Having reflected in a general way on classroom management in the introduction to our new book, we turn now to identifying what we already know about the mechanics involved in successfully managing our CI classrooms.
Section 2 – The Mechanics
What are the most proven and effective classroom management strategies that we have developed so far?
The first is, without a doubt, the Classroom Rules. They are the result of trying out hundreds of rules, most of which failed. These are the survivors of 15 years of daily testing.
Here they are:
1. Listen with the intent to understand.
2. One person speaks and the others listen.
3. Support the flow of conversation.
4. Do your 50%.
5. Actors and artists – synchronize your actions with my words.
6. Nothing on desks unless told otherwise.
We write the rules in L1 so that there is absolutely no question in the students’ minds about what we are conveying to the class when we point to these rules.
We cannot expect children to know how to behave. We must show them what we want, often to the point of sitting down from time to time in a desk and modeling for them the desired behaviors. This is especially true with ninth and tenth graders, whose view of acceptable behaviors may have been distorted in their middle school classrooms, where they may have learned to act in ways that don’t work in comprehension-based classrooms. If, in the first few weeks of school we use these rules constantly, at every turn, in response to every single infraction that we notice as we teach, we will rarely if ever have to use them again.