Exerpt from a paper by Claustina Mahon (Thanks Tina!)

   I turned to the teachings of Jacob Kounin.  Kounin focuses on how instructional management affects the students’ behavior.  His teaching zone in on how we as educators are presenting the lesson, based on that presentation, we look at the students’ behaviors as a result.  I began to follow the teachings of Kounin and realized that maybe my classroom needed a change around.  After all we just entered into a new year, maybe the seating arrangement could do everyone in the class some good.  I even moved my own desk from the front of the room to the back.  This helped greatly because I was able to keep an eye on the kids who were not as motivated as they were in the beginning of the year b/c I strategically placed them in the back of the room with me.  This way I was able to see what was going on in each part of the classroom at all times.  Kounin describes this trait as “withitness”.  Now I had a spring in my step, even on the days where it rained outside and my mood becomes like the weather(*smile*), I tried to be a little extra perky.  Some of the students caught on (the 85% / 15% / 5% rule).  Eighty- five percent definitely caught on, another fifteen percent were catching on after a while and needless to say there is always that five percent that unfortunately come to the watering hole, but just won’t drink.(*wink*).  Well, this is the remedy for them: I figured that I really needed to keep the lessons flowing.  For starters, I made my lessons more hands on.  Students, especially my (5%) were instructed to go to the board constantly and write their answers to certain exercises.  This ensured that they would have to do the exercises before they came up to the board and if the exercise was not done, here was their chance on the board now to give it to me. Either way work was being done.  No one had a chance for their brain to become idle and not do what was required of them.  I would also use Kounin’s technique of “group alerting”. Basically this is just getting the students’ attention and letting them know what is going to be required of them next.  What this technique does is makes the teacher focus on the whole group instead of just one or two individuals. Secondly, no one is chosen initially to answer a particular question.  For example, because I teach high school Spanish, I would say to my students, “Gentlemen who thinks that they can figure out what these 3 vocabulary words mean?”  “If you think that you can guess raise your hand.”  “Try to use your English vocabulary to help you out.”  This tactic gets the student in the thinking mode.  Well, they begin to think, I have to be ready so let me start thinking about was is going on, so when I am asked I know the answer or I can at least give some type of response.  It is almost like you are constantly pulling work out of them.  Instead of it being a joint concerted effort, it keeps them on their toes in the classroom and cuts down on the lack of motivation.
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