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Positive reinforcement is key to good classroom management

By Carolina Astrain
Jan. 4, 2014 at 11:03 p.m.
Updated Jan. 3, 2014 at 7:04 p.m.


Here are some classroom management tips from Cade Middle School Band Director, Miranda Partida:

•  "Speaking to a child out in the hallway is better than correcting a child in front of the whole class." It gains respect from the child and in return they will respect you, the teacher. I am not a regular education teacher, I don't teach 25 students or less in the classroom, I teach 30-55 students in a classroom. Children like routine and want to follow a routine. No one likes change, not even adults, especially in the work place. How do you think children will feel in your classroom if you constantly change routine on them?"

• "Have the agenda on the board everyday and have them come into the room the same way everyday. Eventually you as the teacher can step back and watch the class run itself. This is especially great when you have a substitute, things will run smoothly for them, and they will have a wonderful experience and will want to come back."

• "Follow the discipline plan your administration has put into place. Let the child know where they are in terms of going to the office with a referral and call the parents to know their child is acting up in the classroom. Typically the parent will handle the situation and all will be well again in the classroom."

Source: Miranda Partida

Cade Middle School Band Director Miranda Partida was in the cafeteria on morning duty when she asked a student if he was finished with his breakfast.

"As soon as I tapped him on his shoulder, he flipped out and started cussing me out," Partida, 30, said. "He wouldn't stop; he just kept yelling."

Cussing, Partida said, is a common behavior problem at the middle-school level, which is why she thinks classroom management is important to master.

The better behaved a student is in the classroom, the more likely they'll behave throughout the rest of the campus, Partida said.

"You don't want that to be going on in a classroom because you don't want other kids to start doing it," Partida said.

A report recently released by the National Council on Teacher Quality, argues that education schools are not investing enough in preparing student teachers for how to manage a classroom.

Arthur McGee, managing director of Teacher Preparation Studies at the National Council on Teacher Quality, said, education schools need to add more structure to the way they teach classroom management.

"There's a lot that needs to be done in order to make student teaching work more effectively," McGee said. "The only way student teachers are going to get better is by getting good feedback."

For teachers returning to the their classroom with hopes of an improved second semester, McGee suggests that teachers review their classroom rules and get their students to put them into practice.

For the Victoria school district, which has a 63 percent economically disadvantaged student population, McGee suggests being more explicit about rules.

"Do a quick inventory," McGee said. "Do my kids know what the rules are?"

Praise, McGee said, is another important tool.

"Praise should be connected to the activity that generates it," McGee said. "Verbal praise is cheap and highly effective."

Praise should be given when a student is authentically engaged in the classroom, said Susanne Carroll, Victoria school district executive director of curriculum, assessment and instruction.

"Authentic engagement can look like a lot different things," Carroll said. "For example, it could be four students sitting in a group discussing a passage."

A key element to authentic engagement, Carroll said, is enthusiasm.

Since the appointment of a new superintendent in the summer of 2012 and the shuffling of leadership throughout the district, the stakes have increased for Victoria teachers this year, Carroll said.

Walk-throughs, in which a principal or an assistant principal drops in on a classroom to observe a teacher's performance, have increased, she said.

"It's good for students to see their campus leaders in the classroom," Carroll said. "And it holds the students accountable, too."

Partida, who is in her eighth year of teaching, suggests setting expectations the first day of school and never letting off of them.

"If your classroom sees you not get onto to one student for disobeying your classroom expectations, then the rest of the class will start to push you to see how far they can act up without getting reprimanded," Partida said.



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