Research by Jacob Kounin, who was inspired by William Glasser, found that the difference between teachers is not how they deal with misconduct, but how they prevent it in the first place. His conclusion listed four factors that underlie classroom management success.
First is “with-it-ness,” which refers to the teacher’s alertness and awareness of the classroom at all times. Teachers should let students know that they have the full view of the classroom, and as soon as the teacher spots misbehavior, the teacher indicates visually (with facial expression) to the student that he or she has seen the misbehavior. This is usually enough to stop the behavior without the rest of the class being aware. Although such a look is enough in many cases, some cases will require more action than that, with the teacher addressing the situation with everyone who was involved in the misconduct.
The second factor is “overlapping,” which is just another word for “multitasking.” When the teacher has divided the class into working groups to look at different topics and activities, this allows teachers to have easy access to every student, provide specific help if needed, and, at the same time, keep an eye on the other students. The “overlapping” of activities in the classroom allows efficiency, and the teacher controls all these activities.
The third is “group focus,” which means getting every student involved and concentrating on the classroom activity. One way of achieving group focus is to attribute a portion of students’ grades to participation. Teachers can ask students questions that are open for anyone to answer. Students will thus all be concentrating and thinking about the question, eager to respond to get a good grade. Another method that is often used is randomly selecting students to answer questions. Because they don’t know who will be selected next, and to avoid embarrassment, students’ focus is on their teacher.
The fourth and last factor is “movement management,” which includes momentum and smoothness. Teachers have to ensure that students are continually working and are not sidetracked or distracted. Students can raise their hands if they have questions, and this ensures the smooth flow of the class without interruptions. If the class is held often, another way could be for students to write down questions and concerns about the class materials on pieces of paper and turn them in at the end of the session. In the next class, materials can be reviewed, with assistance from the questions previously written down by students. Teachers may also prepare more challenging questions.