A Stephen Downesian cross-posted comment, here in reply to a post by Minnesota’s Teacher of the Year who writes:
So many of my concerns about the nuances of classroom management can be addressed most effectively if I simply focus my energy on making my classroom fun, challenging, and engaging.
I don’t have your experience or acclaim but I share your revelation. Here, at the start of my fourth year, I’ve realized that what seemed the essential challenge of my first three years was largely a fool’s errand.
The challenge, I’ve decided, isn’t in establishing an airtight and comprehensive system for dealing with misbehavior (that pyramid of discipline: verbal warning, written warning, parent contact, detention, suspension, etc.).
The challenge is in creating a classroom environment so supportive, so engaging, and so respectful that misbehavior doesn’t intentionally cross a student’s mind and when it crosses her mind incidentally, as it inevitably will, its correction involves a civil, straightforward conversation outside.
Reading your description and then describing it to myself in this comment makes me feel like a dope for realizing it only this year. But, to my credit, the revolution that’s brought me here has been intensely personal and only a little bit professional. Pent up in my desire to control was a lot of fear, I think.
Unfortunately I’m not sure how to describe that release to myself, much less anyone else.
[Updated: ’cause I botched the link to the TOY.]