Throughout my career I’ve had some success and more than a few challenges along the way with students, and maybe even a few adults around those behaviour challenges that just seem to eat up the effectiveness of a great lesson, a class, a practice when coaching. I’m not sure it matters if the class is five 12 year old boys on a Sunday or 39 English 30-2 students on Monday or 50 football players on the bus on a five hour trip to Edmonton getting everyone on the same page and particularly creating an environment where everyone can excel, is a challenge and a worthy goal.
Magic can happen at anytime in any class, one on one teaching situation, coaching moment and the simple fact is that every student, player, parent, teacher, administrator can learn and can succeed. Setting the stage to reduce behaviours that inhibit the magic is a career long learning process.
I’d like to share the work of four authors for you consider and their three books. Each provides concrete suggestions for classroom and one-on-one work that can maybe put a little spark in our own practice in the classroom and in our other interactions as well as help those students who we perceive are struggling with behaviour and engagement in our classes.
First let me say that if you already are reading or have read any of these books I’d love to invite you to share the successes and struggles you may have had applying some of the suggestions in the book. I love Breaux and Whitaker’s (who’s written an awful lot on what good teachers, administrators etc. do) preface story, the challenge that a teacher presents is that “you just can’t teach (change the behaviour) of a student without support from home.” In response to the question the teacher to asked, “so you are staying that if an orphanage opened next door to this school tomorrow, you could not teach those children?” Of course we could, it might not always be easy but we could. So what needs to change, in our practice, to reduce or eliminate the behaviours that negatively impact learning? Each of these three authors present very specific examples that teachers can do, it might challenge our thinking and practice but they work, some more than others and some with different students than others but they work.
The first way from Breaux and Whitaker to improve behaviour: look at how you greet
Dave Burgess maintains a website/Blog
Doug Lemov’s Teach like a Champion Site with resources and video examples