One of the most common complaints and concerns I hear from teachers is kids not following the rules and what to do about classroom management issues. Well, I could tell you how to fix that if you have 5 or so hours…
But we have about 3 minutes together as you read this and head onto your next task….
So, I’d like you to start here: with teaching partnerships.
Now I’m not talking about some hairy fairy, touchy feely “feel good about being yourself” partnership (though that’s a nice side-effect!), but partnerships that actually support kids in learning more content and becoming more engaged and remaining more engaged.
So, when I’m working with teachers, I give them these simple steps as they teach kids how to partner:
- Practice precision partnering
- Have a physical signal that partnerships are taking place
- Designated “Partner 1” and “Partner 2” and address questions to one or the other
- Give think-time prior to responses
- Use written responses prior to partnership so that students have fodder for discussion
- Establish a “no opt-out” policy and be consistent in enforcing it
- Teacher partners with struggling students or disruptive students
- Change partnerships periodically
- Listen in to discussion to determine whether students are grasping the concepts or if re-teaching is necessary
WARNING: IF YOU ARE THE KIND OF EDUCATOR WHO THINKS “OH MY KIDS CAN’T PARTNER”, THEN I’LL TELL YOU WHAT: THEY WON’T! Not because they can’t, but because you THINK they can’t!
All kids can partner, BUT it takes practice. It takes time to refine. It takes patience.
So, as you establish the partnerships over several weeks or you’re working to refine partnerships that you’ve already established, give yourself a break. Sometimes it fails miserably and then the next day partnering is beautiful. Then the next day it’s “meh…” and then the next day it’s like your kids invented partnering, it looks so beautiful.
The trick is this: practice the partnerships as long as it takes to become a habit. A habit that is so engrained that you pop in and out of the partnerships during instruction and not lose any instructional time.
Let our readers know the “twists” that you put on partnering to spice things up….leave a comment if you wish!