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Chapter 5: Effective Technical Management: Promoting a Culture of Listening, Respect, and Efficiency in the Classroom

From Transformative Classroom Management. By John Shindler. ©2008

Reproduction is unlawful without permission

 

In this Chapter:

  • Creating a Culture of Listening and Respect
  • Promoting 100% Attention
  • Effectively Giving Directions
  • How to Foster Efficient Classroom Procedures
  • Beginning and Ending the Day (or Period) Effectively

 

 

Chapter Reflection 5-a: A parent, colleague or administrator at your school peeks in the window of your classroom and watches what is going on for 30 seconds or so. If they had yet to see you teach, have they now made a determination as to how good a teacher you are? What information did they use?

 

 

Consider how others form their initial impressions of you as a teacher. What evidence do they use? It is likely not how knowledgeable you are, or the quality of the relationships that you have formed with your students, or even your students’ academic performance. Their impression is probably going to be formed as a result of their perception of the levels of control and attention that they observe existing, or the “technical management” of the class. So valid or not, our technical management--that is the efficiency and practical organization of the class--is going to determine, to a great extent, how we are judged as a teacher by others as well as by our students (Doyle, 2003). However, in addition to succeeding at making a good impression, research has demonstrated a great number of compelling reasons to become an expert at the “technical” strategies of managing a classroom. These reasons include:

 

a)    Your stress level -- when you struggle with students less, you have more energy to put into other more creative matters (Friedman & Farber, 1992).

b)    The students’ stress level -- when the students feel that there is a smoothness and momentum to the class they tend to relax more (Friedman, 2006).

c)    Much more gets done in a day -- when time is not wasted dealing with inattention, following up on directions, and corralling students during transitions, there is more time for learning and whatever else you want to accomplish (Doyle, 2003; Emmer, Evertson & Anderson, 1980).

d)    You begin to develop a “culture of listening” -- over time students become more comfortable with a climate of respect for others’ ideas and appreciate the value of being attentive (Elias & Schwab, 2006).

e)    You have a starting point to master a 2-Style management orientation, and/or transition to a 1-Style set of practices -- without a fundamental structure to the technical aspects of management, efforts to incorporate a more student-centered approach most often take on more of a dysfunctional 3-Style appearance rather than a well-functioning facilitative 1-Style (Cartledge & Milburn, 1995).


EXAMINING THE PRINCIPLES OF TECHNICAL MANAGEMENT

As we begin to examine this area of classroom management, it is useful to keep in mind that the most effective strategies for technical management can be some of the most unnatural and counter-intuitive practices one comes across. Principles such as 100% attention, being absolute, resisting the temptation to use negative recognitions, and taking action rather than offering explanations for what “should be better” are not what we do naturally in the world outside of school. They are probably not what our common sense tells us to do. However, following our natural inclinations in the area of technical management typically leads to a perpetual wrestling match with students when it comes to attention, following directions, and carrying out procedures. This wrestling match is at best an added stressful element to the job, and at worst a source of great pain and suffering and even the reason that many leave the profession. “Why am I wasting my breath and making all this effort, if they never listen to me? Is it supposed to be this hard?” The answer is that it isn’t--if we accept that some practices are simply more effective than others in this area. Transformative technical management practices may not feel instinctive initially, but they will become natural over time, and more importantly they will help us bring about the outcomes that we desire.

 

 

Chapter Reflection 5-b: We might think of technical management as similar to housekeeping. We do not all have the same need for a house that is clean and straightened up. Some people feel stressed with an expectation that everything needs to be neat and sanitized. Others feel stressed when there is more than a little mess. So just as with keeping up a home environment, when it comes to the level of attention, the efficiency of the transitions, and the orderliness of routine procedures we all have a different ideal. What is your expectation in this area? What kinds of issues would give you stress?

 

 

Whatever our ideal vision in the area of technical management, with enough time and technique, we can achieve it. Whether it is a class that moves with precision and order, a relaxed class, or a class that runs itself, what we want is possible. But we do need to have a vision to work toward. Therefore, the first step in our process of achieving effective technical management is to create a picture in our minds related to what we can live with -- and then accept nothing less. Over time, regardless of grade level, students will adjust to our expectations, whatever they are.

 

If the idea of being very intentional and determined about what you expect is a new one, you may need to better reflect on the importance of your role as the leader in the class. If this does not come easily, an encouraging realization may be that your ability to project leadership qualities will make a significant difference in how much your students learn. Self-doubt, fear, a dismissive attitude toward the need to be intentional in this area, or the thought that you do not want to be seen as being on a power trip will all lead to a lose-lose situation in your classes. There is only one person who can be the leader in the class -- you. Each class will present you with different needs and degrees to which they need to be supported in their efforts to be a functional and considerate collective (Emmer & Gerwels, 2006). Without effective technical management, you will get little else done. Your students will be the losers, and you will perpetually feel as though you are unsuccessful, no matter how well you are doing in the other aspects of your teaching.

 

 

 

4,2,1,3
 

 

 

 

 


Whether our goal is to be effective with a 1- or 2-Style approach, we will need a solid foundation of technical management. There will be significant differences in what effectiveness will look like in each case. But without sound technical management in place early, no matter how noble our intentions our classrooms will take on the look and feel of either a 3-Style or 4-Style environment.

 

At the heart of effective technical management is a “culture of listening.” It may not appear to be critical on the surface. However, a culture of listening will lead to other essential qualities such as respect, self-control, awareness, valuing one another’s ideas, and building bonds within the group.

 

The 100% or 50% Principle

Most of us come into teaching not having expected 100% attention in our interactions with friends and family. It is probably not a familiar interaction pattern. But keep in mind, this situation is different. We have not been hired to professionally help our family members grow into successful learners. Also, our students are most often not fully mature in their social behavior. Many teachers do not believe that expecting 100% attention will have a very significant effect on their classes. They see too many other more substantial problems and outcomes to worry about expecting everyone to listen. But what they find when they do commit to expecting 100% attention is first, that it is indeed possible, and second, a good proportion of their other problems disappear when the student begin to be attentive to one another.

 

It may not at first seem obvious, but there are very few classes in which there is a moderate level (i.e., 80-90%) of attention. Examine a number of classes for yourself. Either what we observe is nearly all the students listening in all the situations they should be, or we find there are lots of students who are not paying attention and the collective level of attention in the class varies greatly from activity to activity. The reason that we observe this is that attention tends to be a 100% or somewhere around 50% mechanism. It makes sense when we recall the social learning diagram.

 

Social/Indirect Learning Dynamic (Revisited)

T,S,O,a,b,c
 

 

 

 

 

 


If we apply listening as the behavior in this social/indirect learning dynamic, the other students (O) will learn the expectations and consequences for listening from watching what happens when another student (S) is not listening. Observe the interaction (shown by line “a”). The other students (O) draw conclusions related to what happened to the student (S) (line “b”), and then make assumptions about what the teacher’s (T) expectations are (line “c”) for other members of the class as well.

 

Recall our examination related to how students develop their expectations in the previous chapter. Words in these situations will have a much less significant impact when compared to what students learn from observing our actions. We can test this principle, by observing the effectiveness of asking students to be quiet. If we do nothing except ask--while taking no action—what we find is that invariably students will learn that our words are not meaningful. Those who use continual requests for attention rarely achieve high levels of attention. By using very few words, students can learn from our actions that we need their attention. For example, consider a case in which the teacher (T) asks for 100% attention, and the student (S) chooses instead to talk to another student. If the teacher takes action (delivers a consequence), the other students (O) learn that the expectation is real. However, if the teacher keeps talking or engages in an ineffectual act (e.g., negative recognition, saying shh-shh, asking for attention, etc.) it sends the public message to the members of the class (O) that in essence “it is okay to talk when the teacher is talking,” or at least it is possible. As a result the other members of the class (O) become much more likely to engage in the same type of inattentive behavior. As this cycle repeats itself, the expectation in the class is quickly reduced from 100% attention to just anyone who feels like it. This number varies from class to class, but it will include those students who attend out of a sense of personal obligation or previous training. As we examine the mechanics of this situation, it becomes evident that we will have 100% attention as long as we are absolute about the expectation and follow through with consequences for lack of attention; or we will experience less, and over time significantly less, if we are less than absolute.

 

 

Chapter Reflection 5-c: Have you seen the 100% or 50% principle displayed in a classroom that you have observed?

 

 

Another important and often overlooked aspect to the 100% attention expectation is that hands should be free as well. In some cases, with certain groups of older or more mature students, this is less significant. But for most students, most of the time, equipment, supplies, balls, and anything that is going to be a distraction should be left on the desk or the floor for the duration of the directions or explanation. This can be a simple intervention for such problems as pencil tapping, bouncing balls, or playing with the learning manipulatives while attention is required.

 

Culture of Listening

A culture of listening begins with the perception by the students that the teacher is absolute about attention. This perception can only be supported by the reality that the teacher is absolute. That means the teacher always expects 100% attention; when someone is talking and there is anything but 100% attention, the teacher must stop and take action. The action itself does not have to be dramatic or severe (more on this later) but it does need to be automatic and consistent. The same principle must apply to any member of the classroom community that is authorized to speak. A culture of listening goes far beyond telling students to listen to the teacher. It means showing respect to anyone who is sharing and expecting 100% attention and respect when you are speaking. It will take a while for students to adjust to this climate if they have been used to environments where there was little attention to or accountability for listening, but they will come to appreciate it increasingly over time. As the teacher, you will notice that it is catching hold when you observe students waiting for others to stop and listen before speaking, and when you notice that students speak more purposefully and confidently since others are actually attentive to what they have to say.

 

A simple yet effective way to send the message that you require 100% attention is to always wait for all students to be attentive. And if a student or two is not listening fully, you might take a simple but active step and stop your directions and wait for the student. It can be even more powerful to start your directions from the beginning (e.g., “I notice we are not all listening, I will start again.”). The use of shame and embarrassment is tempting, but avoid this. It is counterproductive. Likewise, do not refer to students who are not listening (i.e., negative recognitions); instead, restate the expectation (i.e., clarifying statement). If one student is demonstrating a habit of poor attention, that student should privately be given a logical consequence. The message to the whole class is: “There will never be a time when anyone is talking and it will be okay not to be listening.” The message to a student with a habit of poor listening needs to be: “Very soon, you will find a way to be an excellent listener, let’s start now. Tell me what you are going to do to make sure that you will always be listening and getting the most from your learning?”

 

On a technical level, promoting a high level of attention is critical to our ability to meet our student learning outcomes. While this is of great value in and of itself, promoting a culture of listening has a deeper value. It fosters in each student increased levels of respect for the ideas of others. As the student grows in the ability to attend and come out of their own ego-centered thought processes, they increasingly awaken to the world around them and are present to the moment. Research supports what many teachers report anecdotally -- that is that students today are increasingly bored, apathetic and self-centered (Twenge, 2006; Yazzie-Mintz, 2007). The starting point for bringing about positive change is helping them learn the value of learning to be attentive to the world around them, and creating a culture of listening and respect in the classroom is a vital tool for doing so. The skill of attentiveness is one of the greatest gifts that we can give them.

 

The Use of Attention Cues

To initiate directions or signal the need for students to shift their focus from some other state to 100% attention it is necessary to use some type of attention cue. The most effective cues are those that are symbolic rather than literal. For example, if we wanted to gain the attention of the class we could say, “Okay class, it is time for you to stop what you are doing and give me your attention.” This would work but it is problematic for a couple of reasons: 1) it takes a lot of time to say all those words; and 2) the more words used, the less likely it will be that the message has an impact. So instead we can accomplish the same goal more effectively, with less time, by using a cue. For instance, we might simply say “eyes and ears.” We can use any word, signal or sound that we prefer to signify the rather involved message that we need our students to be100% attentive. However, over time the cue comes to represent all that is involved within the expectation related to what it means to demonstrate quality attention and to take on the demeanor of a participant within a culture of listening. For younger students, clapping a rhythm and having the students respond with the same rhythm can be very effective. In a physical education setting a whistle can be a good choice. Some teachers find that silently raising their hand can act as an effective cue. At the secondary level, a simple cue word is typically effective. There are many types of cues that are used to good effect. Find one that works for the needs of you and your students. Figure 5.1 below outlines some of the common cues in use today and their pros and cons.

 

 

Chapter Reflection 5-d: The effect of a good attention cue is a lot like the effect of your cell phone ring. Reflect on what happens to you physiologically when your phone rings. How does it affect your state of mind? Compare that state of mind to when you hear someone else’s phone ring. What is the difference? Have you ever heard a ring that is the same as yours from another phone? How did your response vary, as compared to if that phone had had a different ring?

 

 

An effective attention cue elicits a response that is as much on the level of the unconscious as it is on the conscious mind. Therefore it should possess both autonomic as well as behavioral qualities.

 

Autonomic response: There should be a behaviorally-conditioned response to your cue. The student should respond, in large part, because it is automatic and unconscious, and less because they are making a situational choice. The power of the conditioning will come from:

a)    the value associated with what comes after the cue

b)    the consistency of the expectation to listen

c)    the consistency of the consequences for failure to listen

d)    a positive association with performing the behavior

 

If the teacher expects 100% attention at all times, gives valuable and brief comments after each cue, has effective consequences when there is not 100% attention, and does not abuse the use of interrupting students by repeatedly stopping and starting them and/or asking for attention for long or unnecessary explanations, the cue will have power. However, if the teacher is inconsistent in the expectation of attention--e.g., they talk when other students are talking, they have few consequences or resort to negativity when all the students are not listening, or abuse their power to require attention--the cue will have little power. To test these principles in action you might compare two classes in which there is a cue used, one in which 100% attention is obtained and one where it is not. What is the difference?

 

Behavioral not linguistic: The most effective cues will be those that exist symbolically (a word, a sound, or a signal), or behaviorally (an automatic response such as clapping a response or a chanting a refrain), and not as verbal information (Elias & Schwab, 2006). They should not occupy conscious energy in the students’ minds. They trigger within the students an internal mechanism in which they raise their levels of attention, focus and awareness. And they should become antecedents to a shift in mental state (see Five States below).

 

 

Chapter Reflection 5-e: What attention cues have you observed teachers using? Were they effective?

 

 


 

Figure 5.1. Some Common Attention Cues and Pros and Cons

Type of Cue

Grade Level

Pros and Cons

Bell or Sound

Any

+ works well to develop an autonomic response. – need to carry it with you, or move to where it is. – relatively artificial.

 

Whistle

Any (great for PE and other activity- based situations)

+ works well to develop an autonomic response. – need to carry it with you, or move to where it is. – relatively artificial.

 

Hand Clapping

(e.g., teacher claps a rhythm whereby students respond in kind)

P-4

+ works well to develop an autonomic response. + the student response adds the dimension of recognition and being “tuned in.” + easy to do. – less appropriate for older students.

 

Chanting

(e.g., teacher chants a phrase, such as “1, 2, 3 eyes on me.” whereby students respond with a response, such as “1, 2, eyes on you.”)

 

P-4

+ works well to develop an autonomic response. + active on the part of the student. + easy to do. – less appropriate for older students.

Turning off and on the lights

P-6

+ works well to develop an autonomic response. – lights are not always readily available. – relatively artificial.

 

Counting Down

(e.g., teacher needs students to attend, so begins to count down from five to one)

P-8

+ clear signal. + can be good for transitional changes. – why give students five seconds to do something they could do immediately if they wanted to, such as stop and listen?
 – promotes the use of all the time given to get attentive.

 

Hand Raised

(e.g., teacher raises their hand and waits and/or students also raise their hands to show they are ready)

 

Any

+ clear signal to anyone who can see you. + symbolic. + active. + relatively natural interaction. – may not be visible to all students.

Cue Word

(e.g., eyes, eyes and ears, listen up)

Any

+ works well to develop an autonomic response. + easy to use. – not as interactive as clapping or chanting for younger students.

 

Use time warnings to help students shift their mental energy from one state to another (e.g., “In two minutes, we will share what our groups came up with.”)


 

Five States of Student Attention:

There are at least five states of attention that we ask our students to exhibit. Students can only be in one of them at any particular time. Each has its own mental state requirements. The use of a cue helps us shift from one state to another.

 

1.    100% attention. In a fully functional culture of listening, whenever the teacher is giving explicit directions or another student is volunteering ideas, all members of the class should be listening attentively (i.e., “We have all got our eyes and ears up here and our hands free,” or “We are all giving Esther our undivided attention.”)

2.    Casual (optional) attention. Often the teacher or a student spontaneously makes a comment while the class is engaged in a task, the comment has value to the whole, but it was not seen by the teacher as worthy of stopping the class formally (e.g., “I see some really good examples of categories that groups are using to classify their items.” Or “Are we all making sure that we are doing a good job of executing the role that we have been assigned?”)

3.    Students are free to talk at a reasonable level about the learning task. (e.g., “I should be hearing groups brainstorming ideas for their poster at a conversational level so that we can all hear ourselves think.” Or “It is great to be talking as long as it is about the assignment.”)

4.    Students are free to talk about anything that is considered appropriate for a classroom. (e.g., “I need you guys to hold tight for a couple more minutes, so it is OK to talk, but we need to stay in our seats until the bell rings.”)

5.    Students are required to be quiet so that others are able to work in peace, but are not necessarily required to be attentive. (e.g., “We all need to be completely quiet until everyone in done with the test. You are free to read or work on the homework, but we have to wait on any conversation until everyone is done.”)

 

It is essential that students know exactly what the expectation is for the current state of attention and what appropriate behavior is for that state. It may be assumed but you might be surprised how many students are not sure what level of attention or amount interaction is appropriate at any given time. Early in the year, it may be useful to be very explicit when you change state, and add expectation language to any set of directions. For example, “[Give directions], and since we are working independently, I should hear only occasional quiet voices when you are asking each other questions; other than that it should be pretty quiet.”

 

 

Chapter Reflection 5-f: Observe a class where there is a great deal of anxiety and confusion when students are working independently or the teacher is making casual comments. Would you say that the students are clear as to what the expectation is for the required state of attention? Observe a class where there is a great deal of ease and focus. Do these students have a clear sense of the expectation for their state of attention?

 

 

Use of cues:

Attention cues only work if they are used purposefully. Here are some recommendations for employing them effectively:

·         Use cues to move from # 2, 3, 4 or 5 to #1 only.

·         Never use a cue to gain attention during state #1. The expectation is that there is 100% attention already. The use of a cue indicates the change of a state of attention, so when there is no change in state, the use of a cue is not only redundant, but weakens the power of the cue and the person facilitating the action. If there is an expectation for 100% attention and one or more students are talking what is called for is a consequence, not another cue. We will discuss effectively redirecting attention in the next section.

·         Use consequences to help reinforce cues, such as stopping and waiting, proximity, and personal consequence implementation for those who demonstrate a habitual problem with attention. Remember, stopping and waiting or starting over is a consequence if done calmly, but if you add disappointment, a lecture or any other forms of negativity, they become punishments. Adding punishment elements shifts the locus of control away from the students, and creates a negative association with the act of listening -- neither of which we want.

·         The cue will work to the degree that the teacher projects absoluteness. Assume that it will take time for the cue to become part of the conditioning of the class. It may require practice, deliberateness and the repeated use of consequences, but eventually the cue will be a natural part of the class procedure.

 

Redirecting Attention in State #1

The average teacher spends a great deal of time addressing students who are not listening when the expectation is 100% attention. Common sense tells us that when a student is not listening or is talking to another student, we need to point them out and tell them to stop and listen. This natural inclination is understandable, but will most likely perpetuate the problem (Sanford & Evertson, 1981). Likewise, interventions such as saying “shh-shh” or “asking” for attention will prove ineffective. Doyle (2006) found that the result is usually an increase in the assumed need, and subsequent increased use of these types of responses by the teacher to the point that they become unconscious reactions. We keep asking, but they keep talking.

T,S,O
 

 

 

 

 

 


If we examine the dynamics of the situation, the ineffectiveness of these types of efforts to redirect attention becomes apparent. Recall our previous discussion of how expectations are intentionally. They develop as a result of clarity and a positive association. What we are doing when we redirect students who are supposed to be attentive is essentially reinforcing the expectation. When we use a negative recognition such as “Lara, stop talking and listen,” it has a number of negative effects: it sends out negative and weak energy to the group (we did not take any action, we essentially just complained about Lara publicly); it is distracting and wearing to the others; and it does not change behavior. In fact, it trains students to become dependent on reminders from the teacher to stop side-talk. Likewise, when we say “shh-shh” we are in essence saying “Shut up, I am out of ideas and am not going to take action, but please listen anyway.” When we use these types of negative recognitions to “put out fires” we feel that we are doing something but the evidence in front of us is plain: the fires keep popping up. Exploring our efforts within the social/indirect learning dynamic, it is clear why. We are not taking positive action or promoting the quality of the expectations.

 

 

 

Case Example 5.1: Shar and his Unconscious Habit of Saying “Shh-shh”

Shar was a talented first year HS teacher who cared deeply about his students. He had a good rapport and consistently designed engaging lessons for them. He was optimistic about every phase of his teaching except the idea of gaining attention; he had accepted that it was impossible. When I observed him, I quickly noticed that when he began to give instructions or lectures, his students would engage in side conversations. As a result Shar would say “shh-shh” to get their attention. On our first meeting, I counted over 50 times that he said “shh-shh” in one class period. When I pointed this out to him he was surprised. He was unaware that he was saying it. It had become an unconscious habit, and in both of our estimations an ineffective strategy. I asked him to consider the use of other more effective techniques such as the use a cue, wait for attention, and when necessary clarifying statements, such as “I need all eyes up here right now.” A week later, I observed Shar again. He was down to 10 shh-shh’s per period, and things were looking better. After a couple more weeks, he kicked his habit completely and what he found was a class that was actually listening to one another and him. Once he changed his expectation of what was possible, and made some adjustments in how he gained attention, he achieved dramatic improvement in his management. He commented that he did not recognize how much stress that he felt as a result of wrestling with his class for attention until he did not have to and noticed how much easier it made everything else.

 

 

So how do we effectively deal with cases in which we need to redirect attention? It may be helpful to begin by taking on the internal mindset and projecting the external expectation that soon the need for redirecting attention will become increasingly less necessary: “In this class we are all respectful listeners.” Next, we need to make an assessment of the level of legitimate power that we are projecting. Is there a feeling of inadequacy holding us back from being able to lead? Do we fear the discomfort of confrontation with some of our students? Finally, we need to take effective action:

  1. Use simple active consequences. Stop and wait for 100% attention. This is especially important when one student is talking and the others are expected to be attentive. To support this expectation, ask the student to wait for the others to be attentive (or start again, if they were interrupted) and comment to the class, “Hold on Janus, let’s wait until everyone is listening attentively to your answer. Thank you. Try again.”
  2. Use clarifying statements. Instead of negative recognitions (“____ is not listening,” clarify the expectation with statements such as, “We are all listening attentively right now.” It is also effective to use positive recognitions such as “We are all (or almost all) doing a great job of tuning in right now.” But avoid personal praise for students who are on task. Comments such as “I like the way Tagrina is listening,” sound like positive recognitions, but they are not. When we use the words “I like the way,” we shift the locus of control (externally) to us, and what we like or do not like. The result is a weakening of the expectation.
  3. Use proximity. Move around the room. Proximity is not a consequence and should not be used to intimidate students. However, it will help. It is a reminder and shows that you are “with it.”
  4. Use substantive logical consequences. Students who do not get the hint from clarifying statements, proximity, and actions such as your stopping need to be held accountable for their choice to violate the expectation/social contract. Items one through three are all essentially hints and favors to students to do better. They project positive action and absoluteness, but they are limited. Students who violate the expectation/social contract by showing a lack of respect for others by their inattention need to accept responsibility for that choice.

 

 

Case Example 5.2: Karina and Her Tendency to “Put Out Fires”

Karina was a student teacher in a second grade classroom. She was a well-organized and no-nonsense type. She was a bright student and expected to do well in student teaching. When I observed Karina for the first time, she was well-prepared and looked confident. She was a success on nearly all levels. Yet she struggled with holding the students’ attention and keeping them from getting off track, especially when they were reading on the rug. On our first meeting, I counted and found that she was making about four negative recognitions to every positive recognition. I could see her trying to “put out fires” when a student would stray off task. She used phrases such as “We are waiting for Jessy,” and “Paolo stop talking and pay attention.” In addition, she used the cue that she had established for gaining attention (“One, two, three, eyes on me”) whenever the students began to lose attention. The more she recognized the negative behavior and used her cue (inappropriately) the more she encouraged the unwanted behavior and created both a negative as well as desperate atmosphere. After the lesson (that was very successful apart from the level of attention), she was distraught and felt like a failure. I helped her focus on the positive in what she did and encouraged her to: 1) change the ratio of positive and negative recognitions; 2) only use her cue to gain attention and use a redirecting clarifying statement when she did not have 100% attention; and 3) deal with her two chronic problem students one-on-one. In the next visit, Karina was successful at creating a better ratio, and used her cue appropriately. By the end of the quarter, she had eliminated the negative recognitions, and found that they were entirely unnecessary. She began the quarter doing what her instincts told her to do, that is to let the students know when they were doing something they were not supposed to be doing. She finished the quarter recognizing that she simply needed to create clarity, expect 100% attention, and follow through with consequences when she did not get it. In addition, she found that she was much happier promoting positive energy in the class than feeling like the “listening police.”

 

 

 

Chapter Reflection 5-g: In your estimation, what percentage of students in the typical classroom (or gym or art room), listen to, understand, and then carry out the teacher’s directions effectively?

 

 

EFFECTIVELY GIVING DIRECTIONS

Having an effective process for giving directions is critical. Most teachers hold the belief that there is no way to expect all students to hear and then follow directions, so they settle for a relatively ineffective process in which they give directions, repeat them to those who were not listening, and then go around and discover that several students did not understand the task correctly. As the starting point for achieving 100% attention is believing that it is possible to achieve and maintaining an absolute commitment to it, the same is true for expectation that directions can be followed correctly by all students all of the time (with the exception of students who have substantial processing disabilities). We need to approach giving directions with the expectation that they happen once, all students make the effort to understand them, and there is an expectation that they are followed.

 

Here is a systematic procedure for giving directions that will lead to more students on task more of the time, and support our culture of listening:

 

 

 

Part 1: Always begin with a cue to gain 100% attention.

 

Part 2: Use a finish word (e.g., Go! Now! Start!, etc.). After gaining 100% attention, explain that the students should listen and be still until they hear the finish word (e.g., “Eyes! When I say ‘Go,’ I need to have ___.”). The finish word allows the students to relax and listen and to know that they do not have to move until they understand fully, and it provides the teacher the assurance that they will listen and not start moving before you have completed the directions. Until the finish word, they need to be in processing mode, in the moment, not too far off in the future just yet.

 

Part 3: Give the directions. Be clear. Give both the purpose and the specifics necessary to execute the task. (i.e., keep both the abstract (what is the point?) and concrete (what do we do?) students’ needs in mind). Your directions and your cue will be strengthened by your ability to make your directions concise and imbued with a sense of urgency and positive expectancy.

 

Part 4: Call for any questions. This seems like a formality, but it is a critical step in this process, and it is paramount in your effort to develop a culture of listening. Students typically do not ask questions when they have them. You need to send a consistent message beginning on the first day of class that when you ask for questions, you really expect them to ask until each and every student understands. This will likely take time and an adjustment in their thinking. Most students have learned that it is better to ask later than to look stupid in front of the whole class. You must remove the threat from asking questions and send the message that all members of the class community need to be patient and respectful of those who are asking questions. An effective message to send is, “I must not have explained the directions perfectly, help me know what I did not explain very well.” A clear expectation should develop that everyone wins when the group as a whole comprehends. It will help to send the message that “It is likely that if you have a question, others will have that same question, or will at least benefit from your having asked it.” One of the many practical strategies to support the process of confirming what we understand and what we still need to understand is to have students explain the directions to a neighboring student. As they attempt to explain them, they will better recognize what is clear and what is still fuzzy.

T,O S
 

 

 

 

 

 


Part 5: Use random checks to enhance accountability. For example, after giving the directions and then asking for and responding to all questions, we might randomly select one student to check understanding by asking a question such as “Okay, Jorge, what are the groups supposed to do first?” In this example, let us assume that Jorge’s response reflected good understanding. At that point we have a reasonable assurance that Jorge’s level of understanding reflects the whole group’s, so we can move on to the finish word (e.g., “Good! OK, Go!”). If Jorge does not know or struggles to explain the piece of the direction, we simply assume that the process of explaining the directions is not yet complete. Jorge’s lack of understanding gives us the information needed for us to be effective as we try to explain the confusing parts again, and it sends the class (O in the social learning model) that they may be the student who is asked in the future (S) and they need to be ready.

 

These checks should be shame-free and truly random. If the student (S) whom we ask for an accountability check does not have the information, we need to avoid the temptation to add negativity (external) to their sense of irresponsibility (internal). So we can say something to the effect, “Not exactly Jorge, hmmmm, I must not have done a very good job of explaining that part, I will try again.” The power will come from the effect this strategy will have on each student’s sense of accountability--adding shame will only create needless fear. A student who cannot answer correctly indicates that they did not understand the directions fully, yet more importantly it indicates that they did not ask about the part that they did not understand. A failure of understanding is not the student’s fault, but the failure to ask is. In a culture of listening, students learn that it is not about trying to avoid looking dumb (e.g., a failure orientation), it is about making the effort to get what is needed to learn (e.g., mastery-orientation).

 

Part 5: When all questions have been asked, and the accountability checks have produced evidence that they really do understand, it is time for the finish word (e.g., Ok, Go!).

 

The overall direction giving sequence should progress something like the following:

  1. “Eyes” (wait for 100% attention)
  2. “When I say Go!”
  3. “I need you . . . “(give complete directions)
  4. “Are there any questions?” (answer all questions)
  5. “So, Jorge, what is the second thing we need to do?” If given the correct answer, move to #6. Incorrect answer: restate the directions, and repeat random accountability check.
  6. “OK, Go!”

 

So what about the times when after doing all of that, as we are circulating, a student says, “I don’t get it” or “What are we doing again?” In these cases, we need to use our response to teach a lesson to this student and all the others observing with our eye on the future. Therefore, our message should not be about our anger, disappointment or shame that the student was not listening, it should be about accountability. So while it will be counterproductive to project disappointment, it is damaging to our long-term efforts of supporting self-responsible students and a culture of listening if we enable the problematic behavior. Therefore, we should not simply repeat the directions to this student who was not listening. They had a chance to ask questions about what they did not understand earlier, and they did not take it. To give them the directions (that is unless they do have a special difficulty with auditory information) is to send them and the whole class the message that if you do not listen the first time, the teacher will bail you out. So instead we might suggest gently that they ask another student (i.e., a student who was listening).

 

Expect this process to be effective rather quickly, but it will take time to change old habits. So it may be a few weeks before you sense that they trust that you are not going to go back to what they may have been used to and/or that they have to be truly accountable and attentive. As the expectation for accountability and quality membership in a listening culture grow, you will notice that students will begin to increasingly support one another to be attentive and respectful. They will increasingly take on the role of stewards of the culture of listening.

 

Because not all students process directions verbally, the degree of on-task behavior and the quality of learning will be better if you have directions and procedures in writing before you begin any activity. Clarity and accountability will be greatly improved if you post directions outlining the task of your regular class procedures as well as for learning centers, computers, group projects, lab stations, and anything else that would be may be misunderstood. Written words are not a substitute for the process of creating shared expectations, but they will certainly be an asset to that effort.

 

Figure 5.2 – Roots of Negativity: Sequence of Events Related to Why We Feel Either Negativity or a Sense of Resolution

 

Sequence A.

Problem – inaction – problem remains - distress – negativity

Sequence B.

Problem – action taken – change – ability to positively recognize behavior

 

In our efforts to promote more effective behavior in our students it is useful to examine our internal reactions for clues for what is working and what we need to change. As you examine the sequence of events in Sequence A (Figure 5.2), you will notice that it ends in some form of negativity. It could be disappointment, anger, frustration, or self-doubt, and it could remain internalized (e.g., feeling distressed and guilty), or might be externalized it to our students (e.g., shaming, lecturing, punishing, withdrawal of affection). In nearly all cases, when we find ourselves being negative, we will discover that we can trace it back to an earlier inaction on our part. As we examine how best to shape students’ more effective and functional behavior, it is useful to maintain a mentality of positive-active (e.g. Sequence B) rather than negative-inactive (Sequence A). We will explore the sources of negativity in more depth in Chapter 16.

 

 

Chapter Reflection 5-h: Recall a situation in which you or a teacher you observed felt disappointed or frustrated by the behavior of group of students. Was there a point in time in which you or they could have had the students practice, redo, or learn to do a better job of the skill that was lacking?

 

 

TRANSITIONS, ROUTINES AND PROCEDURES

Sanford & Evertson (1983) found that 15% of the time in an average class is spent in transitions between activities. Moreover, the quality of the transitions has been found to set the tone for the subsequent segment (Arlin, 1979). The keys to smooth stress-free day-to-day procedures and transitions from one activity to another are: 1) practice and shape the desired behavior; 2) rely primarily on positive feedback. The routines, procedures, and transitions in your class can be as efficient and effective as you wish, but it will depend on how intentional and dedicated you are. Following these guidelines will help you achieve your goals.

 

1.    Create a routine for each kind of transition. When it is time to go from one location in the room to another, or to change from one activity to another, the students assume that it is supposed to happen in a certain way, in a certain amount of time, with a certain outcome. Most of the stress for teacher or student comes from differing expectations. If a situation presents students with the need to interpret what is expected, they will. Don’t allow yourself to be disappointed by behavior resulting from their interpretation if the expectation was not clear. Instead, make it clear early. Create a familiar routine for each regular procedure in the class.

2.    Model any procedure or routine that is new to students. Often simply demonstrating what a procedure looks like in action can help some students execute it (Cartledge & Milburn, 1995). Using a student or group of students to model can be even more powerful than when we do it. Once modeled, we can use positive recognitions to help reinforce the concrete behavioral aspects of the task.

3.    Practice your procedures and transitions. The time that you spend practicing routines and transitions will pay for itself many times over the course of the year (Yinger, 1979). As much time as needed in the early part of the term should be spend practicing procedures.

4.    Use time to help structure the expectation of the transition. First, give students a time warning shortly before the end of the activity to help them mentally transition and better prepare for an efficient physical transition. Second, use a time limit to help clarify the expectation for how long things should take. For example, you might ask the students, “How long should it take for us to put what we have away and be ready for ________?” Here you might take suggestions from the class, but choose one that helps support a reasonable goal. In this example we may determine that one minute is plenty of time for all students to carefully but purposefully complete the task. So our direction may sound something like the following, “[Cue], we need to stop now and move on to doing ______. We should be able to do that in one minute. Any questions? [Process questions.] Go!”

5.    Implement consequences for when the procedure does not meet the expectation. The best consequence by far is having the students do the procedure again. When you redo, repeat, or practice what needs to improve, you are being active and just as importantly are in the position to be positive and recognize the achievement. Success will come from being active and positive. So that means there are some major mistakes to avoid:

·         Being disappointed if the students do not make the transition within the allotted time. This is passive and hostile.

·         Doing nothing and ignoring that the class did not meet the goal. It sends the message that you do not follow through.

·         Telling the class that they had better do it better next time. A lecture is not action and is not only empty, but is weak.

  1. Recognize the class’s accomplishments. Especially early in the year, it is critical that you demonstrate appreciation for taking care and making the effort when lining up, transitioning, cleaning-up, rearrange things, going from place to place, putting away equipment, or any of your routine tasks that need to be done on a regular basis. As time goes on you may want to shift your focus from how well they are meeting your expectations (2-Style approach) to how valuable it is for them (1-Style approach). For example, after the students have just transitioned from one activity to another quickly and efficiently, instead of saying something such as “Great job, that was our best transition yet,” which defines the 2-Style approach and would be an excellent phrase at the start of the year, a more 1-Style phrase might be, “Did you notice how effectively we just transitioned from A to B? That really shows that you are becoming a self-directed group of people and it really helps us get more done in a day.” Notice the difference in the messages? In the first message, it was focused on the teacher, in the second, it was focused on the students.

 

 

Chapter Reflection 5-i: Recall a situation where you or a teacher you observed asked students to transition from one activity to another without any guidelines or expectations. What happened? Did you see any evidence that the students took the opportunity to meet some of the basic needs that had gone unmet (e.g., power, love, fun, freedom, etc.)?

 

 

An effective technique for promoting urgency and positivity into one’s transitions is to make them into a game. This is especially effective with younger students. One of our graduate students described how she has her students move from place to place as “fast” animals, such as “fast turtles.” This infuses the activity with a sense of creativity, urgency and fun. Another student suggested the use of music in her transitions. To reinforce the time aspect, she found it to be useful to play a piece of music for a set amount of time. The expectation is that the transition needs to be completed before the music ends.

 

For more mature students we might challenge the group to take ownership of the efficiency of their transitions, procedures, and routines. We might ask them what they could do to make the time more effective. It is essential, especially early in the year, to let the students know what benefits their increased efficiency will have. This may start as a tangible incentive (e.g., something fun at the end of the period, with the time saved), but ideally move to more intrinsic values such as a show of respect for one another and their learning and the joy of solving a problem collaboratively.

 

Procedures

To achieve an effective system for our common procedures, it will be useful to use the same logic that we have discussed above: 1) teach the procedure, 2) practice it until it is sufficiently demonstrated, 3) use positive recognitions of any behavior that is close to the desired goal to shape and guide the effort toward achieving the “complete behavior,” 4) celebrate successes with genuine positive appreciation when done well, and provide more opportunities for practice if not done well (always followed by positive recognitions when they get there). Let’s examine two examples of procedures that we might commonly face in our classes -- at the elementary level the need for student to line up and travel in a line efficiently, and at the secondary level a preparation exercise for a lab activity.

 

Asking students to line up to go somewhere can be a continuous headache or an enjoyable experience. Figure 5.3 compares case examples of two common class profiles and how lining up is dealt with in each.

 

Figure 5.3 Contrasting Two Classes Where the Effectiveness of Lining Up Strategies Leads to Either A Positive or Negative Classroom Climate Condition

Negative Condition

Positive Condition

·         The class begins the year unable to line up effectively.

·         The teacher warns them that it “must get better.”

·         When students are out of line or pushing the teacher points them out (negative recognitions) “Kaida, you get back in line, or I am going to have you pull your card.”

·         When the students return from a trip to the library where they could not stay in line and were pushing and noisy, the teacher shames and lectures them when they return.

·         The teacher gets in the habit of standing behind the line and physically moving students into place and shifts students who cannot get along to the back of the line.

·         The teacher regularly gets angry and threatens the students that if their line does not get better they will have to stay in and miss the chance to go to their intended destination.

 

 

·         The class begins the year unable to line up effectively.

·         The teacher has the class practice lining up on the first day of class until they have produced a perfect line.

·         Each time the class lines up the teacher is encouraging and projects a positive expectation – “Let’s see if we can make an even more perfect line today.”

·         When the line breaks down on the way to the destination, the teacher calmly tells the class to turn around and head back to the class. The teacher then clarifies the expectation, offers an encouraging message and then asks the students to “try again.”

·         The teacher stands at the front of the line and uses humor and positivity to promote a perfect line. He/she may look down the line and make the comment that the line is “about 99% perfect and almost 100% perfect” (as the students try to get even straighter and quieter).

·         The teacher decreases positive recognitions over time and increases reflective questions to the students such as “How does it feel to have perfect lines and have all the other classes admire how disciplined you are?” (shifting the locus of motivation from external to internal).

 

For those at the secondary level, you may deem less need for students to act in a uniform manner. However, the principles for achieving efficient procedures are going to be essentially the same. If the class demonstrates that they do not have the skills to be responsible in a given situation, they do not need lecturing, they need to learn to be responsible. Our message to secondary students should be: when you show it (responsibility), you will get it (opportunity, freedom, choices). When you show you can take care of the new equipment, you will be able to use it. When you show that you can work collaboratively, you will get more opportunities to work with others. We need to eliminate disappointment and any other forms of negativity. Instead, use encouragement and positive recognitions of behaviors that are close to the desired goal along with meaningful consequences. In most cases, the best consequences in this area are lost opportunities for a set amount of time.

 

A good example of an effective intervention at the secondary level is a case in which the teacher asks his/her science class to complete a pre-lab before they are ready to move on to doing the formal lab activity. In this case, three or four periods successfully completed the pre-lab on Monday. The consequence is that they are able to move on to the lab on Tuesday. However, one class did not do an adequate job of the pre-lab.

 

 

Chapter Reflection 5-j: What would you do with this class at this point? The common response is to ask them to do better next time. Would this be effective?

 

 

The common reaction is for the teacher to be negative, lecture the students on how important it is to do a good job on the pre-lab, and threaten if they do not do a better job in the future, they will not be able to do the lab. This intervention will most likely lead to a perpetuation of the problem and the teacher’s disappointment level. In other words it is lose-lose. Instead, the teacher in this case used active-positive logic. The teacher simply told the class that they needed to spend another day on the pre-lab doing a better job with it. During this time the teacher was positive and encouraging and did not shame or exacerbate the students’ unhappiness by making them feel guilty. The students did complain and act mistreated, but as the locus of control was maintained with the students, this reaction dissipated rather quickly. At the end of the day, and in the weeks following, the teacher was able to positively recognize their accomplishments. The behavior was changed, and the teacher was able to remain supportive and positive. In other words it was a win-win outcome.

 

Beginning the Period

One of the biggest time wasters can be the need to take roll. Use the rule never to take instructional time away from class to take roll. You might want to use a seating chart, or a student role monitor, or have the students in a regular activity that allows you two minutes to take roll. But find a system for identifying missing students that is stealthy and effective. There should never be a need to call roll after the first couple of days of school.

 

Dismissals

As with any procedure, we need to develop a user-friendly simple system for dismissing students. For most grades (especially through middle school), it is effective to use the concept, “ready group,” or “ready student.” The concept of “ready” will need to be established (e.g., materials away, sitting down, attentive). At first, you will need to explain it to the students. But soon you will want to use some form of incentive to encourage “ready” behavior. For example you might say, “We need to go (or line up, or take part in an activity, etc.), I am looking for a ready row (or table).” It will not take long before the students make the effort to demonstrate “ready” behavior given the incentive that being ready will lead to getting to go earlier. There are many benefits to having students attempt to get “ready” as opposed to just knowing it is time to go: 1) students are in a better position to listen effectively to last minute directions; 2) you are assured that materials are away and you are not in the unpleasant position of asking students to come back and clean up or doing it yourself; and 3) students associate the end of the period with a determination by you that things are ready to end for now, rather than the bell which has no relationship to the lesson. Having a student of the week do the dismissals is a great way to foster student leadership, and illustrate the idea that because the expectations in the class are so clearly understood by all that eventually any member of the class society can manage the simple procedures in the social contract. Our implicit (and if you so choose explicit) message to students related to technical management procedures is that “We all know what it looks like when it is working, we all accept that we need to practice when it is not, and we all benefit when it does work.”

 

The Problems with Warnings

Using warnings is tempting in the process of developing our classroom technical management procedures. In the short term they help us feel like we are being fair and informative. Over time though, the result of warnings tends to be a degradation of both the clarity and consistency of the expectations. As we observed in the previous chapter, warnings tend to weaken the cause-and-effect relationship between what is expected and what happens if the expectation is not met. When A happens, B will follow. In essence, a warning has the effect of putting a gap between the cause and the effect. Moreover, giving a warning often sends the message that we would rather not take action if we can avoid it.

 

 

Chapter Reflection 5-k: Reflect on the effects of warnings in your own life. How much effect have they had on your behavior when compared to actual consequence?

 

 

ADVANCED PRINCIPLES TO SUPPORT YOUR TECHNICAL MANAGEMENT

To help support the emotional climate that you believe will be most helpful to accomplish a particular student learning outcome, you might consider the impact of the emotion you are projecting. Therefore, a useful principle to use is that of mirroring the affect that you want to see from your students. That is, let your face and emotions support the disposition that is most needed by your students. If you want them to be serious, express a serious affect. If you want them to be relaxed, speak in a calm tone and relax your face. What affect would help the class best at the time is it being up, business-like, fun, focused or confident? Provide it and watch the change in them.

 

Another useful principle is never to teach a new concept/content and a new procedure at the same time. If you are working with new content or a new concept make sure that you process it in a familiar manner. If you want to introduce a new procedure for processing ideas or concepts, let the students work with familiar content. That way they are able to focus on what you intended, and are not confused by two novel variables. For example, if you want to introduce a new concept attainment procedure, use a familiar concept. Likewise, if you want to introduce the next math concept, use a familiar strategy.

 

As is the case with so many of our classroom management efforts, we can use our feelings of disappointment or negativity to help us improve our practice. If we feel negative about the level of attention, the transitions, the quality of following directions, it provides us a clear sign that we need to be more intentional about that area. So when we feel frustrated or disappointed, it is a signal to be more purposeful about taking action the next time the situation arises, or better yet to take action (that we may have been procrastinating or avoiding) now to change the problematic condition. If we recall the cause of our negative feeling, it is almost a certainty that our negative feeling could have been avoided if we had taken action earlier. As discussed earlier, most of the emotional negativity experienced by teachers is a result of a repeated absence of follow-through. The solution to effective technical management as well as an avenue to our sense of peace and confidence is to empower the students with the skills they need to successfully demonstrate the desired behavior. It will promote both sanity and effectiveness to take an active-positive mindset and approach and use such strategies as requiring the students to practice it until they get it, rather than allowing ourselves to wallow in a passive-negative mindset. It may take a while to reach a level of effectiveness that feels stable, internalized and worry free, so it is true that it will feel like work at first, but if you are taking action to improve the situation, you will not feel the negativity. And success is energizing, whereas failure and resignation are draining and deflating. We will follow up in Chapter 16 on ways to cut the strain and negativity in our minds and classrooms.

 

 

2
1

                                                             

4,3
 

 

 


1-Style Technical Management

Table 5.4 below outlines the difference between 1- and 2-Style technical management. Both share a core set of principles such as consistency, clarity, positivity, and active and strong teacher leadership. Note that in the 2-Style, the teacher continues to be the primary locus of the decision making, whereas in the 1-Style, the students increasingly become the source of decision-making when it comes to technical management. In the 2-Style classroom the students know plainly what to expect from the teacher and clarity is created as a result of the teacher’s use of action, follow-though, positive recognitions, and giving and removing freedoms in response to the level of responsibility shown to by the students. In the ideal, the 2-Style classroom is characterized by a well-choreographed set of routines and procedures, orchestrated by the teacher.

 

In the 1-Style classroom, the difference is not so much how it appears on the surface but the source of motivation to act on the part of the students. While effective 1-Style technical management may begin much like that of the 2-Style classroom, over time there is a shift in the locus of decision-making. In Chapter 15 we will examine in more detail how to shift from a 2- to a 1-Style form of management, but the key will be in assisting the students in understanding “why” their efficiency has essential value (Elias & Schwab, 2003). For example, the elementary teacher may begin to reduce the number of reinforcing comments about the students’ quality line behavior and replace them with less frequent statements to the effect, “How does it feel to do a great job of lining up, and what are the benefits to each of you?” These types of questions help the student recognize that behavior such as quality listening, efficient transitions, and following directions are not simply done to please the teacher, but have a fundamental value to the members of the class. This value can take the form of more time spent on task, self-respect, mutual respect, acting in a coordinated fashion, increased responsibility, the skill of listening, and a greater sense of internal locus of control. As the year goes on the teacher withdraws overt displays of power and provides increasing amounts of power and responsibility to the students as they show the ability to use it wisely. Cartledge and Milburn (1995) describe this shift as the key to transitioning to what they call the self-monitoring stage of functioning.

 

Over time the leadership for the behavior comes increasingly from the students as they take personal responsibility and/or are given the role of leader. Using student leaders for lines, transitions, and routine procedures works well at the elementary level. Using student leaders for attendance, paper collection, dismissal, and group work tends to be effective at the secondary level. The rule in the 1-Style classroom is that if students are intelligent enough to perform a leadership task they should be the ones doing it.

 

The teacher still needs to make a great many executive decisions and provide the vision, so their main job is to help guide the students’ level knowledge and awareness. The most effective means for this are positive recognitions and clarifying questions. For example, after a high quality transition, the teacher may ask the class, “Do you remember that we could not do that two weeks ago?” or “I keep track of how well we transition and I add that time to our choice time on Thursdays.” When a class is doing a particularly good job of being attentive and respectful to one another, the teacher may comment, “Stop a second and think about how nice it is to know that others are listening to you.” Or ask, “Do you miss the days when we had such trouble listening?”

 

1-Style technical management will take more time to master when compared to that of 2-Style. And it may not be as neat and clean in the growth stages, but you need to ask yourself, “Is the extra time and effort 1-Style takes worth the types of student outcomes it fosters?” Experience tells us that unless one is really committed to doing what it takes to achieve the benefits of self-directed and other-centered students, there will not be enough internal motivation to persevere, so adopting a 1-Style approach is usually going to lead to too much frustration and potential failure. But if one is committed to these ideals, and is willing to keep the eyes on the prize, the benefits can be substantial.

 

Table 5.4: Comparison between the 2-Style and 1-Style Approaches To Technical Management

2-Style Approach

1-Style Approach

Goal – absolute consistency and efficiency

Goal – self-direction and training your way out of the leadership role.

Teacher directs activities with students very clear about what is expected

Teacher develops rituals and expectations that students internalize

The end of the year looks much like the second week – orderly and efficient

By the end of the year the teacher has shifted responsibility to the students

Students learn that procedures are approached consistently with a regular pattern and structure

Students begin to see the purpose behind procedures so that over time they act increasingly with their own internal motivations

A poor procedure requires more practice and more meaningful consequences

A poor transition calls for a discussion of why it should improve and then practice of what is decided alleviates the problem

Students show attention because the consequences are clear and automatic

Students attend because they appreciate the idea of mutual respect for those speaking

 

CONCLUSION

While many of us view technical management as a necessary evil, our ability to be successful and get the most from our students is often dependent upon it. Moreover, how we approach the very ordinary tasks of gaining attention, giving directions, and teaching procedures can have a powerful long-term effect on the degree to which our students develop a sense of importance for their work, respect for one another and ability to be present and in the moment. In the next chapter, we will examine how our pedagogy choices will manifest themselves in our management outcomes. To a great degree, how we teach and assess will create more or less of a burden on our technical management efforts, as well as having a substantive impact on such areas as our students’ level of engagement, level of motivation, and orientation to the work itself.

 

In the next two chapters we will explore the area of student motivation and develop a system for promoting a psychology of success within our classroom.

 

Journal Reflections:

1.     What is your expectation when it comes to technical management? What type of class would be more stressful for you: one in which you felt there was too much order, or one in which you felt there was too much slack?

2.     Do you see yourself being more of a 1- or 2-Style technical manager? Will you maintain the same expectations throughout the year?

 

Chapter Activities:

1.     Describe the types of cues that you plan to use as well as some of the consequences that you will implement when you do not have 100% attention. Also, do you have a finish word that you like? Discuss why you made the choices that you did with your group. Have you seen them being effective in action?

2.      Do some action research of your own. Observe at least two teachers for an hour or two. Count the number of times that each teacher uses negative recognitions for inattention (e.g., I am waiting for ______, shh-shh!, please be quiet ____, _____ you need to listen). Now count the number of times that students talk when there is an expectation that they are not supposed to. Is there a relationship? Advanced ideas: Count the effective interventions. Observe whether the teacher uses clarifying statements. What effect do you observe these interventions having on the level of attention?

 

 

 

REFERENCE

Arlin. M. (1979) Teacher transitions can disrupt time flow in discussions. American Educational Research Journal, 16, 42-56.

 

Cartledge, G., & Milburn, J.F. (1995) Teaching social skills to children and youth. Innovative approaches. (3rd ed.) Boston: Allyn Bacon.

 

Doyle, W. (2006) Ecological Approaches to classroom management. . In C.M. Evertson & C.S. Weinstein, (Eds.) Handbook of classroom management. (p. 97-126). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

 

Elias, M.J., & Schwab, Y. (2006) From compliance to responsibility: Social and emotional learning and classroom management. In C.M. Evertson & C.S. Weinstein, (Eds.) Handbook of classroom management. (pp. 309-341). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

 

Emmer, E.T., Evertson, C.M., & Anderson, L. (1980) Effective Classroom management at the beginning of the school year. Elementary School Journal, 80, 219-230.

 

Emmer, E.T., & Gerwels, M.C. (2006) Classroom management in Middle and High school classrooms. In C.M. Evertson & C.S. Weinstein, (Eds.) Handbook of classroom management. (pp. 407-437). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

 

Friedman, I.A., & Farber, B.A. (1992) Professional self-concept as a predictor of burn out. Journal of Educational Research., 86(1) 28-35.

 

Friedman, I.A. (2006) Classroom management and teacher stress and burnout. In C.M. Evertson & C.S. Weinstein, (Eds.) Handbook of classroom management. (pp. 925-944). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

 

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