Feb 13, 2010

classroom management

One of the things I have struggled with the most since starting TPRS in my classes has been classroom management in general and specifically the no-negativity rule. The no-negativity rule or the no-put-down rule is that we do not allow students to express any negativity towards each other or the class.  It has been my Achilles Heel.

I have an image in my mind. TPRS is like paddling a boat. If the students are positive and participating, we are paddling with the current and we go amazing places. If the students are being negative and fighting the process, we are paddling against the current.

So, back to my revelation.

Karen Rowan wrote in the "Green Book" that if a student is negative towards one of his/her peers we simply point out that he/she *must* be mistaken. Obviously he/she is thinking about a *different* student in a *different* class because this student is obviously very smart.

I love this approach. It doesn't humiliate the offending student, and yet it allows no room for negotiation. No wiggle room.  Way better than me getting mad and huffing and puffing that I will not tolerate this kind of behavior.


  1. Er. It either drips with sarcasm or is incredibly condescending. That's not to say that it doesn't work. Sarcasm (of the right type) works great with middle school students and makes them respond with amusement and obedience, but I wouldn't say it was exactly "positive."

  2. I can see it sounding sarcastic or condescending. But tone of voice carries so much in it. I use it more as a stern reminder of classroom expectations while allowing a student to save face, and ensure that all the students in the class feel safe to participate.


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