6 Unburned Pieces of The Mind
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20050514

A Strengths-Based Approach to Classroom Management

Trying to vie for student’s attention in the classroom today certainly is not as easy as it was for teachers during my youth. A teacher today, aside from having to contend with student’s emotional and behavioral issues, has to compete with TV, video games, cell phones, pc’s, and a slew of other distractions. Teaching was never meant to be a form of entertainment, per se, yet many students have the unexpressed expectation of being entertained. Thus to get students interested in what you’re about, and become involved as active participants in the classroom, today’s teacher has to be a regular Felix the Cat with a potent magic bag full of learning strategies and tools to gain student’s interest, trust and participation.

As my own son has often proved, young people have incredible energy and enthusiasm, and trying to keep up with them is an incredible challenge in itself. Thus without clear expectations as to what is expected of our students while in the classroom can lead to spending most of the period being Marshall Dillon maintaining law and order. Too often class is said to have gone well if you survived another day without a confrontation with a student that escalated into a major blowout.

In How to Promote Children's Social and Emotional Competence, Carolyn Webster-Stratton offers a strengths-based approach to classroom management by developing a variety of techniques and strategies that will help both teachers and students realize success in the classroom. Even though she says her book is intended for teachers of students aged 3 to 10, her ideas can be easily utilized and applied to older students as well. But not just that, this is a book that could be a terrific resource for parents and homeschoolers. As she says, “ . . . you will find some of the proactive strategies used by teachers to help create a safe and predictable environment for. . . students to learn and a place where problem behaviors are less likely to occur,” (p.50).