Classroom Management – 8

Our book on classroom management continues to be written here on a day-to-day way in this, our seventh installment:

What Are Our Goals?

What are our classroom management goals? What might we imagine a well- functioning CI classroom to look and feel like, from our own point of view and that of our students?

If we start out our summer reflection here on how to best manage our classrooms next year by envisioning the results we want, we will then have a framework from which to move forward that we can trust. Imagining or visualizing what we would want our CI classroom to look and feel like is a feeling-toned goal, and is more important than teaching with some test in mind, which is not feeling-toned at all, but rather based in the robotic (thus mechanical, thus boring) life of the mind.

Do we want our classroom to be based in feelings of group happiness and community, or merely in thoughts about the way the language is built – grammar thoughts that keep the members of the group separated from each other and which prevent the natural and joyful appearance of community in our classrooms?

Asked in another way, the question might be: “Are we going to choose to teach in the way that we ourselves were taught – the “thinking” way, or in the way that the research indicates is best – the “feeling” way?  The former puts us into an analysis of the structure of the language; the second keeps us mercifully away from that paralysis of the language by analysis and moves it nicely into the safe (for real acquisition to occur) area of how the language functions.

Thus, we can say with a fair amount of certainty that the most egregious barrier to our students’ meeting standards and acquiring real (authentic) proficiency is our own archaic and failed mindset that our students have to think about the language in order to acquire it. Why continue to do that?

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3 thoughts on “Classroom Management – 8”

  1. My Professional Growth Plan, the PGP. All staff at my school need to articulate one. We’re going to include a column on this PGP called, “Envisioning results of what my class will feel like.” “I envision my classroom to feel good in the sense that students will pepper me with high spirits and playful responses on a continual basis so as to inspire me to keep the input comprehensible and compelling.”

    Thanks for prompting us to articulate such a worthy goal, Ben!

    1. Sean I like the idea of this PGP. It’s a good one: ““Envisioning results of what my class will feel like.”

      But, like so much that originates in the ivory tower, they omit a most necessary part of that goal, and that is to also envision the practical steps you must do in your classroom to insure that those results happen in the right way.

      Most CI teachers invite too much playfulness w/o enough ways to stop it when it becomes a wave of playfulness that washes over the classroom and destroys the classroom focus. So just be careful not to open up the playful nature of the kids too much. As you know, it’s a very fine line.

      I’ll be doing a webinar on starting the year on the 22nd on the Teacher’s Discovery FB site on starting the year.

      1. Sean in order to safeguard the process in those first days, I recommend that teachers do Card Talk then, right at the beginning of the first class (used to be Circling w Balls). There are many reasons for this, but I will touch on only a few here. For example, Card Talk keeps the kids in the straight and narrow domain of the particular card you are talking about, which keeps you narrow and deep in the TL, which is necessary as you go about in the first week the critical business of establishing firm CM (classroom management – I’m tired of writing out the term bc I’m writing a book on it right now) with supreme focus on Rule #2, and also building of community. My point is that you can’t invite playful responses in a classroom that has not been first normed properly for expected behaviors and also for the community that YOU want, not the one that they want.

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