5 Business-Inspired Tips for Progressive Classroom Management

You’ve probably noticed that approaches to education and business tend to clash.  After all, we spend about 13 years training students to memorize and then produce results in bubble sheets (which tends to untrain them from their natural tenacity, creativity, and passion), and then we suddenly hope they’ll be innovative and creative leaders once they join our workforce.  One way to help beat this paradox: find applications for improved educational practices among the advice columns in the business world.  Below are just a few examples.

#1: The 7 Words that Define What Employees Expect From Leadership

Logo, ForbesIf Forbes’ “7 Words that Define what Employees Expect from Leadership” (Specificity, Empowerment, Vulnerability, Honesty, Accountability, Respect, Authenticity) sound familiar to you as an educator, there’s a reason for that–most of them are have become major buzzwords among the educational reform crowd.

Takeaway tip for your classroom: Actively search for new ways to help your students take their learning into their own hands!  Give them choices in how to spend their time, and help them own the consequences (both positive and negative).

#2: 6 Things Wise Leaders Do to Engage their Employees

Another classroom-applicable Forbes article included tips such as “Put them in a position of influence,” “Stop unknowingly creating tension,” and “Be consistent and have their backs.”

Takeaway tip for your classroom: Um–ditto?  But seriously, be strategic in your classroom management in a way that is more than just about getting students to stop talking when you’re talking.  Shift your goals toward teamwork and inspiration over authority and cooperation.

#3: Innovation Time Off

Logo, GoogleAs many of us know, Google gives its engineers 20% of their time toward pursuing their own ideas that might benefit the company, yielding ideas like Gmail and Google News.  A few stray articles in recent years have claimed that Google has ended the program, but in 2013, they confirmed that it is in fact still up and running.  Another interesting article discusses how using the 80/20 rule will not guarantee innovation because it “violates our normal expectations of corporate life” and that companies need to find ways to make “innovation part of everyone’s job.”

Takeaway tip for your classroom: We can and should start shifting the culture of innovation with our young students today!  That doesn’t necessarily start or end with initiating a 80/20 rule (aka Genius Hour or Passion Time) in your own classroom.  It hinges most of all on cultivating a growth mindset: encouraging risks, prioritizing process over product, and celebrating failures right along with successes.

#4: 8 Deadly Ways to Kill Employee Motivation

Logo, Inc.comBy the time we’d finished the first couple paragraphs, we were already noticing parallels between the list and the classroom…

  1. “Toxic People” → Bullying
  2. “No professional development” → Lack of choice
  3. “Lack of vision” → Focusing on content over concepts
  4. “Wasted time” → Worksheet Overload
  5. “Inadequate communication” → Lack of student voice
  6. “Vertical Management” → A teacher centered classroom, lack of inquiry
  7. “Lack of appreciation” → Lack of appreciation
  8. “Bad leadership” → Blaming students

Takeaway tip for your classroom: Remember that we all want to feel like our time, contributions, and voices matter.  Find ways to make your classroom a team, with you right alongside them in the learning fray.

#5: Everything is Awesome! Why You Can’t Tell Employees They’re Doing a Bad Job

Logo, Wall STreet JournalManagers are now being encouraged to phrase their feedback in a more positive light–not for general feel-good reasons, but because of the simple idea that “people perform better when they’re encouraged and inspired.”

Takeaway tip for your classroom: Develop your feedback-giving skills.  Frequent positive reinforcement doesn’t mean training your students to become praise-dependent; rather, used effectively, it can help you better communicate your expectations, build rapport, and encourage a growth mindset.

Photo Credit:

OpenSourceWay via Flickr Creative Commons

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Mary Wade

I taught 5th grade at a PYP International Baccalaureate school in Utah for 4 years, and am currently on extended parental leave until my kids start school. In between the roller-coaster adventures of motherhood, I enjoy educational blogging so I can stay in the loop and keep learning! Snapshot favorites: Student voice & choice. Twix bars. Global classrooms. Calvin & Hobbes. Outlandish sewing projects. Teachers learning from teachers. Modeling daring to students.

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