ABOUT THE BOOK
This book is a synthesis of what I have discovered to be most effective in the area of classroom management. It is reflects years of research, my experience as a teacher, observations of hundreds of classrooms, and the best ideas that I have read or heard about. This book is intended for anyone who works with young people or plans to in the future. Practicing teachers, pre-service teachers, parents, administrators, support staff and coaches should all find it useful.
The content of the book is intended to cover the topic of classroom management comprehensively - from the practical techniques for achieving ease, clarity and smoothness, to more transformative techniques intended to promote fundamental student growth and development, from helping those students who come to us with habits of problematic behavior, to increasing each students’ levels of motivation, from the practical steps for developing classroom rules to a comprehensive system for creating a classroom community.
At the heart of the book is an examination of what it takes to create within our students, individually and collectively, a “psychology of success.” This concept is explained practically in Chapter 7, revisited throughout the book, and provides the framework for what is required to achieve transformative classroom management results.
I have been an educator for 25 years, and have taught at all levels K-University. I have been in hundreds of classrooms and have taught thousands of students. Overall, I see an encouraging trend, yet when I reflect on what I have witnessed over the years, much of it is still perplexing. I have observed too many talented teachers who struggle with classroom management. I have seen some of the best practices remain largely unused. In addition, I have found that not all ideas sold in the market place of classroom management strategies lead to entirely desirable results. In fact, many of the most popular ideas appear to result in as much harm as good. For that reason, a good portion of the book is devoted to explaining the flaws within these strategies, and what to do instead.
In each chapter you will find chapter reflections within the text that relate to the content immediately preceding it. Reading and/or reflecting on these reflections is optional, but should provide the reader an opportunity to process the text in more depth.
At the end of each chapter, journal prompts are included. These prompts will be useful for readers who would like to process what they have read. Some or all of these prompts may be assigned as part of a teacher education course to promote retention and provoke a deeper examination of the content.
Finally, each chapter includes at least two chapter activities. These activities are intended to help those working independently or in groups to process the content of the chapter, synthesize material, and/or create components of a “classroom management plan.” Practical guidelines are offered for the development such products as a classroom social contract, a process/participation assessment system, a set of logical consequences, and a series of technical management strategies.
Rather quickly the reader will notice that the book enters some relatively uncharted territory – the realm of teacher thought and mindset. There are two primary reasons that I have chosen to venture down this road. First, the vast majority of our activity each day occurs between our ears. If we are intentional about it, we will be much more effective. Second, what I have found is that what primarily keeps teachers from effectiveness and/or growing into the kinds of professionals that they would like to become is most often found in the domain of their thought processes and habits. What holds us up is not usually a lack of information or insufficient talent, but patterns of thinking.