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The Best Piece Of Classroom Management Advice I’ve Ever Read

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I recently began began a thread on the Edutopia Classroom Management Group (Alice Mercer and I facilitate it) asking people to share the best classroom management advice they’ve ever been given.

I’ve posted about my own choice earlier, but since I’ve been thinking more about it over the past few weeks because of some classroom issues that have come-up, I thought people might find it helpful to share again.

It comes from Marvin Marshall, one of my favorite writers on positive methods of classroom management.

He wrote:

Will what I am about to do or say bring me closer or will it push me away farther from the person with whom I am communicating?

Sometimes — not often, but sometimes — I can lose my temper a bit with a student. Each time that has happened since I read that line, I have been able to remember that wise piece of advice and shift gears. Obviously, it would have been better for me not to get upset in the first place but, of course, I am only human…

It’s similar to the old community organizing adage I often used during my nineteen year community organizing career — after you polarize, always depolarize.

When I first posted about this piece of advice, I included a useful link to a New York Times article titled When The Heart Pays The Price of Anger. The last line of that article is “Life is very lonely when you are always right.”

Feel free to share the best piece of classroom management advice you’ve ever read or heard — either in the comments here or in the Edutopia Classroom Management Discussion Group.

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Author: Larry Ferlazzo

I'm a high school teacher in Sacramento, CA.

3 Comments

  1. Marvin Marshall’s advice is a thought I keep in mind when dealing with my teenage sons . I find it puts the issue we are dealing with into a wider perspective.
    As a teacher:Worth noting for our approach in the classroom.
    May I take this opportunity to thank you for your hard work and sharing.
    An Australian living and teaching in Italy

  2. Well given advice it`s good to keep in mind in stressful situations.

  3. Hi…great advice! It’s similar to what I’ve heard in a particular self-help
    group: “My behavior either brings me closer to a (drink, drug, etc.)-
    or helps me move further away”.

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