As you know there are a lot of frustrating behaviors that happen in a classroom. Some examples include: students calling out for no apparent reason, students sharpening their pencils while you are talking, or any number of other trite things.
While these things may be bothersome, they aren’t damaging to the learning environment and will typically go away within 30 seconds. How should we handle these types of behaviors?
The first thing we need to do is remember the main goal of classroom management is to get students on task, not to get revenge or to embarrass them. Therefore, the best way to handle these inconsequential behaviors is to just ignore them. It’s as simple as that!
Inconsequential behaviors are irritating and probably will get on your nerves, but remember, the type of behavior determines how you handle it, and not how annoying it is.
Here is an example of why we should ignore inconsequential behavior. Last year I was conducting a teacher training and one participant shared the following story:
“I was taking roll in a class when one student started whistling. I scolded him for whistling. Another student, obviously aware that it was annoying to me, also started whistling. I was chastising the second student when another student started to whistle. Pretty soon the whole class was whistling and I had to ask the Principal to come down and talk to the students about not whistling in class.”
Learning to not let behaviors upset you is a powerful tool in knowing which battles to pick when managing student behavior. This week my challenge for you is to let inconsequential behaviors slide. Instead of pointing out these inappropriate behaviors, focus on finding a student who is on task and praise him or her.