Share your classroom strategies

Why not share our classroom strategies? It would be a way of helping each other, of reminding ourselves of the basics, of getting some ideas of how to smooth out difficulties and it would create a bank of information for new and pre-service teachers. Not all strategies are going to work with a particular class, a particular year level, in a particular country or region. I was glad Rob Plevin had put this up on YouTube. He is very direct, honest and straight forward. You understand from his journey that he has worked on his performance standards, taken his classroom management seriously and is offering others a chance to rethink how they are approaching their students. He has nearly half a million hits for caring about us! When under pressure it is easy to fall into traps, get into a rut and looking at videos like this gives you a chance to refresh and reboot. His chit chat recommendation is a good one. His demonstrating how to approach students positively rather than negatively is demonstrated clearly and you can hear the voice and language changes. Meeting them at the door is not always going to work. Our school has a policy that we get to our classrooms 5 minutes before the end of a break and during lesson change times we do the best we can if we are changing rooms and are already there to greet the students if we have one classroom to teach in. If you are there before the students you can greet them and have some chitchat. You can get to know them better and develop a positive relationship. They can also come in and ask you about anything which may be worrying them. Some schools have penalties for lateness. That works if the students complete the penalties and respect them. I had a Syrian student teacher once who never noticed if students were late. It was in the days of books. She would keep teaching and just get them on the right page and point to the right spot ,open their exercise book and put a pen in their hands. She never mentioned it and it worked. After a couple of lessons with her all the students were on time. I have watched other videos about behaviour management and some recommend not singling out students and not mentioning names. I happened to be in class this morning and the very first thing I did was:

” John, would you mind listening please? It is really important to me that you listen. ” John looked up and sat quietly. I then remembered the videos I had been watching and said, “Oh, sorry. I should not have mentioned your name . I should have said I have one student not listening.” The students were amused. “Mrs. Woods , how would we know who it is? We might all be feeling guilty.”

John looked at me. “I really don’t mind. I wasn’t doing the right thing.”

My watching the videos has put “teaching” into me. I was reflecting on my practice and then sharing that with my students. I teach my students to say when they are not happy and to speak up for themselves at the right time the same as I do. If we all shared our behaviour management strategies we would be stronger, we’d have more strategies and we’d build strong relationships. Essentially that is what Rob Plevin is talking about and showing us. It’s about talking to students so that they can see you value their input and they , in turn, value yours. In the same class this morning the chit chat turned up that all but one  of the students was feeling very tired. That helped me quickly rethink my lesson with them so I was not pushing them too hard and allowing them to lighten up a bit during the course of a double lesson. In the end, we achieved a lot and felt like we had been successful. Sharing works.

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