Guilty of Ineffective Classroom Management?
Reviewed by Angie Grimes
Many of the most common classroom management techniques and strategies used by educators are toxic habits, or “patterns,” ingrained in our profession. They only serve to “create or compound classroom management problems” experienced in classes today.
This idea is a powerful message presented throughout Dr. Jane Bluestein’s brief and useful Managing 21st Century Classrooms. In a little more than 40 pages, Dr. Bluestein highlights seven behaviors that teachers are often guilty of that undermine their classroom management capabilities – and goes on to offer better alternatives.
The format of this book makes for quick, easy reading. It’s short, sweet, and to the point; in fact, it can be read in its entirety in one sitting. Each of the flawed classroom management practices is accompanied by a try this instead section that explains several bulleted techniques that are more likely to produce positive results. There is no extra “fluff” included.
What makes this classroom management book different from others is that it focuses solely on teachers’ behaviors we need to avoid, instead of detailing a list of things that should be implemented in the classroom in order to make it run successfully.
There is no complicated reward system described which requires hours of preparation before it can be implemented. In fact, tickets, tokens and tallies are part of the seven ingrained but ineffective management approaches. There is no list of key rules and consequences to include in your classroom; rules and consequences are also on the “do not do” list.
This book emphasizes that classroom management is heavily reliant upon teachers’ behaviors, words, tones, attitudes and actions to promote a positive learning environment. Student behavior follows teacher behavior.
Jane Bluestein, a former classroom teacher, is also the author of The Win-Win Classroom, Becoming a Win-Win Teacher, Creating Emotionally Safe Schools, and Mentors, Masters and Mrs. MacGregor: Stories of Teachers Making a Difference.
One quote from Managing 21st Century Classrooms encapsulates the classroom management ideas described within the book:
Probably the most surprising thing about classroom management is that is isn’t about managing kids at all! It is about creating an environment of safety and connectedness.”
Angie Grimes has spent 15 years in education working with middle school scholars and teachers in Charleston, South Carolina. Angie is presently employed as a professional development coordinator for a middle school. She also volunteers with the school district, serving as a cohort leader for beginning middle level teachers, and is a representative for teachers on the Superintendent’s Roundtable and Teacher Forum. Angie is also the president of the Charleston Reading Council (a local chapter of the International Literacy Association).