Management in the Classroom

As a teacher I have often considered myself more as a classroom manager and a facilitator than someone who knew everything about the material to be covered. Certainly teachers prepare their lessons to have knowledge of the material but the ultimate goal is to facilitate the students understanding of the information.

One of the courses I have taught for a long time is entrepreneurship to adults. Part of the entrepreneurial course materials involves understanding how the business owner can manage staff. As I researched management techniques I found a simple one that works for me both in the classroom and as a skill to relay to small business owners.

The book The One Minute Manager, by Blanchard and Johnson, (2003), provides the basis of this information. There are three concepts of effective management and they are easy to understand but take practice to implement. The first rule is one-minute goalsetting. People need to know what is expected of them and they need to be taught how to do the desired task or skill. Teaching involves telling, showing, letting them try, observing their behavior, providing them feedback, and repeating the process until the skill is developed. I like the story Blanchard tells about giving students the final exam the first day of the class and then spending the rest of the semester teaching the material to the student.

The second technique is one-minute praising. The idea simply is to try to catch people doing things right and reinforce the correct behavior. You need to be specific about what they are being reinforced for and the feedback needs to be provided immediately. The desired behaviors and learning objectives are shaped through successive approximations of the desired outcome. Reinforcement along the way develops the desired skills.

The third technique is a one-minute reprimand. If people have the skills but are not performing up to the desired result or standard, then in a one-minute meeting, the student or employee, is told specifically what they need to do to correct the inappropriate behavior. Following the one-minute reprimand the student or employee is told that they are doing well but that particular behavior needs to be corrected.

I have found that this simple model works extremely well. There is certainly a great deal of information about how to manage a classroom but based on the law of parsimony, which states that among competing options the simplest may be true, I think there is value to this process.

The success of this method is all begun and based on one-minute goal setting. Taking time to develop clearly defined goals is not that easy. In education we develop learning objectives and these then become goals. The principles can be applied by an individual for that individual. As Blanchard, et. al., (2005), states, having clearly defined goals, controlling rewarding yourself, and reprimanding yourself can be effective skills for having a more productive and happier life.

Blanchard, K. H. and Johnson, S. (2003). The One Minute Manager. Harper Collins Publisher.

Blanchard, K. H., Fowler, S., and Hawkins, L., (2005) Self Leadership and the One Minute Manager. Harper Collins Publisher.

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