How To Drench Your Students In Learning

Smart Classroom Management: How To Drench Your Students In LearningOne of the biggest mistakes teachers make is that they get too involved in student work.

They pull up a chair and join in discussions.

They lean down and offer unsolicited suggestions.

They interrupt, remind, encourage, guide, and hint.

And although there are times when you may need to get involved to some degree, and with some students, they should be few and far between.

In fact, once your students become absorbed in independent or group work, once they’re doing as you ask, it’s best to observe from a distance.

It’s best to fade into the background.

It’s best to leave your students alone.

Here’s why:

It’s evidence of deep learning.

When your students are on task and engaged in the work you’ve given them, it’s a sign that deep learning is taking place.

It’s a sign that your lesson was effective, that you’ve done your job, and now it’s time for them to do theirs.

No matter how helpful you think you’re being, any interference or disruption will pull them out of this desirable state—in which they lose track of time and get lost in their work.

It builds perseverance muscles.

One of the goals of effective teaching is to continually extend the amount of time your students work independently and without your input.

Not only does this dramatically improve learning, but it builds grit and determination. It builds concentration, perseverance, and academic toughness.

These traits are severely lacking in many of our students, but are the number one key to their success.

It will happen again and again.

The more you’re able to leave your students alone and allow them to take pleasure in focused learning, the more often it will happen.

After all, it’s a calming and rewarding place to be. It revs their intrinsic motivational engines and creates in them a desire to pursue knowledge for its own sake.

Solving problems, overcoming obstacles, and sticking it out through tough projects, then, becomes a success habit they can’t get enough of.

Let It Pour

Allowing students to work without interruptions doesn’t mean that you’ll sit at your desk and tap your fingers.

It doesn’t mean that you’ll prep and plan or check your iPhone.

It means that you’ll observe your students intently. It means that you’ll scrutinize their behavior and progress.

It means that you’ll take note of their strengths, weaknesses, and struggles in order to inform future instruction.

Your job is to teach great lessons. Give detailed examples. Model, playact, emote, story-tell, and inspire your heart out.

Set your students up for success, then step off the stage.

Recede into the shadows.

And let them get drenched in learning. Let it drip from their nose and fingertips. Let it become a downpour they look forward to dancing in again and again.

PS – If you’re a principal and would like to improve recess behavior, click here.

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28 Responses to How To Drench Your Students In Learning

  1. Anthony Butler January 30, 2016 at 9:07 am #

    Thanks for sharing these great insights Michael!

    • Michael Linsin January 30, 2016 at 10:18 am #

      It’s my pleasure, Anthony. It’s good to hear from you.


  2. tobi January 30, 2016 at 9:20 am #

    Tnx a lot. I really enjoy it.

    • Michael Linsin January 30, 2016 at 10:18 am #

      You’re welcome, Tobi.


  3. Stefy January 30, 2016 at 11:04 am #

    Your newsletter is always very helpful. I am a new teacher in Italy and in one of my classes I have behaviour problems. Besides the room in my opinion is too small for 24 students (10 years old) and we have single desks. Any piece of advice is appreciate. Thanks

    • Michael Linsin January 30, 2016 at 2:16 pm #

      Hi Stefy,

      The size of your room shouldn’t be a hindrance to effective classroom management. My best advice is to spend time in our archive, beginning in the Classroom Management Plan category and going from there.


  4. Zia Hassan January 30, 2016 at 1:11 pm #

    Thanks for this, Michael. So when students are off-task, what should I do? Observe and then intervene later, with some kind of consequence? Or is that an instance where I should jump in?

    • Michael Linsin January 30, 2016 at 2:18 pm #

      Hi Zia,

      We have several articles that address this topic, but I’ll be sure to cover it again in the near future.


  5. Peter Hendricks January 30, 2016 at 1:45 pm #

    Thank you for an interesting article. I’m guilty of not allowing enough student “me-time”. I will work hard at improving this and “sit back and reap the rewards”!
    Regards Peter

    • Michael Linsin January 30, 2016 at 2:18 pm #

      Excellent Peter! You’re welcome.


  6. Katherine January 30, 2016 at 1:49 pm #

    This just happened yesterday – my 5th-graders are creating their own STOMP-like pieces. One group worked together beautifully and created something wonderful with no difficulties and courteous collaboration. The other group was a disaster – bossiness, withdrawal, disagreement, splintering, no attempt at conversation, to complete breakdown. I stepped in and walked them back to the first disagreement and modeled different approaches to a few of their problems.

    My question is: should I leave the groups as they chose them or do I split up both groups to make what I think would achieve more harmonious work?

    • Michael Linsin January 30, 2016 at 2:20 pm #

      Hi Katherine,

      I believe it’s always more constructive to choose them yourself and “allow” students to work with different people. More on this in a future article.


  7. Ingrid January 30, 2016 at 3:51 pm #

    I do so love basking in the glow of the knowledge that I think I am actually doing things pretty much on the mark when I read your posts 🙂 BUT boy do I sit up and take notice and a good couple of days to think when I read alternative ways of doing things here.
    I do so look forward to my education ‘fix’.;) Fantastic Michael and thank you very much.

    • Michael Linsin January 30, 2016 at 7:52 pm #

      You’re welcome, Ingrid. I’m glad the articles make you think.


  8. Tonja January 30, 2016 at 5:43 pm #

    I really appreciate your teaching tips and look forward to each one! I had a question though about students in a class who no one wants to be partnered with or who has had a reputation follow them from grade 2! (If u can believe it!). I like to make groups with class set of cards. Each student gets a number and I shuffle cards. This doesn’t. Always make everyone happy nuts it’s a fair way to make a group or pair.

  9. Tonja January 30, 2016 at 5:45 pm #

    Addendum to my comment. “This doesn’t always make everyone happy but it’s a fair way….” Sorry. Tonja

    • Michael Linsin January 30, 2016 at 7:56 pm #

      Hi Tonja,

      This is a good topic and I am a fan of the strategy. I’ll be sure and include your concern in a future article.


  10. L.MacPhail January 30, 2016 at 6:25 pm #

    Thank u!!! I am an elementary art teacher. For 20 plus years the article described my method of instruction. Students have always done great work. But I have doubted myself at times. If a principal ever asks I will show yur article!

    • Michael Linsin January 30, 2016 at 7:57 pm #

      Great to hear, L. MacPhail. Thanks for sharing.


  11. Melissa January 30, 2016 at 6:46 pm #

    Very helpful! Really love your newsletter! Keep it coming!

    • Michael Linsin January 30, 2016 at 7:58 pm #

      Will do, Melissa. I’m glad you like the newsletter.


  12. Carolyn January 31, 2016 at 1:59 am #

    Hi Michael,
    I love your site and have your book, too. I was wondering if you could write about managing classrooms with one or more RAD pupils in them.

    • Michael Linsin January 31, 2016 at 8:40 am #

      Hi Carolyn,

      I already have to some degree, and RAD students generally do very well in a Smart Classroom Management classroom, but I’ll be sure to cover this topic more specifically in a future article.


  13. Selina January 31, 2016 at 8:03 am #

    Wow, this message is so true. I just experienced this very thing with a student. We were making a sculptural piece and I happen to catch this student was going in the wrong direction with the project. I naturally intervened and started to reconstruct it back to where they can pick up and continue the correct way. I noticed the next day the student shut down by talking with other students and not completing their project. I realized I inhibited their learning to solve the problem out. I later spoke with the student and said I will not interrupt anymore with extra positive reinforcement and the student continued but I can see I did put a damper on their creativity. So now I try to let it flow.

  14. Fauzia Wasif February 1, 2016 at 3:12 am #

    Your article has taught me things which I never practiced before. Will definitely put it into practice! Thankyou

    • Michael Linsin February 1, 2016 at 7:49 am #

      You’re welcome, Fauzia.


  15. king February 1, 2016 at 1:28 pm #

    Your news letter had taught me much about students behaviour and I’d tried some of the strategies. They proved very useful, thank you. I do have a problem which is not only with the class I do teach nor the school alone but the entire community; I’m a basic five teacher from Ghana and teaches in one of the community schools around Lake Bosomtwe. The problem is about ”MOTIVATION”,most pupils in the school are not intersted in academic work and do not show much seriousness to other activities in the school. The community has a very poor economic base and as such parents look more adamant to supporting their wards education. I’ve being in the community for over two years now and realised pupils who graduate from the basic level (J.H.S) have no ready support to further their education and remain at home with no guarantee to be enrolled in any institution to aquire apprenticeship skill for the future. Just this year I interviwed some of the final year pupils on their readiness and preparation towards their final exams, with just three months to go I went home with ”heavy eyes” and ”broken heart”; very hurting listening to them. Teachers are trying possible means yet no improved results. With inadequate financial support what should be done to save the situation.

    • Michael Linsin February 1, 2016 at 5:07 pm #

      Hi King,

      That’s a big question about a very specific situation. I would have to know a lot more about your school and students before being able to offer reliable advice. However, I’ve written a book called The Happy Teacher Habits that includes my very best advice for motivating students. It’s due out in May and will be available as a print and ebook.