The best classroom management strategy: Respect

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by teacherbatman, Aug 4, 2014.

  1. teacherbatman

    teacherbatman Companion

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    If your students respect you, they will listen to you.

    If they don't, you will have to rely more on behavior micromanagement and projections of authority.

    Therefore, everything we do as teachers, including our approach to classroom management and the classroom environment, should build us up (and maintain us) as respectable in the eyes of our students.

    Agree or Disagree?
    Thoughts?
    How can we build ourselves as respectable?
     
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  3. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    My class rules/expectations are all about respect:
    1. Respect your environment
    2. Respect others
    3. Respect yourself

    I believe that it is essential that we, as teachers, follow those as well. If we don't show respect for our students, we can't expect it from them.
     
  4. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    I've simplified those even into one rule:

    1. Respect people, property, and learning.

    And then my other two rules are cop-out rules about following all other school rules and following all class procedures (kind of like wishing for infinity wishes when a genie gives you 3 wishes, lol).

    One important piece of advice, students will respect you if you treat them respectfully, meaning not being too permissive, and not being too punitive. Don't embarrass them if possible, and show interest in getting to know them (without crossing the friend line).

    Never go back on your word and always do what you say, even if it makes them unhappy (such as following through with consequences). Don't be a wind-bag and exhaust yourself with words when actions will do better. Take every answer students provide seriously, and help them build on it, even if it's a bad answer. Make them feel like they're a meaningful part of the classroom.

    Drop any ideas of manipulating them into good behavior with bribes, words, or whatever and simply hold them accountable when they break the rules or thank them when they follow the rules. Only praise them when they do something that is really deserving of praise.

    Try to carry yourself in a calm manner always, even when they're trying to test you, step away when you need a moment to regain control of yourself and always remember that you are the leader of the classroom and you are the one they are going to look to to help them solve their problems, to protect them, and to teach them to learn.

    I always try to treat my students as if they were 1-2 years older than they are, and hold them to expectations as if they were 1-2 years older.

    These are my ways of trying to show students that I respect them and to make myself someone who is respectable to them.
     
  5. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    I agree, that in general, students are going to behave better for teachers they respect.

    But I don't spend a bunch of time (actually, ANY time) trying to earn the respect of my students. Of course I don't go out of my way to be disrespectful either. I'm strict, I care about my students and I try to be consistent and fair.

    There are some students that will never respect me. I accept that. I've had some that have told me that my race and/or gender will never allow them to respect me. But they will either show me respect or deal with consequences for their disrespect.
     
  6. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    What a great post teacherbatman. I agree 100%.

    I try to build respect by allowing my students to make choices in the classroom. I always make sure I am good with the choices they make, but still allow them to have some say in the way the classroom is run.

    For example,

    1. Do we want homework to go home on Monday and back on Friday or home on Friday and back the following Friday?

    2. Do we want to play soccer or Basketball for P.E. today?

    I also treat all my students as different individuals with different personalities.

    Would love to hear others thoughts on how to build respect with your classes.
     
  7. HistoryVA

    HistoryVA Devotee

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    I always tell students on the first day that I HATE the phrases "you have to earn respect" and "you have to give respect to get it." I tell them that I already respect them simply because they are a human being. That's all they have to do to get my respect and that they would have to do something seriously over-the-top to lose it. Even if they have a bad day and act a fool towards me, I'm still going to respect them.

    My students seem to respond well to that idea- that they don't have to jump through hoops to get my respect. And other than the odd duck, I rarely have issues with students respecting me.
     
  8. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    Do I agree that treating students with respect is an important, helpful, and a necessary part of classroom management? Yes. Do I agree that if your students respect you, they will listen to you. No, I don't. It is more complicated than that.

    Students reason for misbehaving has little to do with respect. They misbehave because it is fun. Research has stated this over and over again. The main reasons for misbehavior according to research are:

    1. attention (as they get older it is for their peer's attention)
    2. power (they want to be in charge)

    In extreme cases ( some classes have 0 students like this), students misbehave to get:

    3. revenge
    4. they have given up completely on teachers (helpless).

    In those last two cases, yes respect has a lot to do with it. The other two not nearly as much.

    I have seen the sweetest teachers come in and show tremendous respect to the students and the teachers simply ask for it in return. Many of these teachers are then treated horribly and rudely. Children will test their boundaries. We as educators have to show them that we are serious about the boundaries and the purpose of school (to learn and do quality work).
     
  9. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    I think one of the main reasons for misbehavior that you didn't mention here is to test to see what they can get away with. A book I read called students who misbehave frequently 'aggressive researchers'. They want to test the boundaries again and again to see if those boundaries really are firm. And yes when they find those boundaries are not firm, they often find the reinforcement of attention and power.

    When they find those boundaries are firm, they don't get those reverse reinforcements, because the teacher quickly diminishes the attention they get, and they don't have any power over the class because the teacher doesn't allow them to have it.

    As for revenge, that probably mostly happens when teachers work with students in negative ways, such as being overly punitive, disrespectful, or humiliating.

    I think the ones you mentioned in number 4 have the roughest time getting to trust a teacher. All you can really do in that case is continue to hold firm, and consistently show them that you're there for them even while holding them accountable. Sometimes it's really hard to treat students like them respectfully. I had a student like that last year, and it was tough, and I don't think I ever really broke through with him. I just hope he has a teacher who can reach him in the future.
     
  10. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    :agreed:
     
  11. teacherbatman

    teacherbatman Companion

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    I agree that it is more complicated than that. But, if the students truly respect you, it goes a long way towards curbing #1 and #2. I really can't see a better approach for dealing with those kinds of students/situations.

    I will also add that punitive discipline, by its nature, decreases student respect. I see a lot of teachers who try to battle the power and attention seekers with methods that essentially decrease their level of respectability. Then those teachers are perpetually fighting those students for control.

    Anyways, some really good ideas from everyone here. :)
     
  12. mrs.whatsit

    mrs.whatsit Rookie

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    Respecting your students and your students respecting you is so important! Creating a behavior rubric that incentivizing respectful behavior is help students learn how to be respectful to themselves, their classmates and adults.
     
  13. Reality Check

    Reality Check Habitué

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    :yeahthat:

    Teachers also need the support of the administration and the parent(s)......if they back you up, it shows students that you're an authority to be respected. If the administration turns away discipline issues, says "It's your problem" (especially in front of the students) or the parent says, "You're the teacher. It's not my job to do your job," you have no chance to gain respect.
     
  14. ms.irene

    ms.irene Connoisseur

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    If those students are "aggressive researchers," then I had a few who could have written a doctoral dissertation on testing the limits last year ;)
     
  15. RisyFLA

    RisyFLA Rookie

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    What types of ineffective disciplines have you witnessed or consider as punitive? (Making sure I don't do them this year)
     
  16. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    :lol:
     
  17. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Embarrassing a student, giving a student a consequence that isn't corrective or logical, giving a student an extended consequence (like one that takes place over days, weeks or months), acting aggressively or trying to shame a student. These are all things I think are punitive.
     
  18. teacherbatman

    teacherbatman Companion

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    Yes those are some. Insulting a student in any way is punitive. I would even argue that raising your voice at a student is punitive and should be avoided at all costs, but some will disagree here. There are plenty of "tough" teacher types who yell a lot, and the students seem to respect them sometimes, but I always wonder if it's more fear than respect.
     
  19. teacherbatman

    teacherbatman Companion

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    I would argue that creating behavior rubrics is not the best way to create respectful students. If the students "have" to do respect to earn points (or whatever), is it really respect? Or is it just short-term compliance?

    For a great (if lengthy) article on creating respectful students and a respectable environment, I would refer here: Caring Kids

    Maybe a different angle than most would expect, but some great things to consider there.
     
  20. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    I absolutely believe it is fear.
     
  21. teacherbatman

    teacherbatman Companion

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    I do too. The question is if there is any respect mixed in there.
     
  22. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    I'd say it depends on the age of the student and other things. If we're talking about a high school senior, I honestly doubt that fear is much of a factor at all. If we're talking about a kindergartner, it's almost certainly going to be all/mostly fear.
     
  23. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    Not sure I agree that fear plays no role to high school seniors.
    I know from personal experience, that my academic behaviors in a given class were directly related to the fear of embarrassment from the teacher. Intimidation..etc.
     
  24. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    I disagree. Fear is almost always a factor when you have a teacher that will demean and embarrass you in front of the class.

    Just apply the situation to a teacher in a PD session or meeting where you know the principal or the person running the PD likes to embarrass, intimidate, or demean the participants. There is fear while you sit in the room. Not enough fear to not come to the mandatory meeting, but enough that it impacts how you act in the PD or meeting. There is little willingness to put yourself out there if you know you will be beat down. So, unless adults can go into a situation knowing that intimidation, embarrassment, and demeaning is what they will be subjected to and not have that twinge of fear, I doubt we can expect that high school students would be any different. They are humans with emotions.

    Now, that is not to say that there aren't a few students who confront the fear head on with actions that don't look like fear, but few people don't care about being embarrassed, intimidated, or demeaned in front of others.
     
  25. teacherbatman

    teacherbatman Companion

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    How fear is used in education is an interesting topic of its own. It also depends on what school we're at, and what kind of kids we're dealing with. I have been in schools where the predominant motivator is fear. The students fear that they won't pass the class or get into college, that they'll get in trouble, that they won't be accepted or cared about, and so on. Many teachers feel that the only way they can control their classroom is to use this kind of fear against the students, in order to get them to work and behave. Of course, these teachers fear that they will lose their jobs if they are deemed ineffective, so they develop many classroom policies out of this fear. Fear as a motivator permeates our education system, our workplace, and our society as a whole. I would bet that if you could "smell" fear, a lot of schools would be stinky places.

    An example of a different kind of motivator would be for students and employees to realize that becoming an intelligent, good person is a great goal in its own right. How many students are motivated by a hope for prosperity, rather than fear of failure? :eek:hmy: I plan on writing an article soon that explores "fearful" vs "fearless" education models, and the implications of each in determining policy.
     
  26. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    Exactly. The kids can respect you 100%, but once they realize that Admin does not have your back (especially in regards to consequences), your respect level diminishes.

    IMO, a huge part of students respecting you has to do with you being the authority figure and having some "power" to establish rules and consequences and then being able to stand firm and back these up. No power to do these things? Then much of that "respect" only comes if the child likes you.
     
  27. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    It does depend on environment. I know many more students motivated by their need to make money in the future then by any fear of failing in school. Basically, they want to be rich in the future, but don't care how they do in school now.

    Many of my students only fear failing if it means that they won't graduate - they don't fear failing classes that they don't need to meet grad requirements and they don't care if they barely pass the ones they do need. Overall, there is little real fear of failure because the consequences of failing are not "real" to my kids.
     
  28. donald

    donald New Member

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    The only rule I had in my classroom was, Don’t Touch the Thermostat. But there was another rule, unwritten, yet still the most important, and it was for me to follow: Respect the Students. In practice, that meant Don’t Waste Their Time. If you don’t waste their time, every minute of class, every piece of homework, will be valuable to them.
     
  29. teacherbatman

    teacherbatman Companion

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    Definitely!
     

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