We need to learn from other teachers. In one of my videos, a viewer called ‘OlsenMania’ left the following smart comment on how to use collaboration to enforce classroom management rules in a very kind way. OlsenMania wrote:
“At the beginning of the school year, create rules that you, as the teacher, expect of your students. Five to ten rules that they can remember. Then ask the students for another five to ten rules of what they expect from you as the teacher. If a student later on in the year becomes disruptive, instead of singling that student out, remind the class of the rules, of your expectations of them. Then ask the class to recite their expectations of you.
“Go over the rules, remind them that this helps everyone in the learning process and you must all follow the rules in order to create a healthy learning environment for all, then continue teaching. If some students persist (misbehaving), after you have given group work or individual work, then and only then should you walk over and speak to those students. Pull them aside and get onto their level. Ask them if there was something wrong that you as the teacher could do to help them better understand the lesson or the class rules. It usually helps not to point blame and make the student feel safe enough to communicate more with you.”
This is good advice on classroom management. I usually tell teachers to be strict and to enforce the rules. If possible, don’t give your students a platform in front of the class, but take them aside. I like OlsenMania’s approach because teachers often tell me “Eric, you know what I the students are already against me I don’t want to make them angrier.”
So, in this way, you meet them halfway. You say, “Listen, here are some of my rules. Give me some of your rules.” Then, if a student steps over the line, you remind them of the rules that they have agreed to you and ask if there is a way that you can help them.
The kind approach is a great way for you as a teacher to work with the students, to “kill them with kindness” whenever they want to act out. Just remind them of the rules they have agreed to and that you want to apply them fairly, asking the students to work with the rest of the class.