While scrolling through Twitter this morning, I stumbled upon the following tweet by @gcouros, which immediately had me nmh (nod my head) and state “Yes!” out loud!
I stopped after to reflect about why this is likely the case in many innovative classrooms. Here are my humble suggestions as to why an innovative approach to education can minimize the need for teacher-led classroom management.
- Innovative education naturally gives students more choice and autonomy. They take ownership of their learning. This inevitably means that students are more excited and interested in their learning and thus, more engaged and focused on their work. Students are too immersed in their learning to have time for misbehavior.
- Innovative education is a naturally inclusive approach that respects diversity within the classroom. It is a collaborative approach that allows for varying abilities, strengths and intelligences (think Howard Gardner). A good teacher will work to unearth and develop every student’s strengths and passions and help them to find their purpose within the group. No student is left out. This is also all an important part of their social and emotional learning and it creates a sense of community within the classroom – a community that values everyone.
- When we give students a voice, choice and autonomy, it also gives the message to our students that we trust them, which helps build the teacher-student relationship. What I have learned about attachment theory over the years, is that people (including students) obey out of a function of attachment. Essentially, we want to do good by those we like and feel connected to. A strong teacher-student connection, therefore usually leads to more positive student behavior.
- In an innovative classroom, the teacher becomes a leader and facilitator (versus boss of the classroom and feeder of content). The teacher learns alongside the students. They guide their students in identifying problems and in solving them, including as it pertains to classroom management issues. This more level playing field of sorts, has students less interested in “bucking the system, ” if you will, and more interested in working in collaboration with the teacher on the classroom climate and culture.
To summarize, an innovative approach to education results in all students being more included and engaged in their learning. Relationships between the teacher and students, as well as between students are strengthened, which results in the classroom community naturally working better together. Classroom management becomes a whole group endeavor and not just the teacher’s job.