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Understanding the Keys to Motivation to Learn
Models of Classroom Discipline by Author
What is Normal Development?
Classroom Management Links
The Coping Mechanisms Children Use
Over the years I have compiled a long list of the various coping mechanisms youngsters use when adults try to control them. This list comes primarily out of our P.E.T.* and T.E.T.** classes, where we employ a simple but revealing classroom exercise. Participants are asked to recall the specific ways they themselves coped with power-based discipline when they were youngsters. The question yields nearly identical lists in every class, which confirms how universal children's coping mechanisms are. The complete list is reproduced below, in no particular order. Note how varied these recurring themes are. (Can you pick out the particular coping methods you employed as a youngster?)
As you might expect, after parents and teachers in the class generate their list, and realize it was created out of their own experiences, they invariably make such comments as:
1. Resisting, defying, being negative
2. Rebelling, disobeying, being insubordinate, sassing
3. Retaliating, striking back, counterattacking, vandalizing
4. Hitting, being belligerent, combative
5. Breaking rules and laws
6. Throwing temper tantrums, getting angry
7. Lying, deceiving, hiding the truth
8. Blaming others, tattling, telling on others
9. Bossing or bullying others
10. Banding together, forming alliances, organizing against the adult
11. Apple-polishing, buttering up, soft-soaping, bootlicking, currying favor with adults
12. Withdrawing, fantasizing, daydreaming
13. Competing, needing to win, hating to lose, needing to look good, making others look bad
14. Giving up, feeling defeated, loafing, goofing off
15. Leaving, escaping, staying away from home, running away, quitting school, cutting classes
16. Not talking, ignoring, using the silent treatment, writing the adult off, keeping one's distance
17. crying, weeping; feeling depressed or hopeless
18. Becoming fearful, shy, timid, afraid to speak up, hesitant to try anything new
19. Needing reassurance, seeking constant approval, feeling insecure
20. Getting sick, developing psychosomatic ailments
21. Overeating, excessive dieting
22. Being submissive, conforming, complying; being dutiful, docile, apple-polishing, being a goddy-goody, teacher's pet
23. Drinking heavily, using drugs
24. Cheating in school, plagiarizing
"Why would anyone want to use power, if these are the behaviors it produces?"
"All of these coping mechanisms are behaviors that I wouldn't want to see in my children [or my students]."
"I don't see in the list any good effects or positive behaviors."
"If we reacted to power in those ways when we were kids, our own children certainly will, too."
After this exercise, some parents and teachers undergo a 180 degree shift in their thinking. They see much more clearly that power creates the very behavior patterns they most dislike in children . They begin to understand that as parents and teachers they are paying a terrible price for using power: they are causing their children or students to develop habits, traits, and characteristics considered both unacceptable by most adults and unhealthy by mental health professionals.
*P.E.T. = Parent Effectiveness Training; **T.E.T.= Teacher Effectiveness Training.
|11 Techniques for
Better Classroom Discipline
The Honor Level System:Discipline by Design
Here are eleven techniques that you can use in your classroom that will help you achieve effective group management and control. They have been adapted from an article called: "A Primer on Classroom Discipline: Principles Old and New." by Thomas R. McDaniel; Phi Delta Kappan, May 1986.
Teacher Effectiveness Training Outline
- The purpose of TET
- Three kinds of time teachers have with students
- Overview of the seven skills of TET
- Demonstration: Listening to teachers
- Role play: "Case of The Missing Book Report"
- Overview of three methods of problem solving
- Workbook exercise: Setting Personal Goals
- Assignments and performance expectations
Session #2: A.M.
Session #2: P.M.
- Skill #1: Observing behavior
- Exercise: Describing the instructor's behavior
- Skill #2: Identifying problem ownership
- Workbook exercise: Practice identifying problem ownership
- The nature of interpersonal communication
- The two conditions for effective communication: attention and intention
- Exercise: Attending to another
- Exercise: Creating intention to communicate
- Skills of #3 and #4: Demonstrating understanding and being understood, the basic skills of interpersonal communication
- Demonstration: Proving you understand
- Exercise: Demonstrating understanding
- The twelve roadblocks to communication
- Exercise: Effects of communication roadblocks
- Four listening behaviors: attending, door openers, acknowledgements, active listening
- Exercise: Listening to another
Session #3: A.M.
Session #3: P.M.
- Demonstration: Active listening
- Exercise: Active listening to a teacher's problem
- Common errors in active listening
- Appropriate conditions for active listening
- Exercise: Identifying problem cues and clues
- Being understood
- Exercise: Self-disclosing dyads
- Four types of self-disclosure messages: inform, appreciate, prevent and confront
- Skill #5: Expressing appreciation
- Exercise: Sending positive I-messages
- Exercise: Identifying fears of confrontations
Session #4: A.M.
Session #4: P.M.
- Typical confrontation messages
- Demonstration: Effects of typical confrontations
- Exercise: You-messages vs. I-messages
- Criteria for effective confrontation: Gets change in behavior, leaves student's esteem up, and leaves relationship undamaged
- The three-part confrontive I-message
- Exercise: Sending confrontation messages
- Demonstration: Managing resistance
- Shifting gears and the communication process
- Exercise: "Case of the Resistant Student"
- Four times confrontation doesn't get change
- Exercise: "Case of the Tardy Student"
Session #5: A.M.
Session #5: P.M.
- Workbook exercise: Assessing personal goals
- Three methods of conflict resolution: Win/lose, lose/win, and win/win
- Effects of Method II
- Exercise: Reactions to power
- Effects of Method I
- The six steps of Method III
- Effective parent conferences
- Exercise: "Case of the Eager Beaver"
- Exercise: "Case of the Roving Teacher"
- The teacher's area of freedom
- Values conflict defined
- Final exam
- Focusing. Be sure you have the attention of everyone in your classroom before you start your lesson. Don't attempt to teach over the chatter of students who are not paying attention. Inexperienced teachers some-times think that by beginning their lesson, the class will settle down. The children will see that things are underway now and it is time to go to work. Sometimes this works, but the children are also going to think that you are willing to compete with them. You don't mind talking while they talk. You are willing to speak louder so that they can finish their conversation even after you have have started the lesson. They get the idea that you accept their inattention and that it is permissible to talk while you are presenting a lesson.
The focusing technique means that you will demand their attention before you begin. That you will wait and not start until everyone has settled down. Experienced teachers know that silence on their part is very effective. They will punctuate their waiting by extending it 5 to 10 seconds after the classroom is completely quiet. Then they begin their lesson using a quieter voice than normal.
A soft spoken teacher often has a calmer, quieter classroom than one with a stronger voice. Her students sit still in order to hear what she says.
- Direct Instruction. Uncertainty increases the level of excitement in the classroom. The technique of direct instruction is to begin each class by telling the students exactly what will be happening. The teacher outlines what he and the students will be doing this period. He may set time limits for some tasks.
An effective way to marry this technique with the first one is to include time at the end of the period for students to do activities of their choosing. The teacher may finish the description of the hour"s activities with: "And I think we will have some time at the end of the period for you to chat with your friends, go to the library, or catch up on work for other classes."
The teacher is more willing to wait for class attention when he knows there is extra time to meet his goals and objectives. The students soon realize that the more time the teacher waits for their attention, the less free time they have at the end of the hour.
- Monitoring. The key to this principle is to circulate. Get up and get around the room. While your students are working, make the rounds. Check on their progress.
An effective teacher will make a pass through the whole room about two minutes after the students have started a written assignment. She checks that each student has started, that the children are on the correct page, and that everyone has put their name on their papers. The delay is important. She wants her students to have a problem or two finished so she can check that answers are correctly labeled or in complete sentences. She provides individualized instruction as needed.
Students who are not yet quite on task will be quick to get going as they see her approach. Those that were distracted or slow to get started can be nudged along.
The teacher does not interrupt the class or try to make general announcements unless she notices that several students have difficulty with the same thing. The teacher uses a quiet voice and her students appreciate her personal and positive attention.
- Modeling. McDaniel tells us of a saying that goes: "Values are caught, not taught." Teachers who are courteous, prompt, enthusiastic, in control, patient, and organized provide examples for their students through their own behavior. The "do as I say, not as I do" teachers send mixed messages that confuse students and invite misbehavior.
If you want students to use quiet voices in your classroom while they work, you too will use a quiet voice as you move through the room helping youngsters.
- Non-Verbal Cuing. A standard item in the classroom of the fifties was the clerk's bell. A shiny nickel bell sat on the teacher's desk. With one tap of the button on top he had everyone's attention. Teachers have shown a lot of ingenuity over the years in making use of non-verbal cues in the classroom. Some flip light switches. Others keep clickers in their pockets.
Non-verbal cues can also be facial expressions, body posture, and hand signals. Care should be given in choosing the types of cues you use in your classroom. Take time to explain what you want the student to do when you use your cues.
- Environmental Control. A classroom can be a warm cheery place. Students enjoy an environment that changes periodically. Study centers with pictures and color invite enthusiasm for your subject.
Young people like to know about you and your interests. Include personal items in your classroom. A family picture or a few items from a hobby or collection on your desk will trigger personal conversations with your students. As they get to know you better, you will see fewer problems with discipline.
Just as you may want to enrich your classroom, there are times when you may want to impoverish it as well. You may need a quiet corner with few distractions. Some students will get caught up in visual exploration. For them, the splash and the color is a siren that pulls them off task. They may need more vanilla and less rocky-road. Have a place you can steer this youngster to. Let him get his work done first then come back to explore and enjoy the rest of the room.
- Low-Profile Intervention. Most students are sent to the principal's office as a result of confrontational escalation. The teacher has called them on a lesser offense, but in the moments that follow, the student and the teacher are swept up in a verbal maelstrom. Much of this can be avoided when the teacher's intervention is quiet and calm.
An effective teacher will take care that the student is not rewarded for misbehavior by becoming the focus of attention. She monitors the activity in her classroom, moving around the room. She anticipates problems before they occur. Her approach to a misbehaving student is inconspicuous. Others in the class are not distracted.
While lecturing to her class this teacher makes effective use of name-dropping. If she sees a student talking or off task, she simply drops the youngster's name into her dialog in a natural way: "And you see, David, we carry the one to the tens column." David hears his name and is drawn back on task. The rest of the class doesn't seem to notice.
- Assertive Discipline. This is traditional limit setting authoritarianism. When executed as presented by Lee Canter (who has made this form a discipline one of the most widely known and practiced) it will include a good mix of praise. This is high profile discipline. The teacher is the boss and no child has the right to interfere with the learning of any student. Clear rules are laid out and consistently enforced.
- Assertive I-Messages. A component of Assertive Discipline, these I-Messages are statements that the teacher uses when confronting a student who is misbehaving. They are intended to be clear descriptions of what the student is suppose to do. The teacher who makes good use of this technique will focus the child's attention first and foremost on the behavior he wants, not on the misbehavior. "I want you to ..." or "I need you to ..." or "I expect you to ..."
The inexperienced teacher may incorrectly try: "I want you to stop ..." only to discover that this usually triggers confrontation and denial. The focus is on the misbehavior and the student is quick to retort: "I wasn't doing anything!" or "It wasn't my fault ..." or "Since when is there a rule against ..." and escalation has begun.
- Humanistic I-Messages. These I-messages are expressions of our feelings. Thomas Gordon, creator of Teacher Effectiveness Training (TET), tells us to structure these messages in three parts. First, a description of the child's behavior. "When you talk while I talk ..." Second, the effect this behavior has on the teacher. "... I have to stop my teaching ..." And third, the feeling that it generates in the teacher. " ... which frustrates me."
A teacher, distracted by a student who was constantly talking while he tried to teach, once made this powerful expression of feelings: "I can not imagine what I have done to you that I do not deserve the respect from you that I get from the others in this class. If I have been rude to you or inconsiderate in any way, please let me know. I feel as though I have somehow offended you and now you are unwilling to show me respect." The student did not talk during his lectures again for many weeks.
- Positive Discipline. Use classroom rules that describe the behaviors you want instead of listing things the students can not do. Instead of "no-running in the room," use "move through the building in an orderly manner." Instead of "no-fighting, " use "settle conflicts appropriately." Instead of "no-gum chewing," use "leave gum at home." Refer to your rules as expectations. Let your students know this is how you expect them to behave in your classroom.
Make ample use of praise. When you see good behavior, acknowledge it. This can be done verbally, of course, but it doesn't have to be. A nod, a smile or a "thumbs up" will reinforce the behavior.
|You may feel that you do not have the time to walk these kids from stage to stage. You may be concerned about covering the material in the book or getting to all the objectives, but what do you teach? Is it English? Math? Science? Such a response is the one others expect of us, but the real answer is: "I teach children." When you get used to thinking of your job in that way, it is easier to find the time needed to help a youngster with behavior problems.
Learning self-discipline is just like learning anything else. Your students aren't always going to get it right the first time. So, you find yourself "picking up the pieces." You help them some more, and when you think they are ready you give it another try.
|The Metamorphosis of Classroom Management
By Fran Mayeski
A classroom is a place where students gather to learn. Creating a safe and orderly environment in the classroom is a survival skill for teachers and optimizes the learning environment for students. The strategies teachers use to create such classroom environments have been studied and developed as the area of "classroom management" for many years. This article will examine recent changes in this field and provide concrete examples of new approaches.
In the 1970s and '80s, researchers and practitioners examined management issues such as how to organize the room, make it safe and establish the rules of behavior for the students in that classroom. Management is defined by Randolph (1985) as working with and through others to accomplish the organization's goals. The major reform agenda of that period, "effective schools" was focused on the organization level.
The emphasis is shifting from the organizational level to the learner. A pivotal document symbolizing this transition is Learner-centered Psychological Principles: Guidelines for School Redesign and Reform. The purpose of this document is "to provide useful information consistent with research generated by psychologists and educators in the areas of learning, motivation and human development. Use of these principles in reforming education will serve shared goals: educational excellence with a focus on the individual learner" (American Psychological Association Presidential Task Force on Psychology in Education, 1993, p. 4).
This perspective now is reflected in the field of classroom management and discipline. Researchers are focusing on increasing their understanding of behavior rather than on expanding ways to control it (Solomon, Watson, Delucchi, Schaps, & Battistich, 1991). Many of the emerging classroom management/discipline programs are based on the belief that when students' basic needs are met, misbehavior can be avoided. Six of these programs are profiled in the "Discipline Profiles" chart. These "Discipline Profiles" are reprinted from the Fall 1994 issue of Teaching Kids Responsibility, a newsletter of the National Education Service. They have given permission to reprint the profiles in this issue of Noteworthy.
How we work with students in the classroom is shaped primarily by what we believe about how students learn how to behave. At one extreme is the belief that students are passive receivers of knowledge who need to learn to conform to the system and require clear identification of a payoff for their learning. The emphasis is on routine and standardization. The other extreme is the belief that students are active, positive, motivated and unique problem solvers. The emphasis is on choice. It is not surprising that teachers tend to use the strategies that are congruent with what they believe (Short, Short, & Blanton, 1994; Hoy & Forsyth, 1986).
Routines and Rules
All classrooms need rules and routines to function effectively. Many research studies in the 1970s and '80s emphasized the importance of teaching these routines early in the year. Some studies were as explicit as identifying that they should be taught in the first four days (Leinhardt, Weidman, & Hammond, 1991), while others recommended it be sometime within the first few weeks of school (Hutchins et al., 1991).
The nature of classroom rules and routines and how they are formulated varies according to the teacher's belief system. Rules often originate from the teacher anticipating problems or glitches in the functioning of the classroom and establishing rules and routines to circumvent their occurrence. The general guidelines for rules are:
A unique approach to rules is contained in the "Judicious Discipline" program. In this program, rules emerge from the principle that "you may do what you want in this classroom, unless what you do interferes with the rights of others" (Gathercoal, 1990, p. 20). This program is framed around the rights and responsibilities of a citizen under the constitution. Students develop the classroom rules based on these principles and formally agree to adhere to the rules.
- Make only a few rules--neither you nor the students will remember a long list.
- Select rules because they establish an orderly environment and contribute to successful learning. As important an issue as gum chewing may be, it probably does not significantly impede learning.
- Make the rules as unambiguous as possible. They should be stated behaviorally: "Keep your hands and feet to yourself" is clearer than "no fighting."
- Select rules that all adults in the building are willing to enforce uniformly. As soon as students figure out there is a double standard, they will test the limits (Hutchins et al., 1991, pp. 3-33).
When a student violates the rules, the educator asks, "What does this youngster need to know?" (Gathercoal, 1990, p. 22). In addition to teaching the attitudes and behaviors, educators often must administer consequences for the violations. "Judicious consequences" have two defining characteristics:
Eventually, "judicious consequences" also should be designed by the students. Many of the other emerging classroom management programs also suggest, urge or require the inclusion of students in the design of classroom rules.
- They are consistent with the nature of the infraction.
- They reflect the needs and best interests of both the student and the school community.
Management and Instruction
"The conception of management and instruction as separate domains presents a false dichotomy. As students and teacher work together to construct lessons and to reach instructional goals, management and instructional processes are co-occurring" (Weade & Evertson, 1991, p. 136).
Routines are processes or skills; they can be taught in the same way that teachers teach any other skill. Because teaching should reflect what we know about how people learn, it is helpful to examine the three phases a learner goes through when acquiring a skill or process: constructing models, shaping and internalizing. Research about these three phases can be found in A Different Kind of Classroom: Teaching with Dimensions of Learning (Marzano, 1992); and strategies the teacher can use during these three phases can be found in the Dimensions of Learning Teachers' Manual (Marzano, Pickering, Arredondo, Blackburn, Brandt, & Moffett, 1992).
1. Constructing models
To learn a skill or process, the learner needs a rough model of the steps involved.
Hunter's classic work on "Developing Independent Learners" (1976) focused on the importance of "modeling" routines for students. This concept is inherent in most of the classroom management programs that are skill based.
One strategy that can be used to help students construct a model is "verbalizing your thoughts as you demonstrate the skill or process" (Marzano et al., 1992, p. 62). Additional strategies the teacher might use are presenting the students with a written set of steps for the routine or having them create a flow chart of the routine.
Granted that helping students construct a model of the routines that will be used in the classroom is more effective than the practice of simply telling students what to do, it is not enough. Tempting as it is to mimic the Nike commercials and say, "Just do it!," we need to use what we know about the second phase of acquiring a skill, shaping.
In this second phase the learner is involved in two major processes. One is understanding the procedure at a conceptual level and another is modifying the skill or process itself.
"Vygotsky (1978) hypothesized that a learner needs the most guidance when working in the zone of development in which she has not yet acquired a skill but has some initial idea of it--in effect, when the learner is shaping a procedure she has been introduced to" (Marzano et al., 1992, p. 60).
Providing opportunities for the students to practice the skill or process while the teacher is present to provide feedback (guided practice) is an important component of Hunter's strategy for teaching routines in the classroom.
To make the use of a skill or routine automatic requires practice . . . and lots of it. This principle was represented in the "independent practice" component of Hunter's design.
Most teachers want students to internalize the routines of the classroom so they become automatic. Some teachers believe that rewards are integral to this process.
Our beliefs influence how we use rewards. For those who believe that learners require a clear payoff, extrinsic rewards are an important ingredient in the learning process. There are programs that emphasize the use of extrinsic rewards for "good behavior," and educators who believe that external rewards and punishments are necessary usually feel comfortable using them. Others believe the use of extrinsic rewards is detrimental. Some researchers have found that the use of extrinsic rewards diminishes intrinsic motivation (Solomon et al., 1991). Educators who believe that their role is to help students develop personal control and enhance their intrinsic motivation to learn usually eschew programs that have a heavy reliance on rewards.
Our beliefs also influence how we assess student behavior and how we use that information. At one end of the continuum is the educator who believes the authority figure identifies the degree of adherence to the expectations and delivers the consequences. At the other end are those who believe it is the student who needs to reflect on this information and make decisions to alter the behavior.
"Effective learners operate best when they have insight into their own strengths and weaknesses and access to their own repertoires of strategies for learning. In recent years this type of knowledge and control over thinking has been termed metacognition" (Brown, 1975, cited in Brown and Campione, in press). The work on meta-cognition in the academic arena is beginning to transfer to our insights about how students need to think about their own behavior.
Classroom management is undergoing a metamorphosis. The focus is becoming more and more centered on the student and on creating the environment that encourages the butterfly to emerge.