|Vol. 11, Issue 1, October 2010
If you are like many of the Year 1 ESL teachers I have worked with, you have found behavior management to be an area for improvement. You may have already been told to put up a sticker chart, or directed to a myriad of books, Web sites, courses, and programs. My experience has shown that there is no quick fix, though. Follow these steps to begin this process.
Discern your innate philosophy of behavior management. Consider these two questions:
See Transformative Classroom Management by John Shindler, Allyn Bacon Publisher. A free version of this text is available at http://www.calstatela.edu/faculty/jshindl/cm/.
Analyze the sources of behavior issues. Are you keeping students busy and interested? Are students misbehaving because they do not understand, remember, or value the standards for behavior? How much responsibility are students currently taking for their own behavior? To engage in further analysis, see http://www.honorlevel.com/x45.xml.
Develop and implement congruent practices. Some basic guidelines:
Here are some online resources for a fee or free:
Embers Blog “A Philosophy of Classroom Management“
A to Z Teacher Stuff Forum: http://forums.atozteacherstuff.com/forumdisplay.php?f=25
AFT Brochure on Behavior Management: http://www.uftacts.org/storage/acts/documents/tt-behmgt.pdf
Teacher Vision Behavior Management: http://www.teachervision.fen.com/classroom-discipline/resource/5806.html
University of Phoenix Online Behavior Management course:
Quality Educational Programs Online Course: http://www.videocourses4teachers.com/courseDescriptions.aspx#Teacher%20Responsibility
My overarching advice to you, Neophyte, is to stick with it—you can improve your classroom management skills. Look for effective and humane teachers to model, seek honest feedback from trusted mentors and colleagues, and give yourself a break. While this is a topic rarely touched upon in graduate school, managing student behavior is like learning to ride a bicycle—a manual will not really help. You will learn by trial, error, and reflection.