Guidelines for Success
How do the most effective teachers…
• manage behavior in their multi-ethnic, multi-cultural classrooms? • develop and use classroom rules and routines?
• use classroom consequences that work?
• design positive behavioral supports for challenging behaviors? • avoid career- and health-threatening frustration and burnout?
The establishment and maintenance of safe and supportive classrooms that contribute to high quality student achievement are critical skills that are rarely taught at the university. Consequently, those skills must be crafted and honed “on the job.” Each school and each classroom presents its own unique challenges, and because every year brings a new group of students, teachers must become lifelong learners.
The foundation of this learning lies in just a few research-supported principles and actions, TeachSafeSchools.com and the Melissa Institute for Violence Prevention and Treatment have condensed the information for ready consumption.
Everything starts with TEACH:
T – Tailor for diversity. Make it a point to know as much as possible about your students, including their diverse cultural, ethnic, behavioral, and learning characteristics, along with stressors they may experience outside of school.
E – Encourage positive behavior. Aim for a 4:1 ratio of positive comments to negative corrections for all the students.
A – Arrange the environment for success. Teach your behavioral expectations directly and immediately through collaboratively-established classroom rules and well designed classroom routines.
C – Consult your peers. Seek collaboration with experienced teachers and specialists before difficult problems start to become entrenched.
H – Hug yourself. Prevent stress and burnout by focusing each day on what you are accomplishing and not just on what is frustrating.
To help you implement the TEACH guideline, we have put together the next section that elaborates, clarifies, and expands on these five essential principles. We have divided them into three segments:
• The Needs of All the Students – The essentials for every student in every classroom Link to this section • The Needs of More Challenging Students – Managing challenging behavior effectively Link to this section
• The Needs of the Teacher – Securing professional support and managing stress Link to this section
Classroom Behavior Management
Guidelines for Success
The Needs of All the Students
Culture Counts! The effective management of any classroom starts with a solid understanding of who the students are. Schools today are diverse groupings of children, youth, and adults who see the world through their own lenses of experience, culture, and ethnicity. The teacher who fails to take into account the profound influence of these human differences can never expect to truly reach his or her students in a meaningful way. Effective teaching and effective classroom management means recognizing that the classroom is full of “other people’s children,” and the teacher’s first task is to learn who they are.
The many suggestions in these guidelines must be taken in the context of cultural competence. What may be an effective behavior management procedure for a classroom of middle class, European-American students may be wholly inappropriate for students of Haitian descent. Similarly, second or third generation Hispanic American students bring a different set of experiences than do more recent immigrants, and middle class African-American students see the world differently than do students who live in pervasive poverty.
An outstanding discussion of these issues can be found in Carol S. Weinstein’s et al article, Toward a Conception of Culturally Responsive Classroom Management available online at: http://jte.sagepub.com/cgi/content/abstract/55/1/25 (click Full Text)...