Could “Kindness” Be At The Heart Of Classroom Management?

Sometimes it takes a number of seemingly unrelated experiences to make you view things differently when seen together. This is what happened to me this past week. It all started when on Thursday, I went back into the classroom during Second Nutrition Break, and I saw my teacher partner, Paula, taking some “selfies” with some students in the class.

One more lunchtime selfie with our fabulous Grade 3 milk helper. #fdk #earlyyears #iteachk

A photo posted by Aviva (@avivaloca) on

As I watched Paula interact with the students, I was reminded of the value of “relationships,” and how taking the time to have fun with children can also show them how much we care. Not only did I have to capture these “selfie moments,” but I needed to take my own selfie with my photographer helper.

Of course the photographers need a selfie too. Connections with kids matter! #iteachk #earlyyears #fdk

A photo posted by Aviva (@avivaloca) on

These selfie experiences made me think back to the #BIT16 conference from a few weeks ago. I am not a fan of taking selfies, but as I met up face-to-face with some different educators for the first time, I managed to get involved in a number of selfie moments. Andrew Campbell, a fellow educator in a neighbouring Board, made note of these selfie moments during Thursday’s keynote address.

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Strangely enough, it was almost as though the keynote speaker, Shelly Sanchez, was reading our tweets, for within minutes of this discussion, she made note of an “epic selfie adventure.”

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She started discussing “us-ies,” which not only became a big topic of discussion at the conference, but also is exactly what Paula started doing in the classroom. This makes me think about Helen‘s comment on “us-ies” in her BIT16 follow-up blog postThe “friendship power” of a photograph is really quite remarkable, and I think this holds as true for children as it does for adults. 

I share all of this because I was actually thinking about these experiences today as I commented on Doug Peterson‘s blog post on classroom management. While I believe in everything that I wrote in my comment, I started to wonder about those times when even after “building relationships,” behaviour is still a problem. What do we do then? 

  • Do we become firm?
  • Do we reiterate expectations?
  • Do we consider the value in proximity?
  • Do we use a reward system?
  • Or do we find another way to connect? Could this be when that student needs this connection even more?

I couldn’t help but think about a strategy that an EA at my last school spoke about all the time. She said, “If you’re ever tempted to yell at a child, don’t. Instead, sing it!” Put your thoughts into music. Create your own tune. She always stood by the fact that the singing will make you feel better and will have a more positive impact on the actions of the child. I used to hear her singing with Kindergarten and Grade 8 students, and the approach never failed to work. Could a made up song help build relationships? Maybe again, it comes down to the value in being “kinder than necessary.” 

When I think back to my Faculty of Education experiences, “kindness” was never discussed as a classroom management strategy. I’m wondering though, if it could be at the heart of classroom management. What do you think? As I head into another school week, I’m thinking about “challenging behaviour.” Maybe it’s time to take a few extra us-ies, sing a few more songs, share a few more laughs, and see the benefits for kids. I have my plan for the week ahead. What about you?

Aviva

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Of course, I also managed to get my us-ie. 🙂

2 thoughts on “Could “Kindness” Be At The Heart Of Classroom Management?

  1. This blog resonates with me! I am always singing silly songs and making up tunes to help manage classroom behaviour and get my point across to the children. Always with a smile and kindness. I strongly believe that kindness matters in the classroom in everything we do and say… As a result, there are very minimal behavioural concerns in our classroom. Luckily, my teaching partner agrees and we act upon this together to create a positive, engaging classroom environment.

    • Thanks for your comment, Josie! This is so wonderful to hear. I wonder if your positive attitude also impacts positively on children, hence decreasing any problems that may arise and/or viewing problems that do arise differently. Kindness breeds more kindness: your comment makes me think that you are definitely seeing this in your classroom. Lucky kids!

      Aviva

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