Wednesday, February 12, 2014

ELT reading club (my contribution)

This is my homework for our ELT Reading club. The idea of this club is to meet every now and then and talk about books we have read.


I chose:

--> “Setting limits in the Classroom” by Robert J. MacKenzie, ED.D."
One might wonder why I chose to read this book that has actually nothing to do with ELT.
It was 8 years ago, when I still used to work at a language school; I had to deal with a really problematic situation. A couple of teenage kids, no manners at all, with a very disruptive behavior.  Since they don’t teach us how to handle with such situations at the university and in my case, I did not have the support of the school owner; I had to find ways to handle the situation alone.
I read a lot of articles and books on the subject, which helped me a great deal, but this particular book made the difference.
Written in a very simple way, giving many examples, the author makes his points clear to everybody.

The first rule is: Clear rules and instructions from the beginning.

There are four kinds of approaches the teachers use:
·      The student- oriented permissive approach: Teacher gives freedom to the students, but freedom without limits is not democracy. Students tend to ignore the teacher and the rules
·      The teacher-oriented punitive approach: The teacher plays the role of the “detective”, the “judge”, and the “probation officer”. The teacher’s behavior is firm but not respectful, though, so it usually backfires.
·      The mixed approach: a combination of the two mentioned approaches, but when we go back and forth, this usually causes burnout.
·      The democratic approach on the contrary is firm and respectful. It keeps the balance between the teacher and the students. It gives clear limits and offers acceptable choices.
Students will always test you when you introduce new rules. Our job is to be firm and consistent to our initial plan.
Giving second choices is not always the best solution.
The plan goes like this for example
·      Students disrupt
·      Teacher gives warning and mentions the consequence. (it is important for students to know what happens if they don’t stop)
·      Students usually test.
·      Teacher follows the plan and tells student to proceed with the consequence. (i.g. quiet time by themselves or have them read or write something). Consequences must be logical and immediate.
·      If student refuses to co-operate, Plan B comes to action. (Talk to the director or with the parents)

This book gives examples of all ages and types of schools, for teachers, administrators and parents, gives solutions to a lot of problematic situations (from the very simple incidents like avoiding doing homework to really violent behaviors).
It has helped me a lot to understand my students and myself better. 

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