Thinking Differently about Classroom Disruption

The key imperative that stands out for me in a case made last year, for dealing with low-level disruption is “be prepared”. A significant part of the rest of the injunctions are unfortunately based on a set of assumptions about learning that should, at least, be challenged because it is biased toward soliciting compliance rather than building community.

We are easily intimidated by visual messages of apparent delinquency from students. I am ashamed at some of the tactics I used to deploy in the classroom, in order to get students to comply. I wanted to say something.  I wanted to be at the front of the class. I wanted to control the space. I needed to get “things done” before 11h15. It was all about me. Anything outside of that, rattled my cage.

A great deal of the tension is the result of not being prepared. Being prepared, for me, is not only being ready with my neatly designed lesson-plan. Being prepared also means being ready for interruptions, for dealing with different learning preferences or for the impact of a fracas in the hostile hallways of our schools just a few minutes before MY lesson.

My Recommended Reading:

  1. Teaching with Poverty in Mind – Eric Jensen
  2. What is it About Me You Can’t Teach? – Rodriguez & Bellanca
  3. Beyond Discipline – From Compliance to Community – Alfie Kohn
  4. Teaching with Poverty in Mind – Eric Jensen

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