I always take it as a good sign when I am only a few pages into a book and already nodding my head along in agreement. I have very much enjoyed reading the first few chapters of this book and already the wheels are turning about how to improve my own classroom management.
I find the origins of Whole Brain Teaching to be fascinating and I particularly like the fact that the author shares his struggles and his process for improving his teaching. I think all teachers have been in a place before where they felt their classroom management was not adequate and this teacher does a good job of acknowledging that.
The broad application of these ideas also appeals greatly to me. I have always taught in fairly rural areas and in elementary schools but these ideas do seem to be universal. Even my most challenging class to manage was a walk in the park compared to some situations I know teachers have been in. If all kids are always constantly learning either positive or negative behaviors, I am all for a system that emphasizes the positives. In my experience, when kids are engaged and entertained their behavior is excellent.
Seven Common Teaching Mistakes
Of the seven common teaching mistakes listed in Chapter 3, numbers 1 and 3 resonated with me the most. "When we lost our temper with difficult kids and yell at them, we don't fix our teaching problem we make it worse." Over and over again I hear from students that I have known for years that their least favorite teachers are those who tend to yell a lot. This is especially true of substitute teachers. These teachers do not know the kids well and lack a strong foundation relationship. One incident of yelling by a substitute seems to turn kids off to that substitute for the rest of the year. Teachers who routinely yell at kids are also greatly disliked in my school and kids often seem to be plotting against them.
Teaching mistake number 3 is about making sure you stay organized. "Disorganized teachers breed chaotic classrooms. If you have mutinous students, a good way to make your problem worse is by shooting from the hip. The less class structure you have, the less structured your classes will be." I love this point and have seen it played out in my own school. As a teacher who spends a lot of time in other teachers' classrooms, I get to see all kinds of management styles and how kids react to them. The biggest difference between the teachers who I would say are good at management and the teachers who are great at it is the structure in their classroom. The very best teachers I have seen and try to emulate are 100% consistent in their structure. They are on top of what their class is doing at all times. They have their lessons ready and have planned things to stay within a structure. No matter what the situation, they always have a plan.
I am looking forward to reading what others thought about these chapters! Which of the seven common mistakes do you find in your school? If you are already implementing some whole brain teaching strategies, how is it going?