Harry & Rosemary Wong say, "The effective teacher thinks, reflects, and implements." Read along this month with the Wongs and find out ways effective teachers use their cumulative knowledge to solve the most persistent problems....
About Ginny Hoover...
Ginny Hoover took an early retirement after 31 years of teaching in Kansas public schools. Her experience spans the 5th through 8th grades, although she does admit to teaching 2nd grade once for summer school. During the last ten years she has functioned as a trainer of teachers in a variety of areas in her district, surrounding districts, professional organizations, and teacher service centers. At the state level Ginny is a state trainer and a writing assessment grader for the KS State Writing Assessment (based on the Six Traits Writing Model), a member of the Kansas Social Studies Committee for writing the social studies standards, benchmarks, and indicators, and the lead trainer for the state in government and civics.
Recently, Teacher TimeSavers has published a variety teaching units and tutoring hookups that Ginny wrote and designed. These include a literary unit for Taming the Star Runner, Hookups for Language Arts, Transcripts of Trials for Goldilocks, The Wolf, and Mr. Dad, and Tactile/Kinesthetic Activity Patterns.
The Gifts of Children by Hoover and Carroll Killingsworth, a book about recognizing, acknowledging, and refining the gifts of children, is scheduled to be published some time this year. Visit Teachers Helping Children--The Gifts Project for additional information.
Ginny was selected by iUniverse.com personnel to develop their middle school site for teachers who wish to be published. On this site, teachers can publish articles expressing their ideas and opinions on education. In addition, iUniverse.com is a print on demand site that will publish books for teachers.
by Ginny Hoover
Reasonable Rules, Proper Training of Students, Persistence
If you have spent much time on the Teacher Net boards, you'll realize that many of the questions involve some form of classroom management. Often I feel that the element missing is persistence...
We must have reasonable rules. Rules that reflect a respect for the individual, the classroom learning environment, and the teacher.
There must be more than just a "telling of rules." There must a period of training and then throughout the year "attitude" adjustments as students slack off in following the rules.
There must be a persistence by the teacher to make sure that rules are followed.
Again, this is where teachers having trouble with classroom management lose out. Once students are aware of the standards, the teacher must make sure that students realize he/she will enforce those rules.
It is easy to fall into the "woe is me" mode, but when things are allowed to slide by, the teacher is granting classroom control to the students. Then the next feeling that follows is a feeling of powerlessness. I have to say that once the class has been allowed to move that far away from the management plan, it will be very difficult to reclaim it. Often the next feeling is who to blame...not enough administrative support...the neighboring teacher... Not that all will blame others. In fact, some will begin blaming themselves and will start feeling unable to cope.
What to do? If this happens, there are steps to take. These are my recommendations:
Move things around in the room, change the seating chart, and make a visible difference in the room. This will create a new "look" to go with the new effort. Tangible!
Immediately quit teaching anything that requires excessive teacher input and move to a review mode or introductory mode that will give the teacher freedom to enforce management. The teacher will now focus on management until there is an understanding of the room's standards.
Make any changes in the management plan needed--any trouble spots that became evident once the plan was in motion. Don't worry that students will become confused...students are adaptable.
Announce that the classroom management plan is being enforced and/or adjusted. Take some heat off the students by acknowledging that lack of persistence in enforcing the rules is part of the problem. The teacher then is not blaming the class--as that just causes more problems (blaming is not productive). During this discussion emphasize a need for a positive learning environment and mention that a greater level of persistence in enforcement will be present in this new learning environment. List some positives that will result--greater levels of understanding, more freedom for the teacher to help with academic problems, etc.
Of course, these suggestions will need adjustment according to grades level taught, but the ideas are adaptable. You'll find more information at http://www.geocities.com/ginnyks/classroom.html. There are additional ideas from Ginny to reclaim classroom management, links to top discipline plans--including Love and Logic, a site with 700 links to classroom management ideas, and help with learning styles and multiple intelligences.