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How To: Adjust Your Teaching Style to Your Students' Learning Style
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Teacher Behavior/Student Behavior
Sharon Longert

Teaching is mainly concerned with the cognitive domain.  Yet limiting teaching to that one domain does not prepare us for the classroom, especially when working with students with disruptive behavior.  Some students need growth and development in the areas of cooperation with others, volunteering answers and viewpoints, developing motivation and interest, and valuing other opinions. Levin & Nolan  define teaching as “the use of preplanned behaviors, founded in learning principles and child development theory and directed towards both instructional delivery and classroom management that increases the probability of affecting change in student behavior.”
“The single most important factor in determining the learning environment is teacher behavior.  Intentionally or unintentionally, teachers’ verbal and nonverbal behavior influences student behaviors,” (Levin & Nolan).  Teaching is a reciprocal activity, our actions and reactions influence our students and their actions and reactions influence the teacher. A clear plan and philosophy about classroom management is essential.

  • A discipline problem exists when the behavior interferes with teaching, interferes with the rights of others to learn, is unsafe or destroys property.
  • Teachers need to influence appropriate student behavior to maximize the time spent on learning.
  • Teachers who are effective classroom managers enjoy teaching and have confidence in their ability to influence student achievement.

Highly qualified teachers use a collection of best practices that influence student learning and achievement evidenced by student cognition and understanding. Being reflective about our own practices is a step in preventing classroom management problems from occurring.  Do you:

  • Design lessons with an introduction, clear presentation of content, check students for understanding, guided practice, independent practice, closure, and periodic reviews?
  • Employ strategies to influence student motivation to learn, using feeling tone, feedback, and encouragement, keeping in mind students' interests, need for novelty and variety?
  • Communicate high expectations by equalizing response opportunities, provide prompt and constructive feedback on performance, and treat all students with personal regard?
  • Maximize student learning by increasing the amount of time students are engaged in learning activities?
  • Employ authentic instruction in learning activities?
  • Use a framework that helps students develop thinking skills, problem solving skills and the capacity to regulate their own learning?
  • Build a community of learners?
  • Teach so that students can demonstrate a variety of intelligences?
  • Use student cognition to increase student motivation to learn?

Teachers, who honestly answer these questions are taking steps to ensure that the classroom environment is a place where students learn and discipline problems are kept to a minimum.

Levin, J., and Nolan, J.F., (2007).  Principles of Classroom Management: A Professional Decision- Making Model, Pearson, Boston, MA.

I hope you’ve found this article helpful. If you have a question or suggestion, don’t hesitate to e-mail me.


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