Classroom Rules & Routines, and Teacher Moves

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  • 1. Classroom as a system: Rules, Routines, & Moves By: Iwan Syahril Source: Middle and Secondary Classroom Management: Lessons from Research and Practice by Carol Simon Weinstein and Ingrid Novodvorsky
  • 2. Popular Assumptions 1. Teaching comes naturally. 2. The main strategy to win the students is to be liked by them, and if you are kind and caring, then students will respond accordingly. Is that so?
  • 3. • There is nothing natural about teaching. • Each teacher has a set of self-consciously developed systems, routines, and rules. • Each teacher has to make decisions about those things all the time. • Most teaching decisions involve TRADE- OFFS
  • 4. • The problem of noticing. Experienced teachers are often so facile that they can control student behavior with subtle, nonverbal moves, and without ever interrupting their instructional narrative. • The problem of being the mantle of authority. Beginning teachers have a strong need to be liked and worry about hurting kids’ feelings. Socially, they may have more in common with their students than with their colleagues, so that it is hard for them to establish a role for themselves that is appropriate to their personality and yet also distinguishes them from their students. • The lack of understanding. Beginning teachers also have very little understanding of diverse learners including the reluctant or resistant ones. They themselves tended to be good students when they were in school, students who liked school and cooperated with their teachers. They tend to expect all students to be like they themselves were. Why is it difficult to teach classroom management?
  • 5. Why rules and routines? • Increases efficiency? • Creates a fair system? • Reduces favoritism? • Rewards good behavior? • Encourages collaboration? • Encourages competition? • Motivates students? • Gives students responsibility for their behavior? • Rewards academic work? • Conveys care? • etc Classroom atmosphere Individual Students
  • 6. Rules and routines • Multiple ways to handle them. • Trade-offs. Source: Middle and Secondary Classroom Management: Lessons from Research and Practice by Carol Simon Weinstein and Ingrid Novodvorsky
  • 7. Trade-offs: No perfection! • SEATING ARRANGEMENT Allowing students to sit wherever they wish (+) promotes independence (-) fosters more chatting with friends Other possible ways table-groups vs rows & columns alphabetically more difficult students at front boy-girl-boy-girl etc.
  • 8. Samples of rules & routines • Late students • Late homework • Absences • Seating arrangements • Cellphones • Talking during class • Restroom • .....
  • 9. Rules are not simply technical matters, but they are also philosophical issues.
  • 10. Questions to consider: • How should the teacher achieve a balance between competing ideals? • How do specific rules help or hinder teachers’ ability to balance between competing ideals?
  • 11. Competing Ideals #1 • All students should be treated the same way VS Teachers should respond to each child’s unique needs
  • 12. Competing Ideals #1 • All students should be treated the same way VS Teachers should respond to each child’s unique needs Hypothetical example Teacher has a policy that grades are reduced when papers are late. A student paper is late for an extremely sympathetic reason, maybe dad was just killed in a car crash. Does teacher give leniency or stick to the rule?
  • 13. Competing Ideals #1 • All students should be treated the same way VS Teachers should respond to each child’s unique needs Hypothetical example Teacher has a policy that grades are reduced when papers are late. A student paper is late for an extremely sympathetic reason, maybe dad was just killed in a car crash. Does teacher give leniency or stick to the rule? How will you respond when another student was late because his dog died, and then another student was late because his team lost a game last night, etc.?
  • 14. Competing Ideals #2 • Students should learn to regulate their own behavior VS Students should learn to respond to external rewards and punishments
  • 15. Competing Ideals #2 • Students should learn to regulate their own behavior VS Students should learn to respond to external rewards and punishments Hypothetical example: Teacher gives students time to work independently on an assignment but some students are staring out the window. Does the teacher punish? Does the teacher remind the student about the benefits of getting this done now? Does the teacher publicly compare the student’s behavior with that of other students?
  • 16. Competing Ideals #3 • Teachers should encourage independent initiative VS Teachers should ensure that all students learn a common body of core knowledge
  • 17. Competing Ideals #3 • Teachers should encourage independent initiative VS Teachers should ensure that all students learn a common body of core knowledge Hypothetical example Student asks if he can skip a required assignment but do something else instead that sounds interesting and challenging but is on a slightly different topic.
  • 18. Competing Ideals #4 • Teachers should tolerate challenges to their authority VS Teachers should maintain their authority even if students raise legitimate questions about them
  • 19. Competing Ideals #4 • Teachers should tolerate challenges to their authority VS Teachers should maintain their authority even if students raise legitimate questions about them Hypothetical example: Teacher:“Where is your homework?” Student: “I didn’t see the point of doing it because it was really redundant with the last homework and I’m on top of this material.”
  • 20. Competing Ideals #5 • Teachers should encourage cooperation in the classroom VS Teachers should motivate through competition among students
  • 21. Competing Ideals #5 • Teachers should encourage cooperation in the classroom VS Teachers should motivate through competition among students Hypothetical example: Two students are friends and one persistently wants to help the other.
  • 22. Competing Ideals #6 • Teachers should be role models for moral and ethical behavior VS Teachers should be efficient and make sure everyone is always on task
  • 23. Competing Ideals #6 • Teachers should be role models for moral and ethical behavior VS Teachers should be efficient and make sure everyone is always on task Hypothetical example: An argument between two students. Does the teacher suppress it or use it for a broader discussion about how we interact in the classroom?
  • 24. Teachers’ Moves:
  • 25. • Even the best plan will not always work out perfectly. • What to do when plans/strategies don’t work? --> MOVES • MOVES: a quick, discrete strategy that correct a student’s behavior or re-directs a student’s attention without disrupting the flow of the lesson
  • 26. • Moves are self-conscious, practiced. They do not come naturally. • Teachers cannot manage student through the sheer force of their personalities. Classrooms don’t become warm or inviting simply because they are warm people. • They need to practice taking specific actions in order to create the kind of climate they want. • You need to learn to engage in discrete moves that are designed to maintain order in a way that students perceive as fair, in a way that vests students with responsibility for their own fates, and in a way that is not overly abrasive.