The National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ), a self-appointed group that generated quite a stir in 2006 with its report about reading education (“What Education Schools Aren’t Teaching About Reading–and What Elementary Teachers Aren’t Learning“), released a report about the absence of high-quality instruction in classroom management for prospective teachers in December of 2013: Training our teachers: Classroom management. Readers of Behavior Mod will likely find the report rather distressing, because it shows a glaring absence of tutelage in the use of behavioral principles in teaching.
The NCTQ identified five classroom management strategies that it considered especially valuable for students to acquire during their teacher preparation programs:
The 2010 International Precision Teaching Conference will be held in Seattle (WA, US) 4-6 November 2010. Sponsored by the Standard Celeration Society, a group that promotes the use of systematic data collection procedures and objective analysis of instructional practices, the conference promises to have lots of reports that will appeal to readers of Behavior Mod. There will be special rates for students, excellent presentations, lots of chances for interaction with knowledgable folks. Check it out!
Where: Holiday Inn, 211 Dexter Ave. North, Seattle, WA 98109—Hotel Front Desk: 1-206-728-8123 | Hotel Fax: 1-206-728-2779 (Group Reservation Code: Morningside
When: 4-6 November 2010
Registration: See the Celeration.org page pointing to the Paypal form for the registration link!
Teacher A: Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we didn’t have to use any aversive procedures. Punishment is such a drag.
Teacher B: Yes! I agree. Positive reinforcement is sooo powerful—shaping, schedules, maintenance, and all that. You can do just about everything with it.
Teacher A: Really. I mean, we should make our classes totally positive this year. No negatives. None!
As strongly as I advocate the use of positive strategies in classroom management (“Catch ’em being good!”), I have to acknowlege that there are at least three reasons it is impossible to create behavior management systems that exclusively employ positive reinforcement. Here’s why reasonable folks should resist the superficial appeal of the all-positive or positives-only Chimera.
Continue reading ‘Why not only positives?’
In “Controlling a classroom isn’t as easy as ABC” Seema Mehta of the Los Angeles (CA, US) Times describes teachers’ struggles and successes with classroom management. She also reports what teachers say are important and unimportant components of management.
Not only does she describe conflicts in the classrooms, but the recommendations she received about management show conflicts, too. She captures this disagreement concisely with this example: “Some teachers, for example, offer rewards for good behavior; others believe that creates a false motivation.”
Here are recommendations I gleened from the teachers in Mr. Mehta’s article:
- Follow through
- Clear behavioral expectations
- Automatic consequences
- Address misbehavior quickly and dispassionately
- Ignore what you learn in teacher education
For the most part, these seem sensible and appropriate. But, they also seem platitudinous and generic. If teachers are served this sort of stuff in teacher education, then I can even agree with the last one.
Instead, we need to teach more operational and evidence-based practices. I hope that’s what I accomplish in my classes. Mayhaps I don’t. Sigh.
Link to “Controlling a classroom isn’t as easy as ABC.”
In a story entitled “Teaching as a rewarding second career” in the Waynseboro (VA, US) News Virginian, Bob Stuart describes the experience of Chris Eldredge, an electrical engineer who changed careers and became a middle school math teacher. Mr. Stuart reports that Mr. Eldredge came to appreciate the importance of learning classroom management skills.
Continue reading ‘Career switching teachers need management skills’