Working the Crowd
EDU 163 - Jones, F., & Jones, P. (2007). Working the Crowd. In Tools for
teaching: Discipline, instruction, motivation (2nd ed.). Santa Cruz, CA:
F.H. Jones & Associates.
• To utilize developmentally appropriate behavior management that
enhance the teaching/learning process and promote students'
• To make current research meaningful by relating it to application
within a typical classroom
• To engage, monitor, and assess students throughout the learning
• A teacher’s proximity to his/her students has a direct relationship to
the amount of time on task for nearer students or off task for
students who are further away from the teacher.
• Teachers who “work the room” are also better able to monitor and
assess student learning
• As always, prevention is the most effective way to manage a
classroom. Controlling a crowd of students means getting “most of
the students to do most of what they are supposed to be doing most
of the time”. (p. 30)
Working the Crowd
2. Eye contact
Good teachers use those 3 strategies to “work the crowd” and keep
their students’ attention
1. Zones of Proximity – students who are further from a teacher are
more likely to engage in off-task behaviors
1. Red – This area near the teacher represents an approximately 8 foot
diameter around the teacher. Here students are less likely to be off task.
2. Yellow – This area is approximately 6 feet beyond the “red zone”. Students
will generally do what those in the “red zone” do unless the teacher gets
distracted elsewhere. These students may then get off task.
3. Green – These students are furthest from the teacher and most likely to get
off task. The longer they are in the “green zone”, the more likely they are to
get off task.
1. Work the crowd
2. Make the zones change constantly
3. Continue to make direct eye contact with individual students who
are further away
4. “Provide Camouflage for Setting Limits” (p. 34)
1. Use “working the room” to your advantage
2. Notice off task kids and move towards them while continuing to do what
you have been doing (scanning the room, monitoring, assessing, talking,
3. Stand near the students who were off task a little longer than usual and
make additional eye contact with them if appropriate while continuing
what you were doing. Avoid giving them negative attention – that is costly
to the teacher.
Practice those Strategies!
• Keep moving among the students while teaching. See how well you
can keep their attention.
• Use movement during guided practice to continue to monitor and
assess student understanding.
• Avoid teaching from the front of the room. Remember the 10,000
hour rule? It takes a lot of practice to make a new skill a habit!
• Obsolete, but still relevant – Whether you sit or stand up front with a
chalkboard, an overhead, a SmartBoard, an Elmo, or a computer,
make yourself get up and work the room while emphasizing a point.
• Use body language to your advantage – avoid embarrassing students
or you will pay the price!