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Classroom Management


Take a Proactive Approach: Being Preventative, Withitness and Active Participation

Being Preventative

Definition: The ability of the teacher to anticipate problems and work out ways to eliminate or minimize their impact on instruction.

Critical Attributes
  • Showing interest in students, both the whole class and with individual students; the ability to demonstrate acceptance and understanding and to treat students as important individuals
  • Withitness: the ability to constantly be aware of what is going on, to be sensitive to your emotional level, to stop things before they go too far
  • Politeness: the ability to avoid being commanding
  • Anticipating problems: the ability to predict or anticipate where there might be an opportunity for misbehaviour; to set expectations of who does what, by when

Teach expectations for behaviours and routines.

Follow up on expectations.


Teachers who appear to have few problems work hard at discipline all the time.

Being preventative is a major component of invisible discipline.

It helps to establish a cohesive group.


Definition: The ability of the teacher to constantly be

  • aware of what is happening in the classroom,
  • sensitive to their emotions with respect to what the students are doing,
  • responding from a thoughtful base before the misbehaviours percolate to a point where the teacher reacts mainly from negative emotions and
  • able to nip things in the bud.
Critical Attributes
  • Continual scanning of the class with eye contact
  • Moving around the room (proximity)
  • Using a signal to stop, begin or request silence. The signal has several components. It’s a verbal or nonverbal indicator; there's an active pause and it’s followed by a thank you.
When It Is Used

The teacher is continuously watching the whole class. For example,

  • as the teacher is working at the interactive whiteboard,
  • while working with a student,
  • while working with a group of students or
  • while talking.
  • Students are held accountable for appropriate behaviour. It models “I mean what I say.”
  • Percolations are caught before inappropriate behaviours take over the class—prevents escalation.
  • A positive atmosphere is maintained.
Active Participation

Definition: Consistent involvement of most of the students, most of the time for most of the important learning. Active participation can be

a) observable (overt)

  • response is visible
  • can be monitored

b) non-observable (covert)

  • response is usually thinking or visualizing
  • not easily monitored

A request for a non-observable (covert) participation can be followed by a request to make it observable (overt).

Essential Elements
  • Consistent involvement (not eventual involvement).
  • Accountability; involvement of most of the students is determined by how the teacher's statement is worded and by what the teacher does.
  • Knowledge of results.
  • Active participation provides an opportunity for the teacher to monitor learning.
  • It increases time on task.
  • It provides opportunity for interaction.