Article from dailyworld.com
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Teachers study discipline
Posted on June 9, 2002
Jacqueline Cochran / Staff Writer
PLAISANCE – Eighty St. Landry Parish teachers plan to be better prepared this coming school year at directing and keeping the attention of their students. Attending a week-long workshop on classroom discipline, the teachers learned methods of nonverbal communication that they hope will reduce the time spent on correcting students. Along with the basic raised eyebrow, the teachers heard of numerous other ways by which body language and space location play into relating either a positive or negative message.”It’s been an excellent conference,” stated Eunice Middle School teacher Kay DeRosier. “We’ve been looking at individual discipline and we will be dealing with group discipline.”
Teaching the class was Michael Grinder, author of “Envoy. Your personal guide to classroom management.”
Plaisance resident and retired communications trainer Mary Yenik said Grinder is one of the top consultants in the country. Yenik is responsible for obtaining the corporate funding that paid for Grinder’s presence and for the $35 per teacher cost for books.
Grinder taught the workshop using his book like a workbook. The workshop was open to other area teachers, but at a cost of $35 each for which they received a copy of Grinder’s book. The workshop lasted six days.
DeRosier said the cost to attend the workshop was nominal so long as what she learned helps to give her more time for instruction. “I’m here because I want to manage my classroom in a way to have more teaching time,” she stated.
Plaisance Principal Larry Watson said most teachers learn how to maintain discipline in a classroom the hard way – by trial and error. He said very little is taught in college to prepare teachers on how to keep discipline in a classroom.
Grinder told the teachers not to discipline from the place in the classroom where they most often stand to teach. He told them to move to a corner of the room, that way students never associate the negative act of reprimanding with a teaching area. Discipline and then return to that positive place of teaching and resume your work. By doing this, students will likewise learn, that was then, it is now over with and it is now time to move on.
DeRosier said Grinder demonstrated how through the simple direction of one’s hand, the eyes of a student’s can be either drawn away from the work or to that work.
When walking past a student, DeRosier said, a teacher may notice a student not following along with the work. A normal reaction would be for the teacher to reach his or her hand down and point to the work to redirect the student’s attention back onto the work, DeRosier explained. Most often when a teacher does this though, she said, the teacher stands so the palm of the hand faces the student, which in turn draws the student’s eyes to the hand, up the arm and to the face of the teacher.
DeRosier said what she learned is that by reaching down so the back of her hand is seen by the student, forces a reversal in reaction, drawing the student’s eyes down and onto the work. Time is saved as the student is immediately directed back to the work.
Port Barre High first-year teacher Marie Moore said her school paid for herself and nine other teachers to attend. “They asked us,” she said of her school administration. “I though, there is always room for improvement.”
On the fourth day of the workshop, Moore said she now sees how she was using more time managing than she should have. “The discipline methods I was using weren’t very polished. This now gives me the tools,” she said.