Friday, September 21, 2007

Classroom Management = Student Engagement

I believe that student engagement begins with a well planned lesson. Lessons and activities should be meaningful to students and keep them engaged.

I've heard teachers talk about teachers at other schools who get to have professional conversations about content and instruction rather than behavior.

But what if we began having that content and instruction conversation first....would that cure most of the behavior issues?

I'm proud to say that my colleagues, spurred by an amazing AP, have begun to have such conversations. I am even prouder to say that when we listed the things we want discuss and change this year...we never mentioned behavior...not until our facilitator brought it up.

I think that if the focused switched from behavior issues to meaningful exposures to content, then, students would be fully engaged and have less behavior problem.

It won't cure all student issues...but it will go a long way to helping!

Dr. Lange told me last year that his wife was assigned a "tough" 6th grade class for the upcoming year. Luckily, he said, she had taken her dog to training the summer before. She learned a valuable lesson: control their environment.

The first step in successful classroom management (besides an engaging lesson) is controlling the environment. Don't give them opportunities to get themselves in trouble! My students are opportunists....but hopefully with the right control and nurturing, they will use this skill in a positive way....and not an annoying one!

This week I experienced a few 100% days: 100% engagement from 100% of my students 100% of the time....It wasn't because I threatened or had them all facing front...they were up, discussing, moving around: they couldn't help but be engaged. I controlled their environment. Hopefully, as I hone my teaching skills and polish my teaching art, I will experience more and more of these days....

These are days when its great to be a teacher.


Stewart said...

I hope that isn't a shot at your facilitator! The last few years it seemed like the most vocalized issue, and I think in other PD/PL sessions it may have been. However, I have seen in my short span of experience how students' behavior is related to the lesson. I'm still learning the connection, though. I have spent lots of time on a lesson that I think is the best, and their effort and behavior has shown me otherwise. The "meaningful" description seems to be the most telling of a good lesson, but I am curious if a greater indication is how competent they feel at the task. Especially in math, if they feel like they won't be able to do it, the last thing they will do is try and risk failing in front of their peers.

Ms. Johnson said...

Thanks Regina--
It seems that there is an affective piece at play here as well!

Classroom said...

Wonderful article on classroom management! I know of an interesting website which speaks about classroom management. The site provides free behaviour tips and resources for teachers, head teachers, lecturers and classroom assistants.