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Unread Feb 20th, 2005, 12:12 am
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Cool The Silent Treatment

Quote chocopie
There are a lot of little things I do, but in general I try to avoid yelling as it just tires me out and I FIRMLY believe that it doesn't work, and I believe the kids feed off of it. If I'm yelling it just shows that the students have succesfully gotten under my skin, it doesn't demonstrate my authority. Also, if you save yelling for those really rare times when they've been SUPER-bad, it has a greater impact, as they're not used to hearing you get angry.
I like your management tips. I agree completely with the bit about yelling. I used to yell, out of frustration I guess, in my first year or so. But now I do the exact opposite: I fold my arms and wait.

With younger kids, I praise whoever is doing what I what I've instructed (book open and ready or book put away, etc) and the rest usually follow. If it's a noise issue, I stare down the noisy one with a look of perturbation on my face, but without saying anything. The class usually catches on pretty quickly. One class of 7 year olds even likes to fold their arms like me and say: "I'm ready teacher!". It's pretty cute.

The same technique also worked with the highschool boys class I had once a week. I surprised myself there. As I was thinking about how to shut them up, I silenced them by not saying anything, unplanned but successful. The silence I create is usually weird enough to get their attention. Good point (above) not to overuse any one technique though, because then kids just tune it out.

I also use a points/reward system at least in the first few weeks of a class so that everybody knows what behavior will and will not be tolerated during class. Sometimes the physical reward system (stickers, prizes) just naturally fizzles out and sometimes I have to keep it up for as long as I teach the class (months, years ???). I've been lucky the past few years and haven't had to deal with any true go-ahead-punish-me types, I've had mainly younger, more malleable, age groups.

My biggest displinary problem this year was completely unexpected: my housewives class was shockingly insensitive to my silent treatment (they'd usually go right on chatting away in Korean when I got to class), I even had an issue with one dominant-type student who took away my chair when she claimed it was her spot!

I was honestly baffled at having to exercise authority with such disrespectful adults, all of whom were older than me. I had relied on the unspoken terms of common decency and was never too vocal about establishing rules. I hadn't thought of myself as a mousy type of teacher, but I guess I'd come across as a wallflower type with this particular group of women.

If anyone has advice on how to "discipline" adult students, please advise. I'm going to be teaching more adult classes this upcoming year and I'd like to be prepared for the odd pitbull type student or class.

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