“Talent without discipline is like an octopus on roller skates. There’s plenty of movement, but you never know if it’s going to be forward, backwards, or sideways.” – H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
Sadism isn’t a trait that many teachers possess. Although angry students may disagree, few teachers go into the profession excited by the prospect of disciplining kids. Instead, the calling to make a difference is what drives them to the classroom. Unfortunately, the burden of redirecting misbehavior often gets in the way. No matter how much time and money funnels into research, one thing is clear: Classroom management is a struggle for many educators.
Some Alarming Student Behavior Stats:
- Of the nearly 50 million students enrolled in public schools during the 2011-2012 school year, 130,000 were expelled and over 3 million faced out-of-school suspension.
- In a survey of 20,000 teachers across the United States, educators increasingly worry about the escalation of behavior problems.
- The majority of teachers report a spike in infractions over recent years: 68 percent of elementary teachers, 64 percent of middle school teachers, and 53 percent of high school teachers say behavior problems are worsening.
Thankfully, innovative educational technology is offering a helpful hand. Here are five of the most useful tools for teachers who rather teach than discipline.
When a student is absent, playing catch-up is no fun — not for the student and certainly not for the teacher, who is busy trying to teach the scheduled content for the day. Among other things, Google Classroom seeks to resolve this conundrum. Teachers can post assignments, assessments, comments and instructions for students to access at any time from anywhere. Students can interact with one another and turn in assignments via the program as well. By reducing the likelihood that students fall behind and also lessening the need for teachers to re-explain content, student misbehavior decreases. The intent behind Google Classroom is to create a positive, rewarding classroom environment — exactly as research suggests we do.
As nearly any teacher can attest to, dead air is deadly. When a teacher poses a question and the students merely stare in silence, there’s a good chance discipline problems will emerge. Stick Pick is one solution. On a basic level, it replaces the age old trick of using popsicle sticks to choose a students’ name. On a deeper level, it allows teachers to differentiate learning by assigning different cognitive learning levels for each student, then raise questions suitable for that student. Teachers can enter responses into the system for tracking purposes.
Grouplink for SafestSchools
As a teacher, it’s easy to feel like an island; as an administrator, it’s easy to feel clueless about what’s going on in every classroom all the time. Grouplink for SafestSchools is a way to conquer this. As a cloud-based program, it helps administrators, parents and teachers connect. Adhering to the notion that it takes a village to raise a child, various stakeholders are invited to enter data and help usher students into more positive behaviors. Teachers can easily enter information about student misbehavior and it is shared with administrators, parents, and whoever else has access. This saves the teacher time from having to fill out paperwork and the right people will get involved to best help each student succeed.
Ever find yourself growing increasingly louder to overcome the noise level in the classroom? Pretty soon you’re yelling and your voice is hoarse just from an afternoon of escalating noise. Too Noisy is a way to monitor the volume. Background graphics shift to match the noise level in the classroom. Just pop the app up on a projector and let the kids (and yourself) self-monitor the level of commotion.
Arguably the least tech-savvy method on the list, student engagement cannot be overstated. It is by far the most effective way to prevent and manage student behavior. When students are engaged in their learning, they are far less apt to create disruptions.
If you’re like the thousands of other educators across the country who struggle with classroom management, there are helpful solutions. Next time you’re left wondering what you can do, check out options that empower teachers, administrators, students and families.