By Teachers, For Teachers
Classroom management solutions are always on the top of any effective educator’s list of things to learn more about. As much as the classroom management ideas that you are using right now may be working for you, there is always something new out there that may work even better. There’s been a lot of buzz lately in the education world about a fairly new strategy called the two-by-ten strategy. This is a classroom management method wherein a teacher takes two minutes a day to get really get to know her most challenging student for a period of ten days in a row. During this two minutes, the student and teacher can talk about anything that they want. The goal is to connect to the student and build trust. By taking this time to really get to know the at-risk student, you can begin to uncover the reasons behind their misbehavior in class. The idea is simple, and many teachers are asking what the buzz is all about, because the most-effective teachers have already been doing this. These teachers were just quietly building a rapport with their challenging students in hopes of making a better connection, so that they would be able to figure out why they were being so disruptive or challenging to teach. It wasn’t until teacher bloggers started posting about it, that it became an “A-ha!” moment for many educators. If you just take two minutes out of your day for ten days in a row to really connect with your at-risk student, you can change their behavior.
According to one study conducted by Dr. Raymond Wlodkowski, an educator and psychologist, teachers who have used the two-by-ten strategy have found an 85 percent improvement in that student’s behavior. Another study found that when student teachers were asked to implement the strategy with their most-challenging students, that almost everyone reported an improvement in behavior, as well as an overall improvement in all students’ behavior.
When classroom teachers put the method to the test, they too have found a lot of success. One teacher from an educators’ Facebook group posted that she used the strategy in her 2nd grade classroom with one of her most challenging students. Within the first two minutes on the first day, she learned that her students’ father was in jail, and will be for the next year. As the days progressed, she learned that the mother was never home and the child was being cared for by the grandmother, and that he did not eat breakfast a lot of the time. Through these conversations, the teacher realized that all of his outbursts were because he was in dire need of attention, and the reason that he was so sleepy every day was because he didn’t have a normal bedtime and he rarely ate breakfast. This child was dealing with unforeseen circumstances that were beyond his control, and the teacher realized that what this child needed was some love, nurturing, therapy, and food.
By taking the time to get to know your students on a more personal level, you become more compassionate. As you develop a relationship, you will find that the student who you once thought you couldn’t stand because they were the most disruptive and annoying student, is no longer that annoying student because you can now understand them better. You may also realize that forcing a child to write neater or learn her math facts by heart may seem silly when they are dealing with such grown-up issues at home. You may even find that after the ten days you have more patience.
Two minutes a day seems like a little investment of your time that can really go a long way in helping a child. This strategy can help you focus on all the good that is in the student. You may even find that you will view them more as a person versus only as the “Challenging student.” With a little planning, you may even find the time to get to know all of your students a little better. Imagine a classroom with no behavior problems or disruptions. Can this be the miracle solution to classroom management?
Have you tried the two-by-ten classroom management method in your classroom? Please share your experience with us in the comment section below, we would love to hear how it went for you.
Janelle Cox is an education writer who uses her experience and knowledge to provide creative and original writing in the field of education. Janelle holds master's of science in education from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. She is a contributing writer to TeachHUB.com, TeachHUB Magazine, and Skyword. She was also the Elementary Education Expert for About.com for five years. You can follow her on Twitter @Empoweringk6ed, on Facebook at Empowering K6 Educators, or contact her at Janellecox78@yahoo.com.