« The Effect of Affect | Main | The New Digital Divide »

New Year's Resolution: Classroom Procedures, Not Rules

For educators the new year begins September 1, which means the time for resolutions is now, not January. And here's a perfect resolution for those of you who spend a lot of time and energy establishing and enforcing classroom rules: stop doing this. Instead, provide students clear procedures that will enable them to meet your expectations.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not suggesting you try to control kids. That's what most disciplinary rules are about. Procedures, on the other hand, are about giving kids the structure they need in order to thrive. You can't do your best at anything if you don't know what you're supposed to do. That's the way it is in most arenas, so why would the classroom be any different?

Check out this short clip from a coaching conference of mine for a great example of the power of procedures:

Yep, clearer procedures, fewer behavior issues. Tell kids what you want them to do, and they're going to be more responsible and cooperative. What a contrast with rules, which focus on what you don't want kids to do. (And of course many of them do it anyway--after all, rules are meant to be broken.)

Revisit my previous posts about rules for more on why you don't need many (if any) of them, and guidelines for when you do need them. And get to work ASAP on developing clear classroom procedures for the new year. Here are a few articles from Harry and Rosemary Wong's Effective Teaching column on Teachers.Net to help you get started:

Happy New Year!

Join my mailing list for announcements about webinars and the work I do to improve teaching and learning.

Notice: We recently upgraded our comments. (Learn more here.) If you are logged in as a subscriber or registered user and already have a Display Name on edweek.org, you can post comments. If you do not already have a Display Name, please create one here.
Ground Rules for Posting
We encourage lively debate, but please be respectful of others. Profanity and personal attacks are prohibited. By commenting, you are agreeing to abide by our user agreement.
All comments are public.


Most Viewed On Teacher



Recent Comments