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Method & Theory

    Re: Classroom Behavior ... Plevin's PDF

    Hi Anne,

    Thanks for posting thebusyeducator site -- I just read the 100+
    pages (downloaded for free), and found some EXCELLENT
    explanations of the subtle things that good teachers do on a
    moment-to-moment basis in the classroom.

    However, I disagree strongly with a few of Plevin's suggestions.

    1) He suggests that a teacher should constantly question
    students, calling on them to keep them on their toes. BOO! I
    suggest that teachers should avoid this strategy at all costs,
    because it creates a constant sense of tension (aka "danger") in
    the room. Therefore, it directly interferes with a truly Safe
    and Supportive environment.

    I would suggest setting the students up for success, saying
    something like, "Turn to your neighbor and see if you guys can
    do this problem: What is the square root of 49 times 3 divided
    by 2. Go!" Then, after giving them time, ask the question, "So,
    did anyone come up with an answer they'd like to share?" This
    sort of strategy will keep the kids far more engaged than the
    traditional teacher-led Q & A, and will give them a safe way to
    successfully share.

    2) He suggests using what Alfie Kohn calls "seductive praise," a
    method whereby the teacher looks for people to praise, and then
    praises them in the hopes that other students will want some of
    that praise, too ... and will choose similar 'good' behavior.

    I say that this method is manipulative and unnecessary.

    3) A related point is that Plevin gives a lot of teacher-centric
    language ("I really like that, Tommy."), thus reinforcing this
    notion that the teacher is the one to please.

    I suggest that the teacher focus on what the student has done
    successfully, rather than constantly introducing the fact the
    teacher does or does not like it. "Wow, Tommy, your use of
    shading in that portrait is quite complex. You really captured
    that mood you were talking about wanting to explore! Good for
    you, man. Good for you."

    But the download is worth reading overall!

    All my best,


    > Hi Becca, I have run across a great resource for class room
    > behavior for busy teachers. This site gives you a free book
    > to down load and print, with great ideas of what to do and
    > explain what is happening and how to change your behavior and
    > response to reach the kids.
    > It is worth it. I have taught for over 10 years and have
    > found new ideas.
    > Anne