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Classroom Management: Dicipline

Hello all,
This one is to all the music educators out there.
I just completed my student teaching and found out that yes, I am good at what I do, and yes, I love every minute of it! Yay, glad that worked out! However, there is one area that I still need to understand a little better before I start my forst year of teaching (which will most likely be a middle school position). Classroom management is a huge deal in the world of education. However, my program, as I'm sure most are, teaches general education and music seperatly for the most part (with the exception of the one or two music ed professors you can talk to). As a result, you hear a lot about techniques which work very well for the general classroom, but is not quite effective for a music class. To be more specific, the area I am most interested in improving is classroom management as it relates to classroom procedures, dicipline, and developing a respectful, working atmosphere where students are proud and excited for class (rather than excited and chaotic).
A couple of questions:
What classroom procedures do you create in your classes to happen automatically to improve efficiency and how do you instill this into students early in the year? (little things like roll, bathroom breaks, and seating arrangements all the way to first tier dicipline and emergencies)
How do you dicipline the class? Especially considering rotation classes where the whole class could be a little rowdy or if there are a couple of class clowns which are immune to participation grades and detention is too severe. Keeping control of an excited class of students might be the hardest thing, and I realize that most music teachers have an enthusiasm issue (or the opposite, like a beginning high school class full of apathy).
Now the most important question for me. I've seen many masterful teachers when it comes to classroom management. I've walked into middle schools where, by Christmas, all the students are quiet and respectful, line up professionally, and take pride in good work (without sacrificing fun!). I've also seen teachers which could simply flash a handsign and quiet an entire autotorium of kids before an elementary school PTA program (this teacher also apologized for the rudeness of his/her class when the students talked out of turn for about 5 seconds). Often I hear about certain classroom management techniques. However, what seems to be lost is that teacher's innate ability to instill dicipline and musical value into students. What might be some mindsets, practices, techniques, or processes you might use, especially at the beginning of the year?
All of these questions are out there for all three levels of music education. I understand that A LOT of these things I will learn on my own time through experience. However, I want to give myself, and my students the best chances as I start teaching.
Thank you in advance for your thoughts!
Replies (10): Threaded | Chronological
on May 17, 2011 11:18pm
Hello Andrew,

In my 10 years of teaching two major things have been more helpful than anything else as far as discipline goes.

1. I have ridiculously high expectations of my students. We talk about how professionals behave and how that is the only option. We talk about what that means and specifically what it looks like everyday in class. I have a rehearsal rubric that I use to grade them on and have them do self assessments several times each fall according to the rubric. There are four elements; responsibility, responsiveness, participation and goal setting. I'd be happy to share this with you if you'd like.
2. I keep my students incredibly busy in class, it is a pace at which that the kids have to be on their toes to keep up. I don't steam roll the kids, but they are constantly moving, changing activities and multitasking. Its taken me years to find this ideal pace but it's certainly a cornerstone to my teaching style and creates very little time in which they have the time to be "rascally" in class.

Good luck!

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