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Friday, March 17, 2006

Supervision of students

As the weather gets warmer and students get “antsy” the quality and quantity of supervision become more and more critical if we are to prevent problems. Some things we all already know, but need to bring back to the “front burner” at this time of year:

  • Students who have nothing to do will find something to do (usually something you wish they weren’t doing). Minimizing “dead” time prevents problems and adds to your instructional time.
  • Transitions (to and from restroom, music, lunch, etc.) can be problems waiting to happen or opportunities to practice and enforce procedures. The longer students stand in line, the more potential exists for problems. Students are on their feet, in close quarters, and have nothing productive to do. A higher level of supervision is needed for this setting or else you spend time on the other end trying to determine who-called-who-what and who-hit-who-first.
  • During bus duty, “divide and conquer.” Having available supervision scattered throughout the area (lunchroom, front yard, etc.) is better than having all of the adults standing in the same place.
  • Exhibit what Jacob Kounin calls “withitness,” the awareness of what is going on in all parts of the room. The teacher who lacks “withitness” sees the 3rd spitball throw. The teacher who exhibits it not only sees the 1st one thrown, but may well notice that Johnny constructing the spitball beneath the surface of the desk and move in that direction.

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