or “rescuer.”  The persecutor gets angry and the rescuer forgives.  In either case, the “Schlemiel” gets the attention he or she seeks and is tempted to behave this way again.  The antithesis offered is to “be told plainly and in an emotionless Adult voice” (GSP, pg 36) not to handle or touch things, and if the student complains that is unfair, to agree.

Make Me

This student doesn’t do the required work and, in some way, demands that the teacher force them to do it.  This is a challenge to the teacher’s authority.  The antithesis is for the teacher to “set up clear choices and consequences.   If Laura does the work, fine.  If she doesn’t, that is her problem.” (GSP, pg 37)  The book also recommends reducing “I” statements from the teacher, like “What I want you to do is this” since that now makes the work to be done for the teacher, instead of for the student herself.

 

The book summarizes these six disruptor games by emphasizing that the teacher does not provide the “payoff” the player is looking for.  The responses should be in the calm Adult voice and the teacher should look to give positive attention to replace the negative attention the student may be seeking.

The next variety of disruptor games is the delinquent variety.  These are “Let’s Find”, where the students get into trouble; “Cops and Robbers”, where the students break rules and try to fool the teachers; and “Want Out”, where the student works to get kicked out of school but then sneaks back in.

Delinquent games are especially likely to be played by those who are having identity problems.  To help in establishing his identity to himself and others, every growing youngster makes some identifying mark on a wall, a piece of furniture, or a tree.  As he grows and proceeds through school he will decide on a series of best ways to “leave his mark.” … If a delinquent game player leaves a mark he is assured that his mark is more likely to be permanent.  (GSP, pg 45)

The book lists a variety of physical cues to help the reader identify the various ego states on pages 49 through 51.  It emphasizes that these cues must be taken in their cultural context and that the manifestations may be only a few seconds in duration, so often the teacher has a subliminal feeling for the situation.

It also cautions,

Each student sees and hears those things that fits his script and the games in it.  No psychological game is played alike twice, …, but the patterns, the rules, and the positions remain alike.

Each game a student plays will be played only as long as the teacher and/or the students also play.  Learning about the games that are played in the classroom will help to turn off the one which interfere with education.

There will be cases in which the teacher cannot turn off the turmoil.  The choice of action cannot be random.  Each action must be antithetical to the specific game.  What game a person plays is determined by the person’s script, or unconscious life play, and his position, or how he sees himself or others.

(GSP, pg 53)

 

The second category of games is called “Put-Down Games”, with the goal of psychological one-upmanship.  The variety is “Discount.”

Sweetheart

Take an insult or a hurt for someone, disguise or sugarcoat it, and you have the game of “Sweetheart.”  The reason for sugarcoating is the rule of politeness.  …  The only way to disagree and at the same time be compliant is to disguise the disagreement.  (GSP, pg 59)

Antithesis:  This is a harmless game in itself.  When it is pulled on Mr. Johnson, he has learned to not take offense at the remarks.  He refuses the depression or anger stamps.  He looks at the comment, picks out the “nice” candy-coating part and thanks the “Sweetheart” player for that.  (GSP, pg 60)

Blemish

Basically fault-finding, no matter how small, by the player who wants the “perfect” teacher.  Generally, not a disruption in the classroom.  Sometimes shows up with administration.

The second variety is “Complainer.”

Why Does It Always Happen to Me?

The student feels sorry for himself and complains about how everything wrong always happens to him.  The way to reduce this game is to have a list of assignments or duties that the student is aware of and removes the teacher from the responsibility of it.

Indigence

The student claims interest in getting the work done as long as the teacher is reminding him of it, but when left to actually do the work, fails to accomplish it and has a lot of excuses.  The goal is to put in minimum effort and get the Parent ego of the teacher to be in charge.  The antithesis is to put the responsibility onto the student with clearly defined goals and deadlines.

Why Don’t You – Yes, But

The student has many excuses why the work can’t be done.  The teacher offers suggestions, but the student always has a reason why it won’t work.  One way to shut this down is for the teacher to say, “That is quite a problem.  What do you intend to do about it?”  (GSP, pg 67)

Late Paper

The student claims the work is done but forgotten at home and says he will bring it in later.  However, it never makes it in.  The book suggests that the deadline be made earlier than really wanted or made flexible.

Wooden Leg

The student uses a real or imagined disability as an excuse to avoid doing work.  The suggested solution is to offer an alternative assignment, which diffuses the complaint in the classroom.

 

The third category is “Tempter Games.”  These are games of subtlety and its variety is “Kissy.”

Disciple

The student is willing to work for one teacher but not another.  Often the student sees the preferred teacher as a parent figure, and he wants to please him or her.  The solution offered is for the second teacher, and suggests that teacher try to make a connection with the student, too.

Lil Ol’ Me

The student attempts to manipulate the teacher by agreeing with everything he says and proclaiming her life has been changed by the teacher’s words.  The teacher avoids this manipulation by recognizing the game.

The next tempter variety is called “Trap-Baiter.”

Let’s You and Him Fight

The student tries to get two people (presumably the teacher and another student) to argue by making provocative statements.  The trap-baiter then watches the battle ensue.  The antithesis is to put the question back to the baiter.

Miss Muffet

The student tells his parent or non-teacher authority a twisted version of what the teacher said or did in the classroom.  This gives the parent an opportunity to react strongly and become enraged at what was said or done around their darling child.  The antithesis is to explain using the Adult ego state and, under no circumstances, try to defend against the accusations.

Let ‘em Have It

The student bothers the instructor repeatedly until the instructor tells him to make an appointment or to quit bothering her.  Then the student tells a parent or non-teacher authority that the teacher doesn’t like him or is picking on him.  The solution is to tell the student early on in the game to stop being a bother.

High and Proud

The student flaunts foul language, rude or offensive images, or poor behavior, intending to provoke a reaction.  The solution is to ignore it unless it breaks a school rule, then respond with a calm Adult voice to define the rule.

Do Me Something

The student’s attitude is “Try to teach me” with the obvious goal of showing the teacher he won’t be taught.  The antithesis is to avoid “I” statements.

 

The other listed games deal directly with students who tempt the teacher or classmates with sexual behavior.  The best deflection is to avoid any sort of response that could be interpreted as an interested response.

 

The final category is “Teacher Games”, game that teachers or administrators might play with other teachers.  Many are variations on the student games listed above.

 

My Response to Games Students Play

I found the game descriptions to be helpful as I could bring up an example from my own teaching experience for many of them.  I realized that I had identified them as a sort of game-playing, although I wasn’t aware of it in the same detail as pointed out in the book.  “Uproar” is one that I have seen many times, with variations, and the behavioral cues the book listed was astonishingly enlightening.  I hope to be more adept at shutting it down the next time it occurs.

Some of the games listed I felt were not ones that would occur in a community college classroom.  The fact that we only have our students for short times a few days a week cuts down on the solution of spending time getting to know them better outside the classroom or talking to other teachers about the student’s previous behavior.  Those are the games that I either summarized very quickly or just mentioned in passing.

Some of the solutions are also not ones I would use as a professor.  For example, allowing flexible deadlines or alternative assignments because a student plays some sort of delaying game.  I feel this does the student a disservice in making him believe deadlines are negotiable or worthless.   And although the book claims that removing a student from the classroom is not a solution and just passes the problem on to someone else, I feel it is a valid solution for a student who refuses to stop disrupting my class.

My thoughts focused strongly on the idea that my job is to teach, and I should not allow any student to disrupt that.  I appreciated how the book emphasized the need to shut down the game playing quickly, before it escalates.  I also have a better understanding of my own ego state reactions to the situations, so I might be able to shift from a reactive Parent state to a more thoughtful Adult state.

What I hope to apply to my classroom is a heightened awareness of the game-playing, an appropriate set of shutting down strategies, and better control of my own emotional reaction in the classroom.

____________________________

 

Games People Play by Eric Berne, M.D.; Random House Publishing, 2004; ISBN 978-0-345-41003-0

I read this book after reading Games Students Play, when I realized I needed a deeper understanding of the concepts, terminology, and ideas.  That is the focus of this review.  This book has a lot of text devoted to helping a counselor or therapist manage clients, which is not relevant to my purpose.

_________

This book was originally written in 1962 and it became extremely popular.  Its terms became part of the pop culture in the 1960s and 70s.  Today people recognize that “transactional analysis is a serious cognitive-behavioral approach to treatment and that it also has very effective ways of dealing with internal models of self and others as well as other psychodynamic issues.” (GPP, pg vi)

I was interested in the book’s detailed description of the three ego states: Child, Parent, Adult.

Berne described ego states as coherent ways of thinking, feeling, and behaving that occur together.  Today, we can also conceptualize them as the manifestations of specific neural networks in the brain.  Thanks to advances in neuroimaging, neural networks can actually be visualized.

Berne labeled networks that develop early in life as Child ego states.  When we activate one of these, we act like the child we once were.  Networks which represent the internalization of the people who raised us, as we experienced them, Berne named Parent.  When in Parent we think, feel, and act like one of our parents or like someone who took their place.  Ego states which deal with the here and now in a nonemotional way are called Adult.  When in Adult, we appraise reality objectively and make fact-based decisions, while making sure that Child or Parent emotions or ideas do not contaminate the process.

It should be noted that ego states are real and observable, not hypothetical like the ego, id, and superego of psychoanalysis.  It should also be noted that we all have three ego states and that we energize different ones depending on what is appropriate to the time and circumstances.  That is, the Adult, which is an ego state or a group of ego states, is not the same thing as a grown-up adult human being.

Once an ego state is recognized, it is more easily recognized again, and this conceptualization gives us a way to describe transactions between ego states within the individual or between different people.

(GPP, pg viii)

The above text is from the introduction written in 2004.  What follows is a description from Berne’s original writing.

In technical language, an ego state may be described phenomenologically as a coherent system of feelings, and operationally as a set of coherent behavior patterns.  …  Each individual seems to have available a limited repertoire of such ego states, which are not roles but psychological realities.  This repertoire can be sorted into the following categories:  (1) ego states which resemble those of parental figures (2) ego states which are autonomously directed toward objective appraisal of reality and (3) those which represent archaic relics, still-active ego states which were fixated in early childhood.

The position is, then, that at any given moment each individual in a social aggregation will exhibit a Parental, Adult, or Child ego state, and that individuals can shift with varying degrees of readiness from one ego state to another.

(GPP, pgs 23-24)

He goes on to describe the purpose or value of these ego states to an individual.

Ego states are normal psychological phenomenon.  … Each type of ego state has its own vital value for the human organism.

In the Child reside intuition, creativity and spontaneous drive and enjoyment.

The Adult is necessary for survival.  It process data and computes the probabilities which are essential for dealing effectively with the outside world. … Another task of the Adult is to regulate the activities of the Parent and the Child, and to mediate objectively between them.

The Parent has two main functions.  First, it enables the individual to act effectively as the parent of actual children, thus promoting the survival of the human race.  … Secondly, it makes many responses automatic, which conserves a great deal of time and energy.  Many things are done because “That’s the way it’s done.”  This frees the Adult from the necessity of making innumerable trivial decisions, so that it can devote itself to more important issues, leaving routine matters to the Parent.

Thus all three aspects of the personality have a high survival and living value, and it is only when one or the other of them disturbs the healthy balance that analysis and reorganization are indicated.  Otherwise each of them, Parent, Adult, and Child, is entitled to equal respect and has its legitimate place in a full and productive life.

(GPP, pgs 27-28)

The book then describes Transactional Analysis.  It starts with defining terms.

The unit of social intercourse is called a transaction.  If two or more people encounter each other in a social aggregation, sooner or later one of them will speak, or give some other indication of acknowledging the presence of the others.  This is called transactional stimulus.  Another person will then say or do something which is in some way related to this stimulus, and that is called the transactional response.  Simple transactional analysis is concerned with diagnosing which ego state implemented the transactional stimulus, and which one executed the transactional response.

Both these transactions are complementary; that is, the response is appropriate and expected and follows the natural order of healthy human relationships.

The first rule of communication is that communication will proceed smoothly as long as transactions are complementary; and its corollary is that as long as transactions are complementary, communication can, in principle, proceed indefinitely.

(GPP, pgs 29-30)

The book points out that complementary transactions tend to be the ones where the ego states match up, for example the stimulus is from an Adult to an Adult, and the response is from an Adult to an Adult; or the stimulus is from a Child to a Parent and elicits a response from a Parent to a Child.

It then says that communication is “broken off when a crossed transaction occurs.” (GPP, pg 30).  For example, the stimulus is from an Adult to an Adult, but the response is from a Child to a Parent.  It gives a specific instance of this:

The stimulus is Adult-Adult: e.g., “Maybe we should find out why you’ve been drinking more lately,” or, “Do you know where my cuff links are?”  The appropriate Adult-Adult response in each case would be: “Maybe we should.  I’d certainly like to know!” or, “On the desk.”  If the respondent flares up, however, the responses will be something like “You’re always criticizing me, just like my father did,” or, “You always blame me for everything.”  These are both Child-Parent responses …  In such cases the Adult problems about drinking or cuff links must be suspended … Either the agent must become Parental as a complement to the respondent’s suddenly activated Child, or the respondent’s Adult must be reactivated to the agent’s Adult.

(GPP, pg 31)

There is a distinction between the types of complementary transactions.

Simple complementary transactions most commonly occur in superficial working and social relationships, and these are easily disturbed by simple crossed transactions.  In fact a superficial relationship may be defined as one which is confined to simple complementary transactions.  Such relationships occur in activities, rituals and patterns.  More complex are ulterior transactions – those involving the activity of more than two ego states simultaneously – and this category is the basis for games.  Salesmen are particularly adept at angular transactions, those involving three ego states.

(GPP, pg 33)

The idea of the salesman’s angular transactions is that the transaction may be Adult-Adult at the social level but Adult-Child at the psychological level.  The salesman directs the overt statement to the Adult of the person to whom he wishes to sell something, but the underlying implication is to the Child in order to manipulate the person to buy.

There is also a duplex ulterior transaction that involves four ego states, often seen in flirtation, where the comments are Adult-Adult, but the psychological implications are Child-Child.

There are distinctions between procedures, rituals, pastimes, and games.  They all serve to help us structure time.  In particular,

A game is an ongoing series of complementary ulterior transactions progressing to a well-defined, predictable outcome.  Descriptively it is a recurring set of transactions. often repetitious, superficially plausible, with a concealed motivation; or, more colloquially, a series of moves with a snare, or “gimmick.”  Games are clearly differentiated from procedures, rituals, and pastimes by two chief characteristics:  (1) their ulterior quality and (2) the payoff. … Every game … is basically dishonest, and the outcome has a dramatic, as distinct from merely exciting, quality.

(GPP, pg 48)

While there are games that are consciously planned, “What we are concerned about here, however, are the unconscious games played by innocent people engaged in duplex transactions of which they are not fully aware, and which form the most important aspect of social life all over the world.” (GPP, pg 49).

There is a structure or scheme to analyzing games.  The steps are:

    1. Thesis – “a general description of the game, including the immediate sequence of events” (GPP, pg 52)
    2. Antithesis – the moves or reactions that are needed to undercut the payoff or to stop the game.
    3. Aim – the general purpose of the game, or its alternatives
    4. Roles – who is playing which part, as based on the ego states used in the game
    5. Dynamics – the driving force behind the game
    6. Examples – to help understand the game’s origins and to assist in the formal description; often referring to children’s games because that is often how the adult games are formed
    7. Transactional paradigm – a description of the social and psychological levels that reveal the ulterior transaction
    8. Moves – the behaviors or transactions used by the players
    9. Advantages – what the players get out of the game playing; could be biological, existential, social, or psychological
    10. Relatives – complementary, allied, or antithetical games

The book also addresses the function of games in more detail.

Because there is so little opportunity for intimacy in daily life, and because some forms of intimacy are psychologically impossible for most people, the bulk of the time in serious social life is taken up with playing games.  Hence games are both necessary and desirable, and the only problem at issue is whether the games played by an individual offer the best yield for him.  In this connection is should be remembered that the essential feature of a game is its culmination, or payoff.  The principal function of the preliminary moves is to set up the situation for this payoff, but they are always designed to harvest the maximum permissible satisfaction at each step as a secondary product.

(GPP, pg 61)

One important point:  most games are identified and described by therapists, as seen in people who play destructive games.  There are also constructive games.  For example, “to go around asking for advice about how best to help people.  This is an example of a jolly and constructive game worth encouraging.”  (GPP, pg 80)

A “good” game might be described as one whose social contribution outweighs the complexity of its motivations, particularly if the player has come to terms with those motivations without futility or cynicism.  That is, a “good” game would be one which contributes both to the well-being of the other players and to the unfolding of the one who is “it.”

(GPP, pg 163)

The thesaurus of games I found worth reading, both to see what games my students might play and to understand what games I might play or have encountered in my life, but I am not going to try to list them in this review.

The book then discusses the significance of games.

    1. Historical – “Games are passed on from generation to generation. … Games may be diluted or altered from one generation to another, but there seems to be a strong tendency to inbreed with people who play a game of the same family, if not of the same genus.” (GPP, pg 171)
    2. Cultural – “’Raising’ children is primarily a matter of teaching them what games to play.” (GPP, pg 171)
    3. Social – Social time needs to be structured. It can be filled with pastimes and/or intimacy, but pastimes can get boring and intimacy is often scary or socially forbidden.  Playing games can be a compromise activity.
    4. Personal – “People pick as friends, associates and intimates other people who play the same games. Hence ‘everybody who is anybody’ in a given social circle … behaves in a way which may seem quite foreign to members of a different social circle.” (GPP, pg 172)

 

My Response to Games People Play

It met my need in that it gave me a better understanding of the terminology, concepts, and ideas presented in the Games Students Play book.  I feel that, as an amateur, I can now reflect on my teaching experiences and start identifying the games my students have played and be aware of any that arise in the future.  I also feel that I can examine my own reactions from the ego state perspective and attempt to respond appropriately to the student games while also reducing the chance that I might be playing a game with the students.

I was grateful for the knowledge that there are good games, as I was beginning to think that game playing as a social interaction could only be destructive.  Seeing the various types of game significance helped with my attitude toward games, too.

Chapter 15 gives an example of an Adult-Adult conversation that contained certain words or phrases which I thought would have sparked an argument or petulant Child reaction.  The book includes a discussion as to why they didn’t cause problems, pointing out the Adult analytical aspect of the conversation.  I appreciated this because it is helpful to know the difference between the Adult response and the Child response.

 

____________________

 

Between Parent and Child by Dr. Haim G. Ginott, Avon Books, ISBN 0-380-00821-1

I first read this book around 1989 and it greatly influenced my child-rearing practices.  In fact, it influenced the way I speak to everyone, especially during conflicts.  After reading Games Students Play and Games People Play, I thought it was worthwhile rereading this book to see how its ideas connected with theirs.  This review only covers the parts I thought are relevant to the community college classroom.

If you pay attention to how people talk to each other, both spontaneously and scripted (as in television or movie shows), you can see we have a culturally-implanted habit of using insults.  Phrases like “you shouldn’t have done that, you idiot” or “that was a stupid thing to do” or “obviously you can’t do this” are common.  Between Parent and Child points this out and reveals the internal emotional reactions people have to them.  It also offers alternatives which allow us to communicate with others in a more productive, less reactive way.

While its focus is on communications between parents and their children, in the summary I will interpret it for communication between teachers and their students.

________________­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­

The book presents a conversation between three women and the group leader.  The leader describes a scenario:  it is a busy morning and, in getting everyone ready for school and work, the toast is burned.  Then the leader gives different reactions the husband could have: (1) “My God!  When will you ever learn to make toast!”, (2) “Let me show you, honey, how to make toast.”, or (3) “Gee, honey, it is a rough morning for you – the baby, the phone, and now the toast.”  (BPC, pgs 28-29) Each woman responds to the husband’s comments and it is clear that the third reaction was the one that was appreciated and did not cause resentment.

The first two comments caused the women to feel anger at their husbands while the third communicated compassion and support during a difficult moment.

The women realized that they tended to use comments like (1) and (2) when communicating with their children.  It was then they realized why their children reacted so negatively to them.  They also recognized that their own parents talked to them the same way when they were children, and how much they hated it.  In fact, some commented how much they hated themselves when they heard themselves talking like that to their children.

What they realized in themselves and in their children is:

When a child is in the midst of strong emotions, he cannot listen to anyone.  He cannot accept advice or consolation or constructive criticism. (BPC, pg 26)

A child’s strong feelings do not disappear when he is told, “It is not nice to feel that way,” or when the parent tries to convince him that he “has no reason to feel that way.” (BPC, pg 27)

In order to change this destructive cycle, the book gives strategies for a person’s attitude and wording when responding to challenging situations:

The new code of communication with children is based on respect and on skill.  It requires (a) that messages preserve the child’s as well as the parent’s self-respect; (b) that statements of understanding precede statements of advice or instruction. (BPC, pg 25)

Strong feelings do not vanish by being banished; they do diminish in intensity and lose their sharp edges when the listener accepts them with sympathy and understanding.  This statement holds true not only for children, but also for adults …  (BPC, pgs 27-28)

The book points out that

Children love and resent us at the same time.  They feel two ways about parents, teachers, and all persons who have authority over them.  Parents find it difficult to accept ambivalence as a fact of life.  They do not like it in themselves and cannot tolerate it in their children.  They think that there is something inherently wrong in feeling two ways about people…

We can learn to accept the existence of ambivalent feelings in ourselves and in our children.  To avoid unnecessary conflicts, children need to know that such feelings are normal and natural. …

A calm, noncritical statement of their ambivalence is helpful to children because it conveys to them that even their “mixed-up” feelings are not beyond comprehension. …

(BPC, pgs 37-38)

So what techniques can be employed to improve our communication?  The first is a focus on praise.

The single, most important rule is that praise deal only with the child’s efforts and accomplishments, not with his character and personality.

Words of praise should mirror for the child a realistic picture of his accomplishments

Direct praise of personality, like direct sunlight, is uncomfortable and blinding.  It is embarrassing for a person to be told that he is wonderful, angelic, generous, and humble.  He feels called upon to deny at least part of the praise.  Publicly, he cannot stand up and say, “Thank you, I accept your words that I am wonderful.”  Privately, too, he must reject such praise.

Our comments should be so phrased that the child draws from them positive inferences about his personality.

Our words should state clearly that we appreciate the child’s effort, work, achievement, help, consideration, or creation.

(BPC, pgs 45-47)

What is important is that the praise describes the accomplishment.  Examples I have used in the classroom are: “That was an insightful question,” “It was kind of you to give your classmate a paperclip,” and “I like the way you explained that to him.”

The second focus is on criticism.

When is criticism constructive and when is it destructive?  Constructive criticism confines itself to pointing out how to do what has to be done, entirely omitting negative remarks about the personality of the child.

When things go wrong is not the right time to teach on offender about his personality.  When things go wrong, it is best to deal only with the event, not with the person.

(BPC, pg 51)

Examples I have used are: (1) When a student told me he left his work at home on the day it was due, “I don’t accept late work.  I hope it doesn’t happen again.”  (2) When a student arrived late after being told she could not be late any more, “You understood last time that you cannot be late again.  You need to leave now but you can try to be on time again for the next class.”

Next, the book discusses the impact of abusive adjectives.

Abusive adjectives, like poisonous arrows, are to be used only against enemies …  When a person says, “This is an ugly chair,” nothing happens to the chair.  … However, when a child is called ugly or stupid or clumsy, something does happen to the child.  There are reactions in his body and in his soul.  There are resentment and anger and hate.  There are fantasies about revenge. … And there may be undesirable behavior and symptoms. (BPC, pgs 54-55)

At this point in the book, one might get the impression that a parent should, at all times, be the model of patience, calmness, and understanding.  Not so.  The next focus is on handling our own anger.

In our own childhood, we were not taught how to deal with anger as a fact of life.  We were made to feel guilty for experiencing anger and sinful for expressing it.  We were led to believe that to be angry is to be bad.  Anger was not only a misdemeanor:  it was a felony.

With our own children, we try to be patient; in fact, so patient that sooner or later we must explode.

Anger, like the common cold, is a recurrent problem.  We may not like it, but we cannot ignore it. … Anger arises in predictable sequences and situations, yet is always seems sudden and unexpected. …

When we lose our temper, we act as thought we have lost our sanity.  We say and do things to our children that we would hesitate to inflict on an enemy.  We yell, insult, and hit below the belt. …

Resolutions about not becoming angry are worse than futile.  They only add fuel to the fire. … The peaceful home, …, does not depend on a sudden benevolent change in human nature.  It does depend on deliberate procedures that methodically reduce tensions before they lead to explosions.

There is a place for parental anger in child education.  In fact, failure to get angry at certain moments would only convey to the child indifference, not goodness.  Those who care cannot altogether shun anger.  This does not mean that children can withstand floods of fury and violence; it only means that they can stand and understand anger which says: “There are limits to my tolerance.”

… Anger should so come out that it brings some relief to the parent, some insight to the child, and no harmful side effects to either of them. … We are not interested in creating or perpetuating waves of anger, defiance, retaliation, and revenge.  On the contrary, we want to get our point across and let the stormy clouds evaporate.

Three steps to survival. – To prepare ourselves in times of peace to deal with times of stress, we should acknowledge the following truths:

  1. We accept the fact that children will make us angry.
  2. We are entitled to our anger without guilt or shame.
  3. Except for one safeguard, we are entitled to express what we feel. We can express our angry feelings provided we do not attack the child’s personality or character.

These assumptions should be implemented in concrete procedures for dealing with anger.  The first step in handling turbulent feelings is to identify them loudly by name. … If our short statements and long faces have not brought relief, we proceed to the second step.  We express our anger with increasing intensity… At other times it may be necessary to proceed to the third step, which is to give the reason for our anger, to state our inner reactions, and wishful actions.

(BPC, pgs 55-58)

Examples of the procedures are, “When you continue talking with your neighbor, I feel annoyed.”  Or, “When you are late again, I get so mad I want to lock the door.”  These sorts of statements feel somewhat awkward in the classroom.  My preference is to describe the situation:  “Talking to your neighbor is disruptive and needs to stop.”

The book spends time discussing self-defeating patterns of behavior.  This includes “threats, bribes, promises, sarcasm, sermons on lying and stealing, and rude teaching of politeness.” (BPC, pg 63) Threats are invitations to misbehavior; often the person receiving the threat will misbehave to prove his autonomy.  Instead, one should uphold the standards of acceptable behavior and enforce the consequences of the actions without any damage to the person’s ego.

A similar situation happens with bribes.  “Our very words convey to him that we doubt his ability to change for the better.” (BPC, pg 65) Some people respond to bribes by “bargaining and blackmail, and to ever increasing demands for prizes and fringe benefits in exchange for ‘good’ behavior. … Rewards are most helpful and more enjoyable when they are unannounced in advance, when they come as a surprise, when they represent recognition and appreciation.” (BPC, pg 66)

As for promises, they “should neither be made to, nor demanded of, children. … Relations with our children should be built on trust.  When a parent must make promises to emphasize that he means what he says, then he is as much as admitting that his ‘unpromised’ word is not trustworthy.” (BPC, pg 66)

Sarcasm blocks communication “by stirring children to preoccupation with revenge fantasies.” (BPC, pg 68)

Lying is a behavior that can be understood by knowing the reasons behind it.  The first is about why children lie in the first place:  It could be because they are not allowed to tell the truth.  The parental reaction to the truth is so negative that the child lies to avoid it.  “If we want to teach honesty, then we must be prepared to listen to bitter truths as well as to pleasant truths.”  (BPC, pg 69)

It could be that the child lies

to give themselves in fantasy what they lack in reality. … Lies tell truths about fears and hopes. … A mature reaction to a lie should reflect understanding of its meaning, rather than denial of its content or condemnation of its author. (BPC, pg 69)

Finally, there is provoked lying.

Children resent being interrogated by a parent, especially when they suspect that the answers are already known.  They hate questions that are traps, questions that force them to choose between an awkward lie or an embarrassing confession. (BPC, pg 70)

It important to know how to deal with lying.

Our policy towards lying is clear:  on the one hand, we should not play D.A. or ask for confessions or make a federal case out of a tall story.  On the other hand, we should not hesitate to call a spade a spade.

In short, we do not provoke the child into defensive lying, nor do we intentionally set up opportunities for lying.  When a child does lie, our reaction should be not hysterical and moralistic, but factual and realistic.  We want our child to learn that there is no need to lie to us.

The rule is that when we know the answer, we do not ask the question.

(BPC, pg 71-73)

An example from my experience is when I saw a student using a cellphone in class and I called her name.  She dropped the phone into her lap to hide it.  I stated, “Cellphone use during class is not allowed.”  She responded by telling me she wasn’t using her phone.  I said, “The cellphone in your lap needs to be put out of reach.”  At this point she looked chagrined and put the phone into her backpack.

The book’s next section explores responsibility: “Are there any definite attitudes and practices that are likely to create a desired sense of responsibility in our children?” (BPC, pg 81) To answer, we first recognize that responsibility “requires daily practice in exercising judgment and in making choices about matters appropriate to one’s age and comprehension.”  (BPC, pg 87)

Responsibility is fostered by allowing children a voice, and wherever indicated, a choice, in matters that affect them.  A deliberate distinction is made here between a voice and a choice.  There are matters affecting the child’s welfare that are exclusively within our realm of responsibility.  In such matters he may have a voice, but not a choice.  We make the choice for him—while helping him to accept the inevitable. (BPC, pg 87)

One example I can offer is when a student is disruptive in class.  I will at first give a warning, asking him to stop disrupting.  If he persists, I might say, “You have a choice.  You can stop being disruptive and stay in the class, or you can take your things and leave.”  If he decides to stay and stops his disruption, I consider the problem over.  But if he stays and continues to disrupt, I say, “You are choosing to leave.  Take your things and leave now.”

The book concludes this section with this advice:

A good parent, like a good teacher, is one who makes himself increasingly dispensable to children.  He finds satisfaction in relationships that lead children to make their own choices and to use their own powers.  In conversations with children, we can consciously use phrases that indicate our belief in their capacity to make wise decisions for themselves.  Thus, when our inner response to a child’s request is “yes,” we can express it in statements designed to foster the child’s independence. (BPC, pgs 102-103)

Examples: “If that is what you want.”  “It is entirely your choice.” “Whatever you decide is fine with me.”

In the section on discipline, we have these two words defined:

Permissiveness is an attitude of accepting the childishness of children. … The essence of permissiveness is the acceptance of children as persons who have a constitutional right to have all kinds of feelings and wishes. … permitted expression is through appropriate symbolic means.  Destructive behavior is not permitted; …

In short, permissiveness is the acceptance of imaginary and symbolic behavior.  Overpermissiveness is the allowing of undesirable acts.  Permissiveness brings confidence and an increasing capacity to express feelings and thoughts.  Overpermissiveness brings anxiety and increasing demands for privileges that cannot be granted.

The cornerstone of … discipline is the distinction between wishes and acts.  We set limits on acts; we do not restrict wishes. … At times, identification of the child’s feelings may in itself be sufficient to clear the air.

(BPC, pgs 110-111)

Discipline in itself has guidelines.

The limits are set in a manner that preserves the self-respect of the parent as well as the child.  The limits are neither arbitrary nor capricious, but educational and character-building.

The restrictions are applied without violence or excessive anger.  The child’s resentment of the restrictions is anticipated and understood; he is not punished additionally for not liking prohibitions.

(BPC, pg 113)

Next are the techniques for setting limits.

A limit should be so stated that it tells the child clearly (a) what constitutes unacceptable conduct; (b) what substitute will be accepted.

It is preferable that a limit be total rather than partial. … Such a vague statement leaves the child without a clear criterion for making decisions.

A limit must be stated firmly, so that it carries only one message to the child: “This prohibition is for real.  I mean business.”  When a parent is not sure of what to do, it is best that he do nothing but think and clarify his own attitudes.  In setting limits, he who hesitates is lost in endless arguments.  Restrictions, invoked haltingly and clumsily, become a challenge to children and evoke a battle of wills, which no one can win.  A limit must be stated in a manner that is deliberately calculated to minimize resentment, and to save self-esteem.  The very process of limit-setting should convey authority, not insult.  It should deal with a specific event, not with a developmental history.  The temptation to clean away all problems with one big sweep should be resisted.

Limits should be phrased in a language that does not challenge the child’s self-respect.  Limits are heeded better when stated succinctly and impersonally.

Limits are accepted more willingly when they point out the function of an object.

(BPC, pg 116-120)

Examples are “Cellphones are to be put away when class starts.”  Or “Quizzes are turned in as soon as the time is up.”  Stated like this, the rule becomes a “classroom rule” instead of my rule, which is much easier for students to follow.

The rest of the book deals with specific child behavior problems that I do not think are applicable to the community college classroom.

My Response to Between Parent and Child

As mentioned before, this book had a profound impact on the way I speak to people, especially in conflict situations.  While I do not always act in the best possible way, overall, I tend to use these techniques automatically.  It was natural for me to use them in the classroom and with my students.

Many of the statements made about dealing with children apply readily to dealing with students of all ages and grade levels.  Try rereading them while changing the word “child” to “student” to see how it works.

It is not a perfect solution that always works, but it has reduced problems in my classroom. It has also helped me deal with my own emotional reactions to student misbehavior.  I can react and then contemplate the students’ reasons behind their actions, which calms me down and offers me the chance to respond or not.  Sometimes I use the techniques to redirect student-to-student interactions.

In comparing the techniques in this book to those in the “Games” books, I see that the “poor” communication appears to be directly from the Parent ego state and the “good” communication is from the Adult, in that the Adult would give a more rational and reality-based response to the child’s behavior.  Many of the techniques are from an Adult in an effort to engage the child’s Adult ego state.  The battles that occur are from Parent to Child or Child to Child.  When the Child response happens, the Adult then phrases the rules impersonally, again to engage the respondent’s Adult.

This book, and its companion book, Liberated Parents, Liberated Children, give many examples of typical parent-child interactions that go wrong and strategies to steer them in the right direction.  They both have a rational approach with concrete procedures and ideas.

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I’m OK–You’re OK by Thomas A. Harris, M.D., Harper, ISBN 978-0-06-072427-6

This book is a companion to the transactional analysis book Games People Play.  It is written by a psychiatrist who used the concepts in group and individual therapy sessions for many years.  The author of GPP wrote this about him:

I am grateful to Dr. Harris for doing a job that needed doing.  In this book he has clarified the principles of Transactional Analysis with cogent, easily understood examples and has related them to broader considerations, including ethics, in a thoughtful and skillful way. (IOYO, inside cover)

My goal in reviewing it is to connect the information it gives with the other books I have read (Games Students Play, Games People Play, Between Parent and Child) – to fill out more details about the three ego states, to understand how to look at game playing, and to make stronger connections to the strategies in BPC.  I will skip the parts I think don’t apply to this goal.

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In GPP we were introduced to the concepts of three ego states:  Parent, Adult, and Child.  Everyone has these states inside them and it was pointed out that there are physical manifestations that give us clues as to which ego state is in control of a person at the time.  I wanted to know more about the definitions of the states and those physical clues.

…Berne observed that as you watched and listened to people you can see them change before your eyes.  It is a total kind of change.  There are simultaneous changes in facial expression, vocabulary, gestures, posture, and body functions, which may cause the face to flush, the heart to pound, or the breathing to become rapid.

We can observe these changes in everyone:  the little boy who bursts into tears when he can’t make a toy work, the teenage girl whose woeful face floods with excitement when the phone finally rings, the man who grows pale and trembles when he gets the news of a business failure, the father whose face “turns to stone” when his son disagrees with him.  The individual who changes in these ways is still the same person in terms of bone structure, skin, and clothes.  So what changes inside him?  He changes from what to what?

Continual observation has supported the assumption that these three states exist in all people.  It is as if in each person there is the same little person he was when he was three years old.  There are also within him his own parents.  These are recordings in the brain of actual experiences of internal and external events, the most significant of which happened in the first five years of life.  There is a third state, different from these two.  The first two are called Parent and Child, and the third, Adult.

These states of being are not roles but psychological realities. … The state is produced by the playback of recorded data of events in the past, involving real people, real times, real places, real decisions, and real feelings.

(IOYO, pgs 18-20)

The Parent is defined by the experiences the child (roughly from birth to age five) has with his parents or parent substitutes.  “The mother and father become internalized in the Parent, as recordings of what the child observed them say and do.”  (IOYO, pg 21) “It is a permanent recording.  A person cannot erase it.  It is available for replay throughout life.” (IOYO, pg 23)

These “recordings” cover facial expressions, words, attitudes, “how-to” statements, restrictions, and more.  It is a “comprehensive, vast store of data. … These rules are the origins of compulsions and quirks and eccentricities that appear in later behavior.” (IOYO, pg 26)

The Child is defined by the simultaneous recording of “internal events, the responses of the little person to what he sees and hears.” (IOYO, pg 27) Most of these recordings are about feelings, since at a young age, the child does not have the words to put to the experiences.

An interesting aspect of the Child recordings is that the “predominant by-product of the frustrating, civilizing process is negative feelings.” (IOYO, pg 28) The book points out that every child feels this, and it is not dependent on how his parents treated him.

These two “recordings” can come into play in anyone, at any age, to influence his behavior and reactions to events in his life.  But we are not haplessly influenced by them because of the third ego state, the Adult.  When a child can start controlling his body, manipulating objects, experimenting with his surroundings, the Adult ego state begins to form.

Adult data accumulates as a result of the child’s ability to find out for himself what is different about life from the “taught concept” of life in his Parent and the “felt concept” of life in his Child.  The Adult develops a “thought concept” of life based on data gathering and data processing.  (IOYO, pg 31)

The Adult ego state serves as a computer, a data processor and probability estimator, and it updates the information from the Parent and Child recordings.  It also keeps emotional expressions appropriate for the social situation.  It can be impaired, which could allow the Parent or Child state to take over.  The book spends considerable time discussing the ways the balance of Parent-Adult-Child could be changed and the possible personality or behavioral traits that can occur.

The Adult gives us the opportunity and freedom to change our behavior.  It can, emotionlessly, evaluate the reactions of the Parent and Child and decide if those reactions are truly appropriate or if they need updating.  It uses evidence and reality to make those evaluations and allows us to make decisions without necessarily having all the facts.

If the Adult is impaired, then the Parent or Child dominates, and this is when game playing occurs.  “This is one of the essential characteristics of games.  They always turn out painfully, but it is a pain that the player has learned to handle.” (IOYO, pg 63)

We can use physical and verbal clues to help us determine which ego state is in charge.

Parent

Furrowed brow, pursed lips, the pointing index finger, head-wagging, the “horrified look,” foot-tapping, hands on hips, arms folded across chest, wringing hands, tongue-clucking, sighing, patting another on the head.  These are typical Parent gestures.  However, there may be other Parent gestures peculiar to one’s own Parent. … Also, there are cultural differences.

I am going to put a stop to this once and for all; I can’t for the life of me …; Now always remember…; (“always” and “never” are almost always Parent words, which reveal the limitations of an archaic system closed to new data); How many times have I told you?  If I were you…

Many evaluative words, whether critical or supportive, may identify the Parent inasmuch as they make a judgment about another, based not on Adult evaluation but on automatic, archaic responses. … It is important to keep in mind that these words are clues, and are not conclusive.  The Adult may decide after serious deliberation that, on the basis of an Adult ethical system, certain things are stupid, ridiculous, disgusting, and shocking.  Two words, “should” and “ought” frequently are giveaways to the Parent state … It is the automatic, archaic, unthinking use of these words which signal the activation of the Parent.  The use of these words, together with body gestures and the context of the transaction, helps us identify the Parent.

Child

Since the Child’s earliest responses to the external world were non-verbal, the most readily apparent Child clues are seen in physical expressions.  Any of the following signal the involvement of the Child in a transaction:  tears; the quivering lip; pouting; temper tantrums; the high-pitched, whining voice; rolling eyes; shrugging shoulders; downcast eyes; teasing; delight; laughter; hand-raising for permission to speak; nail-biting; nose-thumbing; squirming; and giggling.

Many words, in addition to baby talk, identify the Child:  I wish, I want, I dunno, I gonna, I don’t care, I guess, when I grow up, bigger, biggest, better, best.

 

Adult

…listening with the Adult is identified by continual movement—of the face, the eyes, the body—with an eyeblink every three to five seconds.  Nonmovement signifies non-listening.  The Adult face is straightforward…If the head is tilted, the person is listening with an angle in mind.  The Adult also allows the curious, excited Child to show its face.

…the basic vocabulary of the Adult consists of why, what, where, when, who, and how.  Other words are: how much, in what way, comparative, true, false, probably, possible, unknown, objective, I think, I see, it is my opinion, etc.  These words all indicate Adult data processing.

(IOYO, pgs 69-71)

In the other books, the authors emphasize that we don’t need to be in the Adult ego state all the time.  It can be helpful, wise, and beneficial to “let out” the Parent or Child in certain occasions – they have something to contribute to a balanced life.  But we do need to have the Adult in charge, at least most of the time.  How can we achieve this?

The Adult develops later than the Parent and Child and seems to have a difficult time catching up throughout life.  The Parent and Child occupy primary circuits, which tend to come on automatically in response to stimuli.  The first way, therefore, is to build the strength of the Adult is to become sensitive to one’s own Not OK feelings… Processing this data takes a moment.  Counting to ten is a useful way to delay the automatic response in order that the Adult maintain control of the transaction….

It is helpful to program into the computer certain Adult questions … Is it true?  Does it apply?  Is it appropriate?  Where did I get that idea?  What is the evidence?

Another way to strengthen the Adult is to take the time to make some big decisions about basic values, which will make a lot of smaller decisions unnecessary.  These big decisions can always be re-examined, but the time it takes to make them does not have to be spent on every incident in which basic values apply.  These big decisions form an ethical basis for the moment-to-moment questions of what to do.

(IOYO, pgs 97-99)

A piece of advice I found useful:

The Adult has a choice:  to play, to not play, to modify the game into something less destructive, or to try to explain the insights that help persons give up games.

My Response to I’m OK–You’re OK

I see that this book does clarify many details about Transactional Analysis for me.  When I read the two Games books, I wondered how I would ever keep all the game descriptions straight, but now I see I don’t have to.  What I really need to do is determine what ego state a person is in and then adjust my response to be complementary to that.  In this book’s wording, I need to “hook” the Adult ego state of the person and I can try that with the strategies from BPC.

I also see the need for me to be very aware of my reactions and ego states when I am in a stressful or challenging situation.  I can recall times when I felt irrationally stubborn about suggested changes – now I know how to identify what I am feeling and how to analyze it with my Adult.

The author points out, near the end of the book, that Transactional Analysis makes the person become responsible for his own behavior along with being empowered to change that behavior by understanding why he is behaving that way.

 

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Getting Past No, by William Ury; ISBN 0-553-37131-2

The subtitle for this book is “Negotiating Your Way from Confrontation to Cooperation.”  It is a book teaching the art of negotiation.  I decided to review it because it emphasizes the same techniques I see for classroom management and for getting along with people in general.  It also offers useful techniques for calming yourself down and getting focused when the situation gets stressful.  I will concentrate my review on the relevant parts.

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In Part II of this book, “Using the Breakthrough Strategy”, the author starts with an interchange between two people where the first states the problem but then they both react emotionally to each other’s words.  At the end of the conversation, the problem has been lost in the battle of hostile words and negative feelings.  “Action provokes reaction, reaction provokes counterreaction, and on it goes in an endless argument.”  (GPN, pg 12)

“Human beings are reaction machines.  The most natural thing to do when confronted with a difficult situation is to react – to act without thinking.  There are three common reactions…” (GPN, pg 12) Those reactions are:  striking back, giving in, and breaking off.

The author describes striking back first.

When the other side attacks you, your instinctive reaction is to attack right back, to “fight fire with fire” and “give them a taste of their own medicine.”  If they take a rigid and extreme position, you do the same.

Occasionally, this shows them that two can play the same game and makes them stop.  More often, however, this strategy lands you in a futile and costly confrontation.  You provide them with a justification for their unreasonable behavior.  They think: “Ah, I knew that you were out to get me.  This proves it.”  Escalation often follows in the form of a shouting match, a corporate shutdown, a lawsuit, or a war.
(GPN, pg 33)

Once the hostilities increase, it is difficult to scale them back.  “Even if you do win the battle, you may lose the war.” (GPN, pg 33) Furthermore,

The other problem with striking back is that people who play hardball are usually very good at it.  They may actually be hoping that you are going to attack them.  If you do, you put yourself on their home turf, playing the game the way they like to play it.
(GPN, pg 34)

The reaction of giving up is described as “the opposite of striking back.” (GPN, pg 34)

The other side may succeed in making you feel so uncomfortable with the negotiation that you give in just to be done with it.  They pressure you, implying that you are the one who is blocking agreement.  Do you really want to be the one responsible for dragging out the negotiations, disrupting the relationship, missing the opportunity of a lifetime?  Wouldn’t it just be better to say yes?

Giving in usually results in an unsatisfactory outcome.  You feel “had.”  Moreover, it rewards the other side for bad behavior and gives you a reputation for weakness that they – and others – may try to exploit in the future. …

Sometimes we are intimidated and appease unreasonable people under the illusion that if we give in just this one last time, we will get them off our back and will never have to deal with them again.  All too often, however, such people come back for further concessions.  There is a saying that an appeaser is someone who believes that if you keep on throwing steaks to a tiger, the tiger will eventually become a vegetarian.
(GPN, pgs 34-35)

The third common reaction is to “break off.”  That is, to withdraw from the relationship or situation.  This can be an appropriate reaction in some cases.  For example, “if continuing means being taken advantage of or getting into fights again and again … Sometimes, too, breaking off reminds the other side of their stake in the relationship and leads them to act more reasonably.”  (GPN, pg 35) It is also important to consider the costs of this action, both financially and personally.  They are often high, and you need to decide if breaking off is worth it.  It might be better to explore the motives and reasons behind the conflict in an attempt to preserve the relationship.

Next, the author explores the dangers of reacting without thinking.

In reacting, we lose sight of our interests.  …

Often the other side is actually trying to make you react.  The first casualty of an attack is your objectivity – the faculty you need most to negotiate effectively.  They are trying to throw you off balance and prevent you from thinking straight.  They are trying to bait you like a fish so that they can control you.  When you react, you are hooked.

Much of your opponent’s power derives from the ability to make you react.  …

Even if reacting doesn’t lead to a gross error on your part, it feeds the unproductive cycle of action and reaction.
(GPN, pgs 36-37)

So what are we to do?  The author describes a technique he calls, “Go to the Balcony.”

… the good news is that you have the power the break the cycle at any time – unilaterally.  How”  by not reacting. … Objects react.  Minds can choose not to.

When you find yourself facing a difficult negotiation, you need to step back, collect your wits, and see the situation objectively.  Imagine you are negotiating on a stage and then imagine yourself climbing onto a balcony overlooking the stage.  The “balcony” is a metaphor for a mental attitude of detachment.  From the balcony you can calmly evaluate the conflict almost as if you were a third party.  You can think constructively for both sides and look for a mutually satisfactory way to resolve the problem.

Going to the balcony means distancing yourself from your natural impulses and emotions.

you should go to the balcony at every possible opportunity throughout the negotiation.  At all times you will be tempted to react impulsively to your opponent’s difficult behavior.  But at all times you need to keep your eyes on the prize.
(GPN, pgs 38-39)

Next the author provides techniques for suspending our natural reactions.

Often you don’t even realize you are reacting, because you are too enmeshed in the situation.  The first task, therefore, is to recognize the tactic.  In ancient mythology, calling an evil spirit by its name enabled you to ward it off.  So, too, with unfair tactics – identify them and you break the spell they cast.
(GPN, pg 39)

There are many tactics, but the author groups them into three categories:  obstructive, offensive, or deceptive:

Stone walls.  A stone wall tactic is a refusal to budge. The other side may try to convince you that they have no flexibility and that there is no choice other than their position. … Any other suggestion on your part is met with a no.

Attacks. Attacks are pressure tactics designed to intimidate you and make you feel so uncomfortable that you ultimately give in to the other side’s demands.  Perhaps the most common form of attack is to threaten you with dire consequences unless you accept their position … Your opponents may also attack your proposal …, your credibility …, or your status and authority …  Attackers will insult, badger, and bully until they get their way.

Tricks.  Tricks are tactics that dupe you into giving in.  They take advantage of the fact that you assume your counterpart is acting in good faith and is telling the truth.  One kind of trick is manipulating the data – using false, phony, or confusing figures.  Another is the “no authority” ploy, in which the other side misleads you into believing they have the authority to decide the issue, only to inform you after you have given up as much as you can that in fact someone else must decide.  A third trick is the “add on,” the last minute additional demand that comes after your opponent has led you to believe you have already reached agreement.
(GPN, pgs 40-41)

There are advantages to recognizing the methods used to manipulate you.

The key to neutralizing a tactic’s effect on you is to recognize it.  If you recognize the other side’s tactic as a stone wall, you are less likely to believe that they are inflexible.  If you recognize an attack, you are less likely to fall prey to fear and discomfort.  If you recognize a trick, you will not be taken in by the deception.

Many ploys depend on your not knowing what is being done to you.  … Recognizing the tactic puts you on your guard.

The hardest tactics to recognize are lies.  You need to watch for mismatch – between their words, on the one hand, and their previous words or actions, facial expressions, body language, and tone of voice, on the other.  Whereas liars can manipulate words, they cannot easily control the anxiety that raises their voice pitch.  Nor can they control the symmetry of their facial expressions; a liar’s smile, for instance, may become crooked.  Bear in mind that anxiety can stem from other causes and that one clue alone is unreliable.  You need to look for multiple clues.

Watching out for tactics means being alert, not overly suspicious.  Sometimes you may have misunderstood the other person’s behavior. …

So put on your radar, not your armor.  Make a mental note when you detect a possible trick or subtle attack.  Neutralize it by naming it, and keep it in mind as a possibility, not a certainty.  Look for additional evidence, remembering that difficult people rarely limit themselves to a single tactic.

(GPN, pgs 41-42)

To summarize so far, you need to recognize your reaction to a difficult situation.  You should “go to the balcony” to help you maintain your perspective during the discussions.  You should be on alert for various tactics used by the other side that are designed to distract you and allow them to control the situation.  The next part addresses your reaction and going to the balcony in more detail.

… you need to recognize not only what they are doing but also what you are feeling.

The first clue that we are reacting usually comes from our bodies.  Our stomachs get tied up in knots.  Our heats start to pound.  Our faces flush.  Our palms sweat.  These are all visceral responses signaling that something is wrong and that we are losing our composure in the negotiation.  They are cues that we need to go to the balcony.

Each of us has certain emotional susceptibilities, or “hot buttons.” …

If you understand what your “hot buttons” are, you can more easily recognize when your opponent is pushing them.  Recognizing them in turn allows you to control your natural reaction. …

We live and work in competitive environments.  So expect verbal attacks and don’t take them personally.  Remember that your accusers are hoping to play on your anger, fear, and guilt.  They may want you to lose control of your emotions so that you cannot negotiate effectively. …

When you are being attacked, it may help to see your opponent as someone who doesn’t know any better.

(GPN, pg 43-44)

Techniques for “going to the balcony” are for buying yourself time for thought and composure.

Pause and Say Nothing

The simplest way to buy time to think in the middle of a tense negotiation is to pause and say nothing.  It does you little good to respond when you’re feeling angry or frustrated.  Your judgment is distorted. …

Pausing will not only give you a chance to step up to the balcony for a few seconds, but it may also help the other side cool down.  By saying nothing you give them nothing to push against.  Your silence may make them feel a little uncomfortable.  The onus of keeping the conversation going shifts back to them.  Uncertain about what is going on in your head, they may respond more reasonably.

You obviously can’t eliminate your feelings, nor do you need to do so.  You need only to disconnect the automatic link between emotion and action.  Feel the anger, frustration, or fear – even imagine attacking your opponent if you like – but don’t channel your feelings and impulses into action.  Suspend your impulses; freeze your behavior.  While it may feel like hours, it will probably last only a few seconds.  This may not be easy when your opponent is shouting or stonewalling, but it is necessary for successful negotiation. …

Rewind the Tape

You can only pause for so long.  To buy more time to think, try rewinding the tape.  Slow down the conversation by playing it back.  Tell your counterpart: “Let me just make sure I understand what you’re saying.”  Review the discussion up to that point.

An easy way to slow down negotiation is to take careful notes.  Writing down what your counterpart says gives you a good excuse: “I’m sorry, I missed that.  Could you please repeat it?”

Take a Time Out

If you need more time to think, take a break. … A time-out gives both sides a chance to cool off and go to the balcony.

Don’t Make Important Decisions on the Spot

In the presence of the other person, you are under strong psychological pressure to agree.  One simple rule of thumb will help keep you out of trouble: Never make an important decision on the spot.  Go to the balcony and keep it there.

Once you are away from the table, the psychological pressure eases.  It no longer seems so urgent to reach a decision.  Having suspended your initial reaction, you can now consider the decisions in a more objective fashion …

In sum, the most natural thing to do when faced with a difficult person or situation is to react.  It is also the biggest mistake you can make.

(GPN, pgs 45-50)

My Response to Getting Past No

What appealed to me about this book is how it teaches personal control in the face of difficulty.  Now that I am more aware of it, I am more likely to recognize my internal reactions and control them better.

What drew me to this was recalling incidents I have had with students and their family members that were hostile.  I was not always pleased with my reaction to them and wished I could have done a better job handling it.

In one instance, a parent came in to my office and instantly began yelling at me.  We did not exchange names; she did not state why she was there or even ask if she could talk to me.  The immediate hostility put me on edge and we ended up having a yelling match.  If I had the techniques listed here, I could have taken control of the situation by inviting her to sit, by introducing myself and asking her for her name, and then by asking her to please explain her purpose and her concerns.  Perhaps that would have defused the situation, at least somewhat, and pressured her to be more civil in her communications.

Then, using the balcony techniques, I might have been able to help her realize that what she was asking for was unreasonable and unfair to other students in the class.

Other instances come to mind, and I think all of them would have benefitted from my using Mr. Ury’s techniques.

 

Article Reviews

PDF versions for download: y 1 Article Review — Students Who Yell       2 Article Review — Informing Students of Consequences      3 Article Review — Caring Too Much                                                       4 Article Review — Motivating Students        5 Article Review — Having More Authority

 

My project required me to write five article reviews, of articles that were relevant to classroom management.  I picked ones that would give me solid tools to use in the classroom.  My choices were:

  1. “How to Handle a Student Who Yells at You”
  2.   “How Best to Inform Students of a Consequence”
  3.   “Why Caring Too Much Can Make You a Less Effective Teacher”
  4.   “How To Motivate Your Students To Behave Better, Work Harder, Care For Each Other… Or Anything Else You Want From Them”
  5.   “9 Ways To Have More Authority Next School Year”

You can read the PDF versions (above) or read the reviews in full below.

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Article Review: “How to Handle a Student Who Yells at You”

Source:  https://www.smartclassroommanagement.com/2016/04/16/how-to-handle-a-student-who-yells-at-you/,  accessed 24 Jan 2018.

Review

This article would benefit from being outlined first:

  1. When confronted by a student, it is important at first to
    1. Not react instinctively with explanations or defensive postures
    2. Consider how to de-escalate the situation
  2. De-escalation step #1: Delay
    1. Your goal is to calm them down and avoid confrontation.
    2. Do not respond directly to the student’s complaint.
    3. Stay cool and relaxed.
    4. Pretend it’s no big deal.
    5. Say calming words, like “I understand what you are saying. We’ll get back to this.  But let’s move on now.”
    6. Then move on as quickly as you can.
  3. Step #2: Fix
    1. Do not explain yourself or your decisions to anyone who is disrespectful.
    2. After student settles down, clarify rules, protocols, procedures to the entire class.
    3. Get to the point, be brief, provide facts only.
  4. Step #3: Enforce
    1. If the behavior is very brazen or there is continued disrespect, consider going directly to an appropriate consequence.
    2. Deliver the news of the consequence and turn away.
    3. Document the behavior.
    4. Send student to administrator if needed.
  5. Step #4: Review
    1. Review the rules with the class in a day or two after the incident.
    2. Focus on your rule concerning disrespect.
    3. Define it and reiterate it won’t be tolerated.
    4. Remind students the classroom is for learning and teaching, and that it won’t be disrupted.
  6. Important:
    1. Keep your contact with the offending student to a minimum.
      1. Pulling them aside, counseling, forcing an apology, convincing them of your point of view just weakens your leverage and influence.
      2. Let accountability do your talking.
    2. Do not take their disrespect personally.
    3. Respond later with
      1. Simple kindness
      2. No-hard-feelings acceptance

 

When I consider this article, I see a valid and viable strategy for a community college classroom.  It does not require a lot of time, it treats students like adults, it educates the entire class, and it is easy to remember when the professor is in a stressful situation.

I particularly like the “Delay” step.  This might give the class a chance to relax, too, knowing a confrontation is avoided.  It also shows the disruptive student that you aren’t going to be baited.

The “Fix” step is important for the community college classroom in that it should help everyone recall the rules, which should be listed in syllabus.  Some might have forgotten, and some might not have read it at all but it enforces them in a timely manner.

The “Enforce” step is a good reminder to me to turn away after I make my statement.  I realize now that continuing to look at the student is a good way to encourage them to keep misbehaving.

The final advice, to respond later with simple kindness and acceptance, is excellent.  I have had students who have misbehaved and then corrected themselves worry about coming back into my room.  They know they can’t take back what they did.  I tell them directly that that incident is in the past and forgiven.  We are good to move forward.  Then, later, I make it a point to make eye contact and smile at them.  This works.

My challenge will be to keep calm in the initial confrontation.  Other sources have suggested counting to ten while looking thoughtful.  Looking away from the student and rubbing your chin has had the effect of making the student think you are considering some highly effective punishment.  Then they are relieved when you respond pleasantly. But what it is really doing is giving you time to calm down.

The phrase I think that will help me the most is “Let accountability do your talking for you.”  It is the ultimate in treating students as adults.

 

Article Text in Full

How to Handle A Student Who Yells At You

by Michael Linsin on April 16, 2016

Recently, I received an email from a teacher who was yelled at by a student.

Her class had been in the middle of a learning game, and everything was going smoothly.

Or so she thought.

The students were playing by the rules. They were having fun and enjoying each other.

They were playing cooperatively.

In fact, she was thrilled with how well the activity was going.

But then, out of the blue, a student stood up and accused her of favoring one team over another.

When she tried to explain, he began arguing with her.

When she defended herself and her decisions and assured him that she would never do such a thing, he became furious.

He began yelling, pointing his finger at her, and calling her a cheater. It was an ugly scene, and the teacher was left shaken and unsure of how to handle it.

This isn’t the first email we’ve received on this topic. And it won’t be the last. Confrontations like this are happening more frequently.

In this day and age, students seem more aggressive when they feel slighted and less willing to listen to another point of view. Further, many have never had anyone show them, or model for them, what respect looks like.

This underscores the importance of first deescalating the situation—in order to ensure your safety and the safety of your students—before teaching a life-lesson the offending student won’t soon forget.

Here’s how:

  1. Delay

The instant you recognize—or think you recognize—a student becoming angry, your singular goal is to calm them down and avoid confrontation.

In the case above, the moment the student stood up, the teacher should have gone into deescalation mode.

The best way to do this is to delay.

Do not respond directly to the student’s complaints. Doing so will only make things worse.

Instead, stay cool and relaxed, pretend it’s no big deal, and say “It’s okay. I understand what you’re saying. I can see how you might feel that way. I promise I’ll fix it, but let’s finish the game first.”

Then move on as quickly as you can. Go ahead and let the student complain a bit longer if they wish or get in a last word. Delay, delay, delay, and they’ll calm down.

  1. Fix

You are under no obligation to explain yourself or your decisions to any student who speaks to you or approaches you disrespectfully—nor should you. It only encourages more disrespect.

However, after the student settles down, it’s smart to set the record straight by clarifying your rules, protocols, or procedures related to the game or activity to the entire class.

This allows you to defend your decisions as the teacher and leader of the classroom while at the same time fulfilling your promise to “fix it.”

Get to the point, be brief, and provide facts only.

  1. Enforce

Your classroom management plan should include an addendum that allows you to skip the warning stage and jump directly to a more appropriate consequence.

Any incident of brazen or continued disrespect should be met with your strongest consequence—which may include an extended time-out for elementary students or detention for high school students—plus a notification of parents.

The behavior should also be documented and, if it was in any way threatening, aggressive, or potentially dangerous, then officially referred to an administrator.

(Note: Although we have strong opinions about how administrators should best handle severe misbehavior, and support and protect classroom teachers, we are a website dedicated to helping teachers. We do not provide advice for principals on this blog.)

Only after the student has forgotten about the incident, which may be much later in the day, or even the next, should you approach, deliver the news of your consequence, and then turn on your heel and walk away.

  1. Review

Students tend to repeat the behavior they see from others.

This is one reason why a class can get out of control so quickly. Therefore, it’s important that you review your rules again a day or so after the incident.

Severe misbehavior can act as an agent to improve behavior and politeness class-wide. Whenever you have a dramatic incident or a particularly bad day, you should view it as an opportunity to teach a valuable lesson to the entire class.

Focus on your rule concerning disrespect.

Be sure and define once again what it looks like and reiterate that it won’t be tolerated, that you won’t allow anyone or anything to upset the experience of being a member of your class.

Finish your review by reminding your students that the goal of your classroom management plan is to safeguard their right to learn and enjoy school and your right to teach great lessons.

Limiting Contact

As counterintuitive as it may seem, the less contact you have with the offending student, the less likely a similar incident will happen in the future.

We’ll delve deeper into this topic in future articles, but just know that pulling them aside to counsel, patch things up, force an apology, or convince them of your point of view will only weaken your leverage and influence.

Let accountability do your talking for you.

By not taking their disrespect personally, but instead keeping your cool and following through on your promise to protect learning, your respect in the eyes of all your students will grow.

The offending student, especially, is often changed by the experience. So much so that they’ll begin treating you with reverence and even admiration.

When you then show them—through your simple kindness and no-hard-feelings acceptance—what grace, forgiveness, and true respect looks like . . .

You’ll forever change how they view the world.

 

______________________

 

Article Review: “How Best to Inform Students of a Consequence”

Source:  https://www.smartclassroommanagement.com/2012/03/17/how-best-to-inform-students-of-a-consequence/, accessed 24 Jan 2018.

Review

Article outline:

  1. Giving a consequence requires
    1. correct words and tone
    2. correct emotional reaction
    3. correct body language
  2. It is important to
    1. put the responsibility on the student
    2. allow the student to feel the burden of behaving poorly
    3. give the student the opportunity to feel
      1. a sense of regret
      2. a greater desire to follow the rules
  3. Steps for Informing of Consequence
    1. Tell the student clearly and concisely what rule was broken
    2. Keep your thoughts, comments, and opinions to yourself
      1. Or it causes resentment
      2. And sabotages accountability
    3. Do not escort for time-out
      1. They must walk out on their own
      2. Allows student to feel the responsibility
      3. Has them acknowledge their error
    4. Behave matter-of-factly and control your body language
      1. Avoid causing friction
      2. Avoid student humiliation
    5. Be more like a referee, less like judge.
      1. Enforce rules, not mediate disagreements
      2. Consequences are not personal
      3. Rules are for safety and no interference to learning
    6. Safeguard your influence
      1. Influence gives leverage for changing student behavior
      2. “Tell it like it is” without sarcasm, scolding, etc.
      3. Let accountability do the rest.
    7. Move on
      1. Deliver consequence
      2. Turn back to what you were doing
  4. Why this is important
    1. Informing students of consequences requires an excellent acting job, no matter how angry you feel
    2. You want the students to see the problem with their misbehavior
    3. You do not want them to blame or get angry at you
    4. All this makes the consequence effective
    5. The students choose when the rules need to be enforced, not you

I see the value of this advice.  When I have delivered consequences, I have always just watched and waited after I stopped talking.  Now I see this gives the student an opportunity to show me defiance, to argue, to put on some performance for his/her classmates.  Turning away from the situation and resuming teaching or writing on the board will break eye contact.  The student has nothing to work off of from me and, if I am doing it right, the other students will be focused on me.  The student’s chance of showing off has been nullified.

I wonder about what to do if, after I deliver the consequence and turn away, the student does not respond correctly.  What if the student continues to argue?  What if the student doesn’t leave when he/she is supposed to?

I suppose my response would be to turn back and repeat the consequence with a statement that if he/she doesn’t comply, the consequence will escalate.  Then turn away again.  If the student does not respond, then I can call for assistance in escorting the student out of the room.

It will be a challenge for me to not include reasoning as to why the rules are what they are.  My tendency is to try to help the students understand the reasoning and to encourage them to act maturely.  But now I see this actually undermines the rule enforcement process.  The “why” can come later, when the situation is over and everyone is calm and thinking rationally.

 

Article Text in Full

How Best To Inform Students Of A Consequence

by Michael Linsin on March 17, 2012

How you give a consequence matters.

How you speak to your students, what you say to them, and how you react emotionally and with your body language after they break a classroom rule goes a long way toward curbing misbehavior.

Whether you’re giving a warning, a time-out, or a letter to take home, the key is to inform them in a way that takes the focus off you—the mere deliverer of the news—and places the responsibility solely with them.

Your students must feel the burden of behaving poorly.

Because if they don’t, if they don’t feel a sense of regret and a greater desire to follow your classroom rules, then your consequences will be ineffective.

What follows are a few guidelines to help you inform your students of a consequence in a way that tugs on their conscience, causes them to reflect on their mistakes, and lets accountability do its good work.

Tell them why.

When a student breaks a classroom rule, tell him (or her) clearly and concisely why he’s been given a consequence. Say, “Danny, you have a warning because you broke rule number two and didn’t raise your hand before speaking.” Telling them why leaves no room for debate, disagreement, misunderstanding, or anyone to blame but themselves.

Keep your thoughts, opinions, and comments to yourself.

Let your agreed-upon consequence be the only consequence. Refrain from adding a talking-to, a scolding, or your two-cents worth. By causing resentment, these methods sabotage accountability. So instead of taking a reflective look at themselves and their misbehavior, your students will grumble under their breath and seethe in anger toward you.

Do not escort to time-out.

If the consequence calls for time-out, don’t escort them there. Getting up and walking to time-out is an important part of the accountability process. It acts as a statement, or an acknowledgement of sorts, that they indeed broke a classroom rule and are ready to take responsibility for it. Also, escorting them can make them less motivated to go.

Behave matter-of-factly.

A matter-of-fact tone and body language enables you to hold students accountable without causing friction. Most teachers make a fuss out of misbehavior—reacting angrily, showing disappointment, sighing, rolling eyes. But this can be humiliating for students in front of their classmates, causing them to dislike you and undermining the critical rapport-building relationship.

Be more like a referee, less like judge.

A referee’s job is to enforce rules, not mediate disagreements—which makes being fair, consistent, and composed a lot easier. Thinking like a referee, rather than a judge, also helps students see that your consequences aren’t personal, but something you must do to protect their right to learn and enjoy school without interference.

Safeguard your influence.

An influential relationship with students gives you the leverage you need to change behavior. And so anything you do that threatens that relationship—yelling, scolding, lecturing, using sarcasm, etc—should be avoided. Simply tell your students like it is, follow your classroom management plan, and let accountability do the rest.

Move on.

As soon as you’ve informed the misbehaving student what rule was broken and the consequence, turn your attention back to what you were doing without skipping a beat. The burden of responsibility then shifts in total from you, the deliverer of the consequence, to the student. The interaction should take no longer than 10-15 seconds.

Note: Your students must know exactly what their responsibilities are upon receiving a consequence. Thus, it’s critical to teach, model, and practice your classroom management plan thoroughly before putting it into practice.

Your Students Decide, Not You

Small, seemingly insignificant details—often glossed over, ignored, or deemed too nit-picky to care about—can make a big difference.

How you inform your students of a consequence is a small part of classroom management, to be sure, a bit player in the theater of your classroom.

But it’s an important part, requiring Oscar-level performance.

Despite how much an act of misbehavior may get under your skin, or how much you’d like to express your frustrations, you have to stay in character.

Because if after receiving a consequence your students blame you, or become angry with you, then the consequence will be ineffective. They must see that they alone bear the responsibility for their misbehavior.

After all, you don’t decide when or if to enforce a consequence.

Your students do.

 

______________________________

 

Article Review: “Why Caring Too Much Can Make You a Less Effective Teacher”

Source:  https://www.smartclassroommanagement.com/2014/10/04/why-caring-too-much-can-make-you-a-less-effective-teacher/, accessed 24 Jan 2018

Review

Article outline:

  1. Teaching is important, but it can
      1. weigh heavily on you
      2. cause you to put too much of your identity in your job
      3. cause you to care too much
  2. Caring too much could result in
      1. you being preoccupied and make mistakes that make you less effective
      2. you becoming personally offended when students misbehave
      3. you start doing for them what they should be doing for themselves
  3. The most effective teachers
    1. maintain a professional distance from
      1. their students
      2. their classroom
      3.  their school
    2. view teaching as a two-way street
      1. they give their best to their students to create a learning experience the students want to be part of
      2. they expect the best in return
    3. their actions show a deep and abiding belief in their students
      1. they enforce consequences
      2. they give directions one time
      3.  they have other behaviors that keep student responsibility with the student
    4. When student have their responsibilities removed
      1. they get the message they have a free pass
      2. they shrug at your urgent exhortations
      3. they ignore your requests for quiet
      4. they listen when convenient
      5. they daydream
      6. they don’t see they need what you are teaching
    5. Effective classrooms have responsibilities separate and defined
      1. The teachers do their jobs well, providing everything the student needs to be successful
      2. You will focus your energy on these core responsibilities
        1. teach
        2. inspire
        3. hold accountable
      3. The onus of getting the work done is handed over to the students, so
        1. complacency and apathy die out
        2. their respect for you will soar
        3.  their independency will grow
      4. You will leave school at school

This article has pointed out a problem I believe I have.  I care too much about my students and their learning.  I worry that any changes or experiments I do with my lessons might adversely affect their learning so I am very cautious about making changes.  I wonder at my colleagues’ more casual attitude about making changes.

This is not a 100% problem.  I do acknowledge that I cannot care more than my students in that I see it is their responsibility to do the work and pass the class.  I do not strive to be a “co-dependent enabler”, as I have seen described in other websites.  But I do want my classes to be successful, despite knowing that some students just won’t put in the effort.

On the other hand, I have always tried to run my classrooms where the student responsibility sits on their shoulders.  In order to pass, they have to get their work done, come to class prepared, and study and prepare for exams.  They are in charge of getting their questions to me.

I suspect I worry because I have had students who insisted that I take responsibility for them.  They want me to structure the points so they are guaranteed to pass.  They want me to give them the lecture notes and tell them exactly what to study for tests.  It is difficult for me to resist that pressure semester after semester.

What strikes me in this article is the idea that teachers give their best and expect the students to do the same.  This has been my model but does not always result in my students’ best.  From what I read in here and other articles, though, is that if they fail, it is not on me if I give my best.  Again, the responsibility is theirs.

The statement about caring too much can have you make mistakes that make you less effective has been addressed in other articles.  Basically, if you are worried about being the caring, approachable teacher who has a good rapport with your students, you might be tempted to ignore accountability because you are concerned you will ruin your relationship with your students.

Another aspect I like is the recommendation to focus on the three core responsibilities:  teaching, inspiring, and holding accountable.  This makes teaching look much more fun and relaxing.  Hopefully it will reduce the stress of worry, too.

 

Article Text in Full

Why Caring Too Much Can Make You A Less Effective Teacher

by Michael Linsin on October 4, 2014

Teaching is important, to be sure.

But if you’re not careful, this fact can weigh heavily.

It can cause you to wrap an unhealthy amount of your identity into your job. It can cause you to be distracted around your friends and family.

It can cause you to care too much.

And when you care too much, not only are you wrung out, preoccupied, and no fun to be around, but you make mistakes that make you a less effective teacher.

You become personally offended when students misbehave. You become irritable, easily frustrated, and less approachable.

You become so invested in your students’ success, so pressured by administrative powers, that you begin doing for them what only they can do for themselves.

The truth is, the most effective teachers maintain a level of professional distance—from their students, their classroom, and even their school.

They view teaching as a two-way street. Meaning, they give their best for their students. They teach high-interest lessons. They build leverage and influence through their consistent pleasantness and likability. They create a learning experience their students want to be a part of.

But they also expect the best in return, which manifests itself in everything they do.

From enforcing consequences dispassionately to giving directions one time to their reluctance to kneel down and reteach individuals what was taught to the entire class minutes before . . . their actions announce to the world their deep and abiding belief in their students.

You see, when you take on what are your students’ responsibilities, even emotionally, they’ll be left with the message that they have a free pass.

So they shrug in response to your urgent exhortations. They ignore your requests for quiet. They listen only when convenient. They daydream and side-talk and count tiles on the ceiling.

It never occurs to them that they’re sitting in a sacred place of learning or that they desperately need what you have to offer. The result is a stressed-out teacher and a class full of students who just don’t care.

In the most effective classrooms, responsibilities are clearly separate and defined.

The teacher does their job well, providing everything their students need to be successful, then hands the onus to do the work, discuss the book, perform the experiment, and solve for x in full over to their students.

Your job is to teach, inspire, and hold accountable—which is completely in your control. When you focus your physical and emotional energy on these three core responsibilities, and determine to turn the rest over to your students, your stress will all but disappear.

At the same time, the whole vibe of your classroom will change. The winds of complacency and apathy will die out. Balance will be restored to the kingdom.

Your students will feel the burden of responsibility for learning and behaving settle upon their shoulders, where it belongs. Their respect for you will soar. Their sense of independence will swell. Rapport will come easy—light and effortless.

Your heavy mood, your hurt, and your disappointment will lift and dissipate into the heavens. You’ll have the energy you need to create your dream class. And you’ll finally be able to leave school at school.

Now both you and your students will possess the same look: Happy yet determined. Calm yet filled with purpose. Fulfilled yet resolute.

The way it’s supposed to be.

 

_________________________

 

Article Review: “How To Motivate Your Students To Behave Better, Work Harder, Care For Each Other… Or Anything Else You Want From Them”

Source:  https://www.smartclassroommanagement.com/2010/10/30/how-to-motivate-students/, accessed 30 Mar 2018

Review

Article outline:

  1. Lecturing individual students on poor behavior is
    1. a common classroom management practice
    2. a mistake, because
      1. it is born of frustration and anger
      2. it is not from a pure intention to help improve behavior
      3. it causes student resentment
      4. it diminishes your influence
  2. Whole class lectures are better, because they are motivational if done right
  3. Steps to motivational whole class lectures
    1. #1: Tell them what you don’t like
      1. start your speech with what you are unhappy about
      2. do not single anyone out
      3. cite specific examples
    2. #2: Tell them why it is wrong
      1. offer a clear explanation
      2. make your reasoning brief, direct, and easy to understand
    3. #3: Tell them what you want
      1. make your expectation of how they should behave clear
      2. be specific
      3. model or show the behavior you want
    4. #4: Challenge them
      1. ask them to stand up and tell you if they don’t think they can do it
      2. you want to know now, not later when the bad behavior starts up again
    5. #5: Challenge them again, and finish together
      1. ask them to stand and gather around you if they think they can do it
      2. they can stay seated if they don’t think they can
      3. put your hand into the center of the group, have them do the same
      4. finish with “now go do it, the best you can!”, “show me you can!” or similar words
  4. Include your passion
    1. You cannot just go through the motions
    2. You have to believe they are capable
    3. You have to show them that you believe, so they will believe, too

 

I see the value in making a behavior correction talk to the whole class.  I see how steps 1 – 3 work.  I am not sure that step 4 will always work, even if I show that I believe the students can.  I suspect there will often be “that one person” who will test to see how sincere my statements are.  That person will be the one who says they don’t think they can do it.

I imagine you should respond to their concerns with a question, like, “What do you think is stopping you from doing this?” or “What needs to be done to make it so you can do it?”  This opens the door to negotiating the rules with the students, and other articles on this website say that is a bad idea.

One of the teachers I interviewed about his classroom management style said his policy is that everyone has a voice but he makes the rules.  So perhaps asking the student what needs to be done is giving the student his voice.  If the student asks for something reasonable to change, I can consider or even make the change.  If the student asks for something unreasonable, I can always ask more questions, like, “Is this change going to be distracting to your classmates or to me?”

In the comments section of this article, the author says the students have a right to choose but “You are simply protecting their right and everyone else’s right to learn and enjoy learning without interference.”  If they choose to not comply with the rules, they are choosing to leave if their behavior is infringing on the rights of their classmates and instructor.

The challenge for me would be to deliver that statement matter-of-factly, instead of in a manner that conveys, “You’d better comply, or else.”

I do not see step 5, gathering and putting our hands in a circle, working in a college classroom at all.  I would feel silly doing it and I think the students would feel the same.  But perhaps a big smile, a “thumbs up”, and saying, “Great!  Let’s get going on an excellent class!” might be a good substitute.

I wonder if doing this at the beginning of the semester would be a good way to set the tone for the entire class.  Explain that this classroom is a place of learning and that everyone has the right to learn and enjoy it without interference or disruption.  We all are charged with the duty of safeguarding those rights.  The classroom rules are designed to help us with that.  Then ask if anyone feels they cannot support these goals.  If anyone responds that they can’t, then we have the “why not” dialog.

There is good advice in this article.  With modifications, I think there are ideas that are applicable to a community college classroom.

 

Article Text in Full

How To Motivate Your Students To Behave Better, Work Harder, Care For Each Other… Or Anything Else You Want From Them

by Michael Linsin on October 30, 2010

Lecturing individual students is a common classroom management practice—just another tool in a teacher’s tool belt.

But it’s a colossal mistake, born of frustration, that does nothing to curb unwanted behavior beyond several minutes.

The reason?

When you lecture individual students, it’s done out of anger and not out of a pure intention to help improve behavior.

And students know it.

It causes them to dislike you, lose respect for you, and desire to get even with you—greatly diminishing your influence.

Whole-class lectures, on the other hand, can work miracles.

How To Motivate Their Socks Off

I prefer to call class lectures “motivational speeches” because that’s what they’re designed to do: to motivate students.

Done a certain way, a motivational speech can light a fire under a lazy class, reverse poor attitudes, inspire altruism, or stop unruly behavior in its tracks.

Here’s how to do it:

Step 1: Tell them what you don’t like.

Your students will behave/perform better when they know precisely what not to do. To that end, start your speech by pointing out what you’re unhappy with. What are you seeing from your students that you want corrected? Without singling anyone out, cite specific examples.

Step 2: Tell them why it’s wrong.

Explaining why is a powerful persuasion technique. Your students are much more likely to agree with you—and thus change their behavior—if you offer a clear explanation why their behavior is wrong. Make your reasoning brief, direct, and easy to understand.

Step 3: Tell them what you want.

Make clear to your students what you expect from them. In other words, how they should behave. Again, be specific. Show them how you want them to attend during lessons, raise their hand, choose a partner, greet their tablemates, or whatever behavior you want changed.

Step 4: Challenge them.

Ask your students, challenge them, to stand up if they feel like they’re not going to be able to do what you ask—for whatever reason. Tell them that, if this is the case, if they really feel like they can’t do what you expect of them, you want to know now. You don’t want to wait and find out later when you see the same old behavior again.

Step 5: Challenge them again, then finish together.

Challenge your class to stand and gather around you if they are committed to whatever you’re asking of them. If they’re not, tell them to remain seated (they won’t). Extend your hand into the center of the group. Ask them to do the same. Now glance around, looking them in the eyes, and say, “Now I want you to show me, prove to me that you can listen, learn, study, and become the best students you can be.”

Then finish with a bang: “Be the best on three. One…two…three… BE THE BEST!”

Add Your Passion

The above steps won’t work if you just go through the motions. It will be just another lecture, just another teacher droning on, unless you tap into that place deep inside you that believes in an individual’s capacity to overcome obstacles, to rise above their circumstances, to become more than the opinions of others.

You have to believe, to know beyond a doubt, that your students are capable of fulfilling the vision of excellence you have for them. Because if you don’t believe it, they won’t believe it either.

So don’t be afraid to let it out. Don’t be afraid to show your passion for helping students become more than they think they can. Don’t be afraid to show your desire to create your dream class, to make your classroom and this school year a once-in-a-lifetime experience for you and your students.

If you get goose bumps as you look into your students’ eyes, if they look back at you with intensity and determination to be better students, then you know you’re on the right track.

 

__________________

 

Article Review: “9 Ways To Have More Authority Next School Year”

Source:  https://www.smartclassroommanagement.com/2017/07/22/9-ways-to-have-more-authority-next-school-year/, accessed 2 Apr 2018

Review

Article outline:

  1. Authority is important in the classroom because
    1. it affects how students view you
    2. it affects how students behave around you
  2. The nine traits of authority
    1. Dress neatly
      1. Not necessarily expensively
      2. General neatness and appearance of quality
      3. Helps students perceive you as a leader
      4. Makes you feel better, too
    2. Stand tall
      1. Project confidence
      2. Allows students to trust your leadership
      3. Simply changing your posture can help
    3. Follow through
      1. Do what you say you will do
      2. Avoid being wishy-washy
    4. Honor the truth
      1. Avoid over-the-top flattery
      2. Steer clear of manipulation, reward systems, “catching students doing good”
      3. Base your words of praise on true accomplishments and be genuine
      4. Tell them the truth
      5. Be direct. It gives you dignity and morality
    5. Be pleasant. Avoid intimidation
    6. Be calm and prepared. Avoid projecting nervous energy.
    7. Improve your speaking.
      1. Avoid filling in silences with “hms” and “ers”
      2. Avoid overcommunicating, with extra details and unhelpful words
      3. Slow down, pause, finish your sentences, stay on target
    8. Be physically prepared
      1. Be at your best each day, stay focused, learn to say “no”
      2. Be productive, not just busy
      3. Get enough rest, exercise, and eat right
      4. Enjoy time away from school; engage in hobbies
    9. Choose to see only the best
      1. Avoid negative self-talk
      2. Look for the best in people, situations, problems
  3. You choose how you present yourself to your class
  4. These traits are available to all who wish to adopt them

I agree that all these traits are important.  Any time you can project confidence to others, they will respond well to it.  Sometimes you get a person who wants to challenge your confident leadership.  If they are right and you shouldn’t be leader, you can confidently and with dignity step aside.  If they are incorrect, you can confidently assert your leadership, and they typically back down.

A number of articles have pointed out the value of being honest and real in your praise and other communications.  You want to praise the behaviors and accomplishments, not the person, by describing what it is that was done right or done well.  Similarly, when addressing problems, describe what is wrong and how to fix it or improve.  This way no one has to spend any mental time trying to figure out what you want or if you are actually communicating some other message.

Being calm is important as well as being able to project excitement (versus nervous energy).  The key is knowing when to project it, and to not over-do it.  Too much excitement, too often, will burn the class out.

Basically, this article is saying to treat yourself well physically, mentally, and emotionally, and that will allow you to do the same for your students.  That will all work together to allow you to lead your students confidently and let them place their trust in you.

 

Article Text in Full

9 Ways To Have More Authority Next School Year

by Michael Linsin on July 22, 2017

Authority plays an important role in effective classroom management.

Because it affects how students view you.

It affects how well they listen to you and follow your directions.

It affects their behavior around you, their trust in you, and their respect for you.

Some teachers seem to have it right out of the box.

They walk into a room and students immediately sense a strong, sure leadership presence.

And it changes them.

They become calmer, more mature, and more polite. It imbues them with a desire to please and behave and be better students and people.

Although, at first glance, authority appears to be an inborn gift reserved for a lucky few, there is really no mystery at all.

Anyone can have more of it by emulating the following nine traits.

  1. Dress neatly.

Teachers are dressing more casually now than ever before. You’ll do well to buck the trend—because it has an effect on whether students perceive you as a leader worth following.

This doesn’t mean that you must dress formally or wear expensive clothes. General neatness in appearance and quality of clothing is key.

Dress like the leader you are and your students will treat you will greater respect. Sharp clothing will also make you feel more confident, which will further improve your authority.

  1. Stand tall.

Confidence in the way you carry yourself sends the message to students that you know what’s best for them and that you’re steering them in the right direction.

This frees them to let their guard down, accept your words as true, and place their trust in you.

So stand tall. Throw your shoulders back. Move, behave, and express yourself as if you know exactly what you’re doing. If you’re not feeling confident, that’s okay.

The appearance of confidence can have the same effect. According to research, simply changing your posture can make you feel more powerful and thus behave more confidently.

  1. Follow through.

This one is huge. Do what you say you’re going to do and over time your authority will skyrocket.

Be wishy-washy, however, break your promises and ignore your classroom management plan, and you’ll lose authority quickly. Everything you say will be called into question.

Your students will challenge you, argue with you, or pay you little mind. Some may even try to wrest control of the classroom right out of your hands.

  1. Honor the truth.

Be upfront and honest in all your dealings with students. Refuse to engage in over-the-top flattery or manipulation.

Steer clear of do-this and get-that rewards, catching students doing good, or token economies—which effectively snuff out intrinsic motivation.

Make your words of praise genuine and based on true accomplishment. Tell your students the truth about where they are both behaviorally and academically.

A direct approach is highly motivational. It will give you strong authority as well as a dignity and morality that is common to all great leaders.

  1. Be Pleasant.

The use of intimidation in any form is terrible leadership.

Lecturing, glaring, scolding, and losing your cool may frighten students into behaving in the short term, but the price is your respect, plummeting authority, and more and more misbehavior.

Being consistently pleasant, on the other hand, will give you effortless rapport, powerful leverage, and behavior-changing influence.

It will cause students to love you and want to get to know you better, without any additional effort from you. It will make your classroom management plan matter to them and work like it should.

  1. Be calm.

Teachers who rush around, who are frazzled, scatter-brained, and tense, will never have the same level of authority as those who are calm and prepared.

It’s not even close.

Nervous energy has a way of spreading throughout the classroom, infecting every inch. It causes excitability, inattentiveness, and a form of misbehavior that is very difficult to eliminate.

It also makes you look like you don’t know what you’re doing.

  1. Improve your speaking.

Teachers who struggle to gain authority tend to talk fast and ramble on and on. They repeat themselves and fill silences with ums and ers. They include details and asides that neither help nor advance learning.

They over communicate.

To improve your authority, as well as learning and interest, slow down. Be concise and stay on message. Finish your sentences and pause often to give your class a chance to comprehend what you say.

This will cause students to lean in and focus. It will draw them to you rather than push them away.

  1. Be physically prepared.

You can’t be an effective teacher, or one your students look up to, if you’re stressed out, tired, and irritable. Good teaching requires you to be at your best every day of the week.

Which means you must become efficient with lesson planning. You must stay focused during work hours and learn to say no. You must be productive rather than just busy.

Go home at a decent hour and get away from even thinking about school for a few hours.

Get your rest, exercise for energy, and sit down to eat real, whole food. Spend time with your family and friends or enjoy your favorite hobby.

This will not only improve your authority and likeability, but it will also make you a calmer, happier teacher.

  1. Choose to see only the best.

Negative thoughts—about students, your job, the curriculum, etc.—have a way of bubbling to the surface and revealing themselves in your behavior, body language, facial expressions, and even in the things that you say.

It’s something you can’t hide. And it will severely damage your ability to be an effective teacher.

Great teaching and inspired leadership is predicated on setting aside negative self-talk, refusing to engage in it and choosing instead to see only the best in the people, situations, and circumstances at hand.

It’s a choice, after all. It’s a choice that has a profound effect on how your students view you—as well as on your very happiness.

Do You Have It?

The nine ways to improve authority will separate you from the pack.

They’ll cause students to decide within just a few minutes of sizing you up that you’re someone worth their attention and respect.

They may not be able to put their finger on what it is about you that is special. But they’ll know it’s there, and that it’s different and powerful.

You just have it.

You have that secret sauce, that inexplicable mystery of presence and authority that causes parents and staff members alike to whisper words like charismatic, gifted, and “a natural” when describing you.

But the truth is, it’s nothing more than a set of traits available to anyone.

They’re available to anyone willing to adopt them for themselves and dare to be more than just another teacher.

 

Summary Report

PDF version for download:  22 Summary Report         22b Citations for Summary Report

 

Summary Report

When I began this project, I felt that I was, frankly, terrible at managing my classroom.  I could recall incidents where I was unhappy with the way I responded or the outcomes.  I also felt that I was the only teacher who had such troubles, even though I knew that was not a rational thought.  Now I know that I am not that bad after all.  I had overlooked the day-to-day things I did well and focused on what were truly unusual events, which would challenge even the most seasoned teacher.

My feelings now are that I am at least average to good at classroom management, but with room to grow and improve.  The ideas and techniques I learned from this project give me opportunities to achieve that growth.

I know that I need to recognize when I am handling situations well, to document challenging situations, and to have a long-term improvement plan.  Having these in print and readily available to me in the classroom will give me the opportunity to review them regularly.  This will strengthen my skills and my resolve, as well as show me how I am improving.  In this report you will see a draft of the improvement plan I expect to implement in my classroom.  I am inspired by the quote, “With a classroom environment like that in place, a teacher would have time to teach.”  (cpi management strategies)

The first insights I had were, surprisingly, from the definition of classroom management.  I had always thought of my classroom as a place of learning, but I see now that I will need to emphasize that to my students in each class during each semester.  I can’t assume they have arrived with the same idea.  Their background might be that the classroom is a place for goofing off, or trying to irritate the teacher, or a place where the teacher makes sure they will pass the class.  I don’t know, so I should make sure we all have a chance to view it the same way.  To this end, I created a PowerPoint slide show that asks them, “What is the purpose of this classroom?” and concludes it is a place of learning and that we all must work to make sure the room is a safe and comfortable place for everyone to learn.  While I don’t expect it to be 100% effective, I hope it will create the right attitude and atmosphere at the beginning of the semester.  It will also give me something to refer to if a student has any behavior problems.

Something else that I enjoyed seeing:  Part of the definition of classroom management is

From a student’s perspective, effective classroom management involves clear communication of behavioral and academic expectations as well as a cooperative learning environment (Wikipedia Classroom Management)

While this idea isn’t new to me, I was pleased to see it included because it emphasizes a teacher’s responsibility to the students, whereas the rest of the definition tends to talk about how a teacher should manage student behavior.

Another insight I had was on the strong connection between classroom management and discipline.  The two must work together to create that safe learning environment.  It is important to my plan to show that connection and to help me use them well.  I’ll need advice on how to blend them effectively.

I began studying classroom management because I had no training in it before becoming a teacher.  When I interviewed K through 12th grade teachers, I was astonished to discover how little training they had.  The articles and opinion pieces I read all agreed that classroom management is an important skill for a successful teacher, and yet it is not a topic that is emphasized in the K – 12 teacher training.  From that I realized that I was not alone in my troubles and frustrations.  I asked those teachers if they thought they were good classroom managers; many said they were but some credited other jobs, like managing an office, for preparing them for it.  Some didn’t receive any training until they were already full-time teachers.

I saw many different strategies utilized by the teachers.  Some I agreed with and others I didn’t.  However, what was important was that their strategy worked for them and their classroom.

It was interesting to read about the different management styles.  I had seen them before taking the self-assessment, so I knew what I had hoped my style would turn out to be:  authoritative.  This is a “coaching” or “selling” style that appealed to my desire to treat my students as adults and have them respond positively to that.  I was pleased to see that it did, but I was also enlightened by the idea that my management style should be fluid.  That is, I should be willing and able to adjust my style according to the students and situation at hand.  There are advantages to each style, and I should pick the one that I think will work best at the time.

I was not surprised to find that teaching/management styles correlated closely with parenting styles.  I relied a lot on my parenting style when I first started teaching regularly, and I believe I still do.  I want to include in my improvement plan the description I found for authoritative teaching and parenting, so I can review it at the beginning of the semester.  This should remind me of how I want to be and set my focus and attitude in the right place.  Part of this includes a reminder of how teaching is a performance art and how my mood and body language can affect the class’ attitude and behavior.

The second self-assessment needs to be a part of my plan’s structure.  It is a checklist that I can modify to suit my goals and use to see if I am meeting them.  The modifications should match the goals of the plan.

I also want to include a description of how my body language should look when I am teaching:  erect posture, radiating confidence and leadership, appearing approachable.   I want to create the impression that I am a “helping person” who also gives the students opportunities to self-discipline.  One behavior I do not want is to be a “co-dependent enabler.”  I want my students to learn how to be good students without expecting me to always hold their hands, make them do everything, or not allow them to struggle.

It was not surprising to see that a teacher’s behavior and body language can affect student behavior.  My own experiences as a student showed me that I reacted negatively to a teacher who often walked into the classroom radiating anger, and positively to a teacher who always presented herself as pleasant and interested in her subject.  My own teacher persona has been modeled on teachers whose teaching styles I liked.  Now I know I need to focus on the ones whose behaviors I appreciated, too.

I really liked the advice and steps given for teaching students to listen to me.  It makes sense, it helps me to treat them as responsible adults, it helps them become more responsible, and, as a bonus, it will prepare them to be better listeners for their future teachers.  This will be in my plan.  My challenge will be to wait silently for long enough.  I wonder if I will react appropriately to the students who ignore me:  Will those “leader” students the advice mentions truly step up and correct them?

The technique for controlling student “side-talking” is interesting.  I see that it is up to me to decide what times and situations are appropriate for it.  I must make these decisions before I try to teach my students about it.  I especially like the part about having the students know a gesture for “not now” when a classmate tries to talk to them.  This puts a lot of the control in the students’ hands instead of mine.  I will include this advice in my plan.

The technique about using pauses in my talking to help make a point is one that I have used for a long time, but still needs to be in my plan to remind me.  It took me a while to get comfortable with the silence, but I saw results quickly.  The students had time to finish writing notes, reflect a moment on what was being said, and perhaps ask questions.  Sometimes my pauses were when I was erasing the board; other times I just stopped talking and waited, watching them write, until it seemed they were ready to listen again.  There are places in my lecture notes where I remind myself to pause and let the information sink in.

One of my biggest challenges is setting appropriate limits.  The five-step approach to limit setting was very helpful for me, especially the idea that the purpose of limits is to teach, not to punish.  The thought of offering choices with consequences is the parenting style I used, and I am glad to better see how to use it in the classroom.  This will be included in my plan.

I was impressed by the article on gentleness as a good management strategy.  It appeals to me, but I worry I might not be able to make it work, so it will be in my plan.  This will be a primary challenge for me in improving my classroom management style.  Part of including gentleness in my behavior is avoiding giving my students “the look” – which I never used much but I do know I have used it.

Another challenge I will have is building the type of rapport I want with my students.  I want to hold them accountable, show them there are consequences for poor behavior or choices, and I want them to respect my authority as the teacher in the classroom.  But I also want to be able to visit with them and get to know them at least a little.  That fine line of achieving both will be an important skill for me to hone.  I appreciated the part warning me about going too far and becoming unhealthily deferential.  The goals are being fair and consistent.

Many articles and teachers recommended to me that I “pick my battles.”  One article pointed out the flaw in that strategy: it can cause disrespect, resentment, and might even spawn more confrontations and arguing.  My own experiences confirm this.  The strategy of gentleness combined with a reasonable rapport suggests you should never have battles.  A solid classroom management plan like that should work for you by eliminating battles in the first place.  This same approach reminds us to think like referees when enforcing consequences.  I need to remind myself of this regularly, so I will include it in the plan.

One article I found was on things you don’t have to do to be a good classroom manager.  Fifty items were listed and nearly every one of them was something I have done at some point in my teaching experience.  To have them pointed out to me as behaviors and choices I can avoid was enlightening and liberating.  I plan on keeping a copy handy to look at each teaching day until I know them thoroughly.

To boost this, an occasional review of the common mistakes and corrective suggestions is going to be part of my plan.  The mistakes remind me of what not to do and the suggestions put me on the right behavior or response track, especially the ones on inconsistent expectations and consequences, and on taking student behavior too personally.   It will be interesting to resolve some of the conflicting advice given on the websites once I decide what methods apply to me.

It was interesting to find out how professional speakers handle hecklers.  I have had some very challenging hecklers over the years and I wish I had the advice I found for this project back then.   Some of the advice is specifically for someone who is giving a talk, as opposed to a teacher who meets with the class over and over again.  Other advice seems like it might work, like staring at the heckler instead of responding, which uses social pressure to get them to calm down.  I particularly like the reminder to avoid asking the heckler questions when you can’t control the answers.  There is no reason to give the heckler a chance to continue to heckle.

My plan will reference handling hecklers.  Not every class has problems like this, so I don’t feel like I need to review the techniques regularly, but I feel it is important to know there are ideas to consider if I do happen to get a heckler.  It might be helpful to have a very brief list of the steps to take, just in case I need it on the spot.

Similarly for hostile students, I think I need a reference to the section as well as have a checklist of responses in my plan.  I like the part that discusses some of the causes for hostile students, which gives me a chance to react from a place of compassion.  It is good to know some students have the goal of getting the teacher upset or angry, so I have to remind myself not to let them put me there.  I also need to make sure I don’t try to reason with them when they are angry.  That does nothing constructive and will probably frustrate me more.  The advice that makes the most sense to me is to put limitations on the student but give him choices, with consequences.  This, combined with the advice for spending some time quietly thinking before responding, might be an effective combination.

My immediate concern is how I react, so I will need to be able to quickly look at the parts about staying calm and watching my body language.  I particularly like the “Principles of Active Listening.”  It is too easy to pretend you are listening when, in truth, you are planning your devastating response or even thinking about something else.  Getting back into the habit of really hearing what the person is saying is a good goal.  This tells me the effective communication strategies will go into the plan.

The role-playing scenarios will be a good reference for reviewing before a semester starts.  I want to be prepared for a variety of situations, and they could be good conversations with my colleagues.  It is better to think about them ahead of time than try to figure them out in the heat of the moment.  This could be a resource that grows in time, with contributions from my own and my colleague’s experiences.

While a reference to the classroom management guidelines should go in my plan, I don’t want all of them in it.  I will pick through the lists and choose the ones I think will be most helpful in general.  What I want to do is select the ones that will get me through any situation at the time, with a reference for the others I can look at later as needed.

Perry’s Stages of Cognitive Development are, I think, very helpful for the students to see at least once during the semester.  It is a lot like learning metacognition:  once you are aware of it, you can track your own development and see how to advance it.  I will be including this in the presentations I give to my students to help them learn better study skills.  It is also important for me, as teacher, to recognize the stages so I can determine where my students are as compared to where I am.  If I am teaching from a higher stage, then I need to include nudges to get the students higher, too.  This is emphasized in the part about “Your Goals as Teacher.”

The part on the intellectual development of women is important to consider, too, especially since so many of our women students come from cultures where the male is dominant and the female is expected to be quiet.  Being aware of their specific development patterns could be helpful in supporting their learning.

The section on teachers’ fears is, I found, very comforting.  It is easy to feel like you are the only person with these concerns because everyone else is better/more experienced than you.  I liked the discussion by the experienced teacher, and the conclusion: “Fear is a part of any important work.  We don’t need to get over it, but we may need to change our approach to it.”  (siobhancurious) The approaches discussed later in the section “reflect the resilience and resourcefulness teachers develop over their careers.  It’s not that anxiety or fear in the face of problems disappears.  Rather, there’s a shift.  … They invite challenges, lean into them, and live the questions that once caused fear.”  (idti.pro fear factor)

I was glad to see that self-care was incorporated into dealing with fears and anxieties.  This needs to go into my plan.

The information on stage fright is also helpful.  There are important ideas here to help you enter the classroom with a good attitude and to create a positive atmosphere of learning.  A short version of this list needs to be in my plan.  Similarly for the frustration assumptions, it is good to recognize habits that might derail my attitude; this needs to be in my plan.

I included information on secondary trauma stress because I have experienced it in my classroom.  Having students who, during the semester, were diagnosed with cancer, suddenly rendered homeless, had a family member commit suicide, or dealt with other life-changing issues caused me concern, worry, stress.  Having the Professional Quality of Life survey will help me determine my emotional state and avoid burnout, more than just reminding myself to have a “healthy life-work balance.”  The advice that is in this section can help me achieve that balance, so I am a better teacher and human being.

The book reviews play a vital role in this project.  They support and enhance many of the ideas in the sections.  For example, Games Students Play first defines “transactional analysis” and then how teachers can use it to defuse and deflect poor student behavior as well as understanding their own reactions to those behaviors.  It lists and discusses a variety of games that are typical of students who disrupt the classroom; I appreciated the insight into the student’s motivation and goals to help me approach the problem with clarity.

Games People Play continues this insight by giving specific definitions of the types of ego states and expands the definition of transactional analysis.  It shows how the transactions between two people can result in good communication (complementary transactions) or in a breakdown of communication (crossed transactions).

I was intrigued by the structure to analyze games.  It is detailed and may help me understand the games better, especially if I take notes on the situations in my classroom.

These two books are worthwhile including in my classroom management plan.  I want to list the ego states and their definitions, and I want to include a sampling of games to remind me of what to look for and how to react.  The most important part is to remind me of strategies to use at the time of poor student behavior.

Between Parent and Child is an excellent reminder of how to talk to people in a way that lets them listen without a strong, negative emotional reaction.  I have loved its methods and try to employ them as much as I can in my life.  The discussion on setting limits is supportive of the advice found in the previous sections.  In my plan, I will only need a reminder for when I am upset by a situation.

The book, I’m OK – You’re OK, expands more on the ideas of transactional analysis and of ego states.  I liked the descriptions of the physical responses you can see when a person switches from one ego state to another.  This will be helpful to analyze any difficult situation I am in and help me react appropriately.  My plan should reference this list for regular review.

The same goes for Getting Past No, which strongly supports the ideas in BPC.  It helps you to see how to react to difficult situations in a mindful way, breaking the dangerous cycles of automatic action-reaction.  In fact, when discussing the different types of manipulation tactics, I was reminded of all the game descriptions in transactional analysis.  The idea of “going to the balcony” and the techniques for controlling the situation so you can keep your composure are all worthwhile for my plan.

The article reviews give advice for dealing with difficult students, how to control how much I do for my students, how to motivate my students to want good behavior, and how I should behave in the classroom to emphasize my authority while still being an accessible teacher.  These are worth reviewing regularly (especially before the semester starts) to remind me and set a good mental attitude.  I liked being reminded to take care of myself so that I can be a good teacher, instead of a worn-out one.  In my plan, I will list some of the features.

When I review the plan, contained in the pages after this one, I notice it seems like just a collection of ideas and not truly a plan.  I recognize that it really is a collection of strategies for me to review and internalize, so that they can be turned into a plan when I need them.  Instead of some orderly layout of steps to take towards improvement, it is a set of tools available to select and organize when a problem arises in my classroom or in me.

My expectation is that the plan will travel with me to my classes.  I can review it when I need to and when I have some spare time.  I will also keep a copy of the entire project in my office to review and remind myself as needed.  There will be a copy of the project in my department, too, for the benefit of my colleagues and to inspire discussions.

 

Cited web sites for “Summary Report”

 

Format:

reference name in text
link
access date

 

cpi management strategies
https://www.crisisprevention.com/Blog/May-2016/Classroom-Management-Strategies-for-Educators
14-Jan-18

itdi.pro fear factor
http://itdi.pro/blog/2016/05/24/the-fear-factor/
16-Jan-18

siobhancurious
https://siobhancurious.com/2012/02/27/how-i-saved-my-teaching-career-step-4-face-your-fears/
16-Jan-18

Wikipedia Classroom Management:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Classroom_management
14-Jan-18

 

My Classroom Management Plan

PDF version for download:  22a CM Plan for me

 

My Classroom Management Plan

Attitude:  I give my best and expect the students to do the same. 

If they fail, it is not on me if I give my best.  The responsibility is theirs.

 

Table of Contents                                                            Page

Classroom Management Guidelines                                  2

Authoritative Teaching Style                                              3

Self- Assessment                                                                4

Improving My Teaching Style                                            5

Choosing My Reactions                                                     6

Setting Limits and Delivering Consequences                     8

Managing Hecklers                                                           10

Managing Hostile Students                                               11

Effective Communication Strategies                                  12

Overcoming Stage Fright                                                   13

Frustrations                                                                         13

Games Students Play                                                          14

Improving Student Behavior                                               16

50 Things You Don’t Have to Do                                         17

 

 

CM Guidelines

  1. Balance authority and approachability
  2. Model correct behavior, and reward it in students
  3. Be aware of your voice and non-verbal communication; use them to subtly communicate your desired response
  4. Keep cool and don’t be baited
  5. Consult with problem students in private whenever possible
  6. Be friendly but firm (andragogy, not pedagogy)
  7. Be an ally… for their learning (not grade)
  8. De-escalate rather than De-fensive (Listen first. Speak softly)
  9. Revise syllabus policies to be realistic as needed
  10. When in doubt, “fairness rules”
  11. Do not use vague rules.
  12. Do not have rules that you are unwilling to enforce.
  13. Do not ignore student behaviors that violate school or classroom rules (they will not go away).
  14. Do not engage in ambiguous or inconsistent treatment of misbehavior.
  15. Do not use overly harsh or embarrassing punishments, or punishments delivered without accompanying support.
  16. Do not try to solve problems alone if you have serious concerns about a student. Refer to your school psychologist or special education professional.
  17. Be sure the student understands that it is not he/she who is unacceptable, but rather the behavior.
  18. Let the student know exactly what will happen if the problem continues.

 

 

Maintain the appearance of control at all times. Use a clear, firm voice.

 

If you made an error, admit it!

 

Authoritative Teaching Style

Authoritative, “coaching,” or “selling” style:

  • has behavioral principles
  • has high expectations of appropriate behavior
  • gives clear statements about why certain behaviors are acceptable and others not acceptable
  • has warm student-teacher relationships
  • requires a good degree of direction from the leader
  • explains ideas and the reasons

Summarized as ‘Come with me.’

  • Authoritative teachers, like authoritative parents, employ a blend of high involvement and firm but fair discipline.
  • They care about their teaching and their students, but they reward outcome, not effort.
  • These teachers see students as responsible adults, so although they are always willing to help, they are careful not to create dependency or to let themselves be exploited or manipulated.
  • They reward academic success with praise as well as high grades, they encourage students to try harder when they need to, and they grant requests for special consideration only if disability or other circumstances clearly justify doing so under school policies.
  • They think carefully about their rules and standards, announce them in advance, explain why they are necessary and enforce them consistently.

Advantages:

  • a high level of student involvement
  • a high level of student self-motivation.
  • this teacher has a positive, kind and supportive relationship with her students, but they know when she “means business.”
  • is most clearly associated with appropriate student behavior
  • authoritative style is the one most likely to promote student learning, critical thinking and personal development and least likely to nurture student misbehavior

Disadvantages:

  • it is least effective when teammates are defiant and unwilling to change or learn

Behavior:

  • the teacher’s personal approach is primarily the factor that creates the climate and his or her daily mood makes the weather.
  • A teacher therefore, possesses a tremendous power to make a student’s life miserable or joyous.
  • a teacher can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration; can humiliate or humor, hurt or heal or can even humanize or dehumanize a learner

 

 

1. Maximize structure and predictability in the classroom

I establish and explicitly teach student procedures.

I actively supervise (move, scan, interact, reinforce).

 

2. Establish, teach, and positively state classroom expectations.

My rules are stated as “do’s” instead of “nos” or “don’ts.”

I explicitly teach and review these expectations or classroom “rules” in the context of routines.

 

3. Managing behavior through effective instructional delivery

I conduct smooth and efficient transitions between activities.

I am prepared for lessons/activities (filler activities, materials readied, fluent presentation, clear
directions).

I provide a clear explanation of outcomes/objectives.

I end lessons/activities with specific feedback.

I am using pauses well during my lecture.

 

4. Actively engage students in observable ways

I utilize multiple and varied opportunities for each student to respond during my instruction.

I engage my students in observable ways during teacher-directed instruction

I frequently check for student understanding.

 

5. Evaluate Instruction

I consider and note needed improvements (to lesson) for next time.

 

6. Use a continuum of strategies to respond to inappropriate behavior

I provide specific, contingent, and brief error corrections (stating expected behavior) for academic and

social errors.

In addition, I use the least restrictive procedure to discourage inappropriate behavior (non-verbals,

proximity, teacher reaction, re-teaching, etc.) and proceed to more restrictive procedures.

I respond to inappropriate behavior in a calm, emotionally objective, and business-like manner.

 

9. Developing appropriate student relationships

I learn and use student names by the end of week 2.

I speak to students with dignity and respect—even when providing correction!

 

10.  Paying attention to my “self-care”

Getting enough sleep, eating right, exercising, engaging in hobbies.

Leaving school at school but being productive, not just busy, when at school.

 

SELF ASSESSMENT – Am I Doing This?
Assess on a scale of “□ need to do”, “+ need to improve” and “P goal achieved”

Improving My Teaching Style

  • Talk less.
  • Lower your voice.
  • Stop repeating.

How my body language should look:

  • erect posture
  • radiating confidence and leadership
  • appearing approachable
  • create the impression that I am a “helping person”
  • who also gives the students opportunities to self-discipline

 

Use Gentleness

  • Gentleness is respected.
  • Gentleness lowers stress.
  • Gentleness curtails pushback.
  • Gentleness builds rapport.
  • Gentleness feels good.
  • Gentleness Isn’t Weakness

 

Don’t pick your battles!  Inconsistency leads to disrespect and resentment.  Guide your classroom so that there are no battles to fight.

 

Remember, especially when you are upset,

The code of communication with people is based on respect and on skill.  It requires

(a) that messages preserve the listener’s as well as the speaker’s self-respect;

(b) that statements of understanding precede statements of advice or instruction.

Strong feelings do not vanish by being banished; they do diminish in intensity and lose their sharp edges when the listener accepts them with sympathy and understanding.

 

Three steps to survival. – To prepare ourselves in times of peace to deal with times of stress, we should acknowledge the following truths:

  • We accept the fact that sometimes our students will make us angry.
  • We are entitled to our anger without guilt or shame.
  • Except for one safeguard, we are entitled to express what we feel. We can express our angry feelings provided we do not attack the student’s personality or character.

 

Choosing My Reactions

Human beings are reaction machines.  The most natural thing to do when confronted with a difficult situation is to react – to act without thinking.  There are three common reactions…

Those reactions are:  striking back, giving in, and breaking off.

In reacting, we lose sight of our interests.  …

Often the other side is actually trying to make you react.  The first casualty of an attack is your objectivity – the faculty you need most to negotiate effectively.  They are trying to throw you off balance and prevent you from thinking straight.  They are trying to bait you like a fish so that they can control you.  When you react, you are hooked.

Much of your opponent’s power derives from the ability to make you react.  …

Disruption Tactics
There are many distraction tactics, but the author groups them into three categories:  obstructive, offensive, or deceptive:

Stone walls.  A stone wall tactic is a refusal to budge. The other side may try to convince you that they have no flexibility and that there is no choice other than their position. … Any other suggestion on your part is met with a no.

Attacks. Attacks are pressure tactics designed to intimidate you and make you feel so uncomfortable that you ultimately give in to the other side’s demands.  Perhaps the most common form of attack is to threaten you with dire consequences unless you accept their position … Your opponents may also attack your proposal …, your credibility …, or your status and authority …  Attackers will insult, badger, and bully until they get their way.

Tricks.  Tricks are tactics that dupe you into giving in.  They take advantage of the fact that you assume your counterpart is acting in good faith and is telling the truth.  One kind of trick is manipulating the data – using false, phony, or confusing figures.  Another is the “no authority” ploy, in which the other side misleads you into believing they have the authority to decide the issue, only to inform you after you have given up as much as you can that in fact someone else must decide.  A third trick is the “add on,” the last minute additional demand that comes after your opponent has led you to believe you have already reached agreement.

Going to the Balcony

Even if reacting doesn’t lead to a gross error on your part, it feeds the unproductive cycle of action and reaction.

… the good news is that you have the power the break the cycle at any time – unilaterally.  How”  by not reacting. … Objects react.  Minds can choose not to.

When you find yourself facing a difficult negotiation, you need to step back, collect your wits, and see the situation objectively.  Imagine you are negotiating on a stage and then imagine yourself climbing onto a balcony overlooking the stage.  The “balcony” is a metaphor for a mental attitude of detachment.  From the balcony you can calmly evaluate the conflict almost as if you were a third party.  You can think constructively for both sides and look for a mutually satisfactory way to resolve the problem.

Going to the balcony means distancing yourself from your natural impulses and emotions.

You should go to the balcony at every possible opportunity throughout the negotiation.  At all times you will be tempted to react impulsively to your opponent’s difficult behavior.  But at all times you need to keep your eyes on the prize.

You need to recognize your reaction to a difficult situation.  You should “go to the balcony” to help you maintain your perspective during the discussions.

… you need to recognize not only what they are doing but also what you are feeling.

The first clue that we are reacting usually comes from our bodies.  Our stomachs get tied up in knots.  Our heats start to pound.  Our faces flush.  Our palms sweat.  These are all visceral responses signaling that something is wrong and that we are losing our composure in the negotiation.  They are cues that we need to go to the balcony.

 

Balcony Strategies

Pause and Say Nothing

The simplest way to buy time to think in the middle of a tense negotiation is to pause and say nothing.  It does you little good to respond when you’re feeling angry or frustrated.  Your judgment is distorted. …

Pausing will not only give you a chance to step up to the balcony for a few seconds, but it may also help the other side cool down.  By saying nothing you give them nothing to push against.  Your silence may make them feel a little uncomfortable.  The onus of keeping the conversation going shifts back to them.  Uncertain about what is going on in your head, they may respond more reasonably.

You obviously can’t eliminate your feelings, nor do you need to do so.  You need only to disconnect the automatic link between emotion and action.  Feel the anger, frustration, or fear – even imagine attacking your opponent if you like – but don’t channel your feelings and impulses into action.  Suspend your impulses; freeze your behavior.  While it may feel like hours, it will probably last only a few seconds.  This may not be easy when your opponent is shouting or stonewalling, but it is necessary for successful negotiation. …

Rewind the Tape

You can only pause for so long.  To buy more time to think, try rewinding the tape.  Slow down the conversation by playing it back.  Tell your counterpart: “Let me just make sure I understand what you’re saying.”  Review the discussion up to that point.

An easy way to slow down negotiation is to take careful notes.  Writing down what your counterpart says gives you a good excuse: “I’m sorry, I missed that.  Could you please repeat it?”

Take a Time Out

If you need more time to think, take a break. … A time-out gives both sides a chance to cool off and go to the balcony.

Don’t Make Important Decisions on the Spot

In the presence of the other person, you are under strong psychological pressure to agree.  One simple rule of thumb will help keep you out of trouble: Never make an important decision on the spot.  Go to the balcony and keep it there.

 

More Techniques

My challenge will be to keep calm in the initial confrontation.  Other sources have suggested counting to ten while looking thoughtful.  Looking away from the student and rubbing your chin has had the effect of making the student think you are considering some highly effective punishment.  Then they are relieved when you respond pleasantly. But what it is really doing is giving you time to calm down.

You are under no obligation to explain yourself or your decisions to any student who speaks to you or approaches you disrespectfully—nor should you. It only encourages more disrespect.

 

Setting Limits and Delivering Consequences

  • Setting a limit is not the same as issuing an ultimatum.

Limits aren’t threats

Limits offer choices with consequences

  • The purpose of limits is to teach, not to punish.

Through limits, people begin to understand that their actions, positive or negative, result in predictable consequences.

  • Setting limits is more about listening than talking.

Taking the time to really listen to those in your charge will help you better understand their thoughts and feelings. By listening, you will learn more about what’s important to them, and that will help you set more meaningful limits.

Allow time when giving choices.

Generally, it’s best to allow the person a few moments to make her decision. Remember that if she’s upset, she may not be thinking clearly. It may take longer for her to think through what you’ve said to her.

When enforcing consequences, think like a referee, not a judge.

  1. Enforce rules, not mediate disagreements
  2. Consequences are not personal
  3. Rules are for safety and no interference to learning

 

It is important to

  1. put the responsibility on the student
  2. allow the student to feel the burden of behaving poorly
  3. give the student the opportunity to feel a sense of regret and a greater desire to follow the rules
  4. Keep your thoughts, comments, and opinions to yourself
    1. Or it causes resentment
    2. And sabotages accountability

 

Deliver the news of the consequence and turn away.

  1. Informing students of consequences requires an excellent acting job, no matter how angry you feel
  2. You want the students to see the problem with their misbehavior
  3. You do not want them to blame or get angry at you
  4. All this makes the consequence effective
  5. The students choose when the rules need to be enforced, not you

 

Let accountability do your talking for you.

 

Managing Hecklers

Choose a strategy:

#1: Never reward interrupting.

#2: Don’t try to be funny.

#3: Manage your own emotional state.   Take a deep breath and stay calm. Remove your emotional attachment to the situation and deal with it in a level and relaxed way.

#4: Let the heckler have their say.

#5: Listen to them.

#6: Actually respond.

#7: Don’t let it get personal.

#8: Be gracious.

#9: Ask them to stop.

#10: Get the rest of the audience on your side.

#11: The last resort: have them removed.

#12: Don’t dwell on it.

 

Other helpful techniques:

Use reflective listening before you respond — expressing in your own words your understanding of what they’ve said.

Silence — stop speaking and turn and stare at the heckler, everyone else will turn to see what you are looking at

If you get asked antagonistic questions, throw them back to the audience for discussion.

Avoid shooting them down prematurely — by asking probing questions. You can ask questions like, “What exactly are you trying to accomplish or point out?” or “How is your opinion on (topic) relevant to _____?”

Move toward the heckler

Ignorance is not bliss — Ignoring hecklers just makes matters worse.

 

Managing Hostile Students

Remain Calm.  Try to keep your cool, even when challenged, insulted, or threatened.

Isolate the Individual.  You will be more effective one-on-one. – But never corner them.

Keep It Simple.  Be clear and direct in your message. Avoid jargon and complex options.

Watch Your Body Language.  Be aware of your space, posture, and gestures. Make sure your nonverbal behavior is consistent with your verbal message.

Use Silence. – Do not argue with them.

Use Reflective Questioning.  Paraphrase and restate comments.

Watch Your Paraverbals.  Make sure the words you use are consistent with voice inflection to avoid a double message.

What causes students to behave this way?

Modeling: Children observe hostile-aggressive behavior modeled by parents, teachers, peers, and in the media.

Peer Reinforcement: Behavior such as fighting is reinforced by peers when they take sides in or cheer for individuals who are fighting.

Social Skills Deficit: Children lack the social skills necessary to deal with stressful situations in an assertive rather than aggressive manner.

Low Self-Esteem: They believe that it is not all right to feel anger and frustration and think they are bad people when they do have these feelings.

If you are confronted by a person who has a weapon, keep in mind that a person who threatens you with a weapon hasn’t necessarily decided to use it.

If the person senses that you’re losing control, their behavior will most likely escalate.

  • Take threats seriously. If anyone communicates any possibility of using a weapon against you, assume that they have one even if you can’t see it or verify it immediately.
  • Step back. Try to negotiate permission to take at least three steps away from the individual. If allowed, the increased distance can reduce both anxiety and weapon accuracy.
  • Avoid reaching for the weapon. Attempting to disarm a person with a weapon can be extremely dangerous.
  • Focus on the individual rather than the weapon. When threatened, we tend to focus on the weapon. Shifting your focus to the individual will remind you that the real danger is not in the weapon itself, but in the aggressor’s behavior.
  • Make basic requests to solicit affirmative responses. The more the aggressor says “yes” to you, the less likely the weapon is to be used against you.
  • Buy time. Time is an asset. The longer you can talk to an aggressive individual, the less likely it is that the weapon will be used.

 

Effective Communication Strategies

Guidelines involved in effectively communicating with a person in crisis when working alone are similar to those important in any crisis situation:

  • Treat the person with dignity, respect, and courtesy.
  • Listen actively to the person.
  • Speak directly to the person.
  • Remain calm.
  • Offer assistance but do not insist or be offended if your offer is not accepted.
  • Do not overassist or be patronizing.
  • Reduce background noise if possible.
  • Be prepared to repeat what you say.
  • Don’t pretend to understand if you do not. Ask the person to repeat what was said.
  • Recall the Integrated Experience*.
  • Be aware of how your own personal space, body language, and paraverbals may affect the individual in crisis.
  • Be patient, flexible, and supportive. Take time to understand the individual and make sure the individual understands you.
  • Focus on the person’s strengths and adapt your communication skills to the person’s needs.
  • Allow the person time to say or do things at her own pace.
  • If warranted, provide reasonable accommodations according to current laws and policies.

*Integrated Experience: how my attitudes and behaviors affect your attitudes and behaviors and vice versa. If my attitude and behavior is positive, it will most likely yield positive results.

The reverse is true as well. If I have a poor attitude or I’m exhibiting rude, disrespectful behavior, my results will likely not be great, and could contribute to someone escalating to verbal aggression or worse—physical assault.

Non-verbal signals:

  • Proximity: being physically closer, leaning forward while seated.
  • Orientation: either face to face or side to side depending on the situation.
  • Gaze: regular eye contact.
  • Facial expression: smiling face is more effective for good communication.
  • Gestures: head nods, encouraging gestures.
  • Postures: open arms, non-cross legged, gives an expression of openness.
  • Touch: appropriate touch, perhaps hand on a shoulder or guidance in movement of a particular skill.

Principles of Active Listening

  • Open body language generally.
  • Good eye contact.
  • Appropriate questioning.
  • Paraphrasing to confirm understanding.
  • Non-judgmental.
  • Empathy, not sympathy.

Overcoming Stage Fright

Move, laugh, and breathe. Before class, release nervous energy by jumping up and down 15 times in the bathroom. It will make you laugh. Shake your limbs to release nervous tension. Breathe slowly and deeply from the belly with your hands on the back of your hips.

“Power pose” for two minutes. After leaping up 72 stairs in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art in the film Rocky, Sly Stallone raises his fists in what Harvard professor Amy Cuddy calls the power pose. In other words, adopting these postures makes a person feel more powerful.

Deposit Easter eggs into your curriculum. Dreading students’ negative response to a lesson that is conceptually confusing? Plant some surprises in the lesson for you and the class to look forward to. Playfulness is confidence building and contagious.

Start the class off with a ritual. The first couple minutes of a new class can be the most intimidating. I begin all my classes with 60 seconds of good news.

Reinforce content. Bring ancillary materials: posters, handouts, advance organizers, or a PowerPoint presentation.

Don’t cede your center. Avoid interpreting blank student faces as uninterested or angry (see “critical-parent syndrome”).

Commit to an emotion. Right before class begins, recall the last time you were happy and excited. When class starts, you’ll feel more relaxed and animated.

Count chairs. Counting rhythmically will help keep your adrenaline more regulated.

It’s not about you. Remember to concentrate on students learning instead of you performing perfectly.

 

Frustration Assumptions

I should know this

The students should know this.

I should be better/do better.

 

Antidotes

Find time to reflect: Talk, write, read, slow down.

Ask questions: Who are my students? What kind of teacher do they need me to be? Shifting the focus from ourselves to our students can better inform our next steps.

Practice self-compassion: Even slow learning is learning. Your pace is yours. Practice mindful breathing and kind self-talk—they will help you see what’s in front of you and make more effective choices.

 

Games Students Play

Some of the games:

Uproar –“bugging” the teacher with a series of small incidents to force him to blow up at her.  If Mr. Johnson controlled his temper, she had him at bay and could continue to goad him until he did blow up.

“Chip on the Shoulder” — student has a sensitive spot, his “chip”, and creates a ruckus to deflect attention away from himself when that chip is knocked off

Stupid – student would do things that others would find “stupid”, like bringing the wrong book to class or holding the wrong end of the baseball bat.  He did this so often that after a while, people would call him “stupid” while others would make excuses for him.

Clown — This student would imitate Mr. Johnson to make the class laugh.  The book points out that this isn’t necessarily a game, however Mr. Johnson needs to make sure he doesn’t react negatively as long as the behavior is not disrupting class.

Schlemiel — This student causes problems by “messing up” other people’s possessions.  Most reactions fall in two categories, “persecutor” or “rescuer.”  The persecutor gets angry and the rescuer forgives.  In either case, the “Schlemiel” gets the attention he or she seeks and is tempted to behave this way again.

Make Me — This student doesn’t do the required work and, in some way, demands that the teacher force them to do it.

Blemish — Basically fault-finding, no matter how small, by the player who wants the “perfect” teacher.  Generally, not a disruption in the classroom.  Sometimes shows up with administration.

Why Does It Always Happen to Me? — The student feels sorry for himself and complains about how everything wrong always happens to him.

Indigence — The student claims interest in getting the work done as long as the teacher is reminding him of it, but when left to actually do the work, fails to accomplish it and has a lot of excuses.

Why Don’t You – Yes, But — The student has many excuses why the work can’t be done.  The teacher offers suggestions, but the student always has a reason why it won’t work.

Late Paper — The student claims the work is done but forgotten at home and says he will bring it in later.  However, it never makes it in.

Wooden Leg — The student uses a real or imagined disability as an excuse to avoid doing work.

Disciple — The student is willing to work for one teacher but not another.  Often the student sees the preferred teacher as a parent figure, and he wants to please him or her.

Lil Ol’ Me — The student attempts to manipulate the teacher by agreeing with everything he says and proclaiming her life has been changed by the teacher’s words.

Let’s You and Him Fight — The student tries to get two people (presumably the teacher and another student) to argue by making provocative statements.  The trap-baiter then watches the battle ensue.

Miss Muffet — The student tells his parent or non-teacher authority a twisted version of what the teacher said or did in the classroom.  This gives the parent an opportunity to react strongly and become enraged at what was said or done around their darling child.

Let ‘em Have It — The student bothers the instructor repeatedly until the instructor tells him to make an appointment or to quit bothering her.  Then the student tells a parent or non-teacher authority that the teacher doesn’t like him or is picking on him.

High and Proud — The student flaunts foul language, rude or offensive images, or poor behavior, intending to provoke a reaction.

Do Me Something — The student’s attitude is “Try to teach me” with the obvious goal of showing the teacher he won’t be taught.

Ego States

Ego states are normal psychological phenomenon.  … Each type of ego state has its own vital value for the human organism.

In the Child reside intuition, creativity and spontaneous drive and enjoyment.

The Adult is necessary for survival.  It process data and computes the probabilities which are essential for dealing effectively with the outside world. … Another task of the Adult is to regulate the activities of the Parent and the Child, and to mediate objectively between them.

The Parent has two main functions.  First, it enables the individual to act effectively as the parent of actual children, thus promoting the survival of the human race.  … Secondly, it makes many responses automatic, which conserves a great deal of time and energy.  Many things are done because “That’s the way it’s done.”  This frees the Adult from the necessity of making innumerable trivial decisions, so that it can devote itself to more important issues, leaving routine matters to the Parent.

Thus all three aspects of the personality have a high survival and living value, and it is only when one or the other of them disturbs the healthy balance that analysis and reorganization are indicated.  Otherwise each of them, Parent, Adult, and Child, is entitled to equal respect and has its legitimate place in a full and productive life.

 

(See the book review on “I’m OK, You’re Ok” for physical descriptions of the ego states.)

 

Improving Student Behavior

“A Simple Way to Improve Listening”

  • Stand in one place.
  • Give your directions once. Normal voice; err on the side of softly.
  • Let them flounder.
  • Remain motionless.
  • Let your leaders take over.
  • Wait.
  • Give the next direction.
  • Continue giving directions once.
  • Make it practice in the beginning.
  • If the first time is a disaster . . . Simply ask for and wait for their attention, then start over from the beginning. They’ll get it.

About Students Talking on the Side

  1. Define it.

They need to know specifically what your definition of side-talking is and what it looks like.

There may be times when you allow it—or a form of it. If so, your students need to know when those times are and what appropriate side-talking looks like. Modeling all forms—right and wrong, appropriate and not—is key to their understanding.

  1. Provide them a tool.

Once your students are clear about what side-talking is, and when it is and isn’t okay, the next step is to empower them with a tool they can use to curb inappropriate side-talking on their own and without saying a word.

The tool you’ll show them is a simple hand gesture they’ll display to whoever attempts to side-talk with them during a lesson, while immersed in independent work, or whenever you deem unacceptable.

  1. Teach them how to use it.

As long as it isn’t culturally offensive, any sign or motion of the hand will do. Crossing the first two fingers and shaking lightly is a good way to go. It’s a gesture conspicuous enough for you to see from across the room and all students can perform it easily.

  1. Practice politeness.

It’s important to emphasize that the gesture is nothing more than a polite reminder to a friend. It’s like saying, “I’m sorry, but I can’t talk right now.” It isn’t aggressive or angry and it should never accompany any talking or admonition.

 

HAVE YOU REVIEWED THE “COMMON MISTAKES” SECTION RECENTLY???

 

50 Things You Don’t Have To Do

  1. You don’t have to lecture, yell, or scold.
  2. You don’t have to micromanage.
  3. You don’t have to ignore misbehavior.
  4. You don’t have to be unlikable.
  5. You don’t have to tolerate call-outs and interruptions.
  6. You don’t have to use bribery.
  7. You don’t have to walk on eggshells around difficult students.
  8. You don’t have to give false praise.
  9. You don’t have to send students to the office.
  10. You don’t have to implore your students to pay attention.
  11. You don’t have to say things you don’t truly believe.
  12. You don’t have to be humorless, stern, or overly serious.
  13. You don’t have to repeat yourself over and over again.
  14. You don’t have to work on building community.
  15. You don’t have to beg or coax or convince your students into behaving.
  16. You don’t have to waste time and attention on difficult students.
  17. You don’t have to do more or say more to have better control.
  18. You don’t have to show anger or lose your cool.
  19. You don’t have to lower your behavior standards.
  20. You don’t have to talk so much, so often, or so loud.
  21. You don’t have to have an antagonistic or demanding relationship with difficult students.
  22. You don’t have to shush your students or ask repeatedly for quiet.
  23. You don’t have to give frequent reminders and exhortations.
  24. You don’t have to show hurt or disappointment to get your message across.
  25. You don’t have to guide, direct, or handhold your students through every moment of the day.
  26. You don’t have to be thought of as a “mean” teacher.
  27. You don’t have to use threats or intimidation to get students to behave.
  28. You don’t have to have friction or resentment between you and any of your students.
  29. You don’t have to use behavior contracts to turn around difficult students.
  30. You don’t have to give over-the-top or gratuitous praise.
  31. You don’t have to plead with your students to follow your directions.
  32. You don’t have to use different strategies for different students.
  33. You don’t have to tolerate a noisy, chaotic, or unruly classroom.
  34. You don’t have to talk over your students or move on until you’re ready.
  35. You don’t have to accept being disrespected, cursed at, or ignored.
  36. You don’t have use complicated classroom management methods.
  37. You don’t have to be fearful of holding your students strictly accountable.
  38. You don’t have to hold time-consuming community circles or hashing-out sessions.
  39. You don’t have to be negative or critical to motivate your students.
  40. You don’t have to cover up your personality or hold back from having fun.
  41. You don’t have to tolerate arguing and talking back.
  42. You don’t have to ask two or three times or more for your students’ attention.
  43. You don’t have to offer praise for expected behavior.
  44. You don’t have to rely on parents, the principal, or anyone else to turn around difficult students.
  45. You don’t have to be overbearing or suffocating to have excellent control.
  46. You don’t have to give incessant talking-tos to difficult and disrespectful students.
  47. You don’t have to ask students why they misbehaved or force assurances from them.
  48. You don’t have to have a boring, no-fun classroom to keep a lid on whole-class misbehavior.
  49. You don’t have to be tense, tired, and sick of dealing with misbehavior.
  50. You never, ever have to be at the mercy of your students.