The burden of classroom management often appears to rest solely on the shoulders of teachers, but the complete truth is that a well managed classroom is a partnership between teachers and students. Yes, teachers need to set up policies and practices, be consistent, and maintain the right mindset related to student behavior, but students need to make an effort to manage themselves. Teachers can help by teaching proper behavior and giving students the tools they need to manage themselves.
Robert Marzano and his team have undertaken meta-analysis related to effective classroom management techniques and have reported the findings in the book Classroom Management That Works. The statistical measure they use in reporting is the effect size, which reports change via standard deviation. When looking for high yield techniques related to classroom management, the effect size is reported as a negative number, indicating that the technique reduced the number of incidents. Students taking responsibility for their behavior has an overall effect size of -.694, which equates to a 25% decrease in disruptions. Marzano et al share the following suggestions specific to increasing student responsibility for behavior in the classroom (pp. 80-91):
- Use general classroom procedures that enhance student responsibility. Classroom meetings, responsibility language, written belief statements, and written self-analyses can be used on a regular basis to help students self-regulate.
- Provide tools for self-monitoring and self-control. Develop a self-reporting form with student input. Develop a rubric for acceptable behavior with student input. Have these kinds of tools readily available for students, so that when they disrupt they can immediately report and reflect regarding what happened. In doing so, they will take on more responsibility for their own behavior.
- Use cognitively based strategies. Teach students to notice how they are feeling or responding. Help them to reflect on what actions would be appropriate for the feeling or response. Help them think about the consequences of the various reactions, and help them to ultimately choose the most positive response. Again, signage and classroom tools can be employed to help students walk through this cognitive approach.
As you prepare for next week, think about how these practices and procedures might be implemented in your classroom. You and your students will be glad you did!