Age Appropriate Engagement Running head: Age Appropriate Student Engagement


Age Appropriate Student Engagement Strategies For Middle School Classrooms Chelsea Woodruff Grand Canyon University: EDU 536 April 14, 2011

Eliminate failure from the classroom. 2008). . and Barbara Coloroso’s Responsibility and Inner-Discipline are strategies best applied to middle school students. 2008 p. There are many clues as to the age level most appropriate for an engagement strategy. “changes and teacher support should be put into effect that enable all students to experience a degree of success in school” (Charles. blaming others. Glasser’s Reality Therapy William Glasser’s Reality Therapy was developed as a result of his psychotherapy work with delinquent adolescents (Charles. avoiding failure. evading consequences. Glasser believes that. Using the characteristics established in these two strategies. it became obvious that Haim Ginott’s Congruent Communication. Teachers must: 1. William Glasser’s Reality Therapy and Rosene & Douglas’ Tools for Middle School Classrooms. In order to truly reach adolescent students. adolescents are absorbed with what is going on now. His work specifically targeted the characteristics of this age group. Based on Glasser’s research. 2008). and exercising independence (Charles.Age Appropriate Engagement Introduction 2 Each strategy for engaging students is based on the developmental levels of the students with which the theorist had the most experience.66). clearly establish certain characteristics that are common to adolescent classroom situations and support them with research. He suggests ten communication strategies that teachers can use to avoid the pitfalls common to adolescents. teachers must understand these tendencies and communicate in a manner that minimizes the negative tendencies and maximizes the positive tendencies. Alfie Kohn’s Classroom Learning Communities. Two strategies.

Students were further asked to identify and commit themselves to subsequent behavior that would be more appropriate” (Charles. “Focus on the present. Teach students to take responsibility for their own behavior. Talk about possible thoughts and actions within present-time reality—that is. Whether legitimate or not.66). Simply help the students see the benefits of good behavior and the consequences of negative behavior without coercing them (Charles.66). “View behavior as choice and influence students to make better choices in how they Behave” (Charles. 2008 p. Communicate that you are not judging nor condemning the behavior. 2008 p.Age Appropriate Engagement 2. 2008 p. This empowers the student to demonstrate independence by controlling their behavior. 4. “When students misbehaved.65). 8. 6. classmates. they were asked in a friendly tone to state what they had done and to evaluate the effect their actions had on the student. 3. 2008 p.65). 5. Eliminate external control behaviors. Don’t discuss symptoms or complain. “Avoid discussing the past. 7. excuses stand 3 directly in the way of making the needed connections with others” (Charles. and teacher. 2008 p.” He believes that “criticizing and blaming” are ineffective and “destroy relationships” (Charles. Encourage students to reflect on difficulties and resolve them through regular .65). Adolescents are results-oriented. what one might do here and now to resolve the problem” (Charles. 65). “Don’t get bogged down in excuses.” He says. 2008 p.

smiling. This allows the students to feel they have control over their learning environment and an investment in maintaining it. listening to body language in addition to words. Because Glasser specifically focuses on adolescents developmental needs. respecting students.Age Appropriate Engagement 4 “classroom meetings” (Charles. 2009). he provides evidence by which teachers can also choose other appropriate systems that address this group’s specific learning needs. demonstrating trust. Rosene and Douglas believe that the majority of the tools are for the teacher’s use. “A positive environment” is created by focusing on the positive. 10. Relationships are paramount to adolescents and if students understand their responsibilities toward other students in a relational perspective. catching students being good instead of bad. 2008 p. Evaluate results. being aware of special circumstances. revise plans and reject ineffective practices (Charles. 1. 9.66). 2009).65). 2008 p. 2008). Rosene and Douglas’ Tools for Middle School Success Rosene and Douglas also focus exclusively on adolescents and the tools teachers can use that “create secure classroom environments that have led to more rewarding teaching experiences and more successful student accomplishments” (Rosene & Douglas. “Work toward specific workable plans for reconnecting with people as needed” (Charles. they will be more motivated to gain the skills necessary to maintain them. . being consistent. admitting when you don’t know something. showing a sense of humor. and being fair (Rosene and Douglas. Like Glasser. acknowledging your own mistakes.

“be realistic about the amount of time it will take students to complete a task. 5. It is very fulfilling to have your students demonstrate a love for learning that you . Use technology to your advantage. 2009). nor busy work encourage student engagement in learning. “Assign them to work with students out of their social and ability groups to gain a greater appreciation and understanding of others. Use the students’ need for social interaction to your advantage. Use student emotions to promote high quality work and to create reasonable lesson plans. 6. Give them the time in class they will need to do a good job. 2009). 2009). 3. Neither free time. Have fun. 2009). “Don't try to teach a difficult concept on Halloween. The most successful middle-level teachers can read what is happening with students on a given day. and remember why you chose to teach this age group. It's important to realize that most middle-level kids are busy after school” (Rosene and Douglas. Create “meaningful experiences” that will encourage the students to apply what they learn outside the classroom. 4. and adjust the lesson plans accordingly” (Rosene and Douglas. be interesting. Plan creative lessons that do not allow time for students to get bored. That shows them 5 that you think the task is important enough to devote class time to work on it.” Use both large and small groups to allow students to try out new ideas and encourage the development of social skills that will benefit them in the future (Rosene and Douglas. The immediacy of evaluation encourages higher performance (Rosene and Douglas.Age Appropriate Engagement 2. Demonstrate “great expectations” with respect of a middle-school student’s real life.

Haim Ginott’s Congruent Communication Haim Ginnot worked to convey similar messages as Glasser. Rosene. Rosene and Douglas. Ginott taught that “teachers at their best. “Appreciative Praise” (Charles. or demand promises. 1. blame. do not preach. While Glasser dealt almost exclusively with the discipline side of student interactions and Rosene and Douglas dealt almost exclusively with the management side. using congruent communication. 2008 p. 3.68). and Douglas. and past behavior and to create results-oriented communication (Charles. they confer dignity on their students by treating them as social equals capable of making good decisions” (Charles. Instead.Age Appropriate Engagement instilled in them. 2. 2008. 2008). “Congruent Communication” combines Glasser’s focus on present realities and Rosene and Douglas’ use of student emotions (Charles. impose guilt. “Sane Messages” (Charles. moralize. He decided that they could be better communicated if he created new terms 6 that express the complex ideas that took paragraphs to explain before.68) refers to Glasser’s admonitions to eliminate excuses. 2008 p. Haim Ginnot’s focus was to teach teachers how to communicate with middle school students.2009).69) comments on the type of positive . that it would be easiest to reference those as the definitions. 2008 p. The effect of his communication theories on students so closely matches those explained earlier.

This resembles Glasser’s student responsibility (Charles. She encourages teachers to help students create positive relationships through inner discipline.74).74). Coloroso adds another dimension to the previous groups. 7 2. 1. Evaluative praise. wisdom. The next system helps middle school students by developing a balance of power with responsibility that honors their move toward adulthood with practical lifelong interpersonal skills. Misbehaving students should be guided through a three step process. The student must create “Resolution” by “identifying and correcting whatever caused . 2008 p. which comments on a person’s character. Teaching educators how to communicate can open doors of understanding and create reciprocal respect with students that could not previously have been achieved. 2008 p. She taught that processes which promote lifelong problem-solving skills would help students understand the responsibilities which attend the rights they have been given. and mercy” (Charles. Appreciative praise “responds to effort or improvement” (Charles. compassion. The offending student must make “Restitution” by repairing the damage that has been done in a way that maintains dignity and respect amongst their peers and their teacher (Charles. 2008 p.69) and is therefore appropriate for all students and encourages engagement at all levels. he or she is worth less as a person. 2009).Age Appropriate Engagement reinforcement that creates what Rosene and Douglas called a “positive environment” (Rosene and Douglas. Barbara Coloroso’s Inner Discipline The main goals of Barbara Coloroso’s Inner Discipline is to “help students acquire integrity. 2008). implies that if a student does not do exactly as instructed.

8 3. 2009). 2008 p. Kohn’s system closely mirrors Glasser’s in several ways.65). Middle school students need to feel respected in order to reciprocate that respect. and responsive learning communities where “teachers facilitate the process by seeking out students’ interests and finding what lies behind their questions and mistakes” (Charles.Age Appropriate Engagement the misbehavior so it won’t happen again” (Charles. “Show respect for students” (Charles. self-manage. 1. . 2008 p. 2008 p. 2008 p. Coloroso’s strategy works best for middle school students because it helps them learn to recognize their own power to choose how they affect others’ lives and the responsibility they have to respect the rights of others as much as they expect others to respect their own rights. her strategy empowers the cognitive processes of students to self-analyze. 2008 p. “Reconciliation” requires the student to create “healing relationships with people who were hurt or offended by the misbehavior” by making “decisions concerning future behavior.76).76). while Glasser would refer to it as “plans for reconnection” (Charles. and then learn from the results of those decisions. 2008 p. even if they bring discomfort” (Charles. Alfie Kohn’s Learning Communities Alfie Kohn largely rejected the idea of traditional education.65). social. safe. He taught a system that would greatly appeal to middle school students because it focuses on collective. Rosene and Douglas would refer to this process as “great expectations” and “meaningful experiences” (Rosene and Douglas.75). This reflects what Glasser tries to achieve through his “classroom meetings” (Charles. Additionally. and learn productively from their mistakes. follow up accordingly.75).

77) This closely mirrors Glasser’s admonition to review and revise plans (Charles. Rutherford. Use classroom meetings (Charles.77) Kohn is a proponent of the same definition that Glasser used for this concept (Charles. 2008 p. Schoenfeld. 3. 2008). 2008 p. producing a class newsletter or magazine. Kohn’s focus was mainly on the creation of an atmosphere that tapped into the strengths of adolescents and turned them into resources for engaging them in productive habits that would translate into their outside lives. 2008). in which students try to see situations from another person’s point of view” (Charles. Ginott’s Congruent Communication. “Reflect on academic instruction” (Charles. 2008 p.Age Appropriate Engagement 2. 9 5. 2008 p.77). Rosene and Douglas’ classroom management. Help students create connections “through activities that involve interdependence” which “include cooperative learning. or doing some community service” (Charles. The next system seeks to achieve it all. Like Rosene and Douglas. Provide opportunities for class or school-wide collaboration such as “producing a class mural. getting-to-know-you activities” and “using activities that promote perspective taking. Gable. & Rock’s ENGAGE Strategy The authors of the ENGAGE Strategy tried to create a system that would incorporate all of the benefits of Glasser’s discipline. staging a performance. 4.77). taking care of the school grounds. Coloroso’s Inner Discipline and Kohn’s Learning Community and roll it into one package that any teacher could .

2008). 10 4. This incorporates Ginott and Coloroso’s works on communication skills. The authors teach to “use informal and formal assessment methods to measure target students and class progress in acquiring. “Gauge Progress” Almost every strategy discussed has an admonition to reflect on what works and what does not. A teacher cannot effectively implement any plan if she is unaware of what is occurring in the classroom. & Rock. They named the system based on the steps necessary to create such an all-encompassing plan. maintaining. 2008). “Exchange Reflections. & Rock. and generalizing social skills” (Schoenfeld. and fostering a .” “Mutual respect. 2008). This is the implementation of a curriculum that eliminates failure (Glasser) and creates great expectations (Rosene and Douglas) of each student. & Rock. “Examine the Demands of Curriculum and Instruction” (Schoenfeld. “Note Essential Social Skills” (Schoenfeld. 6. Rutherford. Gable. & Rock. 3. shared decision making. Gable. Rutherford. “Actively Monitor” (Schoenfeld. 2008). 5. “Go Forward and Teach” No engagement plan is effective until it is implemented. 2008). 2. Gable. Rutherford. Make it realistic for both the teacher and the students and implement it in small steps so that it does not overtake the real purpose of the class (Schoenfeld. Rutherford. This is differentiated instruction at its best. 1. Rutherford. personal responsibility and control (Charles. Gable. & Rock.Age Appropriate Engagement implement. Gable. 2008).

32(9). Rutherford.). D. Rutherford. M. R. Gable. (2008). Resources Charles. Rutherford. but fully support it. Science Scope. & Douglas. 6-7.. Gable.. (2008). R. They each support the students and teachers in developing the best climate for a real education that could be available in a public school setting. Coloroso’s Inner Discipline. Retrieved from EBSCOhost. Building classroom discipline (10th ed. Gable. C. ENGAGE: A Blueprint for Incorporating Social Skills Training Into Daily Academic Instruction. . (Schoenfeld.. Would you like to be a student in your classroom?. & Rock. Rosene and Douglas’ Tools for Middle School Teachers. Rosene. There are many benefits to Glasser’s Reality Therapy. R. (2009).Age Appropriate Engagement 11 positive and cooperative classroom climate” will help students connect what they have learned with the rest of their lives. 17-27. Kohn’s Learning Community. and Schoenfeld. & Rock. & Rock’s ENGAGE Strategy. Conclusion Each of the engagement strategies discussed build on different aspects of the psyche of middle school students in different ways to help create engagement systems that build on the strengths of this powerful developmental period in their lives and mitigates the weaknesses that can cause lasting impacts. 52(3).. Retrieved from OmniFile Full Text Select database Schoenfeld. M. Preventing School Failure. N. Ginott’s Congruent Communication. Boston: Allyn & Bacon. 2008) The ENGAGE process allows a teacher to take the best from each system and work it into a totally practical classroom management and engagement system that will not overtake the purpose for teaching.

Age Appropriate Engagement 12 .

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