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Terrific Teaching Tips, Issue #034-- December 2012 Ezine
December 01, 2012

Can you believe that you are in your 4th month of teaching. When you come back from your well deserved break, the next semester/term will just fly by.

In this newsletter, I am going to discuss managing positive behaviour in your classroom.

If you have been following me the last few years, reading my pages and also my newsletters, you know that I believe that you can be teaching the "greatest" lesson ever, but if you don't have effective classroom management, that lesson and others that follow will go down the toilet or out the window.

Anyone can write up a lesson, look in books or get on the internet for ideas. But, it takes years of experience to create a "presence" about yourself - so that you can walk into a classroom and all becomes respectfully quiet. So take these following suggestions and adopt those which suit you, your teaching styles and your kids. Don't beat yourself up - this whole process takes TIME!!!

1. Take some time talking with your students, not to them. Find out what they think, feel and believe before proceeding. Just don't jump in. You need to assess the students and the situation and then advise.

2. Try to give the students a few choices. 1st - easy, 2nd - harder, 3rd - your highest expectation. They will usually choose the easiest. At least, you will get the desired behaviour. When you have asked them "Which choice are you most comfortable with"? Remember to express your approval immediately. The student has made a decision that they can action and handle.

If they don't like those choices/options, then choose others together. This allows you to work on the behaviour change with the student and not get stuck on the problem.

3. When trying to change student behaviour, try not to ask for too much. A student will likely respond positively to a limited request than an extensive one.

4. When disciplining a student, watch your questioning techniques. Questions like "What makes you think you did the right thing?" can lead to a dead end and perhaps the student will feel defenseless and up against the wall. The misbehaviour could intensify. Try questions like "After thinking about it (reflecting), can you tell me what you should have done?" or "Can I share the right and the wrong of your actions with you?". If you get a "No" response, rephrase the question.

5. When handling a discipline problem, don't ask trick questions. Keep it open ended so that there can be a discussion and options/choices to select.

6. When trying to change the student's behaviour from negative to positive, ask an option question - "Do you want to talk now or later?". If the answer is later, see if they are worried or not. These responses will help you think, reflect and plan your approach with this student.

Keep in mind that it's the student's answer rather than your speculations that will help your efforts and be more successful in advising the student.

7. Everyone,including children, loves to know that they have made good and wise choices. When your student has listened to you and complied with your request(s), give him/her a positive response right away - reinforce the good behaviour.

In a discipline situation, never indicate that you have won and they have lost. You may not get the desired behaviour you wish for.

You may feel that now is not the time to start introducing discipline/classroom management strategies. It's December - a lot of loose ends to finish up, Christmas/Holiday activities and festivities to plan and organize - please don't feel that way.

Make time to implement, enforce and maintain some positive behaviour techniques in your class. You'll thank me later!

"What we must decide is perhaps how we are valuable rather than how valuable we are" - Edgar Z. Friedenberg.

Have a great December with your students. I wish you a very healthy, happy and fulfilled holiday and year ahead. Happy New Year. Speak to you in 2013!!

Happy trails,


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