Why Kindness Is A Powerful Classroom Management Strategy

Last week we talked about how consistent accountability combined with a kindhearted nature results in a nicer, friendlier class.

Smart Classroom Management: Why Kindness Is A Powerful Classroom Management StrategyThey work together to rid your classroom of incivility and disrespect.

They turn what you thought and feared were most disagreeable students into the lovely people you wish them to be.

For many teachers, the change can be quite startling, even perplexing.

My gosh, Joshua is so nice to me now. I never thought he could be so polite.”

But it’s nothing of the sort.

In fact, it’s highly predictable and steeped in human nature.

You see, students are accustomed to having anger and frustration attached to accountability. They’re used to teachers enforcing consequences with an air of revenge or reciprocity.

It may be subtle, but if it’s there, they pick up on it.

Which encourages them to deny responsibility for their misbehavior. It encourages them to argue and point the finger elsewhere.

It’s their own form of revenge.

It may seem wrong or absurd, or even immature, but it’s a normal response when the person enforcing the consequence does so with any level of relish or exasperation.

It’s a normal response when the teacher lectures, glares, or dresses them down.

Oh, the student may very well go to time-out without complaint, but inside they’ll be unrepentant.

If, however, they receive a consequence from someone they like and respect, and it’s given impersonally, then the response is quite different.

Typically, they’ll look down at their feet or stare off into the distance, lost in the thought of their own part in the disruption, transgression, or misbehavior.

They’ll accept and even agree with your consequence. They’ll take responsibility, naturally and without you having to say another word.

When a teacher is well-liked, they leave misbehaving students devoid of anything or anyone to blame but themselves.

They leave them with eyes clear enough and honest enough to see how their misbehavior affects others. They leave them humbled and determined not to make the same mistake again.

It changes them.

It flips their attitude from wanting to misbehave behind your back . . . to wanting to please you.

Your steady, day-after-day consistency, in both personality and commitment to accountability, has a transformational effect on students.

It proves to them that you walk the walk, that you got their back, that you care enough to protect their right to learn and enjoy school.

It proves to them that when you enforce a consequence, it’s done purely, and from a caring heart. It proves to them that you’re a leader worth following.

And this makes all the difference.

PS – We’re taking next week off for Thanksgiving, but will be back with a new article on December 5th. In the meantime, have a wonderful break with the ones you love.

Happy Thanksgiving!


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23 Responses to Why Kindness Is A Powerful Classroom Management Strategy

  1. Njeri November 21, 2015 at 9:40 am #

    This is a great idea,it has worked for me. Thanks for all the articles. They are all a must read for all teachers. I have always shared them with my colleagues.
    I wish you all a happy thanks giving.

    • Michael Linsin November 21, 2015 at 11:08 am #

      Thanks Njeri.


  2. Cassandra November 21, 2015 at 11:09 am #

    I’m a a first year teacher so this is really great advice. I recently decided to approach the behavior in my classroom in this exact way because I often found myself inconsistent when it came to holding students accountable. I especially agree with the point you made about the resentment that students feel when they are called out in a negative way, regardless of what they are being called out for. Hoping the routine sticks for them with practice!

    • Michael Linsin November 21, 2015 at 11:17 am #

      You’re on the right track, Cassandra! Kudos for handling behavior this way so early in your career. Your students are lucky to have you.


  3. Erin Thomas November 21, 2015 at 7:35 pm #

    Hello! I’m a second year teacher and I’m loving the decision that I made to subscribe to these articles! I’m hoping that you can provide some do’s and dont’s in regards to this article. Some approaches that you or someone you know has taken in their classroom and how it worked. Thank you!

    • Michael Linsin November 21, 2015 at 7:45 pm #

      Hi Erin,

      The entire website and all three books support this approach. When you get a chance, I encourage you to work your way through the archive, where you’ll find 100s of dos and don’ts.


  4. Lisa November 21, 2015 at 8:15 pm #

    Hi Michael, I bought your books Classroom Management Keys, and Dream Class. Only about half way through them, but extremely helpful to me. Been teaching awhile, not certain if I wanted to continue, but life keeps bringing me back to teaching, and your books are making all the difference – thanks.

    • Michael Linsin November 22, 2015 at 8:17 am #

      You’re welcome, Lisa. I’m so glad the books are helpful.


  5. Aziza November 21, 2015 at 9:29 pm #

    Great advice which is helpful and if well executed it could make your life as a teacher so much easier.

  6. Diane November 22, 2015 at 7:07 am #

    I teach music – K-5. I’ve been having problems with 1 5th grade class. There are about 5 students I have trouble with weekly, and others who never are an ounce of trouble. My personal philosophy has been that if one of those who never give me trouble breaks a rule, to cut them some slack, because they don’t usually do that. I’m finding that the kids don’t think that way, that to them, the students who rarely break a rule should have the same consequences as the ones who literally always act out. Do you have some advice?

    • Michael Linsin November 22, 2015 at 8:19 am #

      Hi Diane,

      Yes, it’s very important that you enforce your rules no matter who is breaking them. Not doing so creates resentment and leads to more and more misbehavior.


  7. Andrea November 22, 2015 at 1:26 pm #


    Thanks for all of your great advice! I am grateful for you this Thanksgiving!

    I’m having difficulty with a student when he receives a consequence for breaking a class rule. He begs and pleads not to give it to him and even begins crying. It breaks my heart. I’ve told him, matter-of-factly and without emotion, that his behavior prompted the consequence and it’s part of our behavior plan. The student appears to have unmedicated ADHD and has great difficulty with self-control. He’s not choosing to break the rules, he really just can’t control his impulses. Is there something else that you recommend?

    Many thanks and Happy Thanksgiving,

    Andrea 🙂

    • Michael Linsin November 23, 2015 at 1:01 pm #

      Thanks so much, Andrea. It’s my pleasure. Happy Thanksgiving to you as well. The best thing you can do for him is continue to hold him accountable. Particularly for this student, it’s important not to engage in any discussion about the consequence. I’ll write about this topic in a future article.

  8. Ebenezer November 22, 2015 at 1:53 pm #

    Hi Michael, great advice. I have been following the smart class room management closely: i must say the articles are great and making impact. I am learning and sharing with my friends in west africa

    • Michael Linsin November 23, 2015 at 1:02 pm #

      Great to hear, Ebenezer. I’m glad to know you’re a regular reader.


  9. Kristal November 23, 2015 at 1:54 am #

    Hello, there! I’m really enjoying reading your site, and it’s just what I needed to start fresh after the break. But, I need some help figuring out what to do with students who never bring their materials to class. I have students who show up with no pencil, no paper, etc. Our school also has a strict policy that students may not go to their lockers during class without a pass, and of course they leave those in the lockers, too. Have you already written on this topic? I would love any advice you could give. Thanks in advance!

    • Michael Linsin November 23, 2015 at 1:04 pm #

      Hi Kristal,

      I haven’t written about this topic yet, but it’s on the list of future articles. Stay tuned.


  10. Linda November 24, 2015 at 5:28 am #

    Hello Michael,
    Thank you for giving me the professional view and words to what has been a natural process in my classroom for eight years. I presently have and have had some of the toughest students come through my class and it has been the turning point for them. Now you have given me an understanding and the words to describe a process that comes naturally in my classroom.Thank you for sharing your wisdom! Happy Thanksgiving!

    • Michael Linsin November 24, 2015 at 8:19 am #

      You’re welcome, Linda. Happy Thanksgiving to you!


  11. kingkejv December 6, 2015 at 3:55 am #

    Thanks very much.
    I am from China.The articles are helpful for me.

    • Michael Linsin December 6, 2015 at 8:50 am #

      You’re welcome, kingkejv. Glad you found us.


  12. Manuela February 10, 2016 at 11:18 am #

    Excellent and helpful article. Thanks for sharing. I will love to share this information with my supervisor, however, I can’t find the share bottom?

    • Michael Linsin February 10, 2016 at 12:20 pm #

      Hi Manuela,

      I’m glad you like the article. The share buttons are along the left side of the page.


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