Kounin’s Group Management Variables

Desists: Any identifiable act on the part of a teacher as a response to a student’s deviancy. Often a verbal warning; sometimes a glare. The effectiveness of a desist depends on: Clarity: How much information does the teacher provide in the desist? Example: “Vern, please stop talking. Turn around and continue writing your paragraph.” Firmness: How much does the teacher mean what he/she says. Firmness is strengthened with follow-through. Example: “Vern, please stop talking, etc.” The teacher then stares at Vern until he turns around and writes. Problems occur when warnings are unclear and vague or when the teacher lacks firmness and does not follow through. Withitness: General awareness of the classroom which is communicated to the students; prompt and correct identification and correction of misbehavior. Example: The teacher makes eye contact with a student who is about to shoot a basket with a paper wad. The student puts the paper away. Incidents that reveal a teacher’s lack of withitness are: Desisting the wrong student—an onlooker. Desisting less serious mistakes and overlooking more serious ones. Not nipping deviancy in the bud: it spreads and becomes more serious. Overlapping: The ability to deal with two or more issues at the same time. The teacher should be able to handle a deviancy incident while maintaining attention on instruction. Example: The teacher is leading a class discussion when a student comes in late. The teacher nods to him, continuing the discussion. Later, when students have begun seat work, she checks in with him and signs his tardy slip. Smoothness: The ability to stay on track with the lesson, avoiding digressions and divergences that can lead to confusion. The lack of smoothness is called Jerkiness. There are various types of jerkiness. Dangle: Teacher leaves a topic or activity “dangling” in order to do or say something else. Example: “All right, please take out your math books. Turn to page …. Oh, let’s collect the homework right now.” Flip-Flop: Like a dangle, except that the topic inserted is left from an earlier activity. Example: “All right, please take out your math books. Turn to page …. Oh, let’s collect the homework right now. Where were we, OK, please take out your math books and turn to page…. Truncation: The teacher does not resume the initiated activity, but drops it. Example: “All right, please take out your math books. Turn to page …. Oh, let’s collect the homework right now. All right, I’d like everyone to get into groups of 4.” Thrust: The teacher inserts information at a point where students are involved in another activity and they do not notice or hear the teacher. Example: While a test is being passed out and students either pass the test back or wait for the test to come to their desk, the teacher explains what needs to be done for problem 1. Later several students raise the hand because they do not understand problem 1. Momentum: The ability of the teacher to keep the lesson moving briskly. The lack of momentum is caused by Slowdowns. One example of a slowdowns is: Overdwelling: The teacher takes too much time handing things out or explains things for too long a time and in too much detail.

Examples: The teacher uses cards to call on students during a discussion. the rest of the students fill out a rubric assessing the student’s report. Example of a lack of this skill: In a discussion the teacher responds to one student while the rest of the class is inattentive and/or noisy. . Example: While one student is giving a report.Group Alerting: The ability to engage the attention of the whole class while individuals are responding. Accountability: The ability to hold students accountable and responsible for a task.

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