Classroom Management Strategies and Whole Brain Teaching

October 8th, 2013 | by Stephan Maldonado
Classroom Management Strategies and Whole Brain Teaching

Classroom management encompasses an array of techniques and processes used by teachers to minimize disruptive behavior, maximize student engagement, and ensure successful learning in the classroom. Scholars and educational theorists discuss different classroom management strategies, and while some are more widely practiced or popular than others, each teacher must decide, through working with students and colleagues, which is best for them.

Classroom Management Strategies

The 2006 Handbook of Classroom Management: Research Practice and Contemporary Issues (edited by Carolyn Everston and Carol S. Weinstein) identifies classroom management as actions taken to create an environment that supports and facilitates academic and social-emotional learning. How you manage your classroom is in part shaped by your own teaching method, and extends to the actual environment you create in the classroom through your instruction.

Classroom Management Strategies: Then and Now

Classroom management strategies have evolved over time, especially as educational models have shifted to place greater emphasis on teaching to students’ unique learning styles. Can you believe that, until recent decades, corporal punishment was a generally accepted form of classroom management?! Even as educators moved away from physical discipline, classroom management strategies have begun to take a more collaborative and nurturing approach, promoting preventative techniques as opposed to punishment.

Educators nowadays work to create a positive atmosphere in the classroom, establishing mutual respect between teachers and students, so that children feel supported and encouraged. This promotes good behavior and prevents the need for punishment. When discipline is necessary, students are expected to face consequences, but rather than simply issuing detention or rote assignments, teachers work with students to help them understand why they are being punished and how they can work to prevent repeated bad behavior.

Though classroom management strategies are as unique to teachers as their own teaching methods, there are some overall guiding practices. First and foremost, remember that this is a process. Teachers should always plan ahead to set the proper tone from the first day of school–students must know what is expected of them, and you must know what you expect. However, you cannot be inflexible.

As a process, classroom management involves teachers developing relationships with their students, getting to know their individual learning styles and personalities. Ask questions about their lives and try to understand how their minds work. You’ll discover a lot about why they behave and learn in certain ways, and how you can adapt your methodologies to accommodate them. Teachers should also learn from others. Observe your colleagues to see how they manage their classrooms, and see what you can glean from incorporating their techniques. In this way, your classroom management strategies will continually evolve, and you’ll find it much easier to connect with your students, foster positive behavior, and prevent negative behavior.

Whole Brain Teaching

Of the numerous classroom management strategies out there, Whole Brain Teaching is a unique approach that has achieved rapid and widespread popularity since it’s creation in 1999. Began as Power Teaching in California, this strategy was designed by college educator Chris Biffle, kindergarten instructor Jay Vanderfin, and 4th grade teacher Chris Rekstad. These three educators set out to create a “radical new teaching system” that was “brain-based”, fun, and free. Throughout the early 2000’s, Power Teachers conferences were held for free on a monthly basis, discussing classroom management strategies locally in California, and once they re-branded themselves as Whole Brain Teaching, LLC in 2009, their popularity really took off. Currently, Whole Brain Teaching conferences are held on a national scale, and a slew of webcasts, videos, online documents, and other free resources have helped them reach an international audience, helping educators across the globe successfully manage their classroom.

The folks at Whole Brain Teaching have been making their educational videos available for years at no cost. They have been a part of the TeacherTube community since 2008, and between our site, YouTube, and their own website, their videos have reached millions of views. Their “Intro to Power Teaching” series on TeacherTube provides a thorough overview of Whole Brain Teaching, along with videos of educators implementing the strategy in the classroom. Essentially, Whole Brain Teaching focuses on “teaching challenging students” by catching your class’s attention early on and holding it by creating a positive classroom environment that is both fun and educational, fostering both academic and social-emotional growth in your students. You can learn more about the first steps in Whole Brain Teaching on their website.

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