Here are 7 frequent classroom management blunders, and what research shows you should do instead, either our emotions get the better of us or we relapse into old but ineffective routines.
Steve Jobs was dismissed from school when he was in 3rd grade because he was such a problem. Attempts to rectify his behavior backfired, resulting in disobedience and even more wrongdoing.
Jobs admits, “I was bored in school.” “And I morphed into a teeny-tiny horror.”
Jobs’ statement implies that it’s a fallacy to believe that poor behavior is always motivated by a desire to flout the rules, or that punishing methods can successfully address the fundamental causes of student behavior. Mistreatment at home might lead to increased hostility at school for certain kids. Oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) or another type of conduct disorder affects around one out of every sixteen children. Pupils, like Jobs, may become agitated in class and act out conduct pranks, or disrupt other students.
Misconduct can be an important element of a child’s social-emotional development. Children’s allegiances shift from adults to peers when they enter puberty, and their abstract thinking abilities develop substantially, enabling them to debate, even challenge—long-held authority systems. What appears to be rule-breaking is a mechanism for kids to test limits and demonstrate their independence.
While this may seem self-evident to experienced instructors, research reveals that teacher education programs continue to emphasize the establishment of harsh norms and the imposition of punishments for disobedience. This could work in the short term, but it’s not likely to result in long-term change.
Here are 7 frequent classroom management blunders, and what research recommends you should do instead, whether our feelings get the best of us or we lapse into comfortable but unproductive patterns.
MISTAKE #1: Reacting To Behavior At The Surface Level (And Not The Underlying Reasons)
It’s possible that two kids misbehaving—for instance, if they’re being disruptive—are doing it for different reasons. “A method that eliminates one student’s off-task conduct may exacerbate the off-task behavior of the other,” researchers write in a 2010 study. Teachers should explore the underlying causes of misconduct rather than reacting instinctively. For example, if one kid is dealing with a distressing new situation at home, a different response will be required than if another youngster is trying to get attention from classmates.
“Defining a misbehavior based on how it appears tells us nothing about why it happened and frequently doesn’t help us in our behavior-change efforts,” the researchers write.
Nina Parrish, a special-education teacher in Virginia, says she generally looks for trends when dealing with disobedience. What occurs before and following the behavior? Who is the intended audience? When is it going to happen? “Behaviors assist kids in obtaining desirable outcomes or avoiding negative outcomes,” she writes. Teachers can manage misbehavior more constructively if they can work out what a student’s goals are.
MISTAKE #2: Assume It’s Not An Academic Problem
It’s easy to be cynical about student misconduct, but it’s more often than you may believe that it arises from well-intentioned academic challenges. Researchers evaluated several reasons why students misbehave, such as a lack of self-discipline, motivation, or a desire to impress peers, in a 2018 study. Surprisingly, they discovered that academic deficiencies accounted for 20% of misbehavior: either students didn’t comprehend the work or the task was too difficult, and misbehavior served as an outlet for their displeasure.
MISTAKE #3: Confronting Even The Smallest Imperfections
Inexperienced instructors may feel compelled to notice and correct all classroom misconduct, but attempting to eliminate minor disturbances might help boost them in the long term.
Negative attention—pointing out when students aren’t paying attention or talking briefly in class, for example—was found to make children feel less attached to the class, leading to more behavioral issues later on, according to a 2016 study. “Teachers might inadvertently engage in a negative punishment cycle,” according to the study, a downward spiral that “really increases pupils’ incorrect behavior.” What’s the result? When a student is punished for not paying attention, they are more prone to retreat and stew in their anger than refocus on their studies.
Instead of chastising children, teachers should emphasize good behavior, such as completing work promptly or switching between tasks quickly. Nonverbal cues like “the look” or hand gestures can also be used to urge pupils to pay attention subtly.
MISTAKE #4: Applying Time-Out Corners
According to a 2019 study, putting kids in the corner as a form of punishment might generate emotions of shame or humiliation, damaging your connection with them and compromising the trust you’ll need for healthy learning.
The study’s authors wrote, “Children in school struggle to preserve self-esteem amid the competition for reputation, grades, and social rankings.” “When an adult instills in a child the conviction that he or she is unworthy…the essential components of cognitive autonomy, self-respect, and self-assurance, are weakened.”
Every classroom at a Fall-Hamilton primary school in Nashville has a peace corner, which serves as an alternative to a time-out area and allows kids to relax, reflect on their thoughts and feelings, and develop self-regulation skills. It’s a means for children to acquire the capacity “to know what to do when they’re irritated or furious,” according to Principal Mathew Portell.
Unlike time-out corners, which are often seen as punitive, peace corners are utilized by all students. Students can go there voluntarily, within reason—”so it’s not a stigmatizing location.” Importantly, there are activities strewn throughout the room to assist pupils to develop self-regulation skills, ranging from breathing exercises to a chart that allows them to reflect on their decisions and make better ones in the future.
MISTAKE #5: Names And Other Form Of Public Shaming
Publicly identifying pupils who are unruly or act out is a popular — but detrimental — technique. Several examples are highlighted in a 2019 study: The corridors of one school are lined with lists of pupils who have been assigned detention. At another school, instructors track misconduct by writing kids’ names on the whiteboard or using color-coded stickers as a grading system—red for poor behavior, blue for good. Data walls track student tardiness or absences, which can further hurt children by publicly showing bad test scores and grades.
The researchers claim that these shaming methods “fail to deter future acts of misbehavior and may make problems worse.” Rather than publicly chastising pupils, teachers should seek them individually and inspire them to reflect on the transgression, consider its cause, and accept responsibility for rectifying it.
MISTAKE #6: Expecting Compliance
Expecting pupils to comply without pouring in the emotional effort is a futile struggle. Many kids will simply rebel, challenge limits, or engage in power conflicts if you demand it. Building a strong connection built on trust and empathy is essential for effective classroom management: In a 2014 study, researchers emphasize that “classroom management is not really about managing kids or expecting immaculate conduct.” “Instead, successful management is about assisting students in managing their learning and activities regularly.”
To help students develop the social-emotional development they need to be able to regulate their behavior, teachers should focus on proactive strategies like positive greetings at the door, purposefully building and working to maintain a relationship, co-creating educational norms with students, and continuing to develop an active physical presence.
MISTAKE #7: Failing To Check Your Bias
Numerous studies have found that instructors mistakenly regard students of color as less capable and violent than White students and that they may enforce regulations inconsistently, eroding trust and relationships. When compared to their White colleagues, instructors offer Black pupils fewer warnings to fix their misconduct before sending them to the principal’s office, according to 2019 research.
Students of race may have a “trust gap” as a result of perceived injustice. According to the authors of a 2017 study, “African American kids were more aware of racial prejudice in school disciplinary judgments, and as this knowledge expanded, it predicted a loss of faith in school, culminating in a substantial trust deficit in seventh grade.” This resulted in more discipline issues as well as a decline in motivation in applying to college.
Teachers may take a few steps to reduce disciplinary prejudice by being aware of their inherent biases all have them—and making it a habit to assess any disciplinary measures they use to see if there are any areas where they can improve.
However, instructors aren’t the only ones who can help. With worldwide racial justice rallies, Andrew Ford, a data scientist at the New York City Department of Education, says that schools must “take a close look at themselves and identify practices that contribute to systematic racism—and then to alter them.” He suggests that schools use a “data equality” approach, looking at how “opportunity, results, and surroundings” differ across racial lines. Are disciplinary measures disproportionately applied to specific groups? Do disciplinary actions yield the expected results? If not, what is the reason?
About the article
Classroom management is crucial since it has a direct impact on your pupils’ capacity to learn as well as your ability to teach. It has an impact on a teacher’s capacity to be productive while still ENJOYING their job. Above all, a well-managed classroom has a significant influence on students’ academic progress. In this article, we discussed 7 classroom management mistakes and the research on how to fix them.