Classroom Management

In response to Dr. Richard Curwin’s “The Great ‘Respect’ Deception”, I am in complete agreement with the difference between values and rules.  Of course, respect should be prominent as a school-wide value.  Complications can arise when educators define respect as a school rule.  How can you measure respect?  Is there a way to enforce the notion of respect?  What happens when a student seemingly lacks the ability to demonstrably express the notion of respect?  Curwin discusses the issue of clumping values and rules as a single set of ideas.  What I found particularly interesting about this article is when Curwin addresses the issue of communicating respect as a rule to students.  Because the notion of respect is somewhat vague and quite broad in nature, students may lack an understanding of boundaries; “Often, the only way students can find the real lines is by crossing them… this encourages rule breaking rather than stopping it” (Curwin, 2013).  As an educator, transparency in teaching students is important especially in the area of classroom management.  If communication is not clear in the teacher-student relationship, a teacher cannot fully expect a student to understand what is expected of them.  By encouraging and motivating students to honour a value-system in the classroom, as well as enforcing particular rules, a teacher may have a better chance at classroom management.  Allowing students to share their input with the teacher can also be an effective strategy.

Classroom Dojo is a strategy that I would avoid using in the classroom.  I am aware that classroom management is a difficult undertaking as teacher, but I just do not think an app such as Classroom Dojo is the answer.  When reading up on the app, I immediately began thinking about the less technological method of this type of strategy – using symbols such as stars to publicly display a student’s behaviour in the classroom.  In my elementary classrooms, I remember boards with student names – sometimes students would get checkmarks beside their name, sometimes they would receive an ‘X.’  What bothers me about this concept is that this somewhat teaches students that making judgments is okay.  The problem with this strategy is when students who continually “misbehave” are only met with negative reactions, they become less likely to change.  As an example, consider a student who continually talks when the teacher requires a quiet classroom.  There could be plenty of reasons for the continuous talking.  A teacher who simply responds with negativity and shaming in front of his/her classmates will not be able to understand why the behaviour keeps occurring.  Would there be a way that the student can channel that extra energy into something productive and educational?  In other words, instead of continually judging students (which actually teaches similar behaviour), how can teachers encourage student change through differentiated learning?

Useful resource for teachers: Teaching that Changes Lives


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