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1/09/2008

Be Consistent - If you say it, mean it!

The environment inside of classrooms varies greatly when you walk through a school building.

One of the reasons behind this is of course the personality of the teacher. Another reason may directly result from whatever topic the class is studying. Then you may need to look at the content area. Moods change throughout the day as well, so you may see a big difference observing a morning setting and then an afternoon one. And there are other reasons we I could mention as well...

Behavior is an issue that all teachers and parents have to deal with. Sometimes it'll be good, and other times your patience will be tested.

Time and time again, I've witnessed consistency being the best method for solving any issues. If there are expectations and they are not met, and consequences are known beforehand, and it is done the same way repeatedly, negative behaviors seem to disappear.

If I go against what I say I'm going do, it opens up a doorway in their mind that 'what I say isn't always what I mean', and it gives a negative impression. I made the mistake of doing this when I first started teaching, and it really backfired on the behavior in my room, and attitudes. I heard, "well you said that once before, and nothing happened. Why would we expect it this time?"

And you know what? They were right. Why should they expect me not to change my mind? I did it before.

So, I learned to keep my word, and do as I say. This has made such a huge difference!

Now, students find out right away that if when I say "If you don't have your homework done, you'll make it up at recess" ... I mean it.

This works just as well with parenting. Be consistent, and everyone will know what to expect, and live by the rules that are set.

10 Comments:

At 10:51 PM, Blogger zandperl said...

How students behave in a class also depends upon the type of lesson, meaning "chalk and talk" lecture, or hands-on group activities. At institutes of higher education this is supposedly codified into lecture sections and recitation/discussion/labs, though teachers have more leeway than the section titles claim.

K-12 teachers can teach in whatever method they want, as long as the administration is in agreement. I student taught with a woman who had a very active 6th grade science classroom where appropriate behavior from students was to work with partners and when their group didn't know, to consult with another group. The students had a lot of indpendence and leeway with how they worked, and as a result produced projects on topics they were invested in and analyzed data in (good) ways we had not foreseen.

Also as a result, the class was very noisy and she was not rehired for the next year. The more traditional teachers on her team complained to the principal that she could not control her classroom, that her students were learning to not respect authority, and that they were not learning the content. Unfortunately the principal agreed with the teaching team members despite the outside money and resources my mentor's teaching style was bringing in, and she had to move on.

 
At 11:50 PM, Blogger Allura said...

Similar rules in teaching, child-rearing... and dog training, if you ask me. :)

 
At 12:56 AM, Blogger Norbert Sczepanski said...

hi, be consisten is a VERY good piece of advice :-)
best regards,
norbert sczepanski, germany

 
At 1:11 AM, Blogger Random Personae said...

It is hard to know when to be consistent, and when to change (in a purely philisophical sense.)

Knowlege molds the individual.

 
At 2:48 AM, Blogger Bybee said...

I'm so glad I don't have to play good cop, bad cop/dog trainer anymore. My sympathies for those that do.

 
At 11:45 AM, Anonymous tanya said...

That's a great life lesson as well. It helps when you have friends and if they say they're going to do something - then you know they mean it!

 
At 4:07 PM, Blogger Kris said...

Sometimes following up on what I say is harder on me than my child. I've learned the hard way not to threaten consequences without being willing to follow up on them if I have to. For instance, one of our consistent consequences for disruptive behavior in public places or with groups of people is to immediately remove the child and take him home. But that means I have to leave too! I've also learned that I can undo the results of being consistent 10 times in a row just by one instance of inconsistency. Just one time and the testing begins again!

 
At 7:55 AM, Blogger CaliforniaTeacherGuy said...

Or, as Horton the Elephant said:
"I meant what I said,
And I said what I meant:
An elephant's faithful,
One hundred percent."

If parents--and teachers--say what they mean and mean what they say, kids will get the message.

 
At 12:49 AM, Anonymous kontan said...

Consistency can be a hard thing to develop and maintain, however it is essential to teacher survival!

Great post.

 
At 10:58 PM, Anonymous jan said...

Consistency is important in teaching, raising children, and training dogs. But I think it is one of the hallmarks of character and maturity.

 

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