“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction and faithful in prayer.”
– Romans 12:12 NIV
Okay so the student I mentioned came late, but once he entered he got on task and conducted his best behavior since this quarter started. I rewarded him with a miniature candy to reinforce the outcome of positive behavior and the value of making positive choices. It was a productive day for the entire class in general which usually is marred with influctuations of student misconduct. Romans 12:12 is one of my favorite verses and reiterates to me gentle/firm persistence when applying it to the classroom. I was thinking recently about the prosperity that comes from successfully applying strategies that empower my students to become self-managers of their behavior instead of me having to manage them. I see prosperity as a benefit of being obedient, or a reward received from being obedience. Meaning I should gain something (prosper) in return from the outcome of my efforts. What I gain in return for empowering my students to become consistent self-managers is the joy, freedom and fulfillment of having more time to teach and be at rest and at peace while working within the classroom environment.
Another strategy I employed for the whole class was to post a large sheet of drawing paper on the wall by the chalkboard and have students who were on task and engaged with their work place their names on the sheet to be rewarded later. Recognition and rewards help me buy a few more moments of cooperation, productivity and appropriate conduct without the heightened anxiety and stress from, ‘sit down, turn around, stop talking, put your name on the paper!’ Ultimately, I enjoy a few consistent days of cooperative productive classroom environments due to the students’ effort to be consistent in self-efficacy. They are not rewarded every day, but the understanding they could be recognized/rewarded motivates them to remain focused for longer stretches. Since the end of November I haven’t had perfect days, but consistent days of cooperative productive participation from my students. This is why I decided to refocus on the principle momentum, because it reinforces the challenge of thinking proactively of how to sustain and regain momentum.
In today’s previous post I shared the encouragement principle of the 5 A’s, acceptance, affection, affirmation, appreciation and attention. I encourage the use of these strategies for students you feel challenged by and watch what happens to them and you in the process. Actions, or behaviors, that receive positive recognition more often are repeated to experience the same positive feedback. Eventually the behavior becomes habitual. Students will begin to choose to function positively because they begin to sense the improved positive climate and also look forward to being in that environment taking ownership in their responsibility to keep it that way.
May God help you and bless you to make the subtle changes that will help you build and maintain momentum heading into Spring break to teach, influence and inspire learning.