Jumaat, 23 Julai 2010

How to Control Your Class

Even the most skilled teachers will have days when they lose control of their classroom
. All it takes is a single rowdy kid and before you know it, you're sitting at your desk unsure of how to regain the control you had ten minutes ago. How do you take control of your class back from this kid? Here are a few suggestions to help you out:

1. Use your voice.

This doesn't mean that you have to yell. There are a great many teachers who think that the best way to control a class is to make sure that their voice is always the loudest. In many cases, however, it is the quietest voice that gets the most respect. This doesn't mean whispering, it means that you tell your class simply, in a calm voice or even a lowered pitch, that you will not tolerate the continued misbehavior. No matter what age your students might be, they still need to hear that what they are doing is unacceptable.


2. Take action.

The idle threat is useless. It is the threat that they know you will carry out that carries the most weight. Younger kids react strongly to public discipline—names being put on the board, having to sit outside of the class during story time. The punishment itself does not have to be harsh—having them sit on a chair next to your desk at the front of the room for ten minutes is hardly corporal punishment—but it is public. Older students, however, sometimes need the larger punishments—detention, sent to the office, disciplinary meetings with parents. Asking a senior to sit outside of the classroom won't carry the same weight that it will with a child in the second grade.

3. Resist the urge to react.

Students, no matter how old they are, act out because they want to see your reaction. When you react to what they are doing, they feel rewarded. Instead, continue with your class's lesson as you planned. Eventually even the positive attention the student has been receiving from his/her peers will go away when they see that you aren't going to do anything about it and they will want to get back to work. If you allow yourself to show anger or frustration then the behavior could grow worse. Take deep breaths and keep your cool.

These might seem like very basic ideas for class control, but many teachers forget about them when faced with a classroom full of unruly students who refuse to give the teacher the respect that she/he deserves. Sometimes all you need is to take a moment to let the class act out and they'll calm themselves down. Other times you'll have to put every student's name on the board. Every class is different! Take your time. You'll figure out which methods work best for you and your class

Read more: http://www.articlesbase.com/childhood-education-articles/how-to-control-your-class-679991.html#ixzz0uVdch48O
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Stages of Discipline

You would never think of setting up a math or reading program in your building that treated every student exactly the same. You would not expect all students to use the same reader. You would not place an entire school in the same math book. If you did any of these things, your school board and your community would demand an immediate explanation. Yet, we set up discipline systems in our schools that treat all students exactly the same. In fact, everyone expects us to do just that!

Just as students function at different levels in reading and math, they also function at different levels, or stages, of discipline. It is possible to set up a consistent system for classroom discipline that will be appropriate for students functioning a t all stages and at the same time encourage them to work their way up to higher stages.

There are many experts telling us how to handle discipline problems in our classrooms. Yet these experts do not always agree. Thomas Gordon, creator of Teacher Effectiveness Training staunchly opposes Lee Canter’s Assertive Discipline concept. Yet, both have enjoyed a great deal of success all across America. Trying to decide who is right and who is wrong seems quite difficult. Instead, let us assume that both of them are right, that they just are not talking about the same students!

If we look at the work of Lawrence Kohlberg, we find the piece that will put this puzzle together. For many years Kohlberg studied stages of moral and ethical reasoning in youngsters from the United States, Taiwan, Mexico, Turkey, and Yucatan. One important fact that surfaced in his research is that everyone, regardless of culture, race, or sex, goes through these stages. Although the progression from stage to stage is the same, the rate varies from person to person. It is for this reason that we need to be prepared to address discipline in our classrooms at different levels. Our students are functioning at different stages on the road to self-discipline. Let us look at these stages and see how youngsters behave.

Stage 1: Recalcitrant Behavior

The Power Stage: Might Makes Right!

Students functioning at Stage 1, the lowest stage, are typically recalcitrant in their behavior. That is, they often refuse to follow directions. They are defiant and require a tremendous amount of our attention. Theirs is a heteronomous morality: they have few rules of their own, but out of fear of reprisal, may follow the rules of others. Most youngsters have progressed beyond this stage by age four or five, but a few older students still function at this level.

This is the power stage. What makes it work is the imbalance of power between the child and the person in authority. When the child is young, the imbalance of power between him and his parent is significant. If the child is never taught a higher stage, the imbalance of power diminishes as he grows up . The parent then tells us that she can no longer control her child. He will not mind. He challenges authority constantly.

Fortunately, very few of the students we see in our classrooms function at this stage. Those who do, follow rules as long as the imbalance of power tilts against them. Assertive teachers with a constant eye on these students can keep them in line. Turn your back on them, and they are out of control.

If these students want something, they usually just take it. They show very little concern for the feelings of others. They seek out extensions of power. Pencils, scissors, and rulers become weapons in their hands.

Schools that use The Honor Level System find that the students who function mainly at this level are chronically on Honor Level Four.

Stage 2: Self-Serving Behavior

The Reward/Punishment Stage: "What's in It for Me?"

Students functioning at Stage 2 are a little easier to handle in the classroom. They also represent only a small percent of the youngsters we teach. Kohlberg would classify them as having an individualistic morality. They can be very self-centered.

This is the reward and punishment stage. These students behave either because they will receive some sort of reward such as candy, free time, etc., or because they do not like what happens to them when they do not behave. Most children are moving beyond this stage by the time they are eight or nine years old. Older students who still function at this stage do best in classrooms with assertive teachers.

There is very little sense of self-discipline at this stage. Like the power stage children, these youngsters need constant supervision. They may behave quite well in your classroom and then be out of control in the halls on the way to their next class.

Because we expect so much more of our students, these children are often on Honor Level Three and Honor Level Four.

Stage 3: Interpersonal Discipline

The Mutual Interpersonal Stage: "How Can I Please You?"

Students functioning at Stage 3 make up most of the youngsters in our middle and junior high schools. These kids have started to develop a sense of discipline. They behave because you ask them. This is the mutual interpersonal stage. They care what others think about them, and they want you to like them.

These children need gentle reminders. You ask them to settle down and they do. Assertive discipline works with these students because they understand it, but they rarely need such a heavy handed approach to classroom discipline.

Quite often you find students in your classroom that are in transition from Stage 2 to Stage 3. Perhaps you will know of a student that gets into lots of trouble in other classrooms but not in yours. This child is just learning to trust others and build the interpersonal relationships that are more common with his classmates. You need to let him know that his good behavior is important to you not only in your classroom, but in others as well. Nurture this youngster and you will see quick progress. Be unnecessarily assertive and he will slip back to Stage 2.

These students are almost always on Honor Level One and Honor Level Two.

Stage 4: Self-Discipline

The Social Order Stage: "I Behave Because it is the Right Thing to Do."

Students functioning at Stage 4 rarely get into any trouble at all. They have a sense of right and wrong. Although many middle school and junior high school students will occasionally function at this level, only a few consistently do. These are the youngsters we enjoy working with so much. You can leave these kids alone with a project and come back 20 or 30 minutes later and find them still on task. They behave because, in their minds, it is the right thing to do.

This is the social order stage. These students are almost always on Honor Level One.

Even though they may never tell you, students who function at this level do not appreciate assertive discipline. They are bothered by the fact that other students force teachers to use so much class time dealing with discipline problems.

Although most of our students do not usually operate at this stage, they are near enough to it that they understand it. Cooperative Learning activities encourage students to function at this level. The teacher who sets up several groups within the classroom gives students a chance to practice working at this level while he waits close by, ready to step in when needed.

Working Through the Stages

Kohlberg describes additional stages of morality and ethical reasoning that go beyond what we discuss here, but they are not usually seen in school age children. In fact, many adults do not progress much further than these.

Keep in mind that all of us work our way through these stages in this order as we grow up. When you identify the stage at which a student is functioning, you can then help that youngster work to the next stage. It is a mistake to try and skip stages. Insisting that a Stage 1 student “straighten up and start acting right” (like a Stage 4 student) is not a reasonable expectation. It simply isn’t going to happen! Instead, set your goal on Stage 2 and you will be less frustrated. You may be pleasantly surprised when you start to notice improvement.

It is important to remember that for many reasons, any child is fully capable of regressing every now and then. When you really get to know your students and are used to them functioning at a stage, it is important to look for a reason when one of your students regresses. Problems with family members, friends, alcohol, or drugs may be behind a shift in behavior. It simply might be tiredness or the onset of illness. Whatever the cause, it is worth taking the time to talk with the student and see what’s going on.

Picking Up the Pieces

You may feel that you do not have the time to walk these kids from stage to stage. You may be concerned about covering the material in the book or getting to all the objectives, but what do you teach? Is it English? Math? Science? Such a response is the one others expect of us, but the real answer is: “I teach children.” When you get used to thinking of your job in that way, it is easier to find the time needed to help a youngster with behavior problems.

Learning self-discipline is just like learning anything else. Your students aren’t always going to get it right the first time. So, you find yourself “picking up the pieces.” You help them some more, and when you think they are ready you give it another try.

If you have a math student who is not quite ready to handle long division, you spend more time on subtraction and multiplication. If you have a student that isn’t ready for Stage 3 or Stage 4, you spend more time working on Stage 2. Where other teachers may see a kid who is still a discipline problem, you may be able to see one who is making progress. Seeing that progress, as slow as it might be, makes greeting that youngster each day a pleasure that his other eachers may never enjoy. Soon you will be opening the doors to the mutual inter-personal stage and really make a difference in his life.


Techniques that Backfire

If you haven’t already been there, check out Discipline Techniques on this website. These 11 techniques for better discipline can be useful in managing a positive and comfortable classroom.

There are some techniques, however, that should be avoided. Linda Albert surveyed dozens of teachers, asking them what methods have backfired for them. Here they are as she has presented them in her book A Teacher’s Guide to Cooperative Discipline, (American Guidance Service, 1989).

After 27 years in elementary and middle school classrooms, I can honestly say I have tried most of these techniques. Linda is right. They may work a few times, but not over the long haul. Techniques that backfire include:

· raising my voice

· yelling

· saying “I’m the boss here”

· insisting on having the last word

· using tense body language, such as rigid posture or clenched hands

· using degrading, insulting, humiliating, or embarrassing put-downs

· using sarcasm

· attacking the student’s character

· acting superior

· using physical force

· drawing unrelated persons into the conflict

· having a double standard — making students do what I say, not what I do

· insisting that I am right

· preaching

· making assumptions

· backing the student into a corner

· pleading or bribing

· bringing up unrelated events

· generalizing about students by making remarks such as “All you kids are the same”

· making unsubstantiated accusations

· holding a grudge

· nagging

· throwing a temper tantrum

· mimicking the student

· making comparisons with siblings or other students

· commanding, demanding, dominatin

· rewarding the student

11 Techniques for Better Classroom Discipline

Here are eleven techniques that you can use in your classroom that will help you achieve effective group management and control. They have been adapted from an article called: "A Primer on Classroom Discipline: Principles Old and New" by Thomas R. McDaniel, Phi Delta Kappan, September 1986.

1. Focusing

Be sure you have the attention of everyone in your classroom before you start your lesson. Don’t attempt to teach over the chatter of students who are not paying attention.

Inexperienced teachers sometimes think that by beginning their lesson, the class will settle down. The children will see that things are underway now and it is time to go to work. Sometimes this works, but the children are also going to think that you are willing to compete with them, that you don’t mind talking while they talk, or that you are willing to speak louder so that they can finish their conversation even after you have started the lesson. They get the idea that you accept their inattention and that it is permissible to talk while you are presenting a lesson.

The focusing technique means that you will demand their attention before you begin. It means that you will wait and not start until everyone has settled down. Experienced teachers know that silence on their part is very effective. They will punctuate their waiting by extending it 3 to 5 seconds after the classroom is completely quiet. Then they begin their lesson using a quieter voice than normal.

A soft spoken teacher often has a calmer, quieter classroom than one with a stronger voice. Her students sit still in order to hear what she says.

2. Direct Instruction

Uncertainty increases the level of excitement in the classroom. The technique of direct instruction is to begin each class by telling the students exactly what will be happening. The teacher outlines what he and the students will be doing this period. He may set time limits for some tasks.

An effective way to marry this technique with the first one is to include time at the end of the period for students to do activities of their choosing. The teacher may finish the description of the hour’s activities with: “And I think we will have some time at the end of the period for you to chat with your friends, go to the library, or catch up on work for other classes.”

The teacher is more willing to wait for class attention when he knows there is extra time to meet his goals and objectives. The students soon realize that the more time the teacher waits for their attention, the less free time they have at the end of the hour.

3. Monitoring

The key to this principle is to circulate. Get up and get around the room. While your students are working, make the rounds. Check on their progress.

An effective teacher will make a pass through the whole room about two minutes after the students have started a written assignment. She checks that each student has started, that the children are on the correct page, and that everyone has put their names on their papers. The delay is important. She wants her students to have a problem or two finished so she can check that answers are correctly labeled or in complete sentences. She provides individualized instruction as needed.

Students who are not yet quite on task will be quick to get going as they see her approach. Those that were distracted or slow to get started can be nudged along.

The teacher does not interrupt the class or try to make general announcements unless she notices that several students have difficulty with the same thing. The teacher uses a quiet voice and her students appreciate her personal and positive attention.

4. Modeling

McDaniel tells us of a saying that goes “Values are caught, not taught.” Teachers who are courteous, prompt, enthusiastic, in control, patient and organized provide examples for their students through their own behavior. The “do as I say, not as I do” teachers send mixed messages that confuse students and invite misbehavior.

If you want students to use quiet voices in your classroom while they work, you too will use a quiet voice as you move through the room helping youngsters.

5. Non-Verbal Cuing

A standard item in the classroom of the 1950’s was the clerk’s bell. A shiny nickelbell sat on the teacher’s desk. With one tap of the button on top he had everyone’s attention. Teachers have shown a lot of ingenuity over the years in making use of non-verbal cues in the classroom. Some flip light switches. Others keep clickers in their pockets.

Non-verbal cues can also be facial expressions, body posture and hand signals. Care should be given in choosing the types of cues you use in your classroom. Take time to explain what you want the students to do when you use your cues.

6. Environmental Control

A classroom can be a warm cheery place. Students enjoy an environment that changes periodically. Study centers with pictures and color invite enthusiasm for your subject.

Young people like to know about you and your interests. Include personal items in your classroom. A family picture or a few items from a hobby or collection on your desk will trigger personal conversations with your students. As they get to know you better, you will see fewer problems with discipline.

Just as you may want to enrich your classroom, there are times when you may want to impoverish it as well. You may need a quiet corner with few distractions. Some students will get caught up in visual exploration. For them, the splash and the color is a siren that pulls them off task. They may need more “vanilla” and less “rocky-road.” Have a quiet place where you can steer these youngsters. Let them get their work done first and then come back to explore and enjoy the rest of the room.

7. Low-Profile Intervention

Most students are sent to the principal’s office as a result of confrontational escalation. The teacher has called them on a lesser offense, but in the moments that follow, the student and the teacher are swept up in a verbal maelstrom. Much of this can be avoided when the teacher’s intervention is quiet and calm.

An effective teacher will take care that the student is not rewarded for misbehavior by becoming the focus of attention. She monitors the activity in her classroom, moving around the room. She anticipates problems before they occur. Her approach to a misbehaving student is inconspicuous. Others in the class are not distracted.

While lecturing to her class this teacher makes effective use of name-dropping. If she sees a student talking or off task, she simply drops the youngster’s name into her dialogue in a natural way. “And you see, David, we carry the one to the tens column.” David hears his name and is drawn back on task. The rest of the class doesn’t seem to notice.

8. Assertive Discipline

This is traditional limit setting authoritarianism. When executed as presented by Lee Canter (who has made this form a discipline one of the most widely known and practiced) it will include a good mix of praise. This is high profile discipline. The teacher is the boss and no child has the right to interfere with the learning of any student. Clear rules are laid out and consistently enforced.

9. Assertive I-Messages

A component of Assertive Discipline, these I-Messages are statements that the teacher uses when confronting a student who is misbehaving. They are intended to be clear descriptions of what the student is suppose to do. The teacher who makes good use of this technique will focus the child’s attention first and foremost on the behavior he wants, not on the misbehavior. “I want you to...” or “I need you to...” or “I expect you to...”

The inexperienced teacher may incorrectly try “I want you to stop...” only to discover that this usually triggers confrontation and denial. The focus is on the misbehavior and the student is quick to retort: “I wasn’t doing anything!” or “It wasn’t my fault...” or “Since when is there a rule against...” and escalation has begun.

10. Humanistic I-Messages

These I-messages are expressions of our feelings. Thomas Gordon, creator of Teacher Effectiveness Training (TET), tells us to structure these messages in three parts. First, include a description of the child’s behavior. “When you talk while I talk...” Second, relate the effect this behavior has on the teacher. “...I have to stop my teaching...” And third, let the student know the feeling that it generates in the teacher. “...which frustrates me.”

A teacher, distracted by a student who was constantly talking while he tried to teach, once made this powerful expression of feelings: “I cannot imagine what I have done to you that I do not deserve the respectfrom you that I get from the others in this class. If I have been rude to you or inconsiderate in any way, please let me know. I feel as though I have somehow offended you and now you are unwilling to show me respect.” The student did not talk during his lectures again for many weeks.

11. Positive Discipline

Use classroom rules that describe the behaviors you want instead of listing things the students cannot do. Instead of “no-running in the room,” use “move through the building in an orderly manner.” Instead of “no fighting,“ use “settle conflicts appropriately.” Instead of “no gum chewing,” use “leave gum at home.” Refer to your rules as expectations. Let your students know this is how you expect them to behave in your classroom.

Make ample use of praise. When you see good behavior, acknowledge it. This can be done verbally, of course, but it doesn’t have to be. A nod, a smile or a “thumbs up” will reinforce the behavior.


Proactive Discipline

Proactive Discipline
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How do you feel at the end of your teaching day?

Do you feel tired, but good? Do you feel like you have put in a good day’s work and you’re ready to go home, relax a bit and then tackle the chores that wait you there?

Or do you feel worn out, worn down and exhausted? Do you feel like you have battled your way through the day, “putting out fires” as they erupted in your classroom? Did you look forward to the end of each class, hoping that the next group of youngsters who walked through the door would behave better? Do you have a stack of infraction slips that you just can’t wait to turn into the office on your way out the door? Are you ready to get home so you can raid the fridge, find some chocolate, or alcohol because “you really need it?”

The difference in the way you answer these questions has a lot to do with whether or not you spent the day proactively, in control of when and how things happened in your classroom or reacting to one and then another and another situation as behavior problems interrupted your lessons again and again.

You can be sure that all of us have had both kinds of days. There are some teachers, however, who consistently experience the better days. These teachers have learned how to use proactive discipline to create a happy, healthy classroom setting. Their students feel comfortable and safe. Both the teacher and the students experience few surprises during the period. There are established routines for nearly every daily task. The students know what they are expected to do when they come into class.

Even though the period may vary from day to day, they know that it will always start the same way and that whatever the teacher has planned for this hour, he or she will lay it out for everyone at the beginning of class.

PRO-ACTION is about being prepared and in control. It’s about knowing what is going to happen and when. In contrast, REACTION is about doing “this”, because some kid did “that!” It’s about dealing with problems as they come up. Soon you’re finding that a second problem comes along while you’re still dealing with the first.

Good preparation gives the teacher time to be proactive. This teacher doesn’t have to scramble between classes setting up materials, printing copies in the office, and hurriedly writing instructions on the board. Instead, because she has handled these details earlier, she is standing outside her classroom, welcoming each of her students as they arrive at her door.

Every child hears her call him by his own name. Before class begins she has good idea who is sad or happy today. She knows who is angry and likely to vent that anger soon. She knows who is going to need a little encouragement, who is going to need a little discouragement and who is going to need a lot of TLC.

The proactive teacher has planned her lessons so that she has a few minutes at the end of each period to get things ready for her next class before passing time. If necessary, she enlists the aid of youngsters in this class to help her set up for the next one. When the bell rings she is at the door again, reminding students about work that is due and sending them off to their next destination with a warm farewell before her next batch of students start to arrive.

Proactive classroom control begins with setting the tenor in your room in the first few minutes, before behaviors can become problems. If you miss the opportunity for a smooth, controlled start, you will spend more of your time trying to calm things down and regain control.

By following a routine that the students can count on, the proactive teacher heads off many discipline problems that the reactive teacher faces daily. Students arrive to class over the course of several minutes during passing time, but the children go right to work on a daily start up activity when they enter the room. The reactive teacher is trying to get attention when the bell rings. He starts the period by interrupting "free time."

When youngsters enter the proactive teacher's classroom they find their classmates already at work. As the reactive teacher's classroom fills up, students are talking, joking and waiting for class to start. Each period, each day the reactive teacher has to break their momentum, cut through the energy, and pull his students onto task. When the bell rings, the proactive teacher's class has been on task for some time, while her colleague is already in a reaction mode, trying to settle his students down.

While the youngsters work, the proactive teacher quietly takes roll, handles the start up chores of getting class going, and always announces her agenda for the period. Knowing this, the students are not excited by uncertainty and anticipation.

Her start up assignment provides practice in skills the students already know. It requires no instruction and very little explanation. Every student, regardless of ability, can complete the task in five to ten minutes. This routine has varied very little from the first days of the term when she took the time to walk them through the steps and practice her expectations. The children know where to find the assignment and what to do when they finish. Those who work quickly find time to talk quietly. Because the tone of the class has already been set, their voices are low and they rarely disrupt the others.

Across the hall, the reactive teacher has finally settled his class down. Less than five minutes into the period, he has already lost his temper. Now his students are waiting while he calls out roll. As he works his way down the list, casual talking begins. A student doesn't hear her name called because she is trying hard to go unnoticed as she continues a conversation the teacher "interrupted" when the bell rang. Again he has to react to misbehavior. His anxiety and frustration build. Class still hasn't started and he is reaching for the pad of infraction slips.

When problems do occur in the proactive teacher’s room, she uses a series of discipline steps designed to help the student change his behavior. In her classroom, a simple reminder is usually all that it takes. If that doesn’t work, she hands an infraction slip to the student. She doesn’t threaten to turn it into the office. Instead she says, “If you still have this at the end of the period you may throw it away.”

She controls the situation by putting the student in control of the infraction slip. He doesn’t have to see his name on the board. He doesn’t have to wait to see if she is going to put a check after his name. This child doesn’t worry about what the teacher is going to do next. He only has to worry about what he is going to do next.

At the beginning of the term the proactive teacher has carefully explained these steps. They are posted on the wall of her classroom. The student has just been given the opportunity avoid a detention or some other consequence. The slip sits right on his desk as a reminder that if he stays on task, all will be fine. Usually no further intervention is required.

On those rare occasions, when a student continues to have difficulty making appropriate choices, the proactive teacher takes the slip back to be turned into the office. Even now she is still helping the student understand that he owns his own behavior. She is not giving him a detention; he has forced her to take the slip away. It is easier for him to see that this is not something that she is doing to him. Someday he may even realize it is something she has done for him.

The final step in her discipline plan is to send the student to the office if the behavior doesn’t change in the classroom. The proactive teacher may need to use this step only a few times a year with the more extreme cases.

In addition to posting these steps and going over them with each class, this proactive teacher has a short list classroom rules posted on the wall:

1. Follow directions

2. Come to class prepared and on time

3. Leave gum, food and beverages in your locker

4. Keep your hands, feet and other objects away from others

During class she may feel a need to remind a student by whispering, “Debbie, do you see this list on the wall? Look at number 1. Are you doing that right now? … But you can, though, can’t you?”

Her students rarely feel threatened by these reminders. This teacher has learned to spot problems even before the student knows he is headed that way.

The reactive teacher sends students to the office time and again. Usually this is the result of confrontational escalation. Too often we see a youngster sitting in the office, upset and confused. When asked what he did, he says, “I don’t know.”

Then after talking it through we find out at that something very minor progressed to a major problem in no time at all. The teacher asks a student to go pick up a crumpled paper that was thrown towards the wastebasket. Five seconds later they are arguing and the teacher reacts: “Get yourself to the office, now!”

The teacher scolds Jimmy, “Stop talking, turn around and do your work.” Jimmy tosses his head and snaps, “I wasn’t talking!”

“Don’t tell me you weren’t talking!” Like a trap spring releasing, another minor offense has just escalated into a major discipline problem. Another student will soon be headed for the office.

The proactive teacher, on the other hand, focuses on the behavior she wants from the very beginning, without drawing attention to the misbehavior. “Jimmy, the rest of the class is working quietly now. You need to turn around and get going with your assignment, too.”

There is not a lot there for Jimmy to challenge. He doesn’t feel threatened or rebuffed. If he becomes a bit obstinate and attempts to argue, the proactive teacher sees where this is headed before he does. She calmly repeats what he says before telling him again what he needs to do.

It is very difficult to argue with someone who repeats everything you say. If Jimmy is getting upset and anxious, if his voice tenses up and gets louder, she repeats his own words slowly and calmly. Instead of taking the confrontation up a notch, she brings it back down.

A proactive teacher doesn’t deliver ultimatums. During a classroom discussion, Mary is repeatedly turning around to speak with the students around her. “Mary, “ her teacher directs, “I think it would be better if you come sit over here for the rest of the period.”

Mary’s face darkens and she folds her arms across her chest. “I don’t want to sit over there!”

Calmly, but firmly, her teacher repeats Mary’s challenge. “You don’t want to sit over here. I can understand that. I know you would rather sit with your friends, but I think we can help you stay out of trouble if you move over here.”

Mary becomes a little more anxious. She is reluctant to get up and move in front of her peers. “Why do I have to move?”

“Why do you have to move?” her teacher rephrases the question. “I have tried to give you the opportunity to make things work where you are sitting. You are leaving me with fewer and fewer choices. I would like you to come sit over here. Remember our first classroom rule, Mary. I expect you to follow directions.”

Mary reluctantly makes her way across the room. “This isn’t fair.”

“I’m sorry you don’t think this is fair. We can talk about this later when you’re less upset. Thank you for moving now.”

As always, the proactive teacher is hoping to see a change in behavior. She hopes that there is a way her student can stay in the classroom and not be sent somewhere else. Her principal knows that if and when she does send a student to the office, that she has really made an effort to make things work in the classroom. He is quick to follow up on the problem and support the teacher.

Once a teacher gets caught in the reactive mode, classroom problems seem to multiply. The stress builds and his patience drops. Switching from a reactive mode to a proactive one is not easy, but it can be done. The first step can be as simple as greeting the students with a warm and friendly smile as they walk through the door.

How to Remember What You Study

It may not always be easy to remember what you study. Have you ever studied really hard just to blank out on a test? Have you studied for a long time but had a hard time remembering all of the information? There are ways to study that will increase your understanding and memory. There are ways to study effectively and so that you can spend less time studying and get better results.


Step 1

Space out your study time to help you remember what you study.

This is called spaced trials and it is well researched. For example, if you are going to study for 3 hours for a exam, then study for 30 minutes per day for 6 days instead of 3 hours the day before the exam. You will remember much more information and for a longer period of time that way.

Step 2

Use more than one sensory process while studying.

For example, reading information will help you to learn it, but reading it, then making and looking at visuals (such as diagrams that you color code), then verbally summarizing the information, then listening to it, actually uses multiple senses. This will help your recall of the information.

Step 3

Use study tricks, such as mnemonics.

Do you remember "Please excuse my dear aunt Sally?" The first letter of each word (in order) represents the order of operations (each operation starts with the same first letter as a word in the phrase) in math. It is easier to remember that phrase, though, than it is to remember "parenthesis, exponents, multiply, divide, add, and subtract." You can use these tricks for long lists or to make associations. They will help you remember information.

Step 4

Multitask in order to save time

How to Remember Things with Visualization

It is much easier to remember things with visualization. Most people are not auditory learners. Listening to information is not the best way to learn. Some people are better at it than others, but visual information is often remembered much better.

Do we remember the historical events we read about in history class as well as if we saw the movie? Visualization paired with reading or hearing the information is a powerful memory tool. Knowing how to use visualization to your advantage will give you a definite edge.
Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Step 1

To remember things with visualization, write down your list of things to remember. It could be in a specific order or in a random order depending on how you have to remember it.

Step 2

Create a visual scene in your mind of something happening involving each of those things. The visual reel can be anything you want it to be as long as it makes sense to you. It does not have to make sense to anyone else. For example, if you have to remember a short list of groceries that includes bread, onions, bar soap, and a magazine, you could imagine a picture in a magazine of an onion making the loaf of bread cry, but it was okay because a bar of soap washes away the breads tears. Okay, that sounds kind of stupid. But remember, it does not have to make sense as long as you can play it in a reel that can be played back. Visualizations are going to be much easier for most people to remember than verbal information is.

Step 3

Play your visual reel a few times to own it.

How to Reduce Math Anxiety

Math anxiety can seem overwhelming. If you feel the tension and anxiety every time you have to do math, then there are steps you can take to overcoming that anxiety. The usually happens if you struggle with math. However, with time, it can become automatic as we become conditioned to expect it and we don't even realize what is happening. After that, the anxiety can, itself, make math even harder than it should be. The anxiety prevents us from being realistic about it, thinking clearly, and problem solving. Getting rid of math anxiety, or at least reducing it, is essential and there are steps you can take to do that.


Step 1

To help reduce math anxiety, imagine yourself being successful at math. Imagery can go a long way to changing those ingrained beliefs of failure that feed into anxiety. Concentrate on those positive images. Use that imagery on a regular basis. Use it at least weekly or multiple times a week. It may take a while to ingrain itself in your mind, but it will work.

Step 2

Practice relaxation techniques. Math anxiety can actually make math harder because it causes so much tension that we cannot concentrate or think clearly. Then, because the math is harder, it feeds even more tension It is a vicious cycle that feeds on itself. You can stop that cycle when you use relaxation techniques that stop the tension and anxiety. One way to do that is to take a few deep breaths where you breath in deeply and then exhale slowly.
Step 3

Change your strategies for learning math and studying for math tests. If you find yourself staring at the book or the teacher and not grasping the material, they using a different style of learning. Seeing, hearing, saying, writing, etc. can be helpful. Also, space out your studying time to help remember information better. It is also better to go to someone other than your teacher for tutoring. Everyone has a different way of explaining things and it is helpful to hear it from someone different.

Step 4

Use self-talk to tell yourself that you will be successful. We all have those things that we tell ourselves in our mind. If we have been unsuccessful at math and it is causing anxiety, then our voice might be saying that we can't do it or that it will be too hard. Again, it may take time, but practice telling yourself over and over that you are going to be able to do math. Talk your way through math problems telling yourself that it will be okay and that you will be successful.

Step 5

Try doing math for fun. What? Fun? Yes! We too often only associate math with school and exams and not getting the right answer. However, we struggle through crossword puzzles, yet it is okay if we don't get all the answers. It is still the fun of the challenge to try for many people. Even if we are not good spellers or don't have a huge vocabulary, we still try. Do the same with math. Start out with Sudoku puzzles or simple number games. Associating math and numbers with something positive will help to reduce math anxiety.

How to Get Kids to Like Math

Most kids do not naturally like math unless it is presented in the right way. Reading math textbooks, listening to a teacher discuss math, watching someone show how math problems should be worked, and practicing math on paper, can lead to the ability to solve math problems, but it will not naturally lead to liking math or having the depth of understanding that leads to higher level math abilities. Teachers are usually good at making math more fun and hands-on; however, the legal push towards more and more at earlier ages, has left teachers little time to do the activities they used to do. Making math interesting and fun has to happen at home and school both. When the right activities and approaches are used, kids will grow up liking math. They will be interested in it and motivated to participate in it.


Step 1

To get kids to like math, talk about math in positive terms. If math was not a positive experience for you, avoid telling them that math was hard for you or that you don't like math. Instead, try to say something positive about math. Telling them that math was a struggle, but you worked at it because it was interesting and so useful, for example, would be better. In order to like math, kids have to associate it with positive things.

Step 2

Demonstrate how math is used in everyday life. Too many kids think of math and think that they will never really use all of the math they are learning. Showing them that math is used in cooking, banking, shopping, planning vacations, even playing some games, will help them to see all of the reasons for learning math.

Step 3

Get help for kids right away when they begin to show signs of struggling in math. Math skills build on each other and not really understanding any one skills will put a definite ceiling on what can be learned after that. The resulting continued difficulties will tend to lead to math frustration, including possible anxiety and avoidance. Getting help right away will avoid those struggles.

How to Make Math Fun at Home

Math can be fun to learn and use, especially at home. Incorporating math into everyday activities makes math much easier for kids to learn and it lays the foundation for a lifelong understanding and love of math. If you are looking for fun everyday activities to teach math to kids at home, look no further.


Step 1

To make math fun at home, make cooking more than just about cooking. Cook with kids and try doubling recipes or cutting them in half. Give them a different size measuring cup than they need and encourage them to figure out how to use it. For example, let them use a 1/4 cup measuring cup to measure out a 1/2 cup measurement, etc.

Step 2

Let kids help keep score in family sports games, like tag football, etc.

Step 3

Play old fashioned board games where kids have to count, or play games like dominoes where they have to use addition, etc.

Step 4

Provide a small allowance and require them to save a percentage of it each week. They will have to calculate the percentage and tally up their savings from week to week.

Step 5

Help younger kids to set up a lemonade stand in the summer. Of course you will have to monitor closely for safety reasons. Money makers like this give an incentive to use money, learn it's value, and add it up. They will also learn to give change, etc.

Step 6

Give them a portion of the budget at the grocery store and let them figure out how to get something within that budget. For example, they could get their own cereal budget.

How to Get Control of Your Class

s your class out of control? Are they talking when they should be listening? Are they ignoring your redirection? A class of well behaved students can be a great place to teach and to learn. But a class that is out of control can be very challenging. These steps can help you to get control of your class.


Step 1

Keep students academically engaged.
Keeping them engaged in academic learning cuts out the majority of behavioral problems and helps you to get control of your class. Students are often not attentive to a lesson for a variety of reasons. It could be that they are bored, they may need things that are more important to them than learning (like attention), or they may just be inattentive. If you are able to grasp their attention and get them involved in the lesson, their other behaviors will automatically reduce. This means that lessons should be interactive and should switch tasks a few times within a typical class period. They should also be fun/entertaining, and should get students moving.

Use novelty to help gain or regain their attention. Most students can only listen to a limited amount of lecture or sit for a limited amount of time before they tune out. Read the article about effective teaching in the resources section below. It will give some good ideas for engaging students and it will help you to get control of your class.

Step 2

Make sure that students know the rules and the consequences and then follow through every time in order to get control of your class.
This may sound like something that does not have to be said. However, especially in higher grade levels where students have several different teachers, the rules may change from class to class. Post the rules. Go over them. Reinforce them from the very first day of school. Finally, be consistent so that every student knows what to expect. Behaviors will increase when follow through is not consistent. When this happens, we are actually teaching persistence. When you do follow through make sure the consequences are meaningful and reasonable and are something you can actually enforce.

Step 3

Make sure that the positives outweigh the negatives.
Students will be more likely to follow behavioral redirection and also be really engaged in academics when school is a positive experience. This means that the redirection cannot be the bigger part of their interaction with a teacher. Pick your battles and give enough positive interaction that school is still a positive experience. Positive experiences at school can be as simple as a thumbs up, a good grade, etc. A positive atmosphere can help you to get control of your class.

Step 4

Make sure that the classroom arrangement and atmosphere promote good behavior and academic engagement.

** First make sure that all students can see the instruction. When student cannot make eye contact with instruction, they are much more likely to tune out and do something else. If they are at tables make sure that they are arranged so that students do not have to turn around to see. If you use an overhead projector make sure the lights are not turned down too low and that there is a clear field of vision around the projector.

** Also use preferential seating for students to get control of your class. As student who is very distracted may need to sit at the front of the room but a student who is very self-conscious may need to sit in the back where other students are not looking at them. A student who is very distractible should not be near a student who likes to fidget or talk.

** Use yellow or other lights to create a calming atmosphere. Also reduce visuals on the wall. Everyone loves to decorate classroom walls, but too many things can make a room way too visually stimulating and that contributes to off-task behaviors.