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Week #3 Examining the Effects of Teaching Methods

on Classroom Management

And Developing the Social Contract (to be accompanied by an examination of Discipline with Dignity Ch’s 4 and 5)


Begin by examining the relationships between these 3 factors: Instructional Methods, Assessment Methods and Classroom Management.










As we collectively explore the relationships among these 3 areas, it might be useful to recall teachers that have done a particularly good job or bad job in these areas.  Did what they did in one area have an impact on the others? For example, if you have seen a teacher who did a good job of creating engaging lessons, or keeping things moving (like Kounin would suggest), did they have as many behavioral problems? In contrast, if you knew of a teacher who used assessment practices that were received poorly by his/her students, what effect did it have on their classroom control, and/or the students’ level of investment in the work?

As we mine these relationships for concrete examples from our experience, you might see some of our discoveries reflected on the list below.

(Also refer to Evertson and Emmer Ch.5 for further ideas here)


Teaching Choices and Classroom Management


·         Start with clearly conceived Student Learning (Behavioral) Objectives.

·         Know the learning outcomes you are trying to help students master.

·         Concepts

·         Skills

·         Information/Content

·         Procedures

·         Select the most authentic means to accomplish your objectives

·         Let your objectives determine the best way to teach your lesson.

·         Have a lesson design for each of the type of learning outcomes list above.

·         When will the students get to “put it all together?”  Or is each lesson a disconnected chunk?  Synthesis is motivating as well as cognitively essential.


Lesson Delivery

·         Good directions (think about the S’s and the N’s). Make sure that both the big picture and the specifics are clearly explained.

·         Use anticipatory activities (put new information into a larger context)

·         Model interest in the topic.  Why is it meaningful and relevant?

·         Teach your students not just your lesson outline.

·         Focus on what they are learning not on what you are presenting

·         Modify if necessary. If your lesson or your curriculum is not working, try something that you feel would be more effective.

·         Don’t be afraid to re-teach.

·         Have activities that address the range of ability levels.

·         Develop techniques for keeping the students “on the hook” cognitively.

·         Use questioning effectively

·         Calling on students Randomly vs. Volunteers

·         Calling on students in Random vs. Fixed patterns

·         Don’t use questioning as a form of public embarrassment

·         Become a master of Wait Time

·         Responding to student answers (think about the social learning model)


Maintaining Lesson Flow (Kounin)

·         Preventing Misbehavior

·         Withitness

·         Overlapping

·         Managing Movement

·         Momentum

·         Smoothness

·         Maintaining Group Focus

·         Group alerting

·         Encouraging accountability

·         High-participation formats

·         Avoiding Momentum problems


Assessment Choices that promote motivation and efficiency

Remember, how you assess defines success in a very real and material way for your students.

·         Assess that which is most meaningful and/or related to what you want students to learn.  Use “authentic assessments” as much as possible.

·         As much as possible assess learning over which students have control.

·         Have explicit targets (if they are clear and standing still, your students will reach them).

·         Communicate a clear purpose for each assessment to your students (and ask yourself, is my purpose for this assessment going to help them learn.  If not, why do it?)

·         Give your students as much control over their own assessment data as is possible.  Ask yourself, who is assessment data for?

·         Consider assessing the quality of participation formally or informally.

·         Keep formal assessment private.


Managing Your Behavioral Covenant/Contract


1. Develop your Social Contract/Covenant

·        Group Rules

·        few, and stated positively

·        student involvement/ownership

·        evolving with changing needs

·        Positive expectations

·        in this program/class we . . .

·        Expect what you can accept

·        Teach and test your management


2. Foster Community Relations

·        Promote respect – and be intolerant of disrespect

·        Promote teamwork and mutual interdependence

·        Show caring and pride in the groups accomplishments


3. Respond appropriately to contract violations


LEVEL I: Student(s) violates an expectation

·        Be a communicator of the news (not the judge/police)

·        NATURAL and RELATED consequence (not punishment)

·        Consequences need to be CERTAIN and CONSISTENT

·        Follow-up with a recognition of positive behavior


LEVEL II: Student disregards/disrespects the group’s collectively developed covenant

·        Avoid power struggles and hooks

·        Broken Record - simply repeat the consequence

·        Help them solve “their” problem

·        Tough Love - don’t give in, it’s no favor to them


Curwin and Mendler’s 9 Principles

for Consequence Implementation


1.      Always implement a consequence: Be consistent.

2.    Simply state the rule and consequence.

3.    Be physically close: Use the power of proximity

4.    Make direct eye contact. (maybe better said as “make personal contact”).

5.    Use a soft voice.

6.    Catch the student being good.

7.    Don’t embarrass the student in front of the class.

8.    Be firm, but anger free when giving the consequence.

9.    Don’t accept excuses, bargaining or whining.



Consequences vs. Punishments

A Comparison





Intend to teach lessons

Intend to give discomfort

Foster internal locus of control

Foster external locus of control

Are proactive

Are reactive

Are logical and related

Are unrelated and personal

Work in the long-term

Work in the short-term

Promote responsibility

Can promote obedience (but more likely resentment)


Use of Praise

While the practice of using approval and disappointment as a means to affecting student behavior is common, and most of us experienced it as children ourselves, we may want to take a second look at it as a way to manage behavior.  Consider that praise is in its common form is essentially the giving of love as an external reinforcement to control student behavior for outcomes that the meet the teacher’s needs (see references by Kohn, Gordon, Curwin and Mendler et al). It may be done with a pleasant face and good intentions, but the outcome is still the same. So how do we show our emotion, show caring for the student and let them know that we are proud of their work? We can do it without praise. Consider the following lists/paradigms for praise.



Problematic (yet most common) usage:

·        Giving “love” for obedience

·        External and addictive

·        Related to student as a person/self-worth

·        Your value, not student’s

·        Non specific, non educational feedback

·        Combined with the overuse of disappointment it becomes highly manipulative/addictive.


Better more healthy Usage:

·        Praise behavior, not student

·        Authentic and spontaneous

·        For accomplishment and/or effort

·        Based on student’s own goals

·        To show appreciation

·        Public attention to under-appreciated student

·        Combined with the use of authentic emotional investment, it can show caring by the teacher.




Successfully Negotiating a Power Struggle


1.       Do not manufacture power struggles by the way you teach. 

By and large power struggles are a result of a student’s attempt to satisfy an unmet need.  Students who feel a sense of power and control, are making progress toward their goals, are supported by the teacher, have avenues to share concerns, and are given choices and not backed into corners by harsh directives will be much less likely to feel the need to engage the teacher in a power struggle.


2.    Avoid being “hooked in” by the student.

If the student tries to hook you in by making you feel guilty or responsible for their inappropriate behavior, simply ignore the hook and give the responsibility back to the student.  If you become drawn in on a personal level, the student is then in control.


3.    Move into a private (and out of a public) encounter.

If the encounter begins publicly, quickly move it into a private, one-to-one interaction.  A public stage will put the student in a position where they must defend their image, and put you in a position that you feel the need to demonstrate your power.


4.    Calmly acknowledge the power struggle.

It is counterproductive to show anger or to “flex your muscle.”  Instead, with a calm voice, acknowledge to the student that things appear to be heading toward a power struggle, which would surely make any eventual outcome worse.  Ask the student to consider how the situation could end up in a “win-win” scenario.


5.    Validate the student’s feelings and concerns.

Use phrases such as, “I understand that you feel the way you do, but that does not mean that it excuses what you did,”  “Those feelings make sense, I can see why you think that, but . . .“ Feelings are important and valued, but they are beside the point.


6.    Keep the focus on the student’s choice, and simply state the consequence (repeating if necessary).

No matter what “hook” the student tries to use, keep the focus on the fact that the student made a choice to violate the rule/social contract (i.e., “I understand that you feel this is unfair, but you made the choice to ____ and the consequence we decided on for that is ____.”)  They chose to act in the way they did, and therefore they need to accept responsibility.  If the student does not want to accept the logical or agreed upon consequence, then they can make the choice to accept a more significant consequence, such as losing the opportunity to be part of the class/activity. 


7.    Put your emotional energy into constructive matters.

After you have successfully communicated to the student their choices, it is not useful to dwell on this student’s behavior.  Shift your attention back into your teaching.  Model constructive, rational, positive behavior.

Use of Reality Therapy (W.Glasser)


1.    Establish involvement with the student

The student needs to know that the teacher cares, can be trusted, and has their best interest in mind.  When a teacher takes an interest in a student, there is a greater opportunity to communicate intimately/authentically when the time comes. 


2.    Focus on the behavior

Determine what the problem is.  Help the student assess their own condition. Ask questions such as, “what do you think the problem is?” or “what happened?” But be careful not to fix blame or accuse.


3.    The student must accept responsibility for the behavior

Without assigning blame or shame, the teacher helps the student accept responsibility for their actions.  Do not accept excuses.  “Can you accept the responsibility for the choices that you made?”


4.    The student should evaluate the behavior

Ask the student if the behavior was helpful or hurtful? “What did it produce?”  Help the student analyze the situation. “What do you think just happened?”  “What will result if that interaction keeps happening?” “What will help you get what you want and be good for the rest of us?”


5.    Develop a plan

Collaboratively come up with a plan of action that can also act as a contract.  Have the student write it as much as is possible. 


6.    The student must make a commitment to following the plan

The student must show persistent effort toward their goal.  The behavior change will only occur to the degree that the student makes an internal commitment to it.  Keep the locus of control on the student.


7.    Follow up and follow through

If the plan is not working, it should be altered, and/or if the student does not meet their obligations the consequences written into the plan should be implemented.