Accountability and Classroom ManagementBy
Accountability. It is a key part to the success of any business, marriage, classroom management plan, school system, country.
Accountability is at the core of my classroom discipline techniques, techniques that have been successful in some of the toughest schools in the country.
Ernest Hemingway said “Never confuse motion with action”. Great quote, eh? Gotta love ol’ Ernie.
In the realm of classroom discipline, we have to be careful not to think that the motion of our mouths equals some action that matters to the student.
Accountability means that there is a consequence if something is not done. In the case of disruptive students, they must be made accountable for any behavior which does not contribute to the classroom environment you want–which should be quiet, focused, on task, and respectful at all times.
And that consequence must matter. If your consequence for a student being rude to you is to tell them not to be rude, but it is a student that doesn’t care if you tell them that, then you have not made him or her accountable for their action.
Words in the classroom, like a bluff at the poker table, last about two hands if they are not backed up with action. It doesn’t take long for students to figure out you’re only holding a pair of twos (or if you’re a teacher not playing with a full deck, since we’re on the topic). So your classroom management should include an immediate consequence for any behavior that is not acceptable.
I give out ten minute detentions after school for any minor kind of infraction, like chewing gum, being off task, or not being in your seat at the bell. Students are also accountable to come to that detention.
Accountability solves a lot of problems. At my school there are numerous discussions of how to handle students out of class, abusing restroom privileges, etc.
My solution is easy–make students accountable.
How? If a student wants to use the restroom in my class, they certainly may–but they have to make up the time–10 minutes–after school. I would not want them to forego the valuable instruction time lost. This is not a ‘punishment’ for going to the bathroom, just a way of making them accountable for really having to go.
If you want to go by the honor system, you know– we need to show students we trust them and all that–my experience shows you will have approximately 7 times more students with emergency needs than if they are made accountable for those needs. Students do not take well to naivety on the part of adults who are in charge of them. So, don’t be naive if you care about your students.
Another problem at my school is tardiness to classrooms. My students, however, are in their seats everyday when the bell rings. This is either because I’m Mr. Wunderbar teacher that they can’t wait to sit down in front of and be mesmerized by due to my superior pedagogy skills and non-stop fascinating lessons, or…because they would rather be in their seats at the bell than come ten minutes after school for detention. In other words, they are accountable.
Make your students accountable and your classroom atmosphere will be pleasant. For my complete system on how to get any classroom in order go to classroomdiscipline101.com and download my ebook.
Here’s to enjoying teaching–