Michael’s classic educational work is ENVoY. It is designed for every teacher because it is the science of classroom management. A Healthy Classroom is the art of classroom management. Combine the two and you have the dynamic duo!
While ENVoY is a collection of 31 strategies that the teacher applies either when interacting with an individual student or the class as a whole, A Healthy Classroom is designed to help us understand the hardest management situations the teacher faces – when the teacher has to grapple with both the individual and the class at the same time. While teaching the entire class, the teacher often has to quickly assess what to do with an individual student who is inappropriate. Just as troublesome is the situation when the teacher is reprimanding an individual student and the whole class is watching. A Healthy Classroom tackles these group dynamic situations with insight and practical axioms.
The first four chapters are written for the first four months of a school year. They are:
- Class formation
- The six indications of class formation
- The four techniques to accelerate it
- The changing role of the teacher
- Reading a class
- Recognizing and utilizing leaders
- The difference between positive and negative leaders
- Reading a class by peripherally watching the barometers
- The essential role of liaisons in the classroom
- How to determine the values of the class, and which students to promote who will add any missing values
- Stages of Irritability
- How to respond when the class is irritated with a student
- When to ignore inappropriate behaviors
- When to save and protect individual students
- Why not to counsel a bully
- Methods for increasing and decreasing the status of a given student
- Seasons of the school year
- How each student’s identification with the rest of the class changes
- How to accurately interpret collective voice volumes
- How to know on the chaotic days if you are a contributing cause
- When to expect the “giggles” and what to do about them
- Strategies to affect seasonal ebbs and flows of your own and the class’s energy
The fifth chapter is the high point of the book. It is basically a checklist of the indicators and benefits of a healthy classroom. Central to the concept of utilizing group dynamics in the classroom is the concept of stereotyping. It is a phenomenon that can’t be prevented, but there are ways to direct this innate occurrence so that positive benefits are gained. A must read for ambitious teachers and administrators who realize that outstanding teachers have a right and need to professionally grow.
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