Innovative Classroom Management Techniques to Win the Race to the Top


classroom management blog


Innovative Classroom Management Techniques to
Win the Race to the Top


Here is the most overlooked solution to win education's "race to the top": Train kids to be successful students. It's the classroom management technique that makes sense and isn't just another passing fad.

Kids are not born instant students, magically knowing what to wear to school, how to interact with teachers, work hard, arrive on time, and be motivated.

Years ago, parents taught all that, but many families don't reliably prepare students in that manner any more. That means that many teachers are working with untrained, unmotivated, uninterested students, who act untrained, unmotivated, and uninterested. Since families no longer reliably provide this preparation, and schools don't offer it on a formal, comprehensive basis, it is unrealistic for educators to expect kids to have and use School Skills.

Without being formally and systematically taught all the specific School Skills they need, kids can no more just "know" how to be students, than they could just "know" geometry or spelling. For kids of any age to succeed as students, they must be provided training, and all the consequences in the world won't compensate for the lack of skills.

To expect kids to know how to be students without providing them any training, is no different than expecting kids to swim without providing them any training. Just as some youngsters might go down in the water, you see some youngsters going down in your school or agency.

To help more of your youngsters to stay afloat, you need to teach them the skills, motivation, and attitude they need to succeed in school.

So, make a resolution for the new year: Resolve to stop working with untrained students, and instead provide your students the School Skills training they need. You might spend the rest of your year working with trained, motivated, prepared students. That's the way to win your race to the top.

Improved Classroom Management Techniques

Train Kids to Be Students:

STEP 1– Motivate, Motivate, Motivate

grammar posterIf you were enrolled in a class called "Everything You Need to
Know About Funeral Insurance," you'd run from the class as fast as you could because you saw no relevance. Sadly, some of your students view your class in the same light.

The difference is that the content you offer is critical for survival. It is critical that you use innovative, effective techniques to motivate students to appreciate the value of your content area before you start to teach it.

Otherwise, those students may absorb about the same amount of information you would learn in a semester of Funeral Insurance class. Without motivating students before commencing instruction, your race to the top, can quickly become a race to the bottom.

Poster #216 (shown above) uses humor to slip by any resistance students have, and can begin to convince youngsters that learning grammar could have importance. This device works great as a poster, worksheet, or written on your marker board. You can buy it here, or make your own.


Train Kids to Be Students:

STEP 2– Skills, Skills, Skills

school rules poster 197Have you ever added up how much time you spend hassling unending School Skills problems instead of providing instruction? If you're typical, you lose a whopping 22 minutes of instruction time per hour hassling frustrating, nonstop problems like punctuality, attitude, participation, disruption, and not following the dress code.

What a waste of precious instruction time, yet that loss can be avoided if you teach School Skills prior to expecting them.

Shown above is Poster 197. It actually begins the process of teaching students how to follow your school's dress code policy. Use this item as a worksheet or poster, or discuss its content with students. However you use this technique, be sure you are teaching dress code skills in the same comprehensive way you teach academic skills.

Just stating expectations is not sufficient for successful academic instruction, and it's not sufficient for successful School Skills Training instruction either. Poster #197 is just a start; to teach students to follow the dress code, you have to teach them as thoroughly as you would teach any academic area. One quick intervention will not do the trick.


Train Kids to Be Students:

STEP 3– Attitude, Attitude, Attitude

motivational posterIf you had spent the past 4 months, 5 days a week in Funeral
Insurance class, what's your attitude looking like right about

Pretty horrible, right?

The same is true for students who have now spent 4 months in school, an experience they find as useless as your Funeral Insurance class. Until you adjust the negative attitudes, your content instruction can just be "blah-blah-blah" to students who view you and your class as completely bogus.

Cut through the negative attitudes by convincing students of the tremendous value you are offering them. Since grads earn $329,000 more than everyone else, be sure to "wow"
students by telling them that.

Poster 168, shown above, illustrates the point. You can use the phrase pictured on the poster, or make your own. Notice that the diploma on the poster is actually made of money. That might make an excellent discussion starter. Purchase Poster #168 here.


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About Ruth Herman Wells

Author/Trainer Ruth Herman Wells, M.S. is the director of Youth Change Professional Development Workshops. In 2011, Ruth was rated as a Top 10 U.S. K-12 educational and motivational speaker by Speakerwiki and Speakermix. She is the author of several book series, a columnist, adjunct professor for two universities, and a popular keynote speaker and workshop presenter. Ruth's dozens of books includes Temper and Tantrum Tamers and Turn On the Turned-Off Student.