Fix Classroom Management Problems: Repair Your Broken School Year

 

teacher classroom management blog

 

Fix Classroom Management Problems:
Repair Your Broken School Year

 
 

 

K-12 Keynote Speaker Ruth Herman Wells

There was definitely a theme to many of our Fall '07 workshops.

I'm the trainer for the live Breakthrough Strategies to Teach and Counsel Troubled Youth Workshops, Ruth Herman Wells, M.S.

In our live behavior and classroom management workshops, many of you continued to emphasize that your classroom and school have become seriously out-of-control.

To start off the new year, it only makes sense to give our top tips to repair serious problems at your school or agency.

By the way, for those of you who did attend one of our Fall seminars, we have a new page full of the resources you heard and saw in the workshop. This Past Workshop Participants Only page is just for those of you who have attended the workshop. Reach it by clicking here.

Here are our initial suggestions for what to do to improve problematic classroom management enough to salvage a school year that has been unusually difficult or dangerous.

 

Strategies to Fix

Classroom Management Problems

 

Start Over

Many professionals do not realize that it is always easier to stop the problematic class than to salvage it.

No, you don't have to board up your classroom and hang a "Closed" sign on the door, but understand that it is much harder to fix a broken class than to just start over.

To start over, you can declare the old class as done, and begin fresh in every possible regard. Scrap the rules and make new ones. Rearrange your furniture, develop a new seating plan, and even consider renaming your class. It will also be important to discuss the problems with the class, and to work with your students to make this new venture work better.

However, these initial changes will not be enough. You have to be different and teach differently. It's way past time to understand that "same-old-same-old" methods will not magically start working.

It may be time to realize that you must upgrade your skills and methods for working with out-of-control youth. Some specific suggestions to begin those upgrades are below.

       


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Classroom Management Problems STOP here

 

It's Not Just About Relationships Anymore

You may really struggle to manage your most misbehaved students if you use relationship-based approaches with all of them.

While we love relationship-based methods with most students, youngsters are not one-method-fits-all creatures. Relationship-based methods (including character ed, values clarification, trust-building, and praise) will fail with the most unmanageable students, conduct disorders (CDs).

This blog's second and third issues gave you an introduction to conduct disorders. (Click the menu at the top of the page to view those Introductory blog issues.)

Those issues alerted you to avoid most relationship-based and conventional approaches with CDs. If you use just one style of behavior control methods with all your students, you probably have already discovered that "nothing works" to control your class.

Here are some resources that show you methods that will work far better.

If ou want more than just introductory help, click here to get all the information you need on conduct disorders in one place, our Conduct Disorders: All the Best Answers for the Worst Kid Problems book. The bottom line: Until you learn about conduct disorders, regaining control may remain impossible.
 

Become a Fearless Manager

You know the teachers– the ones who can manage almost any class or group.

No one can simply hand you techniques and make you one of those teachers. Even the most updated methods can't hide any fear or worry you may have. Our strategies will help, but they won't alleviate the need to become one of those fearless managers who know that they can manage any class, no matter how difficult.

The truth is that students have amazing radar. They read us adults like open comic books. If part of you is really worried about successfully controlling a group, that fear becomes like neon, and everything else you do is reduced to a whisper.

You need to develop that internal fortitude and certainty that you can manage even the most unmanageable group. To gain that, we suggest watching the true pros of class and group management.

We especially recommend that you find someone with a similar personality and style. Juvenile court and corrections staff, vice-principals, alternative ed teachers, and special ed teachers often provide some of the best models because they have honed their skills with the toughest students.

 

Students Wanted, No Skills Required

Since most schools have no formal curriculum to train kids how to be students, you are expecting students to have skills they may never have been taught.

That's like expecting students to know how to swim even though they've never been taught.

You have to actually teach the school behavior skills that you want students to use in your classroom. Otherwise, you set rules that many students are untrained and unprepared to follow.

You absolutely must teach all the school skills that students need. A few of the most important on a long list include: respect for teachers, how to be part of a class discussion, what words to use, how often to talk out during class, how to get help from teachers, and how to interact with other students.

Be sure you work on students' motivation too. Skill training alone isn't enough. You must convince students that school is incredibly important.

Need dynamic ways to do that? Use the motivational interventions pictured on our posters. You don't have to buy the posters; just read the ideas and use them.

 

Set Behavior Standards and Ensure Compliance

You can not permit the kind of behavior problems that have been occurring at some sites this school year. Some of the participants in our workshops  have described students who are inappropriately touching teachers, openly defying teachers, and entering and leaving classrooms at will.

You can not allow the standards for behavior to slide. There is no way back if you do. Right from the very start, you must have high expectations and compel your students to live up to those standards.

We have heard from teachers who just keep teaching while students refuse to quiet down or pay attention. Imagine the chaos if other compliance-based settings operated in such a manner. For example, would there be any order in a grocery store if the clerk just handed you your groceries after you announce that you'll be taking your groceries but not paying?

You are the "brakes" for out-of-control students. When you don't provide acting-out students with help to stop misbehavior, there is nothing to slow them down.

You must stop instruction and address misconduct. Ideally, you will get to the point where you can prevent disruption before it starts. For now, if you are someone who does need to repair a "broken" school year, be sure to promptly acknowledge and effectively address misbehavior. The longer you wait, the worse it will get.

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    Bring the Breakthrough Strategies Workshop to Your Site

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    teachermissYou have students who struggle. We have solutions for students who struggle…so your job doesn’t have to be so difficult. We have cutting-edge strategies to manage group and classroom management problems like behavior disorders, trauma, disrespect, bullying, emotional issues, withdrawal, substance abuse, tardiness, cyberbullying, delinquency, work refusal, defiance, depression, Asperger’s, ADHD and more.

     

    Schedule the Breakthrough Strategies to Teach and Counsel Troubled Workshop to come to your site. This is the one professional development inservice that produces results, results, results. Call 1.800.545.5736 now. This surprisingly affordable inservice also makes a terrific fund raiser. College credit and 10 professional development clock hours are available. Your staff will finally have the more effective, real-world tools they need to work with today’s challenging, difficult youth.

     

    Contact us now, and begin solving your worst “kid problems” today. Call 1.800.545.5736, or email.

     

    Working with Troubled Students Doesn’t Have to be So Difficult
     


    Behavior & Classroom Management Problem-Solver Blog Articles

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    Library of Congress ISSN: 1526-9981 | Youth Change, Your Problem-Kid Problem-Solver
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Innovative Teaching Strategies: Teach Students Teacher Interaction Skills

 

innovative teaching strategies

 

Innovative Teaching Strategies:
Teach Students Teacher Interaction Skills

 
 

 

Virtually every school expects students to interact appropriately with teachers. However, most schools have no formal, written-down plan to train students to have acceptable teacher interaction skills. Years ago, families more reliably prepared their offspring to respond appropriately to teachers. Unfortunately, that is no longer the case; many youngsters are rude, disruptive, defiant, and disrespectful.

innovative teaching strategyI'm workshop trainer Ruth Herman Wells, M.S., the instructor presenting Youth Change's Breakthrough Strategies to Teach and Counsel Troubled Youth Workshop.

Recently at some of our live workshops around the country, we have been hearing a lot about student misconduct that is becoming far more serious than ever before. Each spring around this time, our Live Expert Help service (shown at the bottom right on any page of our site), begins to generate rather desperate requests for help from teachers who report being increasingly unable to control their classroom.

Based on some of the comments in our live workshops, and from requests for Live Help, it seems important to recap what is acceptable behavior in the classroom. It also seems like a good time to review how to maintain control over seemingly uncontrollable students. Below, you will find the top questions on these topics that we have been getting at our workshop and via our Live Expert Help Page.

All the questions and answers relate to students who are having problems relating acceptable to their teachers. The answers will offer the innovative teaching solution of actually step-by-step training kids to be prepared, motivated students with appropriate teacher interaction skills.

 

Innovative Teaching Strategies That
Build Appropriate Teacher Interaction Skills
 

innovative teachingQ: I have male students who are not just touching female peers inappropriately, but me too. What do I do?

A: This is an example of the increasingly inappropriate behavior being reported by teachers. This type of misconduct rises to a whole new level.

First, the conduct you describe is far beyond what any teacher should tolerate in a classroom, but it is important to note that this behavior is quite likely also illegal as that type of sexual harassment is not usually legally permissible.

Second, you are describing a situation that is extremely unsafe for you and your female students. Your first responsibility as a teacher or youth professional is always safety. This dangerous situation can not continue. You need to seek help immediately from your principal or other comparable resource.

Third, whenever a classroom or group of young people is utterly out of control, it is usually quite difficult to re-gain control. Because of that, we usually strongly recommend that the problematic class or group be terminated– at least as far as your young people are concerned– and a new class or group initiated in its place. It is far easier to start again than to clean up a situation that has deteriorated to the point that you describe.

In the future, we strongly recommend that you set much higher, tighter standards, and force yourself to adhere to them. If you are unsure how to enforce higher standards, get training from us or another source right away. Our live and online Breakthrough Workshop give immediate help. You can also call us at 1.503.982.4220 or click on Live Expert Help at the bottom right corner of each page.

You can always ease up if you start off firm, but it can be nearly impossible to tighten up if you start off being loose. When you are unsure of how to react, always err towards being too firm. Have high expectations for conduct. You can easily ease up if your firmness is unnecessary or too extreme. Your situation is extremely unlikely to get better, and is quite likely to worsen because there are no "brakes" being offered to stop or slow the inappropriate contact. Don't wait until a tragedy happens to take action; get help today.

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innovative ideas for teachers

 

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innovative teaching strategyQ: My students have no clue how to act reasonably towards teachers. What can I do?

A: Before you expect teacher interaction skills, you must teach them. You wouldn't expect math skills until you taught those skills; the same is true with teacher interaction skills.

lastchcovnewTo determine what skills to teach, you can start by making a list of the problems you are seeing. You can include problems like disrespect, verbal abuse, non-compliance, and so on. Next, prioritize that list, putting your biggest concerns at the top. We recommend that safety concerns top the list.

 Next, identify a time to provide teacher interaction skill instruction to your students focusing on the first few items on your list. You can use entire class periods or the start of the class. It doesn't matter where you put the training, but that you do it. You will probably be delighted with the results, but be sure to include motivating students to accept the training. Our Last Chance School Success Guide has very engaging lessons so you don't have to develop ideas on your own.

 

improve classroom managementQ: I have a lot of students who just seem to hate all teachers. Am I right that there is not a lot that I can do to change that?

A: Actually, we have a lot of wonderful student attitude adjustment devices that can re-shape the way these youngsters view and interact with teachers.

innovative teaching methodsHere is an intervention that is a favorite in our live workshops. Create a little manual, like those small booklets that come with a new computer or a new jacket. Call it "A Student's Guide to the Care and Heeding of Teachers," or something similar. (Our version, which is part of our $15 Last Chance School Success Guide is pictured at right; the book is shown above.)

In the manual, you can put humorous text on "What to Do When Your Teacher Doesn't Work Right," and "How to Get Your Teacher to Do What You Want." Next, hang the manual from a thread, and attach it to your sleeve. Inevitably, a student will soon ask: "What's that hanging off your sleeve?" You can respond with feigned surprise at discovering the manual, and then read it to your students. What a fun and unusual way to begin a dialogue.

If you don't want to have to make your own manual, you will find a very funny, nicely illustrated one in our Last Chance School Success Guide. That book also has "A Teacher's Guide to the Care and Heeding of Students," which can quickly engage even the most sour youngster.

 

improve class managementQ: What can I do about the constant interruptions from some students during class?

A: Have you given your students a recommended number of times to talk out per class? We find in our workshops that most teachers haven't provided any quantifiable standard for students to follow. In essence, that means you are asking students to adhere to an unspecified standard. A lot of your students may lack the ability to determine this standard on their own. The first step must be providing a quantifiable standard.

Also, be sure that you teach specific skills like hand raising if you require it. If the interruptions persist, you can require students to turn in a chip or marker to talk. If you recommend students talk 8 times per class, give out 8 chips. There is another version of this last intervention, which you may prefer. Bring a large TV remote control to class, and tell students that you have to point the remote at them to turn on their volume before they are permitted to speak. Students often adore this fun intervention, and it can ease any power struggles that were occurring. You can even put a student in charge of the remote control, which will quickly become a highly coveted job. Students can even earn the opportunity to do that job by talking out properly during class. A chronic problem can become a non-problem.
 

Want more innovative teaching strategies, ideas, tips, tricks?

Check out our state-of-the-art workshops, online courses with affordable college credit and free clock hours, posters, books and ebooks at our Problem Student Problem-Solver Store.

innovative teaching methods

 

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    Reprint or Repost This Article
     

    Bring the Breakthrough Strategies Workshop to Your Site

    Help Unmotivated, Failing, Troubled and Unmanageable Students

    teachermissYou have students who struggle. We have solutions for students who struggle…so your job doesn’t have to be so difficult. We have cutting-edge strategies to manage group and classroom management problems like behavior disorders, trauma, disrespect, bullying, emotional issues, withdrawal, substance abuse, tardiness, cyberbullying, delinquency, work refusal, defiance, depression, Asperger’s, ADHD and more.

     

    Schedule the Breakthrough Strategies to Teach and Counsel Troubled Workshop to come to your site. This is the one professional development inservice that produces results, results, results. Call 1.800.545.5736 now. This surprisingly affordable inservice also makes a terrific fund raiser. College credit and 10 professional development clock hours are available. Your staff will finally have the more effective, real-world tools they need to work with today’s challenging, difficult youth.

     

    Contact us now, and begin solving your worst “kid problems” today. Call 1.800.545.5736, or email.

     

    Working with Troubled Students Doesn’t Have to be So Difficult
     


    Behavior & Classroom Management Problem-Solver Blog Articles

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    Contact Us*  *Not for Unsubscribing
     

    Library of Congress ISSN: 1526-9981 | Youth Change, Your Problem-Kid Problem-Solver
    http://www.youthchg.com | 1.503.982.4220 | 275 N. 3rd St; Woodburn, OR 97071
    © Copyright 2019, All Rights Reserved | Permission granted to forward magazine to others.