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Notes from Tools for Teaching Part 1

May 5, 2005

Effective management is primarily invisible.

For classroom management to be affordable, the prevention of problems must take center stage.

One of the crucial junctures in the instructional process is the time delay between input and output.

While the students work, the teacher walks. The most basic form of discipline management is crowd control. When dealing with a student who is goofing off, you want to get him back on task, but your do not want to embarrass him in front of the group.

The custodian’s room arrangement that is designed for cleaning is the worst possible arrangement for instruction. Normal eyesight limits you to supervising two students to your right and two students to your left. The objective of room arrangement is proximity.

Children will never work if we reward them for being helpless. All learning takes place one step at a time. Simplicity is clarity is brevity is memory.

Corrective Feedback – Physical Response

  • Take a relaxing breath: Release any exasperation.
  • Take another relaxing breath: What has the student done right so far?
  • What do I want the student to do next?

Corrective Feedback – Verbal response

  • Praise if needed
  • Focus on what is relevant to the upcoming prompt.
  • Review what he has doen right as a bridge into the prompt.
  • Prompt – short and specific (“The next thing to do is …”)
  • Leave

If words get us into trouble, one way of getting out is to eliminate words. A prompt can be visual. Most graphics that teachers use are “summary” graphics. If a student is stuck on step four, how can he see it in the graphic? Use “model airplane” as a graphic style. With an adequate graphic, the teacher can point out a critical feature (“Look at step #4 on the board”) and be gone.

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