Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

September 29, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Excellent List Of Eleven “Classroom Discipline Mistakes”

Marvin Marshall, a great writer on positive classroom management, has published an excellent list of eleven “Classroom Discipline Mistakes.”

You definitely want to read them all, but here are his first three:

1. BEING REACTIVE

Teachers become stressed by reacting to inappropriate behavior. It is far more effective to employ a proactive approach to inspire students to want to behave responsibly and then use a non-adversarial response when they don’t.

2. RELYING ON RULES

Rules are meant to control—not inspire. Rules are necessary in games; however, when used between people, rules create adversarial relationships. Relying on rules is a major contributor to the punishment culture in many schools today. The reason simple: If a student violates a rule, the teacher automatically moves into an enforcement mode. A mindset of rules leads to a punishment mindset, whereas a mindset of procedures promotes a coaching approach that inspires responsible behavior through expectations and reflection. View the effect of relying on rules

3. AIMING AT OBEDIENCE

Obedience does not create desire. A more effective approach is to promote responsibility; obedience then follows as a natural by-product.

I’m adding his post to The Best Posts On Classroom Management.

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September 8, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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NEA Today Unexpectedly Runs Article Featuring Classroom Practice Of…Me?

justice

More Teachers Adopting Restorative Discipline Practices is the title of an NEA Today story that unexpectedly features my classroom practice.

I had a short email interaction with the writer over the summer, but hadn’t thought much would come of it.

You might find it interesting.

I’m adding it to The Best Posts On Classroom Management.

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August 27, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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“The Dos and Don’ts of Classroom Management: Your 25 Best Tips”

edutop

Apparently, long ago when, for awhile, I moderated a classroom management forum at Edutopia, I invited readers to share their best classroom management tips.

Well, Edutopia just put them all together in a a nice slideshow that I think readers will find useful.

I’m adding it to The Best Posts On Classroom Management.

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August 7, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
4 Comments

Good Classroom Management Advice: “The Person Who Asks The Questions Controls The Conversation”

If a student an I are having a bad day — a fortunately rare coincidence, but one that nevertheless still happens — sometimes our conversation can denigrate into one that is not helpful to anyone.

Marvin Marshall, who writes a lot about positive classroom management techniques, offers some good advice in that situation:

The Person Who Asks The Questions Controls The Conversation

In other words, if the conversation is going south, asking a question could be one way to get it on track again — “What do you think we should do about this situation?”; “What do you think would help fix this problem?”; “How is what is happening now contributing to any goal you have for the future?”; “How could we deal with this situation in a way that would help you achieve a goal you want for the future?”

Obviously, students can offer retorts that are not constructive to any of those questions, too, but the strategy is worth keeping in mind.

As is other advice Marvin has offered, which I think is the best classroom management guidance I’ve ever heard:

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?

Do you have any good one-sentence classroom management advice that’s good and easy for teachers to remember?

I’m adding this post to The Best Posts On Classroom Management.

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August 4, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
2 Comments

“Detentions make no difference, pupils claim”

a-new-study-suggests

As any regular reader of this blog or my books knows, I’m not a big fan of using punishment in the classroom (you can see many of my previous posts on the topic here).

I know they have their role in very serious offenses, but I’ve been fortunate enough in my teaching career to be able to “cut off at the pass” most of those serious offenses before they’ve become a reality. I’m no saint, however, and each year I usually send less than a handful of students to the office just to get them out of class that day — it usually happens when their bad day coincides with me having a bad day.

A new study just came out in the United Kingdom where they surveyed students about effective punishments, and they said detentions weren’t much of a deterrent. I’m certainly more than a little skeptical of a student survey on this topic, but it’s still not a surprising result. The survey found that the teacher contacting home was more effective, and I’ve definitely found that to be true. One of my favorite interventions, though, is to NOT call home after misbehavior. Instead, I tell him/her that I know they can step-up, and that I am going to call home in a week’s time. I’d like to be able to say great things about them to their parents, and they have a week to show me. And I’ll tell the parents whatever I see happening over the next week. Without fail, the student is on the ball for the next way and usually far beyond that time…

What do you think of using detention?

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April 16, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Surprise, Surprise — Study Finds Shouting At Children “creates further discipline problems”

Mothers-substitute

To few teachers surprise, a new study has found that shouting at children is counter-productive. You can read all about it at Shouting at children ‘increases their behaviour problems’ in the British newspaper, The Telegraph.

There have been plenty of studies (and years of countless teachers experience) that have found the same thing (you can find out more at The Best Posts On Classroom Management).

Do I sometimes raise my voice at my class? Of course, we’re all human. But, fortunately, I seldom do so.

I just don’t understand why some continue to use shouting as a part of their classroom management strategy.

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January 27, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
1 Comment

How To Turn A Negative Consequence Into A Positive Classroom Management Strategy

'Let's talk about classroom management #ESL. #clilrocks,' photo (c) 2013, Lui Palacios - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

Anyone who has regularly read this blog or my books know that I’m a big believer in “positive,” not “punitive,” classroom management strategies (see The Best Posts On Classroom Management).

At the same time, however, there are some occasions that negative consequences are called for — for “serious” offenses and for those times (and for those students) when all the positive classroom management tools in one’s toolbox aren’t working.

A key issue, though, is how — in those situations — can we maximize the chances of making a negative consequence part of a positive classroom management strategy….

I’ve written extensively about one way to do it — see a previous post (see Have You Ever Taught A Class That Got “Out Of Control”? and in my books where, in one, I devoted an entire chapter to that particular strategy).

Another way is doing what a number of teachers do — when an offense is committed, asking the student what consequence they think is appropriate.

Recently, though, I’ve tried a different version of that second strategy — instead of waiting for the offense to happy, engaging with students in advance about what negative consequence would get them to think twice about committing the offense.

Two of my students — good kids — have had a very difficult time controlling themselves. For months, I had tried every tool in my toolbox, but nothing seemed to work.

Then, in an individual and private conversation with each, I asked how much time out of our fifty-five minute class they felt they were focused on what we were studying. Each of them replied — quite accurately — about twenty minutes. We sort of repeated what we had gone over in previous meetings — talking about what they wanted to do in the future, how self-control and “grit” was important in making those future dreams happen, etc. I shared my frustration that we had tried many things in the past, including many of their suggestions — changing seats, stress balls, etc. — and nothing had seemed to work. I told them I wanted to continue to be flexible and positive, and it had also reached the point that I wanted to explore negative consequences.

I asked what would be a negative consequence that they thought would deter them from their typical misbehavior — what would they remember to keep in mind that would make them think twice about acting out in class? Both identified an immediate call to their parents, and we worked out how I would be able to get a hold of them. Then, I asked them what positive behavior interventions they thought had been more effective, and asked each to develop a sequence of escalating interventions. They each said they would like to try a permanent seat change (which we had tried before) to see if that would help, and they chose the seat. They said if they were acting out, they would want to be sent out of class for a few minutes, which I agreed to (though I told each that I would rather they took responsibility and went out on their own when they felt they were “losing it” instead of waiting for me to tell them).

If those didn’t work, they then said I should immediately call home and tell their parents how they were behaving.

Since that conversation, we’ve done the seat changes, and neither has chosen to go outside or had to be sent outside, and I’ve also not had to call home, either. It appears that it took them identifying a potential negative consequence in order for the positive strategies to work.

It’s not a strategy I would use all the time, but it’s just another tool in my teacher’s toolbox.

I guess in classroom management a positive plus a potential negative can sometimes equal a positive….

I know teachers have used this kind of process in developing class rules and consequences, but the idea of trying it in advance individually was a new one for me…

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