A set of practical strategies that I like come from a book and a system called “Love and Logic” by Jim Fay and David Funk. They combine common sense understanding and logical systematic framework and rules into an integrated system that has proven to produce good results. I like including these principles and strategies in my classroom management system.
Love and Logic strategies and tactics can be divided into these groups:
Enhanced Self Concepts
Enhance students’ self-concept will make them more responsible, cooperative and helps them grow into an integrated human being.
Few points from the book that I like:
- Achievement is more important than winning a power struggle.
- This applies to building self-concept and it applies to all of behavior. If behavior is focused on power struggle, not much is accomplished and not much good comes out of it. If focus is on achievement, that builds self-concept and keeps out of the misery of constant power struggle.
- Going through any experience can build self-concept based because it creates sense of being capable.
- One of the best tips in the book is to use “you” when talking about the other person’s achievements. “you can be proud of that” “you did that well” etc. This enhances or even changes the self-concept.
- The Amish principle of building positive self-concept by making people feel capable. Everyone has a role to play.
- Overall idea of using positive descriptive statements rather than statements of judgment or value is a good idea in my opinion.
Idea is to involve students in the decisions. Typical example is to give two options that both serve the purpose teacher is after.
Using thinking words (in question form and expressed in enforceable statements) and giving freedom are some of my favorite ways to utilize this principle.
Couple of examples from the book that I like:
- “Feel free to stay in sports as long as your grades are ok”
- “The car is available to you whenever I don’t have to worry about alcohol”
Consequences with Empathy
The best consequences are natural like stomach ache after eating too much candy. If you ask a child who caused that, they make the connection between what they did and what resulted.
It’s important to set rules in the beginning of school year / semester / unit / class. It’s also important to let children know that there are consequences if rules are not followed. Consequences can be decided on later and even together with the the student, using shared thinking and shared control.