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Managing classroom behavior with an APP, are we serious?

June 5, 2016

I assume we could all agree that the teaching profession faces many challenges: increasing class sizes with cuts in state funding; cyberbullying; designing for effective parent involvement; meeting NCLB expectations; aligning to the Common Core standards; designing interesting and relevant curricula; and salaries that don’t align with the complexity of the work.  (average starting teacher salary is $35,641 and average teacher salary is $53,649, (click here))

So while scanning Flipboard I came across this resource, promoted to solve a teacher’s daily challenge of managing classroom behavior.

Improve_Classroom_Behavior_with_this_Free_App_-_Simplek12_-_Linkis_com

Are we serious?  Improve classroom behavior with an APP!  Now I’m all for integrating technology in the classroom, but really, using an APP to “control” student behavior.  This illustrates why the teaching profession struggles being taken seriously.   We come up with the most ridiculous ideas for doing our profession’s work.  Let’s use our intellect, the research, and our understanding of child and adolescent behavior to give teachers the understanding and tools to help manage student behavior in the classroom.

Here are non-technological ways to help teachers improve their management of classroom behavior.

  1. Show all students that we care for them and know they have the potential to master the learning.
  2. Let’s not give up on any student no matter what the circumstances.
  3. Let’s work hard to design interesting, relevant and meaningful curriculum.  Most of the challenging behavior students demonstrate in the classroom comes from being disconnected from the learning.  If the learning is interesting, fun and engaging a student’s behaviors are focused on learning not misbehaving.
  4. Use strategies to build intrinsic motivation.  Extrinsic motivators, like class dojos, are ineffective, or at best inappropriate tools, for helping students develop self-monitoring skills that will serve them well beyond school.  Life is not full of “carrots and sticks” to shape our motivation and behavior.  So let’s not use them in our classrooms.
  5. Let’s realize that all “good student behavior” comes from effective adult role modeling in a student’s life.  So let’s design useful educational programs for parents and teachers that are research-based and will give them the necessary tools to understand what motivates a child or adolescent.
  6. Let’s understand that all good classroom management techniques are relational in nature.  The best teachers I know manage their classrooms well because they have the interpersonal and intrapersonal skills needed to work with students.

It’s not about an APP!  It’s about relating to students on a personal level, showing them you care and understand, and giving them interesting things to do that are appropriately challenging.

This APP is promoted on a website, SimpleK12: Professional Development in your Pajamas.   I think that’s part of the problem.   It’s very hard to take this website seriously.  No informed educator in the field of professional development (that I know) would suggest that you can do this “hard work” in your pajamas.  Good professional development is job-embedded, ongoing, requires the investment of hours of time and attention, and is tied to research being done in our profession.  I doubt it can be done well in pajamas.

So let’s not get pulled in by these seductive ads and ideas.  If you want to change your students’ behavior in the classroom (or any other important challenge you want to address), work hard, consult with trusted colleagues, and handle it interpersonally.  Don’t use an APP and don’t rely on the time you have in your pajamas!

 

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