In “Part 1” of this 2-part post on “classroom management,” I talk about why I don’t like the term “classroom management,” and I share 5 tips for teachers to foster and maintain positive classroom culture within their own classrooms. If you haven’t read that post, I recommend you go back and read that first before reading this one.
This post focuses on how school leaders can support positive classroom cultures through school structures. Note: school leaders refers to administrators as well as teachers in leadership positions as well as teachers who may want to take on a leadership role in either a formalized position or in a less formal role, perhaps as a member of a committee or through supporting after school student clubs).
In the previous post, I listed 5 ways teachers can foster a positive classroom culture in the classroom:
As leaders, there are several ways to support this work. Model this work with teachers and staff at meetings and in how you create expectations for adults. Encourage teachers to visit the classrooms of other teachers who do these things well.
In addition to supporting teachers in their individual classrooms, there are some steps school leaders can take to build up school-wide systems that support each classroom in doing this work. Specifically, let’s talk about #4 and #5 on the list.
Restorative practices in place of punitive discipline. Traditional discipline policies disproportionately negatively affect students of color and students with IEPs. Being suspended decreases the likelihood of graduation, and contributes to the school-to-prison-pipeline. Restorative practices have been shown to reduce disruptive and violent behavior in schools, increase attendance, and improve school culture and problem-solving skills (WestEd, 2016).
How do we do this?
Shared leadership, specifically involving students in the creation of school policies. Students and teachers will buy in to school policies more if they helped co-create the policies.
How do I do this?
Whether you’ve been doing restorative and shared leadership work for years, or you’re brand new to these approaches, I’d love to hear what your biggest challenges have been. Click the button below to share the biggest challenge you've faced in fostering positive school culture with our brand new Time for Teachership community on Facebook! Collectively, I’m confident we can come up with some great solutions.
You are doing amazing things. Sending you strength and resilience to keep that teachership in motion.
Think big, act brave, and be your best self.
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Lindsay Lyons (she/her) is an educational justice coach who works with teachers and school leaders to inspire educational innovation for racial and gender justice, design curricula grounded in student voice, and build capacity for shared leadership. Lindsay taught in NYC public schools, holds a PhD in Leadership and Change, and is the founder of the educational blog and podcast, Time for Teachership.