Barking Spiders


Classroom Management through Attention Grabbing Instruction






Successful classroom management is closely related to the quality of instruction (Laureate Education, 2007). Studies also suggest that when students’ academic needs are supported through interesting, appropriate and thought-provoking instruction, they demonstrate increased motivation and achievement and, synchronously, exhibit a diminished inclination to misbehave (Jones & Jones, 2007). For this editorialI have focused on six specific educational needs of our students. I have subsequently expanded on each one, while offering strategies that will enable the instructor to successfully address these endemic requirements.

The first academic need that I wish to reflect on is that students understand and appreciate the value of educational goals (Jones & Jones, 2007). In order to be intellectually and motivationally engaged in a learning activity, students need to know what they are learning, why they are learning it and how they will demonstrate that they have learned it (Jones & Jones, 2007). To achieve these imperatives, the instructor should offer specific, front-loaded explanations about objectives, rationales, activities, content and procedures, as well as assessment strategies (Jones & Jones, 2007). In this manner, the children are apprised of their learning goal(s), which not only imparts a reason for learning, but also furnishes the “means of accent.” By offering them a “sneak peak” at the assessment tools, they can immediately begin to develop a mental schema in which to incorporate and make sense of selected information as the lesson unfolds (Stiggins, 2005). At this point I wish to proffer the following caveat: in order for the teacher to ascertain whether the children understand these fundamental, aforementioned priorities, they should be asked, before the activity begins, to articulate what they are learning and why they are learning it (Jones & Jones, 2007).

Students must also understand the process of learning itself. An important first step in addressing this educational postulation is for teachers to develop working definition of learning (Jones & Jones, 2007). To begin, ask the students to provide descriptions of what good learners look and sound like (Jones & Jones, 2007). A reasonable example of the resulting definition might be: a good learner is someone who works hard, cooperates with others, takes risks, sets goals, tries hard, requests help when needed, persists, and learns from his/her missteps (Jones & Jones, 2007).  Once the children have determined these characteristics, they can be used as benchmarks against which they can appraise their own behavior (Jones & Jones, 2007).

For those youngsters that struggle, individual long-term learning plans may be helpful in comprehending the steps they must take to achieve their academic objectives. Together, the teacher and child map out a proposal to ensure the student’s success. Their design for learning can include what material the student intends on learning, what activities the student will engage in to learn these skills, the degree of proficiency the student will attain, and how the student will demonstrate that the learning has occurred (Jones & Jones, 2007).

To further engage this process, students must also familiarize themselves with instruments that facilitate the academic process. These can include the use of graphic organizers. Self-knowledge is always enlightening. In this regard, children can discover, with the teacher’s help, the type of learner they are (visual, auditory, kinesthetic, interpersonal, intrapersonal, etc.) and  be taught strategies and procedures in order to take advantage of these intellectual inclinations (Stiggins, 2005).  Moreover, to make the children more skillful at learning we should show them how to employ effective study skills. Options can include deciding whether they work better after school, or after dinner, or early in the morning. Other questions that need to be answered are: do they require absolute quiet, or do they work better with background noise? Do they like to study alone, or with a group?  Do they have a need for a comfortable chair, or do they work best on the floor? 

Additionally, when studying, they must be taught to prioritize. They must determine how much time is available, and what they need to learn in the order of their importance. Supplementary study hints would include: obtaining a classmate’s phone number or E-mail address, learning  to form study group of two to five students, and developing expertise in implementing SCROL (Survey the material, connect the ideas, read, outline and look back) and SQ3R (survey, question, read, recite, and review). Both of these are effective methodologies for handling expository material (Study Net, 2010). Finally we must celebrate their successful application of all these efforts (Laureate Education, 2007). 

Another important scholastic requisite that must be met is providing learning goals that integrate individual interests, while providing multi-dimensional activity choices.  Research suggests that students prefer instructional methods supportive of their special interests (Laureate Education, 2007).  Early in the school year have students develop a list of things they would like to learn in each of their subject areas (Jones & Jones, 2007). These pursuits can then be assimilated into hands-on activities, group work where interpersonal relationships are valued, learning logs, thematic lessons, place-based exercises or other individualized formats (Laureate Education, 2007).

Students also need to receive instruction responsive to their learning styles and strengths (Jones & Jones, 2007). Before formulating these types of individualized instruction, we must allow students to assess their own unique abilities and then share these with the class (Jones & Jones, 2007).  This self awareness will not only help the pupils make appropriate learning choices but will also inculcate and highlight the concept of a student as a unique and diverse entity. To facilitate the successful application of these abilities, visual learners can be provided with overhead displays, lesson outlines, supplementary reading material, maps, graphs, and flash cards. Auditory learners can explain things to others, use tape recordings, read aloud when studying and work with a buddy. Kinesthetic learners can access computers, pattern blocks, take part in role playing, plays, dancing, and performing experiments in science. Still other options that address the idiosyncratic child are more frequent breaks for certain individuals, and accommodations and modifications for the strugglers, the learning disabled and the culturally and linguistically diverse. These latter choices embrace extended time, different vocabulary and spelling words, fewer math problems, as well as reading questions to the child.

Another academic need I would like to expand on is that each child receives realistic and immediate feedback. The overarching goal in meeting this requirement is the development of self-efficacy and esteem in the individual learner. To establish background for meeting this need the student should be taught to view ability as a trait that is flexible, and growth-oriented, rather than static. Ability should also be viewed as related to effort rather than inherent ability (Dweck, 2007). Because children want to be successful at their learning tasks, it is important that they receive teacher reaction that clearly designates the extent to which they have demonstrated mastery (Laureate Education, 2007). Teacher response is especially effective when it provides children with specific information about the quality of their work and the effort they are making to complete the work (Dweck, 2007). This response also enables students to see where they are at in relation to achieving their long term learning goals. Finally, it conveys to the child the teacher’s belief in them and also informs the pupil that their efforts, rather than intrinsic ability or luck are the major factor in his/her success (Dweck, 2007).

The reception of appropriate awards is the final academic need I will address in this artifact. Recent studies indicate that extrinsic rewards (candy, performance bucks, etc.) can actually reduce the child’s interest in the activity (Laureate Education, 2007). Extrinsic rewards also build dependency and when the reward is withdrawn the desired behavior disappears (Laureate Education, 2007). In addition, this type of generalized (and often edible) praise deprives the child of the ability to judge his/her own work. Without this skill the neophytes will fail to develop an inner locus of control. This in turn will affect their sense of self -efficacy (Jones & Jones, 2007).

Conversely, motivating students intrinsically will encourage them to reach for the higher standard of being intellectually engaged and self-motivated (Laureate Education, 2007).   Intrinsic incentives can be inculcated in the child by incorporating the students’ interests in the lesson, establishing a rationale and goal for each activity, and making the content relevant to real world occurrences and practices. Furthermore, innate motivation can be attained by providing a collaborative setting where cooperation and group goals among friends instill a degree of enthusiasm for the task (Jones & Jones, 2007).

The needs to which I have alluded throughout this piece incorporate a number of strategies that enhance achievement and appropriate behavior. For example, when we write and verbally explain the goals and objectives for each lesson and expound on why these have been chosen, we provide the children with an intrinsic rationale for learning.  When we relate learning to the students' own lives and interests we increase their enthusiasm to master the material. Explaining to students why you have chosen a particular instructional method to reach your stated objectives will brightline for them their own special abilities and preferences. Using "experts" from the community to demonstrate the value of a certain lesson will provide them with a model they may wish to emulate (Jones & Jones, 2007).

Another strategy to strengthen the ties between the teacher and the class, as well as ensuring that the children’s academic needs are being met is thus: have students provide ongoing feedback to the teacher regarding how that persona is using effective instructional methods (Laureate Education, 2007). Additionally, with recalcitrant or struggling learners we can establish mutually agreed upon, long range learning plans. These will empower the youngsters to monitor their own learning gains and grades. Finally we must make available the instruments that facilitate learning, as well as familiarize them with the study strategies that help ensure success (Jones & Jones, 2007).

In conclusion, providing engaging lessons is one of the keystones of efficacious classroom management. These provocative learning activities, by definition, must simultaneously subsume and address the academic requirements of its participating audience. By coupling  clear directions, goals, and assessment strategies with activities that are enjoyable, intrinsically important, intellectually challenging, varied, require active involvement, are collaboration and   personally meaningful, we assure ourselves that the intellectual needs of our charges are met (Laureate Education, 2007). As a result, their behavior improves as they become   intellectually engaged, self-motivated, self-monitoring and successful in the realm of academia as well as in life.



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Dweck, C. (2007). The perils and promises of praise. Educational Leadership, 65(2), 34–39.

Jones, V. & Jones, L. (2007). Comprehensive classroom management: Creating communities of
support and solving problems (Laureate Education, Inc., custom ed.). Upper Saddle
River, NJ: Pearson.

Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer). (2007). Program Seven. “Classroom Management through
Engaging Instruction.” {Motion Picture}. Baltimore: Stipeck, D.

Stiggins, R. J. (2005). Student-involved assessment for learning (4th ed.). Upper Saddle River,
NJ: Merrill Prentice Hall.

Study Net (2010). Retrieved on January 29, 2010 from the website:


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