Creating a Positive Learning Environment
According to Sheridan (2012) ,”One of my favorite techniques is to stop the lecture, put on a mysterious expression, and look directly at the disruptive student. I announce to the class that I am getting a vision of that student sitting in the same chair next semester repeating the class over again. Usually the whole class laughs, but it gets the message across to everyone that this particular behavior has consequences.”
This quote is cited in the article “Classroom Management Tips for Regaining Control in the Classroom” as an example of how humour can be effective.
Objectively, this quote deals with the aspects of both reducing the disruption and delivering a learning message to the entire class about an aspect of student behaviour and a method of regaining control of the classroom when it is threatened.
Reflectively, my initial response to this quote is quite strongly that this is a very bad idea. Not only does this cause humiliation to a student in front of the whole class and therefore encourage the student to become more disruptive, but it also risks the class to unite behind the student against the mean, malicious teacher. Additionally, I feel like it would not in any way dissuade the student in question from avoiding similar behaviour in the future, as they may feel that there is nothing or very little they can do to regain the teacher’s good favour and therefore, why bother. This could also be something done in the classroom that would encourage further bullying in a classroom, as the teacher is meant in many ways to lead by example, and this would not be a good example to follow, of public humiliation.
In my interpretation, this quote could easily be construed as bullying and this is something I have had some experience with, therefore I would not encourage this kind of behaviour in a teacher, and I would probably end up counselling a fellow instructor to be very cautious in using this kind of method. I suppose that the quote is trying to say that humour can be a useful tool in regaining the class’ attention, but doing it in this way does not seem to me to be an attitude that will encourage better behaviour, despite the idea that consequences will ensue. I would interpret this quote as the idea that humour could be used, but I think I would try to find another way, perhaps a way to invite the students to share the joke, rather than making them a target of it. Perhaps this was not intended from the way the qu0te was written and in practice, things would actually be different, but publicly targeting someone in order to illustrate and consequence is not, in my opinion, a productive methodology.
This exercise has made me realize that the interpretation of methods can be very variable. When I first thought of the idea of using humour for a classroom technique, I thought this could be very powerful, but also a bit risky for the teacher, as badly taken humour is often even harder to overcome from a perspective of respect towards a teacher, and could in fact result in a further deterioration of classroom control. However, this particular teacher’s method, to me, is more an illustration of public shaming to illustrate a mistake and the consequences of such. I still do not feel that this is appropriate, but even more importantly, I think that this should illustrate that the discussion of ideas like this needs to be thorough, to avoid misconception, which can further deteriorate during the process of ideas application.
Sheridan, R. (October 8, 2012) Classroom Management Tips for Regaining Control in the Classroom. Retrieved from: http://www.facultyfocus.com/topic/articles/effective-classroom-management/