During our inservice meetings before school, we had a great speaker who was not only humorous, but was full of helpful advice that could be applied to any classroom. One of the things I took away from her presentation was a discipline technique that is simple and effective with any age of student.
Over the years, I've learned it is best to avoid direct confrontation with teenagers and to not put them in a position where they have to defend themselves in front of their peers. Although I do my best to avoid this type of nasty situation, there are times when for one reason or another, I find myself having to confront unwanted behavior in my classroom.
The technique the speaker presented is simply to avoid conflict by addressing the behavior and not the student. She demonstrated several situations and did a great job by using dramatic pauses as she addressed the evil deed doer.
So this week when I saw headphones in Johnny's ears, I didn't say a word to Johnny. I simply gazed out into the classroom and said, without looking at anyone in particular, "If you (dramatic pause) currently have earbuds in your ears, I am going to need you to take them out at this time". The entire class looked around trying to figure out who had the earphones and the guilty person sheepishly took them out while I continued teaching.
When charming little Ashley had her cell phone underneath her back pack and was busy texting, I stopped my lesson and calmly said, "If you (dramatic pause) currently have your cell phone out, I am going to need you to put that away". Again, instant compliance and I don't think anyone other than the offender had a clue who it was that had their cell phone out.
In one class after lunch, I looked out and saw several heads on the desk, so you guessed it, I simply said "If you currently have your head down on your desk, I'm going to need you to lift it up right now." Every single person complied without a single argument.
I literally used this technique every day last week without a single problem. The flow of the lesson was not interrupted by someone trying to defend themselves by saying "I'm just checking my phone to see what time it is or "my earbuds are in, but my music is off". There was no need to defend themselves because I never pointed them out in front of the class.
I can't believe I've been teaching fifteen years and no one has ever shared this technique with me before. It is so simple that I can't believe I didn't think of it myself. What kind of techniques do you use to put a stop to unwanted behavior?