Rethinking Classroom Management: Strategies for Prevention, Intervention, and Problem Solving

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Patricia Sequeira Belvel

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  • Dedication

    To my first teacher: My mother, Carrie Medeiros Sequeira, encouraged and supported my becoming a teacher and modeled positive teaching strategies in my earliest days. My mother was unconsciously competent about the value of personal relationships being the number one prevention, and she supported my learning to be a teacher with many solution-focused ideas.

    To my first classroom coach, Jeanne Horan Herrick, who was in my classroom weekly, teaching and coaching me on learning all of these strategies. She supported me with many of the characters in this book: challenging children in need of a solution-focused teacher. Jeanne wrote the first version of this work and is the source of the heartful aspect of the strategies we want all teachers to use with their students.

    To the teachers in many districts and to the San Jose State University master teachers and student teachers who have shared their classrooms with me, where the real learning happened. My profound respect and gratitude for your dedication in rethinking … trying new and old strategies again and again.

    Copyright

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    Foreword

    Can we continue to condemn our students to classroom management practices that are not effective and fail to provide all of our students with the most effective learning environment? Through the enhanced second edition of this powerful book, Rethinking Classroom Management, Belvel offers teachers and principals an exciting and dynamic opportunity to rethink current classroom management practices to impact student learning. Belvel's book invites teachers as classroom leaders to become engaged in examining their beliefs, practices, interactions, and outcomes with students to create a positive climate for learning. Providing compelling, research-based strategies and examples by which a teacher can develop exemplary classroom practices, this interactive text gives educators a clear and concise practitioner's framework. Preservice through veteran teachers and principals who read this book will gain a strong sense of what excellent classroom management practices should be and how to attain them daily. The classroom leadership framework introduced in the book causes all of us as educators to rethink our role in the classroom.

    Belvel knows, from years of teaching experience in the classroom, the importance of classroom management as a foundation for a successful student learning environment. It is Belvel's rich teaching experience and work with thousands of teachers over the years that make this book so meaningful for daily practice in the classroom. By engaging the reader in the reality of the classroom, Belvel sets the stage for the readers to assess what they know and connect meaningfully to relevant experience as they create classroom management strategies that allow students to self-direct. Any teacher who reads this book will be able to develop strategies to use in their daily interactions with students that they have personally defined and, thus, own. No teacher's class will be the same after experiencing and practicing these crucial classroom management beliefs and practices. We know from research and best practices that if classroom management practices are not in place, students will have an ineffective learning environment.

    Rethinking Classroom Management provides every teacher with a comprehensive way of creating classrooms where students are self-managing and enhanced learning takes place. The strength of this book comes from the linkages made in its three major sections: rethinking beliefs and roles; prevention strategies; and problem-solving strategies including interventions. I have never seen a more comprehensive and concise book that takes classroom management theory into the realm of practice. Belvel never loses sight of the need for teachers to be effective classroom managers in order to create powerful student learning. I invite you to read, interact, practice within your classroom, and critique the effective classroom management strategies presented here. The challenge is for each of us to rethink our practices so that we challenge ourselves, thus rising to the occasion rather than blaming! As educators who want the best for our students, we can expect no less.

    MarshaSpeck, EdD Clinical Professor of Educational Leadership and Director of the High School Leadership Program, Arizona State University; Professor Emeritus of Educational Leadership and Director of the Urban High School Leadership Program, San Jose State University

    Preface

    Welcome to all teachers, from preservice to veteran educators.

    I'm excited to offer you this second edition of Rethinking Classroom Management, which attempts to differentiate instruction and offer you an opportunity to personalize your learning needs as you become a classroom leader rather than a classroom manager.

    This book continues to present an interactive process that invites you to rethink your classroom management practices; in addition, it includes some updated research and stories, as well as some additional strategies to build a sense of community in your classroom. Every chapter begins with some essential questions that you will be able to answer at the end of the chapter. Addressing these questions allows you to assess your needs before the teaching and to skip ahead if you already know the answers. It is my hope that introducing each chapter this way will not only model good teaching but also provide you with a way to customize your learning. The essential questions are followed by an authentic classroom scenario so that you can create a personal connection between the text and your experiences as a student and teacher.

    Rethinking Classroom Management is a work in progress that is always changing. Deborah Meier, in her book The Power of Their Ideas, identifies four characteristics of exemplary teachers. One of them is that we are always learning. This book reflects my learning as a teacher over the past five years. It has evolved from a behavior management workbook, to a self-esteem workbook, to a classroom management workbook, and most recently to a classroom leadership workbook. This edition continues to offer new ways of rethinking old paradigms.

    I have been using this book with student teachers in classroom settings, as well as with many veteran teachers in their classrooms for the past five years. I have noticed some shifts in what teachers and students need relative to social skills, with so many students coming to school with unmet needs. Thus, I have updated the quotes that begin each chapter and made some practical changes to support your use of the strategies. For example, students seem to need more time to connect to each other and to their teacher; with this in mind, I added personal activity time to Chapter 3: Personal Relationships for Trust. I hope you will find the suggestions of using curriculum games and activities to provide structured opportunities for students to build connections without competition helpful. Likewise, students today seem to need more support with building social skills to be successful learners. I placed “target talk” in Chapter 4: Prerequisites for Success, as it connects this feedback skill to supporting students in developing and using appropriate social skills.

    Rethinking Classroom Management is still a teacher-driven, integrative framework of research-based strategies that will invite responsibility, resourcefulness, and cooperative and mutual respect on the part of both teachers and students. Successful teachers have used the strategies presented here for years. They were formally documented and labeled after observing and annotating what excellent teachers do when orchestrating instruction. Unlike other professions, teaching has a minimum amount of agreed-upon professional language to describe what is done in the classroom. Physicians from around the world can talk to each other about a patient and use the same terms. Lawyers can communicate from one continent to another using common language. This book seeks to provide teachers with the same ability to share successes and be consciously competent about their leadership skills.

    The strategies in Rethinking Classroom Management will provide you with initiative and increased flexibility in being congruent with your beliefs, and it will provide the research about students and teachers needs for successful experiences in the classroom. The framework and techniques presented come from real-life classrooms, both my own and those of the teachers and student teachers I've worked with for the past 40 years. The richness of this content developed as I learned more and more about how effective teachers use their leadership skills to create classrooms where students are invited to be self-managing. Teachers who model and teach the students these strategies are able to accommodate individual and cultural differences and create a climate for learning academic and social skills.

    During my own process as a teacher, I evolved through rethinking my own classroom management and made my last years in the classroom the richest and best. I experienced a shift in students toward intrinsic motivation and a lessening of my own need to “control” as a benevolent dictator. These changes created a more peaceful and positive environment for both the students and myself. As my stress level decreased, I shared leadership in the classroom. My hope is that you can learn and use these same strategies sooner rather than later and make your first years as enjoyable and reflective as your last.

    Overview of the Book

    Rethinking Classroom Management begins with Part I: Rethinking Our Role in the Classroom. Here you are empowered and encouraged to take the time to shift your thinking and discover your beliefs and values as an educator. The leadership framework is built upon this shift and provides a structure for Rethinking Classroom Management.

    Parts II and III present three sets of strategies: prevention, intervention, and problem solving (Figure 0.1). Part II focuses on prevention strategies, since we all know that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” These strategies are at the heart of classroom management and provide the foundation for you to be an effective and influential leader in your classroom. In 80 to 85 percent of your interactions with any group you are leading, whether in the classroom or in any other setting, these prevention strategies will foster student and teacher success. By the end of Part II, you will be able to build the relationships that are the foundation for cooperation and establish a positive classroom climate using more than 10 prevention strategies. These strategies are designed to create a caring community of learners, inviting students to become citizens rather than tourists in your classroom.

    Figure 0.1 Three Sets of Teaching Strategies for Leadership

    Part III addresses temporary intervention techniques (Chapter 7) and solution-focused problem-solving strategies (Chapter 8). Temporary interventions are for use when learning ceases and a classroom upset has caused the brains of both teachers and students to “downshift” into unclear thinking. You will find here a clear differentiation between discipline and punishment and a clarification of the leader's role in teaching and modeling respectful behavior that honors others' needs. These interventions, in addition to the prevention strategies addressed earlier, will eliminate the most common disruptive student behaviors seen classrooms. As preventions increase, the goal is to have interventions constitute less than 3 to 5 percent of your leadership interactions in the classroom. By the end of Chapter 7, you will be able to manage classroom disruptions in ways that are congruent with your beliefs about mutual respect. You will be able to apply the “principles of positive intervention” that are embedded in all of the techniques presented to shape students toward more appropriate behaviors.

    Chapter 8 explores problem-solving strategies for solving repetitive problems. Here you ll also learn how to find solution-focused outcomes using a “no-blame” model in which one thinks about “the problem as the problem” rather than “the person as the problem.” The remaining 5 to 15 percent of classroom problems will require problem solving, which is an ongoing process for any group leader and requires continual rethinking. By the end of this chapter, you will be able to use solution-focused problem-solving strategies with individual students and with groups. These strategies will invite them to take responsibility and to become involved in creating constructive solutions that are “win-win” for everyone in the group.

    Essential Questions for Classroom Leadership: What will You Learn?

    These are the questions you should be able to answer after studying this book. The most relevant corresponding chapters are listed as well.

    • Why are leadership and the three dimensions of the leadership framework important? (Chapter 1)
    • What role will my beliefs and the research have in my success in the classroom? (Chapter 2)
    • What are the four Ps of prevention in the classroom? (Chapter 3)
    • How are the principles of intervention focused on discipline rather than on punishment? (Chapter 7)
    • How do the principles of problem solving support a solution-focused approach to student responsibility and success? (Chapter 8)
    The Framework Approach to Classroom Management

    Jeanne Horan Herrick developed the original concept of a framework approach to classroom management in 1980 as part of a model staff development plan in Milpitas School District. I have adapted, expanded, and revised this original work on the basis of the latest research of Ruth Chaney, Steven Covey, Howard Gardner, Leslie Hart, Eric Jensen, Fred Jones, Vernon and Louise Jones, Rachel Kessler, Alfie Kohn, Larry Lowery, Robert Marzano, Allen Mendler, Linda Metcalf, Parker Palmer, Frank Smith, Marilyn Watson, and Rick Wormeli. Strategies from these other classroom management models were chosen and placed in the framework on the basis of their congruence with the values and beliefs and research of effective leadership, which puts relationships and mutual respect at the heart of such leadership.

    In addition, I have relied on the experience of thousands of professional teachers who have practiced and used these strategies successfully. For the past 40 years, these strategies have been shared with thousands of teachers, new as well as seasoned. As I have coached teachers in their classrooms, strategies were adapted and new ones added. I pass on to you what I've learned as I've worked with student teachers and the many veteran teachers I've seen applying the strategies from this book in hundreds of unique situations.

    The following invocation guided my writing of this book. It captures my mission and my hopes for you and your compassionate leadership in the classroom and in our world:

    May the One, known by many Names

    Support and guide this work

    For the highest good of all teachers and students.

    Let IT light the way to invite teachers

    Into new ways of thinking about their students and themselves,

    May IT spark and nourish the creative genius

    That lies within us all.

    How to Use this Book

    The following are the structural elements of the presentation of each skill. The accompanying icons are provided as visual clues to remind you of the flow and process of your learning.

    All of the chapters and many of the chapter subsections dealing with specific skills or concepts are introduced with a quote from respected educators to capture and support the outcome of the concepts being presented.

    All of the chapters and many of the chapter subsections begin with an essential question or questions, which you will be able to answer at the end of the chapter or section, followed by a classroom connection, which is a true classroom story (with fictitious names) to allow you to immerse yourself in a real-life experience.

    This is followed by a personal connection activity to access what you already know. It is the reader's responsibility to create a meaningful connection to this material from his or her own prior knowledge.

    Next, the strategy or skill is introduced with research and rationales. Benefits for teacher and students are summarized, specific examples for using the skill in the classroom are presented, and key criteria are summarized. Benefits, examples, and key criteria may be presented in varying order.

    Most skills have a practice activity called Checking My Understanding for self-assessment.

    The final activity for each technique is a personal commitment. This is the crucial action step you will take to bring the skill to life in your classroom.

    Each chapter ends with a summary to use for closure and review.

    Personal Goals for Reading this Book
    • What do you want for yourself out of reading this book?

      _________________________________________________________________

      _________________________________________________________________

      _________________________________________________________________

      (If you answered, “Less stress, peaceful relationships with students, and strategies for feeling successful in creating a positive learning environment,” read on, this book is for you!)

    • What would you like for your students as a result of reading this book?

      _________________________________________________________________

      _________________________________________________________________

      _________________________________________________________________

      (If you answered, “Less teacher dependence, more respect and responsibility, increased learning, and more community among students,” keep reading!)

    Acknowledgments

    In the spirit of “rethinking” acknowledgments, I reflected on the powerful contributions that others have made to this work. I revisited my gratitude to those heartful people who shared their knowledge, experience, expertise, and spirit with me; without them, this edition would not have happened.

    For inspiration and guidance, thanks to the following:

    • Dr. Marsha Speck, an educator who applied these skills as a high school principal and assistant superintendent over 18 years ago, an author and expert on staff development, and a friend who guided me from our training manual format to a Corwin publication.
    • Diane Roberts, business partner, computer guru, and personal coach, whose steady spirit and good humor saw me through all the details of editing and formatting and getting work to the editors. From beginning to end, she rescued and problem-solved with me through two computer crashes, the 9/11 heartbreaks during our first edition, and the economic blues of our second edition.
    • Schools and districts (over 300) who were courageous enough to create new learning paradigms by offering the Classroom Leadership workshop, which teaches the strategies incorporated in this book. They valued the importance of staff development that creates the school climate students need to be successful learners.
    • Teachers (thousands) who pioneered these ideas in their classrooms, refining them, creating nuances, and sharing their practical applications, which are incorporated in the stories and examples documented here.

    For production, design, and editing, thanks to the following:

    • Brandy Caroline Lee-Jacob, my daughter, for contributing the artistic design of the icons that introduce each phase of the chapters. Her constructive criticism and thoughtful questions helped give shape and organization to this book. She was a practical and a spiritual resource.
    • Marcia Maya Jordan, my coauthor of the first edition and one of the first teacher-leaders to use this work in her own classroom in 1986. Without her support for the first edition of this book and attention to detail, I'd still be “rethinking.”
    • Our reviewers, who supported the need for this work and gave valuable suggestions:
    • Janet Crews
    • Instructional Coordinator
    • Clayton School District
    • Clayton, MO
    • Cathy Galland, EdD
    • Curriculum Director
    • Republic R-III School District
    • Republic, MO
    • Lori L. Grossman
    • Manager, Professional Development Services
    • Houston Independent School District
    • Houston, TX
    • Jane Hunn
    • Middle School Science Teacher
    • Tippecanoe Valley Middle School
    • Akron, IN

    For putting it all together, I acknowledge the Divine One that inspires my mission in education to lead from beliefs and teach from a peaceful heart.

    About the Author

    Patricia Sequeira Belvel is a mother, teacher, educational consultant, and leadership coach for teachers and families. As founder and president of Training & Consulting Institute Inc., Pat's mission is to promote leadership skills that will shift management strategies from those that rely on the motivation of reward and punishment to those that invite internal control. She has been leading classroom leadership and family leadership workshops for the past 35 years, encouraging educators to initiate and support a learning environment (both at home and at school) that invites young people to become responsible, caring, peaceful leaders. She is well known for her compassionate, no-blame approach in working with teachers and students. Currently, she contracts with school districts and individual school sites to support teachers' use of these strategies in their classrooms. She is also an adjunct faculty member, lecturer, and supervisor of student teachers at San Jose State University in California. Educators from many cultures and districts endorse her work because of the positive impact of the workshop and follow-up coaching sessions for both students and teachers. She holds a BA from Holy Names University in Oakland, California, and an MA from the University of Santa Clara, California. You can contact Pat through her Web site at http://www.trngedu.com.

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    ). New York: Teachers College Press.
    Palmer, ParkerJ. (1998). The courage to teach. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
    Phelan, P., Davidson, A., & Cao, H. (1973). Speaking up: Students’ perspectives on school. Phi Delta Kappan, 695–704.
    Piaget, J. (1969). Psychology of intelligence. Totowa, NJ: Littlefield, Adams.
    Poplin, M., & Weeres, J. (1992). Voices from the inside: A report on schooling from inside the classroom. Claremont, CA: Claremont Graduate School.
    Reasoner, Robert. (1982). Building self-esteem. Palo Alto, CA: Consulting Psychologists Press.
    Riestenberg, Nancy. (2002, August). Restorative measures in schools: Evaluation results. Paper presented at the Third International Conference on Conferencing, Circles and other Restorative Practices, Minneapolis, MN.
    Rogers, Carl. (1961). On becoming a person: A therapist's view of psychotherapy. New York: Houghton Mifflin.
    Rogers, Spence, & Renard, Lisa. (1999). Relationship-driven teaching. Educational Leadership, 57 (1), 34–37.
    Rosenberg, MarshallB. (2003a). Nonviolent communication: A language of life (
    2nd ed.
    ). Encinitas, CA: Puddle Dancer Press.
    Rosenberg, MarshallB. (2003b). Speaking peace: Connecting with others through nonviolent communication [CD]. Louisville, CO: Sounds True.
    Rosenberg, MarshallB. (2005). Raising children compassionately: Parenting the nonviolent communication way. Encinitas, CA: Puddle Dancer Press.
    Rosenshine, B. (1971). Teaching behaviors and student achievement. Slough, United Kingdom: National Federation for Educational Research.
    SafeSaner Schools, an International Institute for Restorative Practices program. (2009). Retrieved July 14, 2009, from http://www.safersanerschools.org
    Sapon-Shevin, Mara. (1999). Because we can change the world: A practical guide to building cooperative, inclusive classrooom communities. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.
    Schneider, Evelyn. (1996). Giving students a voice in the classroom. Educational Leadership, 54 (1), 22–26.
    Sims, Karan. (2002). Dealing with power struggles. Retrieved July 14, 2009, from http://www.positiveparenting.com/power.html
    Smith, Frank. (1986). Insult to intelligence. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
    Smith, MarkK. (2002). Malcolm Knowles, informal adult education, self-direction and anadragogy. Retrieved August 12, 2009, from The Encyclopedia of Informal Education: http://www.infed.org/thinkers/et-knowl.htm
    Solomon, Maynard. (1990). Beethoven essays. Boston: Harvard University Press.
    Spaulding, RobertL. (1980). Cases manual. San Jose, CA: Robert L. Spaulding Press & San Jose State University.
    Speck, M., & Knipe, C.O. (1982). Why can't we get it right? Designing high-quality professional development for standards-based schools. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.
    Sprenger, Marilee. (1999). Learning and memory. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.
    Standing, E.M. (1962). Maria Montessori: Her life and work. New York: New American Library.
    Sylwester, Robert. (1995). A celebration of neurons: An educator's guide to the brain. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.
    Sylwester, Robert. (1998). Unpublished manuscript.
    Tobin, L. (1991). What do you do with a child like this? Inside the lives of troubled children. Duluth, MN: Whole Person Associates.
    Watson, Marilyn (with Ecken, L.). (2003). Learning to trust: Transforming difficult elementary classrooms through developmental discipline. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
    Weil, Marsha. (1990). School effectiveness study. Santa Clara, CA: Santa Clara County Office of Education, Educational Development Center.
    Werner, Emmy. (1996). How kids become resilient: Observations and cautions. Resiliency in Action, 1 (1), 18–28.
    Wong, HarryK., & Wong, RosemaryT. (1998). The first days of school: How to be an effective teacher. Mountain View, CA: Harry K. Wong.
    Wormeli, Rick. (2006). Fair isn t always equal. Portland, ME, & Westerville, OH: Stenhouse and National Middle School Association.
    Zimmerman, JeffreyL., & Dickerson, VictoriaC. (1996). If problems talked: Narrative therapy in action. New York: Guilford.

    Suggested Readings

    Benoit, R.B., & Mayer, G.R. (1974). Extinction: Guidelines for its selection and use. Personal and Guidance Journal, 52, 290–295. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/j.2164-4918.1974.tb04027.x
    Berne, Eric. (1972). What do you say after you say hello?London: Transworld.
    Brendtro, LarryK., Brokenleg, Martin, & Van Bockern, Steve. (1990). Reclaiming youth at risk: Our hope for the future. Bloomington, IN: National Educational Service.
    Dalton, Joan, & Boyd, Julie. (1992). I teach: A guide to inspiriting classroom leadership. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
    Dalton, Joan, & Watson, Marilyn. (1997). Among friends: Classrooms where caring and learning prevail. Oakland, CA: Developmental Studies Center.
    Glasser, William. (1986). Control theory in the classroom. New York: Harper & Row.
    Gootman, MarilynE. (1997). The caring teacher's guide to discipline. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.
    Harmin, Merrill. (1994). Inspiring active learning: A handbook for teachers. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.
    Harris, Thomas. (1967). I'm O.K.—You're O.K. New York: Harper & Row.
    Hendricks, Gay, & Wills, Russell. (1975). The centering book: Awareness activities for children, parents and teachers. New York: Prentice Hall.
    Hord, Rutherford, & Huling-Austin, Hall. (1989). Taking charge of change: Teacher education, University of Texas in Austin. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.
    Howell, J.C., Krisberg, B., Hawkins, J.D., & Wilson, J.J. (Eds.). (1995). A source-book: Serious, violent, and chronic juvenile offenders. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
    Kohn, Alfie. (1991). Teaching children to care: The role of the schools. Phi Delta Kappan, 2 (7), 496–506.
    Leeds, Dorothy. (2000). The seven powers of questions: Secrets to successful communication in life and at work. New York: Berkley.
    Loomans, Diane, & Kolberg, Karen. (1993). The laughing classroom. Tiburon, CA: H. J. Kramer.
    Rich, Dorothy. (1988). Mega Skills. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
    Ruiz, DonMiguel. (1997). The four agreements. San Rafael, CA: Amber-Allen.
    Tracy, LouiseFelton. (1994). Grounded for life?Seattle, WA: Parenting Press.

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