From attending previous conferences, many interesting observations have been made about classroom behavior and sometimes seeing that you the teacher and your behavior often contribute to a climate that could foster and create discipline problems through certain types of management procedures. Here are some teacher behaviors that create management problems—rather than solve them—have you experienced or seen any of these?
• Extreme negativity. Teacher’s comments to the class are frequently couched in negative and/or highly authoritative terms along with our gestures. (“It’s obvious that nobody knows how to speak correctly.” “It looks like many of you will fail today.”)
• Excessive authoritarian climate. These teachers desire to be the absolute and have complete authority with all decisions. (“It’s my way or the highway!”)
• Overreacting. This teacher creates mountains out of molehills by escalating minor disturbances into major ones. (“I’m tired of your behavior.” “I want all of you to write one hundred times, ‘I will not do this again.’”)
• Mass punishment. These teachers hope peer pressure will result in a change of behavior for a few select students. (“It’s obvious that Robert and John can’t behave, so we just won’t celebrate Linda’s birthday today.”)
• Blaming. This teacher often picks out two or three childen and consistently blames them for every little infraction that may occur. (“Alright, who made that noise? Was it you again, Susan?”)
• Lack of instructional goals. Often teachers will engage children without a clearly defined or clearly understood goals for the lesson. (“Okay, is there anything anyone wants to talk about before we begin?”)
• Repeating or reviewing already understood material. In an effort to make sure children are exposed to important material, teachers might constantly repeat material over and over again in the same way. When you do this, there is no challenge for the children. (“All right, I want you to look and tell me what you see in these zoo pictures again, and/or connect the lines with the right pictures again.”)
• Dealing with a single child at length. This teacher often disrupts its own instructional rhythm by spending an inordinate amount of time on one child. (“I can’t believe you are still talking, Iris. I’ve told you over and over and over again about talking in class.” [Five minutes of lecture ensue.])
• Not recognizing students’ ability levels. This teacher plans a lesson that is often over the heads of many children in the class. A single lesson is much easier to prepare than multiple mini-lessons. (“This is material everybody should know, so I want everyone to listen carefully so you can all do well on the picture test.”)
• Teachers may talk too much and not let the child have anything to say.
A combination of these teacher behaviors can create and promote significant discipline problems in any classroom. Be aware that avoiding these behaviors will go a long way toward creating a climate of trust and caring that will significantly reduce and quite possibly eliminate misbehavior.