Theory: Behaviorist

All of my education professors recommended gobs of books for us to buy and have in our teacher resource library (like I have money to go out and spend). There was only ONE that I actually read… and then went out and bought (4 copies, actually, for myself, mom and sister who are also teachers, and for my best friend). It’s called The First Days of School by Harry K. Wong and Rosemary T. Wong. If you’re not a spender, check it out from the library or look at a thrift store (I have seen them at thrift stores and been tempted to buy another copy for myself or to give as a gift). But whatever you do, READ THIS BOOK. It’s an easy read (trust me) and you won’t regret it.
Key Ideas
§         The Teacher
o        The first days of school make or break you.
o        Nobody really trains you on how to handle the first day of school.
o        Ask veteran teachers to help you to know what to do or say. What are the school policies?
o        Get to know all of your colleagues.
o        Create good habits and LISTEN to all the advice you get.
o        Be flexible and adaptive.
o        Do research on what you want to know. Then apply the research you found into actions.
o        Be a decision maker.
§         Positive Expectations
o        What you expect to happen, will.
o        Negative expectations can lead to personal and student failures.
o        Students tend to learn as little or much as teachers expect them to.
o        Celebrate the first day of school and make it a positive experience for students.
§      Have a party
§      Hang banners, welcome signs.
§      Greet students at the school door when they get off of the bus. Let them know you are excited to have them there.
§      Greet students as soon as they walk in your classroom. Say your name, grade, and make sure they are in the right place. Then make sure they are able to find their seats right away.
§      Dress professional – students will treat you how they see you.
§      Be inviting, smile, create an environment where students can succeed.
§         Classroom Management
o        MANAGE, don’t DISCIPLINE
o        Make sure everything is organized in the classroom.
§         Students
§         Work
§         Materials
o        Have very little wasted time during the day.
o        Have the class very task-oriented.
o        Make sure the work is ready to go as soon as the bell rings.
o        The room is positive, the teacher is positive. Don’t over-decorate your classroom!
o        Prepare floor, bookcases, walls, desks, student area, teacher area. Make sure everything is organized!
o        Procedures must be rehearsed every day. Explain, Rehearse, Reinforce classroom procedures.
o        Have specific and general rules.
o        Discipline, Behavior, Routine
o        Make sure rules are posted and they can be altered to fit the class.
o        Have a rewards and penalties system.
o        When you see violation of rules, immediately issue the consequence. Do not stop class instruction.
o        Get parents and administrators involved.
o        Have high expectations for classroom rules.
o        Procedures are important for students because they answer questions. “when do I do this” “What do I do for this”…..
*Behaviorists are very task-orientated. Procedures! They are about classical conditioning (Pavlov’s Dogs). Have routines in classroom that the students will know by heart. When bell rings, they know to get to work*
§         Lesson Mastery
o        Have them in engaged working (involved) 75% of the time.
o        Increase student work time.
o        Ask yourself what students need to learn, not what the test needs them to learn.
o        Use lots of verbs when writing assignments and tests.
o        Show examples.
o        Use cooperative learning (group work)
§         The Professional
o        Are you a worker (goals towards making money) or are you a leader (goals for enhancement and progression).
o        We have to choose what our goals are.
o        Continue to education yourself
§         Go to workshops
§         Join support groups
§         Observe and do research
§         Take risks

Application for Teaching
Gave specific examples on how to prepare yourself when school starts, even on what to say as the students walk through the door for the first time. Always improve yourself. The more organized you become, the more task-oriented the class will become.  By setting procedures in the classroom and practicing them every day, it will create a successful environment. Establish and maintain rules.
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