Improve School Climate:
It may be a new year, but you are probably still dealing with the same old "kid problems." The bad attitudes, disrespect, peer conflict, lying, school failure or family problems didn't change when you flipped the page on the calendar.
Don't let last year's problems create another difficult year. Resolve to stop using last year's failed solutions, and instead substitute updated, more effective methods like those contained in our books, instant ebooks, online and live workshops.
I'm workshop presenter and keynote speaker Ruth Herman Wells, M.S. These innovative classroom management strategies are intended to improve school climate faster than conventional methods. I've worked hard to ensure that that your school climate is enhanced when you use these novel strategies.
This may be the right moment to stop using methods that didn't work well in 2005, and will fare no better in 2006. If you don't decide now to switch to more updated, more effective methods, you may continue to find your job discouraging and frustrating, and your students may continue to struggle and be very hard to manage. What better time to make the switch than as you flip the page on the calendar? You might actually discover that working with difficult kids doesn't have to be so difficult.
Resolve in 2006 to try these creative, new ideas to replace some of those worn-out, failed interventions that you should leave behind in 2005 if you really want to improve your school climate now.
Classroom Management Strategies to
Improve School Climate
1. Chronic Problems Don't Have to Be Chronic
Classic chronic problems– like students misbehaving when they need help– do not have to be "the way it is." You can change chronic problem areas, and you should, because these problems take a huge toll on you, and on your students.
RESOLVE to Stop Chronic Student Behavior Problems
Here is a brand new intervention to use with students who act out when they need help in class: Teach your students "1, 2, 3, Help Me." It's a system that students can use to easily communicate with you when they need help. "1" means "I can do it on my own." "2" means "I need help starting," and "3" means "I'm going to need help the whole way through." Now, even non-verbal students can easily get help without acting-out.
2. Stop Guessing What to Do
Do you want your doctor guessing how to cure your illness? No, you want her to know what to do. Are you guessing why children are mute or absent? Do you wonder how to contain severe acting out? Guessing is often ineffective and can be dangerous. If you have to guess a lot, it may be a sign that your training may not have sufficiently equipped you to understand the increasingly serious emotional and behavior problems that today's students present.
RESOLVE to Stop Guessing About Student Behavior
If you use the same generic interventions with your entire broad range of students, that's like having a single wrench in your tool box. You would have to use that wrench when you really needed a screwdriver or a hammer. How well would that work? Upgrade your skills with your students to fit all the different types of students and problems that you work with. Start with conduct disorders since conventional methods like character ed, can actually make them much worse– and these are already your hardest-to-manage students. If you are not knowledgeable about conduct disorder, read some of this blog's educational articles on the topic. They are shown in the right hand column of this page
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3. Stop Relying on Talk
Students only remember what you say for about 30 minutes, and even then, they tend to remember only about about half of what you said. Verbiage is not the best access channel to reach all students so stop making it your sole or primary approach.
RESOLVE to Use a Wider Range of Modalities
Here is a dynamite intervention that doesn't rely on just what you say. It gets the job done better than mere speech. It's our popular Poster #37, "If You're Rude, You're Our Dude." It is from our brand new "Behavior Change Handouts: Becoming a Motivated and Prepared Student and Worker" ebook but you can make your own version if you don't want to purchase it. This sign without any verbiage can accomplish more to improve student behavior and school climate than paragraphs of words ever could. The poster is just $8.
As far as not just relying on verbiage as your only classroom and behavior management intervention, think of it this way: If your tool box contained just a wrench, you'd be so happy to discover hammers and screwdrivers. That analogy may apply to the tools you are using to teach or counsel. Are you aware that there is an endless supply of more effective interventions that could make your job easier and your students more successful? Just look at our huge resource website to see, and notice that hundreds of strategies are free.
RESOLVE to Try One New Intervention Every Week
Here is an easy way to get 52 new methods incorporated into your skill set. Add a new, improved technique each week. Our website has has hundreds and hundreds of school climate improvement methods that will work better than your old approaches. The Innovative Solutions area of the website has many, many free strategies and makes a great place to start.
Here is one other place to start: Some older students think they "know it all already." Don't use the conventional method of confronting that belief. Instead, ask them to explain what "repair and deduct" means when said by a tenant with a bad landlord. Few youngsters will know that term even though it could be terribly important. (It means that a tenant can arrange needed repairs when a landlord has failed to do so– plus the tenant can deduct it from the rent. Don't know this? You might have to live without plumbing or heat!)