A debut guide for educators expounds on the importance of establishing a beneficial classroom culture.
Students enter a classroom to learn. But they can only learn if the environment has been made amenable to studying. This requires rules and parameters that the students know how to obey and that the teacher understands how to smoothly enforce. “This is a book about discipline strategies that will help any educator achieve a workable classroom environment,” writes Bouie in her introduction. “In fact, to become an effective teacher, one must first become an effective classroom manager.” The author instructs her fellow teachers on how to manage a classroom from the first minute that students enter it, ensuring that the learning for which it is intended takes place. Chapters cover everything from teacher leadership styles and classroom conflict resolution to scheduling and even the physical layout of furniture. The author discusses various discipline models as well as laying out the do’s and don’ts of making and enforcing classroom rules. (Do provide pupils with two choices; don’t give students ultimatums.) Different strategies work best for different age ranges, but Bouie offers insights on how to manage students from 2 years old all the way to seniors in high school. The author’s prose is succinct and direct, communicating her ideas with the force of a disciplinarian: “Try to avoid criticizing your students because it only provokes hostility as well as being damaging to a student’s self-esteem. If your criticism is positive and supporting, students will most likely react favorably to your suggestions.” This does not make for the warmest reading experience, but it allows Bouie to cram a great deal of information into the book’s short 86-page length. Each chapter is broken up into numerous brief sections, with frequent numbered and bulleted checklists to make the material optimally digestible. Pedagogy is a large field with many opposing schools of thought, but Bouie’s methods are generally rooted in common sense and always keep the needs of the child in mind. Beginner teachers looking for a quick primer to help them strategize for the coming school year should appreciate this slim guide.
A sensible, bare-bones manual for classroom management.