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7.4: Keeping Management Issues in Perspective

  • Page ID
    10858
  • There are two primary messages from this chapter. One is that management issues are important, complex, and deserving of serious attention. The other is that strategies exist that can reduce, if not eliminate, management problems when and if they occur. We have explained some of those strategies— including some intended to prevent problems and others intended to remedy problems.

    But there is an underlying assumption about management that this chapter emphasized fully: that good classroom management is not an end in itself, but a means for creating a classroom where learning happens and students are motivated. Amidst the stresses of handling a problem behavior, there is a risk of losing sight of this idea. Telling a student to be quiet is never a goal in itself, for example; it is desirable only because (or when) it allows all students to hear the teacher's instructions or classmates' spoken comments, or because it allows students to concentrate on their work. There may actually be moments when students' keeping quiet is not appropriate, such as during a "free choice" time in an elementary classroom or during a group work task in a middle school classroom. As teachers, we need to keep this perspective firmly in mind. Classroom management should serve students' learning, and not the other way around. The next chapter is based on this idea, because it discusses ways not just to set the stage for learning, as this chapter has done, but ways to plan directly for students' learning.

    Chapter summary

    Classroom management is the coordination of lessons and activities to make learning as productive as possible. It is important because classrooms are complex and somewhat unpredictable, because students respond to teachers' actions in diverse ways, and because society requires that students attend school. There are two major features of management: preventing problems before they occur and responding to them after they occur. Many management problems can be prevented by attending to how classroom space is used, by establishing daily procedures, routines, and rules, by pacing and structuring activities appropriately, and by communicating the importance of learning and of positive behavior to students and parents. There are several ways of dealing with a management problem after it occurs, and the choice depends on the nature of the problem. A teacher can simply ignore a misbehavior, gesture or cue students nonverbally, rely on natural and logical consequences, or engage conflict resolution strategies. Whatever tactics the teacher uses, it is important to keep in mind their ultimate purpose: to make learning possible and effective.

    On the Internet

    <www.theteachersguide.com/ClassManagement.htm> This is part of a larger website for teachers containing resources of all kinds. This section— about classroom management— has several articles with very "nuts and bolts" tips about management. You may also find their page of resources for substitute teachers useful.

    < www.teachnet.com > Another website for teachers with lots of resources of all kinds. A section called "Power Tools" has dozens of brief articles about various aspects of classroom management.

    Key terms
    Active listening Overlapping
    Classroom management Portfolio
    Conflict resolution Problem ownership
    I-messages Procedures
    Learning environment Ripple effect
    Logical consequences Rules
    Natural consequences Withitness
    Negotiation

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