Posts Tagged ‘Classroom Management’

6 Methods For Getting Kids to Cooperate

June 6, 2013

Courtesy of

Invite, Don’t Demand

We all want our children to “ask nicely”, but the truth is that’s easier said than done. My question is, where do you think they learned to be demanding and inflexible? Oh yeah, from us! If we want our kids to cooperate, then we’ve got to be the bigger, more mature ones and lead by example. Contrary to popular belief, asking nicely, inviting, and working together to find a solution to a problem doesn’t teach children to be more defiant or disobedient, instead, by doing these things you’re laying a foundation of trust and teamwork that your kids will soon learn to rely on.

Use this quick test to figure out whether your request is actually a demand. Ask yourself, “Would it be OK if they answered ‘no’ to this request?” If not, then you’re not actually inviting or asking, you’re demanding or requiring a specific behaviour. That’s OK some of the time, especially if safety is an issue, but remember, the more demands you make on your kids, the less true, internally motivated cooperation you’re likely to get.

That’s not to say you shouldn’t have expectations of your children. It’s just that when those expectations aren’t met, it’s helpful to see that as an opportunity to problem solve together, rather than an excuse to punish them into submission.



10 Important Steps to Stop Yelling at Kids

May 7, 2013


As much as it is largely ineffective and unprofessional we have all yelled at our students at one time or another. It can be extremely hard to remain calm when students become unruly and uncooperative.

Although intended for parents, this list by Laura Markham, Ph.D. provides sound strategies for maintaining composure around children:


19 US States Still Allow Corporal Punishment in their Classrooms

April 7, 2013


It is quite upsetting that 19 US States still allow corporal punishment in their schools. Below are some damning statistics taken from 2005-2006. I hope the numbers of students hit per state has dramatically lessened since then, but I somewhat doubt it. Of equal concern is the ratio of black and Hispanic children being metered out this outdated and inhumane form of punishment.

Number of Students Hit
Number of IDEA Students Hit
Total Number of Students Hit
Percentage of Total Students
North Carolina
New Mexico
South Carolina

Classroom Management is Getting Harder

March 24, 2013


Teacher training really falls flat when it comes to providing new teachers the practical tools to deal with the increasing difficulties of managing a class:

Teachers have warned that disruptive behaviour in classrooms has escalated sharply in recent years, as funding cuts to local services have left schools struggling to cope.

A survey by the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) found that the vast majority of staff had recorded a rise in the number of children with emotional, behavioural or mental health problems.

The union collated numerous examples of challenging behaviour, ranging from violent assault to defamatory campaigns on social media.

Suggested reasons for the deteriorating behaviour include a lack of boundaries at home, attention-seeking, an absence of positive role models at home, low self-esteem and family breakdown.

The ATL, which has 160,000 members across the UK, said aggressive cuts to the traditional safety net of local services have left schools dealing with complex behavioural and mental health problems on their own.

Earlier this month it emerged that two-thirds of local authorities have cut their budgets for children and young people’s mental health services since the coalition government came to power in 2010. A freedom of information request by the YoungMinds charity found that 34 out of 51 local authorities which responded said their budgets for children’s and young people’s mental health services had been cut, one by 76%.

Alison Ryan, the union’s educational policy adviser, said: “Services are struggling for survival or operating with a skeleton staff, so there’s now a huge pressure on schools to almost go it alone. Schools are absolutely on the front line of dealing with these children and young people and trying to provide a service that means they don’t fall through the cracks.”

, general secretary of the ATL, said: “The huge funding cuts to local services mean schools often have to deal with children’s problems without any help.”

The survey of 844 staff found that 62% felt there were more children with emotional, behavioural and mental health problems than two years ago, with 56% saying there were more than five years ago. Nearly 90% of support staff, teachers, lecturers, school heads and college leaders revealed that they had dealt with a challenging or disruptive student during this school year. One primary school teacher in Cheshire said: “I have been kicked in the head, spat at, called disgusting names, told to eff off, had the classroom trashed regularly and items thrown. We accept children who are excluded from other schools so they come to us with extreme behaviour issues.”

A teacher in a West Midlands secondary school said: “One colleague had a Twitter account set up in front of him on a mobile called Paedo ****** [their name], which invited others to comment on him and his sexual orientation.”

Another teacher in a secondary school in Dudley added: “I’ve been sworn at, argued with, shouted at, had books thrown at me, threatened with physical abuse and had things stolen and broken.”

Bousted added: “Regrettably, teachers and support staff are suffering the backlash from deteriorating standards of behaviour. They are frequently on the receiving end of children’s frustration and unhappiness and have to deal with the fallout from parents failing to set boundaries and family breakdowns.”

On the positive side, most of the disruptive behaviour facing staff was categorised as fairly low level, with 79% of staff complaining that students talked in class, did not pay attention and messed around.

Some 68% added that students were disrespectful and ignored their instructions, 55% said they had dealt with verbally aggressive students, and a fifth with a physically aggressive student. Among secondary and sixth-form students, smoking was considered a significant problem.

On most occasions challenging behaviour was deemed an irritation which disrupted class work, according to 74% of staff, but 42% revealed that they suffered stress and almost a quarter said they had lost confidence at work. Forty of those questioned said they had been physically hurt by a student.

Click on the link to read The Dog Eat Dog Style of Education

Click on the link to read Problem Kids, Suspensions and Revolving Doors

Click on the link to read Useful Resources to Assist in Behavioural Management

Click on the link to read When Something Doesn’t Work – Try Again Until it Does

Sticking Troubled Children in Isolation Booths is a Disgrace

December 2, 2012

Besides the fact that isolation booths represent the height of cruelty, one wonders how in the age of instant lawsuits and strict health and safety regulations such a monstrosity could ever be used by schools.

Can you imagine the lawsuit that would arise if a child got overheated or had a panic attack in one of those things?

And looking at the contraption, I can’t help but wonder how expensive it would be to get one. How can schools complain about funding when they spend their finances on a booth that will likely emotionally scar its students?

A concerned mother who posted photos of an “isolation booth” in a Longview elementary school on Facebook said she wanted other parents to know how the school uses the space.

Ana Bate said her son saw the booth in use at Mint Valley Elementary School, and had questions.

The school principal said the padded room is used for students who have behavioral disabilities.

Parents of eight or nine students at the school have given permission for their kids to be placed in the booth if necessary.

“How come they’re not providing documentation about how this ‘therapeutic booth’ is beneficial?” said Bate. “Show me some real numbers. Show me something from the medical community that says more times than not and all the documentation that backs it up. Don’t tell me ‘well, their parents said we could do it.’”

The superintendent of Longview Public Schools said the booth is an effective therapy tool for students with special needs, and has been for years.

District spokeswoman Sandy Catt told KATU News students whose parents gave permission are placed in the booth when they are acting in a way that could be harmful to themselves or others.

None of the parents who gave the district permission to place their kids in the booth has complained, Catt said. But because of the many complaints from other parents, the district is reviewing how the booth is used.

“I believe that room has served a good therapeutic purpose and there may be improvements,” said Catt. “I think we need to look at the information that’s been gathered to determine where to go from here.”

Therapy? You have got to be kidding! Successful therapy changes habits and behaviours. This doesn’t change the way children behave. All this does is keeps them in a holding cell so that the teacher can deal with the problem easily and expediently.

But guess what? Education isn’t just about what’s easiest for the teacher. Sure. it’s important that teachers get the support that they need to handle difficult situations, but there is something just, if not more important, than the teacher’s welfare – the students’ welfare.

These booths need to be tossed in the scrap heap. They need to be replaced with people. Councillors, Principals, Aides etc.

An isolation booth further reinforces that the child is different and a problem. Most of these children act the way they do because of real issues they are confronting in their lives. These issues can only properly be worked through by people, not booths.


Click on the link to read The Dog Eat Dog Style of Education

Click on the link to read Problem Kids, Suspensions and Revolving Doors

Click on the link to read You Don’t Get Respect From Punishing Every Disorderly Act

Click on the link to read When Something Doesn’t Work – Try Again Until it Does

You Don’t Get Respect From Punishing Every Disorderly Act

October 23, 2012

The students involved would have got suspended in a less tolerant school. But this teacher shows up trigger-happy schools that suspend like it’s going out of fashion, when he decides to take a more thoughtful approach to reacting to a ruckus:

A Chicago magnet high school senior prank turned into an example of excellent school management when a dean took an unconventional approach to a feisty student’s challenging behavior last Tuesday.

In a video posted on YouTube and social news site Reddit, students on the second floor of Whitney M. Young High School in Illinois decide to stage a dance-battlesque senior prank.

Teens begin to bang on chairs and tables, and the students start hollering. One boy, with the loud support of his peers, runs up to a faculty member’s doorway and dances in front of a woman’s face.

The student then circles the space, looking for another challenger, when a man in a white shirt and tie catches his eye. The young man takes a flying leap, lands in front of the teacher’s nose and begins to dance furiously.

What happens next, however, is both hilarious and unexpected.

Clearly amused, the administrator, identified in the video as Dean of Students John Fanning, takes the boy’s hijinks in stride, breaking out into a dance of his own that looks an awful lot like a version of an Irish jig.

“Like any kid who grew up in [predominantly Irish Chicago neighborhood] Rogers Park, I was dragged to Irish dance classes,” Fanning told The Huffington Post.

The post on Reddit is titled “Teacher strikes back in the best way possible,” and many of the comments commended the teacher for his response. “No one got assaulted, no one got insulted, everything was awesome,” user “ppcpunk” wrote.

Why get angry? Fanning asked. “As senior pranks go, it’s pretty tame and innocuous,” he said.

Click on the link to read The Dog Eat Dog Style of Education

Click on the link to read Problem Kids, Suspensions and Revolving Doors

Click on the link to read Useful Resources to Assist in Behavioural Management

Click on the link to read When Something Doesn’t Work – Try Again Until it Does

Try Engaging Your Students Instead of Physically Shutting Them Up

September 20, 2012


If duct taping a child’s mouth is the only way you know how to maintain order in the classroom, you may want to find a new profession:

The mother of a Louisiana fourth grader whose mouth was taped shut by a substitute teacher who wanted to stop him from talking in class is seeking to bring criminal charges against the school district and the impatient educator.

“He just told me he didn’t want to go back to school no more, and he didn’t want to be friends with no one in his class, or the school,” Droddy told the station.

Only after school administrators talked to almost 100 students did she learn that a substitute teacher used red duct tape, normally used for arts and crafts projects, to quiet her son.


Click on the link to read Worst Examples of Teacher Discipline

Click on the link to read Why Students Misbehave

Click on the link to read Being a Teacher Makes Me Regret the Way I Treated My Teachers

Click on the link to read Useful Resources to Assist in Behavioural Management

Click on the link to read When Something Doesn’t Work – Try Again Until it Does

School Builds Prison Block for Troublemaking Students

September 11, 2012


At least this school doesn’t pretend it’s not a prison:

Furious parents and local councillors today blasted a school after it unveiled plans to build a ‘prison-style’ block for 12 of its most notorious troublemakers.

Tudor Grange Academy in Worcester, West Midlands – which has the second highest expulsion rate in England – has applied to convert a disused office block into an ‘alternative education’ facility.

Anyone else think we have all but given up?

Click on the link to read Being a Teacher Makes Me Regret the Way I Treated My Teachers

Click on the link to read Problem Kids, Suspensions and Revolving Doors

Click on the link to read Useful Resources to Assist in Behavioural Management

Click on the link to read When Something Doesn’t Work – Try Again Until it Does

Useful Resources to Assist in Behavioural Management

September 4, 2012

A compilation of behavioural management links by the team at The Guardian:

Positive ways to manage behaviour provides a range of techniques from the training organisation Pivotal Education. These include establishing explicit rules and routines, providing students with clear choices regarding their behaviour and starting each day with a clean sheet.

Further advice on some of the most common behaviour problems is contained in Classroom management strategies. Areas covered include dealing with pupils who are defiant, use abusive language, refuse to work or make silly noises in class. The resource highlights “needs-focused interventions”, such as “chunking” tasks to make them more manageable, taking time over your classroom seating plan and encouraging parental involvement. Strategies to avoid include giving ultimatums or tactically ignoring disruptive pupils.

Coping Strategies for Teachers contains tips on preventing, reducing and managing unacceptable behaviour. Ideas include having a challenge on the board for pupils to complete as they arrive in class, giving responsibility to students for activities such as taking the register, and keeping a behaviour file to record any incidents, meetings or contact with parents.

To encourage positive behaviour in early years and primary, Twinkl has created a range of wall display resources. These include a set of posters about good listening and a Noisometer that you can use to set and monitor noise levels in the classroom. To help celebrate good behaviour, there is a set of star of the day and star of the week posters, and as an alternative to the traditional traffic light behaviour management resource, you can use a set of Behaviour Management Dragons to give warnings for misbehaviour in a calm, non-confrontational way.

For newly-qualified teachers, a list of 10 top tips has been created by assistant headteacher and mentor Eugene Spiers. Advice includes remembering to smile and greet your classes, even the groups you dread, being consistent with praise and sanctions and calling a selection of parents with good news every Friday. There is additional advice in the resource 10 top tips for NQTs.

On a lighter note, Five Minutes to a Calmer Classroom provides tips on using meditation in the classroom. It includes details of a simple breathing exercise that can be used to tackle stress and improve concentration.

And for anyone starting the new school year as a supply teacher, there is a list of top tips from primary teacher Colin Cartmell-Browne. Advice includes arriving as early as possible, making a note of the school timetable and discussing with other members of staff whether there are any pupils who will need additional support.

Click on the link to read The Dog Eat Dog Style of Education

Click on the link to read Problem Kids, Suspensions and Revolving Doors

Click on the link to read The Solution to the Disruptive Student Has Arrived: Body Language Classes

Click on the link to read When Something Doesn’t Work – Try Again Until it Does



The Dog Eat Dog Style of Education

August 23, 2012

Classrooms are increasingly becoming a case of a battle of the fittest. The pressure to deliver individual achievement on curriculum benchmarks and standardized testing have not helped. More and more we are seeing classroom relationships fracture and a strong preference for achievement over effort.

A friend of mine discussed an issue he was having with his son’s school. He told me that his son’s teacher is rewarding some of his students for reaching a certain goal. His son, among others, are excluded from a field trip because they didn’t fully rote learn the expected material. He tried his best, but didn’t get there by the deadline. He is in Grade 4 and is already being excluded for not meeting benchmarks.

When I was doing my teaching rounds I encountered a scenario in the music room where a child had disturbed the class. The teacher was considering punishing the child by excluding him from the next activity. The teacher decided to ask the class to determine this child’s fate. The teacher gave them two options. The first was to give the boy one more chance, the second was to exclude him. I watched in amazement as the entire class voted to prevent him from taking part in the activity. The class were taught to be ruthless towards each other so that’s what they did.

When will our educators realise that a child cannot achieve their potential when they are not valued for their efforts or respected by their peers? All this talk of ‘child centered teaching’ and ‘teacher centered teaching’ is off the mark. I prefer, what I call, ‘classroom centered teaching‘ – where the needs of the group necessitate the style in which I teach. According to this method, it is my job as my first priority to ensure that each child feels valued for who they are, what skills they have and how they are treated by their peers.

This means that when there is a disagreement among students, I do not hesitate to use teaching time to work things out. The time I invest into the social environment in my class has a strong impact on academic progress. Those of you that have witnessed a rift between students or groups of students in the classroom may have noticed how hard it is to get the class to focus on classwork when the  playground politics is unresolved.

Whilst standardised testing doesn’t consider a child’s effort or the qualities and interests of a child, I can think of nothing more important. When a teacher decides to treat half the class at the expense of the other half, they are anointing winners and losers.

My students are all winners.

Click on the link to read Problem Kids, Suspensions and Revolving Doors

Click on the link to read The Solution to the Disruptive Student Has Arrived: Body Language Classes
Click on the link to read When Something Doesn’t Work – Try Again Until it Does
Click on the link to read Teachers Should Stop Blaming Parents and Start Acting

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