Why Pairing Explicit Instruction and Behavior Supports Makes Sense

Why Pairing Explicit Instruction and Behavior Supports Makes Sense

Too often, we make instruction and classroom management separate issues. If you’ve worked in a classroom before, you know this isn’t the reality. Great instruction requires great classroom management and great classroom management requires great instruction. The two work together, in harmony, not opposition.

That’s why you should teach both instruction and classroom management together. We do this on our team, by working with the Strategic Instruction team here at Region 13. We collaborate to create classroom systems which take both classroom management, and instruction, into account. Here are three reasons we think you should bundle instruction and management together

1. Both Instruction and Classroom Management happen Simultaneously in Classrooms.

This first one might seem obvious, but educators often forget this. Your classrooms don’t have two modes: classroom management and instruction. Instead, both of these things happen at the exact same time throughout the day. While you’re giving a lesson on 16th century painters, you’re also dealing with disruptive students. While you’re dealing with disruptive students, you’re also trying to give a lesson on 16th century painters.

2. Your behavior systems can’t work if your lessons aren’t engaging.

A behavior support system is only as strong as its weakest link. Truthfully, that weak link is often engagement. If your students aren’t engaged with what they’re learning, they’re going to be engaged in something else. That alternative engagement distracts them from the content and often leads to a lot of headaches on your part.

After all, you can create wonderful, clear systems, explanations, and expectations for your students but everything falls apart if your lessons aren’t engaging. Students who aren’t focused on the content you’re teaching will goof off, talk too much, or otherwise be distracting to themselves or others. The end result is that you’ve got difficulty managing your students, and poor student performance.

3. Your Lessons can’t work if your students aren’t behaving.

It’s a simple statement but still a powerful one. Consider a scenario where you’re trying to teach your world history students about the Age of Enlightenment. To get them started, you’ve decided to have them divide up into groups during class and talk about what they already know about the age of enlightenment. After they’re done with that, you’ve got a full presentation that’s sure to teach them everything they need to know.

If you’ve been a teacher for a while now, you know that even the best laid plans go awry. After you’ve put them in a group your students might start chatting too much, arguing with each other, or just generally being off-task. Now, rather than getting to your lesson, you’re focusing on managing these behaviors, cutting into your valuable instruction time!

By thinking about both instruction and classroom management, you can plan ahead for these types of situations. You can come up with management strategies for group work, seating charts, or support systems which help solve the problems before they even spring up. The end result: your already stellar lessons are made that much better.

Kim Watts spent 21 years teaching middle school in both inner-city and affluent schools. During her time in the classroom, Kim taught English/Language Arts, brought AVID to her campus as a certified AVID teacher, and taught Capturing Kids’ Hearts Teen Leadership. Kim was the SIM Coordinator for her campus’ Literacy Leadership Team, helping them to implement a school-wide approach to improving literacy using the Strategic Instruction Model.

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