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BANGKOK 20 April 2019 23:13
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alaina

Class Rules And Order

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I am on my way to teach in BKK after teaching in the US for three years. In the US, I taught inner-city tough kids and kids in special education. In comparison to my colleagues there I was a bit more easy going but still kept order and in bad times was known as "tough but fair."

I've lurked here and on ajarn to get a feel for how things are different, and I know loss of face is a big issue. But in many ways controlling a class may cause me to single out a student, gently. Normally a minor disruption just gets the student the Stare of Death patent pending or I call out the student's name. Worse than that becomes a private talk after class, a detention (cleaning my classroom) or a call home. In the worst of cases, I call home once a day at 7AM or 9:58PM. A few times after bad fights the cops were called and I spent a day waiting to testify in court.

I doubt that I will see as many problems in LOA. (If so I am cashing in my ticket and going to grad school, ugh.) From what I know it is always good to start out tough in order to set the rules in place. Two of the bigger problems that I expect are speaking Thai in an English only class and cell phones.

Now with cell phones what I did in the US was take the phone and allow the student to pick it up at the end of the day. If a phone rang a second time in class, I would keep it until a parent came to me to get it. Every once in a while I'd answer the student's phone with a silly old lady voice. I'd ask the caller if they were aware that the person was in school, and if they were supposed to be in school. My tone of voice made it funny and the student was a little embarrassed but I would not involve a parent in the problem. (And it was effective.)

Sorry that I've been a bit long winded here. What do you think are effective "first day" rules to explain to a class and what are effective but fair consequences for breaking the rules?

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Student behavior is nothing more than the rules teachers establish to govern students. For many teachers, these rules have one thing in common - they all begin with the word "NO.” The problem with this rationality is when a teachers states what cannot be done, no positive statement is made as to what will be done in a class - all negative rules do is highlight the bad. With this in mind, I have established a few rules highlighting positive, rather than negative, behaviors.

1. Be Respectful - many teachers have rules stating "no talking back," "no gum chewing," "no writing on desks.” Cannot all this negativity be summed up in one positive statement? Yes, it can, and that is what "be respectful" means. It also means more than just no talking, chewing, and destruction. It is a method of treating other students as well. If a student is respectful to his/her teacher, his/her fellow students, and the school's property, than you have a well-behaved student whose life is not governed by a list of "no's."

2. Be Informed — when a student walks into my class he/she needs to be ready for anything. Being informed is more than having homework completed; it includes reading (assigned material as well as outside material), classroom awareness (what are we doing, and where are we in the grand scheme of things), and news awareness (being aware of school, local, state, and national events). Being informed helps in literature interpretation, since many texts relate their stories to events that happened in Thailand or world history.

3. Be Prepared— like the Boy Scouts, a student should be prepared when s/he walks into my class. This preparedness is more than just having a pencil and some paper (although that is nice); it includes being ready for a changing classroom dynamic. Some days may include acting out scenes from the currently studied literature, working on group projects, demonstrating a knowledge base and understanding of material on assessment day, and/or anything my educationally directed mind thinks of. Being prepared for class allows a student to better prepare him/herself for the world.

4. Participate — a student can be as respectful, informed, and prepared as s/he can, and I will never know it unless the student opens his/her mouth in class. My classes are loud, for much learning and understanding comes through interaction between the students and me. One method of assessment I use is how a student responds, orally, to questions I pose to the class. Participation also includes reenactment of literature, drawing, reading aloud, sharing ideas, debate of topics and concepts, and anything else I can think of which brings learning and understanding more accessible to the student.

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Dude...been in the teaching system of Thailand from private to public...GRAD SCHOOL... I done my time here... :o

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