Thursday, September 8, 2011

The key ingredient to Group / Classroom Management

Even if you are the absolute master in your subject area, your vast knowledge could never be transferred to a group of students who are out of control.  So how does one manage the group in an effective way?  Of course, there are MANY strategies and techniques one could use.  We, at Dynamix, feel that there is one -very underutilized- approach that is the key ingredient to Group / Classroom Management:  Positive Reinforcements.

If used properly, Positive Reinforcements can be a game changer!

Earlier today we tweeted the following tip via @getdynamix:
Stay Positive: thank a #child who is doing the right thing instead of reprimanding one who is doing the wrong thing.
This simple tip, if used consistently can be incredibly effective.  Let's use an example to better illustrate how this works and why it is so effective.

Situation: You are working with a group of 20 students.  As you are giving your instructions for what the students are to work on next, 2 students are talking to each other and not giving you their attention.

The Traditional Approach:
Time and time again, we see educators stop giving their instructions, and immediately address the two students speaking out of turn and asking them nicely to pay attention.  This may correct the problem in the short term, but there are other factors at play here.  The message we've just sent to the class, is that even though 90% of the class is doing the right thing, and only 10% of the class is choosing to misbehave, that 10% will command my attention.  With this message presented, you are more likely to get other students starting to speak out of turn to get the same attention from you.

Using Positive Reinforcements:
So, how do we flip things around, and give our attention to the 90% of the class doing the right thing instead?  That's easy!  Start thanking those students doing the right thing.  Make a clear and public acknowledgement to those making the right choices.  If you do this properly, you will be sending a message to those making the wrong choice that A) those doing the right thing will get your attention first, and B) you will be giving them a clear idea of how they can make better choices, so that they too can get your attention. As soon as you see the students, who were making the wrong choice, correct their behaviour, thank them immediately for correcting their behaviour and move on!

This very simple (and positive) approach, will take no extra time from your class.  It is easy to implement, and best of all it is incredibly effective.

What other techniques are you using to maintain a positive classroom environment?  Please share with us!

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