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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 Prevent Problem Behavior in My Classroom?
Your perspective, whether limited to your classroom or more broadly in life, directly affects how you interpret the events in your daily life. Developing perspective is a funny thing because it is a highly personalized experience and, much like art, 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 get you in trouble, itâ€™s what you know for sure that just ainâ€™t so.â€ Simply stated, a terminal degree of certainty is a dangerous thing to have about anything, most specifically about human behavior. The reality is that you will be unable to prevent all inappropriate behavior from ever occurring within your classroom—unless each of your students is either Mother Teresa incarnate or your classroom has no students. Rather, what you can do is establish a few basic operating procedures that will enhance the learning environment in a way that can dramatically reduce the likelihood of both nuisance and problem behaviors.
Nuisance behaviors are those that in and of themselves are essentially inconsequential, such as the student who appears fidgety and calls out to get your attention as opposed to raising his or her hand. It is often inconsequential behavior that should be ignored, however, that historically (or perhaps hysterically) has been known to get strong adverse reactions from teachers.
Yet, problem behavior must be immediately stopped, and the student must be redirected to act in a more appropriate manner. For example, a student who is taking materials from another student must be told by the teacher, â€œStop taking Johnâ€™s book and answer sheet. I want you to open your own book and do your work on your own.â€ Perspective—your perspective to be specific—comes into play in understanding that inappropriate behaviors are not always equal and, realistically, you will never be able to control all student behavior. This may seem like an odd statement to make from someone providing guidance on classroom management, but it is an important concept to understand because it can dramatically affect your perspective and subsequent approach to classroom management.
One of my personal pet peeves with regard to behavior management comes from the term management, which has become commonplace in the field. The very term implies this false notion of control in that it suggests that you will manage your students as if they were collectively nothing more than raw material to be organized within your classroom. I donâ€™t know about you, but I know I have enough difficulty managing my own behavior (especially on tough days), let alone managing anyone elseâ€™s behavior. Now, having said this, there are things that you can manage that will help you have a direct positive effect on your studentsâ€™ behavior. The nature of these things that you can control (or at least greatly influence) ironically has less to do with your studentsâ€™ behavior and more to do with how you act or do not act on a daily basis in your classroom. I think a more accurate descriptor for group and classroom management is â€œTeacher Self-Management of Instructional Practice in Group Settings,â€ but this title is far too long and will understandably not be accepted in the field. So I will use the term classroom management for simplicityâ€™s sake. Having said this, the important thing to keep in mind is not so much the term but the idea I am trying to communicate.
Developing a classroom management plan can appear daunting from the onset. I mean, there are just so many things to take into account and plan for, and then you have to think about individualizing for unique student needs.