• Aaron Daffern

Take CHARGE of the Classroom #20: Conclusion

This is post #20 in a 20-post series designed to disrupt outdated behavior management models and help you create the classroom culture of your dreams. This post contains excerpts from my book Take CHARGE of the Classroom.

Before you begin the journey toward empowering your students to embrace the power of their own learning, you have to know who you’re bringing on the journey. It’s hard to take students to a place you’ve never been to, so the first step in classroom management is actually self-management. Gaining true, not phony, confidence in your role, and learning to not shrink from your own power and potential, comes from examining your purpose, your positivity, and offering protection.

Our identity as humans, and the social connections that identity entails, is key to understanding the power of teaching and learning. At its heart, teaching is about relationships. The impact of your teaching is directly proportional to the quality of the relationships you have with your students. Trying to teach students yet ignoring your relationship to them is like trying to start a campfire and ignoring the fact that it’s pouring outside. You understand the true heart of teaching when you center on relationships, respect, and release.

Changing behavior, and empowering students to govern themselves successfully, is a large part of classroom management. To that end, the next three steps in the Take CHARGE model all work together to support change management. You make the path toward improvement clearer when you anticipate problems and seek to minimize them ahead of time. This happens when you practice procedures, increase productivity, and spend extra time planning for upcoming lessons.

Additionally, the power of your attention, and learning how to direct it appropriately, is the most powerful weapon you have in your war against misbehavior. Differential social attention, or choosing to give weight only to behaviors that meet your expectations, reinforces what you want to see more of without resorting to shaming or nagging. Your attention, when focused on positive actions and attitudes, can painlessly train your students that to get your attention they’ll need to meet your expectations.

Most students are doing the best they can. When their best isn’t good enough, teachers can help grow certain qualities in them to improve their learning and social behaviors. Instructing students in interpersonal skills helps them improve their emotional literacy and gives them better tools to use when interacting with others. Intrapersonal skills help bolster their resilience while intellectual skills encourage them to take a more active part in their learning.

Finally, the entire framework up to this point is doomed to fail if the final piece, engagement, is forgotten. Even the most well-behaved students will find it hard to concentrate if they are bored to death. More than simply keeping students entertained, engaging students drives straight at the heart of every educator’s desire, increased student achievement. When student motivation is understood, educators can use it to design instruction that engages all students. As teachers understand memory systems and how students make meaning, they can ensure that students are not just interested in their lessons but remember them and can apply them when needed.

To read more posts in this series, click here.

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