These principles, or cornerstones, form the heart of what we believe to be the solution to the scores of behavior-related challenges facing teachers today.
From disrespect to inattentiveness, and everywhere in between, their consistent application has the power to transform any classroom—regardless of where you teach or who shows up on your roster.
We hear from teachers every day who put our simple approach into practice and experience rapid and dramatic improvement—and not just with behavior, but with learning, motivation, and attitude toward school.
As we near the start of another new school year, I invite you to put the four cornerstones you find below to the test. I invite you to experience the power, the freedom, and the joy of exceptional classroom management.
Cornerstone #1: Avoid friction with students.
Any method or strategy that causes friction with students will always make classroom management more difficult. Yelling, scolding, lecturing, and the like may improve behavior in the moment—which is why it’s so common—but the cost is enormous.
It creates resentment and animosity. It causes students to secretly dislike you and misbehave behind your back. It pollutes your classroom with grumbling negativity and obliterates your ability to influence your students and their behavior choices.
Eliminating these hurtful methods from your teaching toolbox is the first step to creating the classroom you really want.
Cornerstone #2: Build rapport naturally.
Avoiding friction frees you to build rapport in a way that is both natural and extraordinarily effective. All students—difficult, shy, and confident alike—are drawn to teachers who exude a calm, friendly demeanor.
So much so that as long as you’re consistently pleasant, building influential relationships is something you’ll never have to work at. By virtue of cultivating an easygoing personality alone, they will develop organically and powerfully.
Your students will come to you and desire to get to know you better. They’ll listen to you and take your words to heart. They’ll want to please you and behave for you. Your interactions, then, become effortless, and your influence will grow stronger by the day.
Cornerstone #3: Create a classroom your students enjoy being part of.
Your success in eliminating misbehavior from your classroom hinges on whether your students look forward to your class. Because if they don’t, if boredom and dissatisfaction take hold, then everything you do to curb misbehavior will eventually fail.
It is the love of school that is the ultimate reward, the ultimate intrinsic motivator, and the ultimate antidote to unwanted behavior. It is the one reliable and highly predictable approach that is guaranteed to provide the leverage you need to create the classroom you desire.
Using our simple tweaks, strategies, and recommendations, it isn’t difficult to attain. Anyone, no matter where you live or how long you’ve been teaching, can create a learning experience students can’t wait to get to every day.
Cornerstone #4: Rely exclusively on your classroom management plan.
Allowing your classroom management plan to be the lone source of accountability removes the need to rely on hurtful and less effective methods of managing behavior. It removes the stress of arguing, pleading, and battling with students. It liberates you from wasting time and taking misbehavior personally.
It safeguards your likability, protects your relationships, and makes a statement that all students are treated with equal fairness. Followed consistently, for every time a rule is broken, it proclaims that you can be trusted, that you won’t let them down, and that you’re a leader worth following.
A classroom management plan within the context of the other three cornerstones is remarkably effective because it’s woven with profound meaning. When it matters to students, you see, when they’d much rather participate as a valued member of your class than languish in time-out, it works the way it should.
No More Guesswork
With so much misinformation floating in the educational ether, classroom management has become much harder and more complex than it needs to be. Unless you have clear direction, it’s hard to know what you should and shouldn’t be doing.
At Smart Classroom Management we endeavor to remove the guesswork for you. We offer one unified approach, where every strategy works together harmoniously to craft the optimum teaching and learning environment.
We offer only what has been tried-and-true tested in real-world classrooms. We offer only what you can feel good about using and what is in the best interest of the students and families you’ve dedicated your career to.
The four cornerstones provide a solid base from which to build your vision of the perfect classroom. Week after week, we’ll provide the blocks and mortar.
You just have to set them into place.
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