Alysia and Beth’s new book, No More Sharpening Pencils During Work Time and Other Time Wasters, summarizes research into how time is misused in the classroom and suggests ways teachers can use their time more efficiently. Today’s post offers you some insight into their research. In tomorrow’s post, Alysia and Beth offer compassion and inspiration regarding classroom time management.
What’s a time waster? What does research reveal about the ways time is wasted during the school day/year, and what does this mean for children’s learning?
Both quantity and quality of time are important considerations. A big time waster would be spending fifteen minutes every morning sharpening pencils. But time can also be eaten away by student misbehavior or inefficient transitions. The most insidious time wasters are lessons that don’t motivate and challenge students. Research suggests that we must use the limited time we have in the classroom more efficiently and effectively.
In the opening of this book, you explain that we’re still holding on to a model of classroom management that trains children to become obedient factory workers, not the proactive adults they need to be in the 21st century. Can you briefly explain the alternative model of classroom management you argue for in this book?
The classroom management we advocate focuses on helping students develop the ability to regulate their own behavior and learning. To prepare children to make good choices and solve problems, we need to give them opportunities to make choices and guidance on how to make them. With practice, they will gradually take on more and more responsibility.
Why are self-regulated behavior and engagement so important to learning? What are some of the obstacles that keep teachers from addressing this in their classroom?
Self-regulated behavior and engagement allow learning and instruction to be as productive and efficient as they can be. However, just as parents sometimes can't help yelling in response to their children’s temper tantrums, teachers may get caught up in the stresses and pressures of the moment. A proactive stance, while it takes more work upfront and can try your patience, leads to maximum rewards in terms of classroom management and learning.