January 8, 2012

Don't Get Stuck in the Red

There are a million classroom management strategies, such as filling a jar with marbles based on good behavior, three strikes and you're out for poor behavior, putting student names on a color-coded scale; green is good, yellow is a warning and red...well, it's been a rough day. When a teacher chooses a strategy, is he flexible enough to adapt it, if necessary. If a student goes into the red, can she earn her way out?

In my position, I approach many different classroom management styles and do my best to adapt to each one, however there was an aspect of one that I could not adjust to. It was a color-coded system. In a kindergarten class, if students missed their homework, their names were put on the red. Red meant that they sat out during center time. Not only were their their names put on red first thing in the morning, but they were stuck there all day. Any positive behavior or effort did not matter. Although I realized this almost immediately, it was only a matter of time before the students figured it out as well.

Beyond the classroom, what kind of mindset is that teaching? Where is the positive encouragement? Where is the support for true learning? What about motivation? Perseverance? I found that clear expectations, open communication and recognition for effort and hard work are parts of effective classroom management. Collaboration, along with flexibility creates a positive learning environment. How do you handle classroom management to instill a growth mindset?