Best Behavior Management Tip?

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by BumbleB, Jul 16, 2013.

  1. BumbleB

    BumbleB Habitué

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    Jul 16, 2013

    I'm always looking to improve my teaching, and working in a challenging setting, behavior management advice is always needed. So middle school/high school teachers...what is your best behavior management tip? Do you have a unique way to make personal connections with your students? Maybe you have a specific consequence that really seems to make the kids reflect and "get it"?

    Any advice is welcome...please share! :)
     
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  3. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Be consistent, not because it's just a good idea or people tell you to, but because you need to because it's unfair if you're not and you will lose total control of your classroom without it. It is the backbone behind any management technique.

    Getting that through my skull and staying reminded of it has made the most impact in my classroom period.
     
  4. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I don't make a lot of accusations or demands. Instead, I say things like, "I notice that you don't have your book open." Most students respond by opening their books, getting to work, and giving a sheepish grin and a "Sorry!". If they need a little additional prompting, I'll add something like, "It looks to me like your book still isn't open. How can we fix that?"

    It's a non-confrontational, judgment-free method of redirecting students who are off task. It also doesn't leave a lot of room for excuse-making. It works for me. I find that my students get yelled at constantly at home, to the point where they just zone out when voices start getting raised. They seem surprised at first when they realize that I won't yell at them for doing the wrong thing and that I will give them a chance to fix their problem. It really helps me develop a good rapport with them.
     
  5. HistoryVA

    HistoryVA Devotee

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    I think the personal connection has the most impact for me. I try to respond to attitude by pulling them aside and asking "whats wrong?" rather than becoming defensive. I make positive phone calls home, make sure to take note of who is on what team, etc. I also gain a lot of points with sports-oriented students by being a huge sports fan. I find that if I take the time to to connect with them, they respond better when I do have to say "ok, we have a problem. How can we fix it?"
     
  6. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I also recommend not getting into power struggles with students. When they start arguing about an issue or asking questions in a transparent attempt to accuse you of doing something wrong, just nip it in the bud. The broken-record technique works wonders here. There is no rule that says that you have to answer their questions when they're upset with you or when they are trying to cause a scene. Just keep repeating whatever it was you were saying: "Please have a seat. I understand that you're upset. We can talk about this after class if you like. For now, though, please have a seat."
     
  7. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    Jul 17, 2013

    Along with what HistoryVA and Caesar said I'd add be yourself. You wouldn't treat a colleague having a bad day as a discipline/management problem. You'd talk to them and work with them.

    Once I learned to stop trying to be what Harry Wong told me to be and just be real with kids management became a breeze.
     
  8. Ms.History

    Ms.History Rookie

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    Wow, AMAZING advice on here already! I'll be taking notes of these.

    I'd like to add that proximity is a MUST. The small act of walking around the room stops many problems before they start. (I'm sure the OP is very aware of this, being an experienced teacher!:))
     
  9. PowerTeacher

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  10. Reality Check

    Reality Check Habitué

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    Jul 19, 2013

    Best behavior tip for a high school class?

    You say: "Get out of my room...............now." If they become too much after you've given them chances, kick 'em to the curb. What kids like that are doing isn't fair to you the instructor or the other 30+/- kids in your class.

    Whether he/she is roaming the halls the rest of the period or gets picked up by an administrator or security (if you have that), that student is out of your room for the balance of the period and you can teach. Write the referral later.

    It's a win-win for you.
    :D
     
  11. Lynn K.

    Lynn K. Habitué

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    I agree that consistency is key! If you aren't, the kids won't know what to expect and lose their respect for you. My other piece of advice is don't yell. Most kids get enough of that at home. My kids know the quieter (and more motionless!) I get, the more trouble they are about to be in if things don't change quick!
     
  12. HistTchr

    HistTchr Habitué

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    Here's one important piece of advice: Never talk over students! Students will pick up fast if you will teach over their talking, and before long the class will be out of control. I will just stop mid-sentence (or even mid-word) if I hear another voice, and students get the message fast.
     
  13. HistoryVA

    HistoryVA Devotee

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    Yikes! That'd get me written up in a heartbeat! So, I guess know your school's policies before implementing any of these. :D

    I can call security to remove them, but kicking them out to roam is a no-no.

    An alternative (if your school is like mine) might be to send them to another teacher's room (esp if you can find one who has planning!). Being in a different environment often helps.
     
  14. eternalsaudade

    eternalsaudade Companion

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    Jul 19, 2013

    Not a middle/high school teacher, but worked with ED kids. The biggest things I learned were:

    1) Avoid power struggles at all costs. Do not let them get a rise out of you or start an argument. I have not had a single experience in which a power struggle had a positive outcome. Caeser has great advice about the broken record thing, it really does work.

    2) As Rockguykev touched upon, treat them like people, not problems. Be willing to listen to their perspective and whenever you can, work out problems cooperatively. Show them that you respect them as much as you expect them to respect you.
     
  15. BumbleB

    BumbleB Habitué

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    Jul 20, 2013

    Woo! This thread is full of great advice, thank you! Keep it coming!
     
  16. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Be as proactive as possible. Know ahead what might cause issues and work to minimize it or teach it.
     
  17. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    This is great. And unfortunately, something that you probably won't be able to do until you have some experience under your belt.

    I tell my students what NOT to do with activities as much as I tell them what they should do.

    Once a student pours paint down the sink you'll know forevermore to tell kids BEFORE the project to never do that.
     
  18. Rebel1

    Rebel1 Connoisseur

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    Jul 20, 2013

    The BEST thing that any teacher can armor themselves with is to be LOVING with whatever way you handle each situation. One statement that I got from one of my brothers, "Children desperately DESIRE adults who listen!" Be a GREAT listener, and really hear what a child is crying out about. This involves empathy; a GREAT gift that those who have made more mistakes, have. (I ought to know!;)) You need to know your limits, tell it as it is, and pray for God's guidance in all your dealings. It can make a BIG positive difference in these childrens' lives, and your life. The children can sense if you are genuine or just doing your job. Get the support groups' help, IF you need it. Why try to re-write something, and waste time, when it has already been laid out for you?:hugs:
    Rebel1
     
  19. Reality Check

    Reality Check Habitué

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    You're right, it all depends upon your school environment.

    The reason I used this tactic of last resort is because our administrators and security have made it abundantly clear they don't want to actually have to do their jobs and deal with this sort of thing. If all they do is send them back to my room within 45 seconds after I sent him/her directly to them, that's not supporting a learning environment.

    Therefore, I just kick them out and now it's directly in administration's/security's face. If they choose to ignore a kid roaming the hallway, it's on them. If they choose to actually deal with the kid, it's not only their job, but it's what I wanted them to do in the first place.


    ;)
     
  20. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    Know what you want!

    People have mentioned consistency, but you never get it unless you know what you want.

    I work with student teachers and interns, and I'm surprised at how often they have never thought about certain things. One of my interns spend a whole lot of the correcting behaviors she didn't want, and it was because she never really thought about how she wanted things to go. She scolded Kid A for sharpening a pencil during independent work today, but would allow it tomorrow. Everyone was constantly guessing what was okay.

    Ask remember that you do not have to use things it their entirety. My management system is a mixture of ideas from Fred Jones, Harry Wong, and Randy Sprick. Last year I threw in some things from Teach Like a Champion.

    And make sure that you genuinely care about your students. That doesn't mean hugging or giving them gifts or babying them. They pick up on genuine affection. When they know you care, they feel safe enough to try and will do anything for you.
     
  21. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Same here. I know several teachers who are perfectly fine teaching and whoever listens gets it and whoever talks doesn't...and that doesn't bother them a bit. Yet I don't know if I have EVER talked over a single student. One, I just can't as it's too distracting to me. Two, they are surely distracting others. Students do learn immediately if talking during instruction is something you'll tolerate...so they learn immediately I don't.

    I've seen some teachers get far too emotional when dealing with poor behavior. I have done it a couple times over the years, and I always felt so ridiculus after the fact. Once I got too emotional in front of other teachers during a grade-wide activity. Trying to speak to a couple hundred students and they were not cooperating and I just got...hateful. In like .2 seconds. I was embarrassed after the fact. I have no idea what triggered such a reaction since that was absolutely not typical, but it felt awful. And yet I know a couple teachers who are like that every day. It must be so draining! Everything is a confrontation. An in-your-face ordeal. I think that's terrible. Lord knows I have my many faults as a teacher, but I sure like to think I handle situations better than that. Well, I know I do. Several of the "bad" kids do just fine in my class because I'm not mean to them when they do make a mistake or make a bad decision.

    So remaining calm and kind...that's my advice. Kindess goes a long way. Even if they tell you to "f**k off" in the moment or scream that "this is so stupid!", chances are even they'll feel bad and embarrassed after the fact for being a jerk to a teacher who was being nothing but kind and calm and doing her job, and the student will likely "silently apologize" with better the choices the next day.
     
  22. Crono91

    Crono91 Rookie

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    Jul 31, 2013

    I like what Caesar said about power struggles. Dr. Dobson (someone who focused more on parenting than teaching, but they have their similarities, of course) took a lot of time stressing the difference between a child who just isn't doing something right, and a child who is challenging your authority.

    For the former, a simple correction is always good, but for the latter, a quick and firm action is needed--not a bantering of back and forth.

    On a more detailed note, something I watched an elementary teacher do that I really can't wait to implement is the way he obtained the class' attention when things were getting out of hand.

    Instead of standing there, or raising your hand, or turning off the lights, or raising your voice, just say in a different tone, "Class." Then, they are to be instructed to return in unison with, "Yes!" This snaps everyone's attention back to the teacher.

    It worked amazingly for the teacher--granted, it was elementary school, so I don't know how it'd translate to the older years.
     
  23. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I thought of another one: Remember that you're the grown-up and they're the adolescent. Even the most mature teenager is still a teenager, somewhere between child and adult. Their brains don't work the same way ours do. You need to be the one who stays cool, calm, and collected. Don't be immature. Don't try to get the last word in. Don't try to one-up the kid or embarrass him.

    Your goal should always be to maintain a professional attitude at all times. Of course it's not always easy, and sometimes you might need to step outside for a moment and take a few deep breaths or mentally escape to your happy place--that's fine. In general, though, you shouldn't be giving yourself an aneurysm over student behaviors.

    We see a lot of posts here in October/November and February/March from teachers who say that they can't take it anymore, that they're depressed and anxious, that they physically shake all the way on the drive to school, that they vomit before school starts, that they cry on the way home, etc. This shouldn't be happening. Calm down. If you find yourself struggling in this way on any sort of regular basis, you need to get some professional help. This isn't normal.
     
  24. nyteacher29

    nyteacher29 Comrade

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    Jul 31, 2013

    I agree with Caesar and my admin ALWAYS stresses to us to remember that we are the adult and teacher and nt to get caught up in student/teenage behavior. If we feel like we are getting overwhelmed we can call admin or guidance (dont really like to call admim amd i usually try to handle the behavior in house howeveer sometimes it is meedex) They also suggest, which I like, is to team up with a teacher in your department whose room is not right next door (maybe on the next floor or around the corner and down the hall, enough for a "walk"). Send the student who is getting on your nerves to this teachers room and have the student ask the teacher for "insert code name you and the teacher made up". The teacher will know exactly why the student is here but the student won't. This is good for the students who are just being plain annoying or for the student who needs to just compose himself/herself

    Take Caesars advice to heart--- no student is worth your mental health. Have strong classroom management and be organized and follow through with your negative consequences. I also agree with others... DoNOT talk over students. Set that tone from day one and it will make they year less stressful. And remember,ENJOY and you can smile :)
     
  25. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

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    I have been told I have 'disappointed eyes' and even the educational assistants in my room feel convicted by my 'look'. It's far more effective than raising my voice, although I have done that, too. Calm, clear and consistent goes a long way.
     
  26. Ms.SLS

    Ms.SLS Cohort

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    Keep them busy! 95% of any problems in my class have occurred when kids are finished their work early, or bored, or anything else. If they're busy and engaged they are SO MUCH LESS LIKELY to do stupid things.
     
  27. Storyteller

    Storyteller Rookie

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    I see a lot of people talking about not talking over your students. I am going into my first year teaching (ack!) and remember from student teaching also getting this advice. However, I found a lot of the time that the students just kept talking even after I stopped talking. How long should you wait? Is there a way to get them to stop talking?
     
  28. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    It's not always easy, especially with certain types of classes and students and in certain school communities. I have been known to start teaching even when a few students are talking. If they don't zip it after a few seconds, I will shut it down. "Karen and Ted, stop talking please." If they continue to talk, then they get separated.

    It's important to address talkers directly and by name because they are often really good about thinking that they are not the problem. If you try to do a general comment like "Class, please be quiet", the talkers probably won't comply with your request. Often they don't even seem to realize that they are talking. It's bizarre.
     
  29. nyteacher29

    nyteacher29 Comrade

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    I agree with addressing students by name. I will also say, "I will not start until everyone is quiet and not talking" this will usually lead the other students to remind the students who are talking to stop. I remember the start of last year having this issue with one particular class but I remained consistent with not talking whn they are. They eventually got the hint. Also, I've keep a class after the bell for how many minutes they've spent talking (I call their next teacher to give them threads up and make sure it's ok. If its not bc or a test ill keep the class after school.)
     
  30. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

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    In regards to not talking over, I also say, "We have 2 more things to get done before we can go. I will not explain them until everyone is quiet." - In elementary it's different, but maybe it would translate into more homework?
     
  31. BookButterfly

    BookButterfly Rookie

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    To quote Fred Jones... "Work the class, or the class will work you."

    Otherwise known as--don't be glued to the front of the room. Walk among your students as you teach and use proximity to keep students in line. This also means you need to arrange your class so you can be within whispering distance of any student FAST.

    This was the biggest mistake I made as a substitute--after fixing it, the size of my management problems diminished like crazy!
     
  32. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    ^ Yes! Brain breaks do wonders. :)
     
  33. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    Lots of great ideas on here. Here are 4--some are already mentioned, but worth repeating.

    1. Be consistent

    2. Be proactive--have a plan

    3. Be calm--don't yell (if this is difficult, sucking on candy makes it hard to be upset and staying away from too much caffeine (which can make one more impulsive) can also help.

    4. Take care of as many discipline problems yourself before sending a child out of the room. Many discipline problems like to get sent out of a classroom as it gets them lots of attention. Leave sending students out only when they are a major problem or highly disruptive.
     
  34. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    If I was a good student in your room, I would feel very uncomfortable with watching a teacher talk to another student like that. That would not be an environment that I would want for my child (even if I lived in a tough neighborhood in Pennsylvania). I am sure you wouldn't want another adult such as a P talking to you like that.
     
  35. Croissant

    Croissant Comrade

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    I don't know that that's fair. You can't say what is it isn't extreme unless you've been on that campus with those students an that administration. It may make me unpopular, but I believe there are some kids (thinking upper middle and high school) who need this. Obviously, it shouldn't be your every day solution, but it often only takes one time. If I had a studious child in such a district, I'd be upset to find out that severely disruptive students were allowed to remain in the room an interrupt learning.

    Maybe I'm way off base. Wouldn't be the first time :)
     
  36. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    I agree with you that sending a child out of the classroom is sometimes necessary. I am not disagreeing with that. I don't think "Get out of my room now! is a proper way to talk to any person at any age. Might it happen in extreme circumstances when children get out of hand? Yes, that could happen to nearly any teacher. To share with other teachers that this is a proper way to handle a discipline problem is something I disagree with, and disrespectful of how students should be talked to. If we want students to be respectful in how they talk to us, we must show respect as well in how we talk to them.
     

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