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The Effective Classroom


An Effective Classroom begins with an Effective School and school administrator!

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By: Reginald T. Hardaway, Sr., MS, Ed.D (A seminar presented at the University of Illinois –Chicago, 6/24/08) I. II. The effective classroom begins with an effective school. When an effective school is not possible, the classroom teacher has to take the ball and run with it. III. IV. V. The effective classroom starts with TRUST! It is important for a teacher to establish trust in the classroom. For the first few months the teacher is with the students, look for natural occasions to tell them: 1) Who you are. 2) What you stand for. 3) What you will ask them to do (quality work). 4) What you will do for them. 5) What you will not do for them.


Who you are? Students are curious about you. What you stand for? Do you practice what you preach? And if you don‟t why not? Example: what do you do when your children misbehave?

VIII. What you will ask them to do? In a quality classroom, they should know what you would ask them to do: NEVER SURPRISE YOUR STUDENTS!



What you will do for them? As long as they come to class, you will help them in any way you can.


What you will not do? You will not do their work or figure out their problems for them.


What does quality work look like? 1) There must be a warm, supportive classroom. Above all there must be trust! 2) Students should be asked to do only useful work. NEVER BUSY WORK! QUALITY WORK IS ALWAYS USEFUL WORK. 3) Students are always asked to do the best they can do. Quality School Students are given the time to make the necessary effort. 4) Students are asked to evaluate their own work. Students need to be taught to evaluate their own work. TEACHERS IN A QUALITY SCHOOL/CLASSROOM DO NOT NAG! YOU ASK THEM TO EVALUTE IT TO SEE IF IT COULD BE IMPROVED. 5) QUALITY WORK ALWAYS FEELS GOOD. NOT ONLY DO STUDENTS FEEL GOOD AS THEY SUCCEED IN DOING WHAT THEY JUDGE IS QUALITY, BUT THEIR TEACHER AND PARENTS ALSO FEEL GOOD AS THEY OBSERVE THE PROCESS. 6) QUALITY WORK IS CONSTRUCTIVE NOT DESTRUCTIVE. Quality is never achieved through doing anything destructive. 7) Remember, your first task is to get them to trust you!


8) In a quality classroom, your job is to take the time to explain to your students the usefulness of what you ask them to do. 9) Let‟s take a look at a real life situation. When I worked with my students in the Quality Classroom for three years. I started the process by asking them to buy into the concept of quality. 10) I explained the term quality and what it means to do quality work, have quality conduct and in their relationship with their fellow classmates. I then allowed them time to vote on this new idea. 11) After accepting the idea, they were organized in teams of 4s. Each team had a captain, co-captain, and secretary. 12) The secretary kept track of projects due and individuals assigned to do them 13) We established a class motto that we repeated each morning. This was to establish the daily class focus and prepare them to receive their daily teaching assignments. 14) We established a class president, vice-president, secretary, and social secretary. We had weekly meetings on Friday morning headed by the class officers. 15) Some of the special days were: Grandparents Day, talent shows. Friday‟s afternoons were social events based on them receiving enough points throughout the week. Each day they received one point for producing quality in their work and conduct.


16) Also, on Fridays, I taught them Entrepreneur skills and gave them career options. The options were “getting a good job” or starting their own businesses. 17) We learned the business plan, strategic plan, and styles of management –Theories: X, Y and Z. 18) How to research their business etc. 19) We also developed a Broadcasting Club. Being a former co-owner in radio broadcasting and for four years working on the air, I formed a Broadcasting Club to compete in the WBEZ radio contest. 20) Schmid School a small school in the „hood beat out Chicago and suburban high schools and received a trophy for first place in the Broadcast contest. 21) Some of the things we need in the 21st century school: 1. Understand Multiple Intelligence & Dr. Gardner 2. Introduce Problem Based Learning to students. It teaches problem-solving and critical thinking 3. Daily counselors and psychologist in schools. These individuals could come from Colleges & Universities in your area 4. Vocational classes, we had Home Economics and workshops when I was in school. Everybody is not intended for college.


5. When possible get to greet your parents. Those who cooperate with you great. Those individuals who don‟t work around them when necessary! 6. Remember to incorporate love, empowerment, safety, fun and freedom into your daily learning process. 7. Also remember teaching students should be satisfying. It should be presented in such a way that students wanted to do quality work. 8. Glasser felt at that time that fewer than 15 percent of students are doing quality work in our schools. Is this correct? 9. Also remember Abraham Maslow‟s Hierarchy of Needs, needs that need to be satisfied. 10. Also remember Dr. Howard Gardner‟s Multiple Intelligence and the need for more than reading and math. Students need music, arts etc. 11. Boss teachers lead to boredom and misbehavior. Become a lead teacher. Lead teachers: 1) Discuss curriculum with the class to identify topics of interest 2) Encourage students to identify topics they would like to explore 3) Discuss with students the need for quality work


4) Explore with students resources that might be needed for quality work and the amount of time required 5) Demonstrate ways in which the work can be done, using models that reflect quality 6) Emphasize the importance of students inspecting and evaluating their own work in terms of quality 7) Make evident to students that everything possible will be done to provide them with good tools and a good workplace that is noncoercive.


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