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Motivating and enlightening, this book will give teachers an "I can do that" attitude toward classroom management-and the practical advice they need to build positive, effective learning environments.
About the Author:
Tim Knoster, Ed.D., is Associate Professor, School of Education, College of Professional Studies, Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania
Excerpted from The Teacher's Pocket Guide for Effective Classroom Management
By Timothy P. Knoster, Ed.D.
©2008. Brookes Publishing. All rights reserved.
So How Do I PreventProblem Behaviorin My Classroom?
Your perspective, whether limited to your classroomor more broadly in life, directly affects how you interpretthe events in your daily life. Developing perspectiveis a funny thing because it is a highlypersonalized experience and, much likeart, interpreted in the eye of the beholder.Mark Twain has been credited with saying,â€œIt ainâ€™t what you donâ€™t know that will getyou in trouble, itâ€™s what you know for surethat just ainâ€™t so.â€ Simply stated, a terminaldegree of certainty is a dangerousthing to have about anything, most specificallyabout human behavior. The realityis that you will be unable to prevent allinappropriate behavior from ever occurringwithin your classroom—unless each of your studentsis either Mother Teresa incarnate or your classroomhas no students. Rather, what you can do isestablish a few basic operating procedures that willenhance the learning environment in a way that candramatically reduce the likelihood ofboth nuisance and problem behaviors.
Nuisance behaviors are those thatin and of themselves are essentiallyinconsequential, such as the studentwho appears fidgety and calls out to getyour attention as opposed to raising hisor her hand. It is often inconsequential behavior thatshould be ignored, however, that historically (or perhapshysterically) has been known to get strongadverse reactions from teachers.
Yet, problem behavior must be immediatelystopped, and the student must be redirected to act ina more appropriate manner. For example, a studentwho is taking materials from another student must betold by the teacher, â€œStop taking Johnâ€™s book andanswer sheet. I want you to open your own book anddo your work on your own.â€ Perspective—your perspectiveto be specific—comes into play in understandingthat inappropriate behaviors are not alwaysequal and, realistically, you will never be able to controlall student behavior. This may seem like an oddstatement to make from someone providing guidanceon classroom management, but it is an important conceptto understand because it can dramatically affectyour perspective and subsequent approach to classroommanagement.
One of my personal pet peeves with regard tobehavior management comes from the term management,which has become commonplace in the field.The very term implies this false notion of control inthat it suggests that you will manage your students asif they were collectively nothing more than raw materialto be organized within your classroom. I donâ€™tknow about you, but I know I have enough difficultymanaging my own behavior (especially on toughdays), let alone managing anyone elseâ€™s behavior.Now, having said this, there are things that you canmanage that will help you have a direct positive effecton your studentsâ€™ behavior. The nature of these thingsthat you can control (or at least greatly influence)ironically has less to do with your studentsâ€™ behaviorand more to do with how you act or do not act on adaily basis in your classroom. I think a more accuratedescriptor for group and classroom management isâ€œTeacher Self-Management of Instructional Practicein Group Settings,â€ but this title is far too long andwill understandably not be accepted in the field. So Iwill use the term classroom management for simplicityâ€™ssake. Having said this, the important thing tokeep in mind is not so much the term but the idea Iam trying to communicate.
Developing a classroom management plan canappear daunting from the onset. I mean, there are justso many things to take into account and plan for, andthen you have to think aboutindividualizing for uniquestudent needs.