Last night I noticed this tweet by David Fife and it really got me thinking.
When you are more concerned with losing "control" of your classroom program you're in the way of innovation and learning
— David Fife (@DavidFifeVP) December 12, 2013
For so many years classroom management was leveled by the noise (or lack thereof) in a classroom. As if there was this scale from quiet to loud and teachers were always placed in some numeric value. I would hear “So and So runs a tight ship!” as if that meant they were in control of students. And there’s that word – control. What are we controlling? Is a controlled classroom one that is always learning?
If we still judge teachers by the volume in their classrooms, I have no “control”. I use the quotes here because I think this control has different definitions. I think there is control where classrooms are quiet and students are afraid to make eye contact. Then I think control to mean that students are always on task, sharing, debating and collaborating. These students always achieve my expectations. We have a classroom community where new ideas are developed and creativity is the driving force. I want my students to be innovative – and this requires noise.
It’s Management 101. Engaged students do not want to let you down and will produce to the best of their ability. To me, this is classroom management. Getting the most reluctant writer to write because you believe in him or her is “control”.
So Mr. Fife. Thank you for tweeting. It has made me think and reflect about my own practices.