Elegant Classroom Management Action Research Presentation By Greg Johnson University of Missouri-Columbia April 23, 2005 geocities.com/greg3johnson
Setting • For 2 months I aided a ninth grade “Integrated Math 1” classroom • Diverse students • Expert host teacher
An Elegant Class Plan A Previous Class Plan 3 min: Students correct HW 3 min: Class discusses HW 10 min: Teacher presents 3 min: Teacher models prob. 4 min: Guided practice 3 min: Check & discuss 21 min: Work on assignment 2 min: Summary/closure ———————————— 1 min: Students copy agenda 1 min: Teacher states agenda 5 min: Teacher presents • min: Work on assignment ————————————— How does the teacher obtain high student scores and a pleasant classroom from little apparent effort?
A Simple Strategy “Let students feed themselves!”
A Simple Strategy “Never do for students
A Simple Strategy “Never do for students what they can do for themselves.”
Action Research Methods • Notes, audio recordings • Ask, what would I have done? • Short-term & long-term effects • Interviews • Reflections • Resolutions
1. The Case of the Irresponsible Eyes Situation: A student chatters-off topic to a listener at the same table. What would I do?
1. The Case of the Irresponsible Eyes Expert Action: (1) Stand near talker…
1. The Case of the Irresponsible Eyes Expert Action: (2) Firmly confront listener! “Please get to work! “But I’m not doing anything!” “You are encouraging him with your eyes!”
1. The Case of the Irresponsible Eyes Short-term effects: • That group was quiet & a little more productive. • Other groups were rather productive! Long-term effects: Minimal off-task talking.
1. The Case of the Irresponsible Eyes Interview with teacher: • Talker had been warned, counseled after class,… • Less disruption • Callousedtoconsequences • Noticed: Kids do shun & hush talkers—sometimes. • “Never do for students...” ————————————— Each student must discourage off-task behavior!
1. The Case of the Irresponsible Eyes Interviews with students: • “I don’t dis’ a friend.” • “Teacher notices talker, not me….Except in this class!”
1. The Case of the Irresponsible Eyes Reflections: • Shunning increases attention-seeking • Chilling effect • “Teacher’s job” • Why do kids talk? • Attention as addictive Deal with consumers AND with providers of attention!
1. The Case of the Irresponsible Eyes Resolutions: • Consistently support students’ responsibility to keep students on task. • Rehearse signals. Deal with consumers AND with providers of attention!
2. The Case of the Inefficient Instruction Situation: Class needs a vocabulary review. What would I do?
2. The Case of the Inefficient Instruction Expert action: During group work time, the teacher repeated the vocabulary review for each group.
2. The Case of the Inefficient Instruction Interview: “During a whole class review, what do the kids learn?” “During a whole class review, what does the teacher learn?”
2. The Case of the Inefficient Instruction Reflections: Most kids learn from face-to-face talk manytimes better than from a blast to the class! Resolutions: Make plenty of group work time! Aggressively use face-to-face interactions to forward learning of individuals and groups.
Incidents Observed • The Case of the Irresponsible Eyes • The Case of the Inefficient Instruction • The Case of the Terse Teacher (Collaboration) • The Case of the UninterruptedGroup (Attention) • The Case of the Frustrated Copyists (Seating) • The Case of the Lost Sheep (Differentiated Inst.) • The Case of the Nameless Students (Behavior) • The Case of the Easy Engagement (With-It-Ness) • The Case of the Awesome Grader (Learning) • The Case of the Alpha Instructor (Behavior) • Conclusions
3. The Case of the Terse Teacher Situation: Conduct direct instruction. What would I do?
3. The Case of the Terse Teacher Expert action: • Median instruction time: five minutes. • “Have at it!” • 3’x8’ white board.
3. The Case of the Terse Teacher Student Work Time During 35 50-minute Periods Minutes Frequency (Days) 48 47 46 45 44 (median) 43 42 41 (mean) 40 39 38 37 36 35 34 33 32 . . . 18 10 I measured student work time for 35 days. This excludes testing days. ‘Minutes’ is mean group work time for a day’s 3 sections. The two outlying low values occurred on review days.
3. The Case of the Terse Teacher Student interviews: • “Show us more how to do things.” • Students in classes that had almost 100% direct instruction also asked, “Show us more how to do things.”
3. The Case of the Terse Teacher Reflections: • Students in groups CAN read aloud the text as needed, CAN understand the text example, etc. • Students can learn many such tasks as daily expected routines.
3. The Case of the Terse Teacher Teacher Interview: How did you bring the kids to routine self-sufficiency? “You get some of the group. You tell them what you expect. You tell them what you believe. You make sure you structure it so that the majority of them have a reasonable amount of success doing it.”
3. The Case of the Terse Teacher Teacher Interviews: “Then you pick up stragglers one at a time. I’m getting them all one at a time.”
3. The Case of the Terse Teacher Resolutions: • Make enough student work time to allow face-to-face teaching and practice of study routines. • Prioritize above teacher help: the textbook, calculators, help from group members, help from other groups, and “get unstuck” questions.
4. The Case of the Uninterrupted Group Situation: Teacher wants students to not waste time, to work industriously. What would I do?
4. The Case of the Uninterrupted Group Expert Action: Avoid interrupting the whole class. Deal with groups individually. Reflections: Individuals & groups work at different speeds. Each gets off-task in their own special way.
4. The Case of the Uninterrupted Group “GET UNSTUCK” LIST Getting Started What do you need to find out? What do you know now? How can you get the information? Where can you begin? What terms do you understand/not understand? What similar problems have you solved that would help? While Working How can you organize the information? Can you make a drawing (model) to explain your thinking? What are other possibilities? What would happen if . . . ? Can you describe an approach (strategy) you can use to solve this? What do you need to do next? Do you see any patterns or relationships that will help you solve this? How does this relate to ...? Can you make a prediction? Why did you ...? What assumptions are you making? Reflecting about the Solution How do you know your solution (conclusion) is reasonable? How did you arrive at your answer? How can you convince me your answer makes sense? What did you try that did not work? Has the question been answered? Can the explanation be made clearer?
4. The Case of the Uninterrupted Group Resolutions: • Use “Get Unstuck” List and other routines to help groups remain self-sufficient. • Confront off-task groups and individuals consistently.
5. The Case of the Frustrated Copyists Situation: During group time, some students habitually copy from more productive classmates. What would I do?
5. The Case of the Frustrated Copyists Expert Action: • Group by homogeneous performance. • Exception: 2 or 3 most at-risk students are each assigned groups where other three students have highest scores. • Require group dialogue.
5. The Case of the Frustrated Copyists Long-term results: • Far less copying than in similar classes. • Group plot to divide work resulted in collaboration.
5. The Case of the Frustrated Copyists Reflections: • Daily homework reveals comprehension, by design of Core-Plus text. • What is plagiarism? Are we failing to discourage plagiarism?
6. The Case of the Lost Sheep Situation: One student in a group of three or four falls far behind the others. What would I do?
6. The Case of the Lost Sheep Expert Action: The host teacher sometimes spent most of a period with a lagging student. Over several days, all such students received 20-30 minutes of individual counsel.
6. The Case of the Lost Sheep Reflection: • More group time—with somewhat self-directing groups—frees a teacher for many special needs. • Differentiated instruction in class reduces hours in conference outside class. • Face-to-face talk is the most effective talk. • A kid’s interests are key to ADHD & impulsive kids. Relationships count.
6. The Case of the Lost Sheep Resolutions: Find ways to show my concern for students interests. They may show more interest in finding success by my terms.
7. The Case of the Nameless Students Situation: Teacher wants to recognize, question, congratulate, or confront a student. What would I do?
7. The Case of the Nameless Students Expert action: • Teacher does not often address students by name. Instead, he selects volunteers by nod or eye contact. • The teacher confronts misbehaviors by escalating from pause, then walking to the student, & obtaining eye contact.
7. The Case of the Nameless Students Reflections: • Cross-room nagging is no substitute for face-to-face communication. • Attention-seeking kids like being named, if only for negatives. • However—if students believe you do not know their name, bad things happen!
7. The Case of the Nameless Students Resolutions: • Use names more for praise. • Practice memory. • Memorize student names in first class.
8. The Case of the Easy Engagement Situation: The bell rings. Students should be at work. What would I do?
8. The Case of the Easy Engagement Expert action: • At bell, students copy today’s agenda and assignment from board. • Teacher surveys room—not recording attendance. • Teacher confronts students who lack materials or aren’t copying. • After about a minute, teacher reads agenda aloud and commences any direct instruction.
8. The Case of the Easy Engagement Interview: • Students know: there will be plenty of group time; hold questions. • Pro-actively confront slackers! • Avoid interrupting lecture! • Attendance is not enough. Whose minds are present? Prep the eyes in the back of your head!
8. The Case of the Easy Engagement Reflections: • Bellwork can engage advanced students. But do you interrupt that work to grade it, to discuss it? • For many kids, bellwork is just another chance to fail. • Doesn’t it make sense to start notes with the date, class, and assignment? Why wait?