Classroom management has been at the top of PD lists and topics for educational publications for the last couple of decades. An unconscionable number of trees have been sacrificed to provide manuals and workshop handouts, while at the same time entire languages of buzz-words have populated programs to teach teachers how to ‘manage’ their classrooms.
It is time to fess up to the fact that we are simply on the wrong track.
I confess here and now that the concept has always bothered me. My philosophy of classroom management has always been to give the students so much interesting stuff to do that they don’t have time to play around. Individual students who refused to engage were dealt with – individually.
I know that is simplistic, and I have valued many of the techniques I have picked up at PD sessions. But why ‘management.’ I am not a manager, I am a teacher, an educator, one who dares to dream of the moments when the lights come on and a student smiles broadly in comprehension.
What I am after in a classroom is engagement. Engagement with the material, engagement with the process of learning, engagement with me, the teacher. And surely, from the outside looking in, the most engaged classes can appear the least managed.
Looking back I can say with absolute certainty that many of my MTM’s (magic teaching moments) have occurred in the midst of apparent chaos. Moments when all the different learning styles are at work simultaneously.
Isn’t it time we left the idea of management to business and corporations and place our emphasis on what is after all our core purpose, engagement with our subjects and our students.
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