Is Your Classroom Following Debunked Ideas from the 1920s?
How to Create a 21st Century Classroom
Did you know the vast majority of teachers in America follow the same classroom management strategies that were made up in the 1920s?
Do you want to know which 1920 strategies are wrong and how you can create a 21st Century safe and conducive classroom? If you want to know the answers to these questions, read this entire article.
In addition, you will also be able to take a short 10-question quiz that will let you know if you have a 21st century safe classroom or not. At the very end of this article, I will also provide a link to an exclusive, private FREE Teacher FB group that can help you create a 21st century classroom.
Old Ideas Making a Comeback in 2022
Many teachers believe following these old theories makes them “old school,” and gives them credibility within the education system. When the reality is following OLD ideas that have been debunked or proven false by 21st century data and research is foolish and counter-productive.
Here are some old ideas that seem to be making a comeback in 2022, despite being proven wrong by 21st century data and research.
At the beginning of the 21st century, researchers proved that teachers who do not use a grading rubric are subjecting all of their students to unfair grading practices. In addition, teachers that do not use grading rubrics cannot prevent unconscious bias from interfering and preventing accurate or fair grading.
One of the 10 questions in the 21st century safe classrooms quiz asks, “do you use a grading rubric?” and according to the data collected, 33% of teachers responded “no.”
In the late 20th century, leading psychologists and educators came together to research the effects of punitive consequences on student behavior. They studied how well class discipline, demotions, detentions and suspensions worked on preventing or curbing student misbehavior.
From their research they developed what is known as the “positive behavior and intervention system” aka pbis. If you want to read the research you can find it here: https://pbis.org
Despite proving punitive consequences do not work, 66% of teachers do not follow this extensive research and data and continue to doll out punitive consequences for their students.
Creating a 21st Century Classroom
Do you want to continue to use old ideas that don’t work, or would you like to create a 21st century classroom that’s safe and conducive for your students to learn?
The first thing you can do is check the health status of your classroom. Are you following all of the 21st century research and best practices? It’s a good idea to take this short 10-question quiz. At the end of the quiz you will receive a score. That score will tell you, if you have a 21st century classroom or not. If you receive an “8” or higher the answer is “YES,” but if you receive lower than an “8” you need to read the rest of this article.
Laying the Foundation for 21st Century Learning
Teachers ask me all the time, “how can I avoid making classroom management mistakes?”
It seems like a great question to ask, except that the question includes many false assumptions. The reason a classroom may get “out of control” is not because the students are rowdy or disrespecting the teacher. Remember the “punitive consequences” research mentioned earlier in this article.
The problem started with the teacher’s lesson plans. Yes, their lesson plans.
Over this past summer, I helped teachers understand how to read curriculum maps, outline lesson plans and create 21st century scope and sequences for learning.
If you don’t want your classroom to get “out of control” and you want to prevent students from misbehaving, then you need to make sure your students know what’s going on in class. And that starts by becoming a 21st century expert lesson planner.
At the end of this article, I will give you a link to an exclusive, private Teacher FB group that I created. Inside this Teacher FB group, you can download a FREE Teacher Kit on how to write expert 21st century lesson plans.
The 9 Building Blocks for 21st Century Safe Classrooms
The last thing a teacher wants is a classroom they can’t control. The less students pay attention, the less learning happens. That’s why teachers are always in panic mode when students get out of control.
To make things easier, I have outlined the nine strategies to follow so a teacher can create a safe and conducive 21st century classroom and avoid the negative consequences of a toxic classroom
- Classroom Structure
- Positive Behavior Support System
- Grading Rubrics
- Scheduled Breaks
- Teacher Accountability
- Maximum of 5 Class Rules
- Scheduled Communication with Parents
- Collaborating with the Principal for Discipline Support
- Eliminating the “F” in Your Classroom
The important take-away from this list is that a teacher must implement all 9 strategies if they want a 21st century safe classroom. If you skip too many of these strategies, don’t be surprised if things go topsy-turvy really quickly.
Providing Teacher Support
One of the reasons we can’t fix our schools is because most people are simply not aware a Toxic K12 culture runs our schools. That means, the only way to create a 21st century school system is by destroying the toxic culture.
Here’s an example of the toxic culture in action that you might not know about. Everyday teachers are told to collaborate with each other and with the administration, except when a teacher tries to collaborate and opens up to their colleagues or supervisors, all of that information is being used against them. All the teacher can feel is a knife being stabbed in their back.
What would your reaction be, if you could not trust the people you work with?
When you finally understand how evil the toxic culture is, then you can start to understand why teachers complain, feel exhausted and burnt out or decide to quit. If America does not end the toxic culture, quitting happens to be the smartest decision a teacher can make.
I am trying to end the toxic culture, that’s why last February, I helped 28 teachers in 28 days write lesson plans on Instagram. This past summer, I helped teachers outline 40 weeks of lesson plans and learn how to become expert 21st century lesson planners.
But more than that, I have helped thousands of teachers become expert teachers in the classroom. I was able to help thousands of teachers through one of my winning solutions to create a 21st century school district.
In 2009, I created the most successful and popular teacher prep/training program in America. It was called The Teacher Development Program and what it did was help any teacher, regardless of years of experience, become an expert 21st century teacher in only two school years.
This program was so popular among teachers that I never had a teacher recruiting problem. I would receive hundreds of resumes from teachers all across New Jersey who wanted to leave tenure positions to come work in my K12 district, just so they could go through this incredible teacher prep/training program.
This program was also so effective and successful that administrators from K12 districts within a 50-mile radius of my district would try and steal teachers who graduated from this program. In fact, one of the teachers who graduated from this program got offered $100,000 to go work for another K12 public school district.
That was one of the reasons why I was recognized by the #1 ranked state for education as an expert educator in 2017. And later on, I also was nominated to join the NJ Governor’s Task Force to Improve the Public Schools.
This solution is real and works really well, which is why the Superintendent of Newark Public Schools sat down with me to pick my brain.
But helping teachers is only one of the three winning solutions a K12 district must implement if they want to create a 21st century school system. And that’s why most reform efforts fail. Reformers are only looking at one aspect of the school and saying, “we can fix that.” The truth is that if you don’t fix all three areas at the same time, it will all fall apart.
I am in the process of finalizing my book, “The Practice of Teaching: How to Become a 21st Century Teacher,” which is based on the success of the Teacher Development Program. For the first time, school teachers and leaders will be able to learn in detail how to help teachers become experts in the classroom. This is a huge first step toward fixing our schools.
If you are a teacher and want to get access to this groundbreaking book, “The Practice of Teaching” then request to join the exclusive, private Teacher FB group. If you join the group, you will also get access to the five FREE 21st Century Starter kits, such as 1) Teacher/student relationships 2) Positive Behavior Supports 3) How to Create a 21st Century Safe Classroom and 4) Writing 21st Century Lesson Plans. In addition, I created a one-of-a-kind FREE Download, “How to Collaborate with Other Teachers.”
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About the Author:
D.Scott Schwartz, M.Ed. is better known as “The School Doc” on social media. In 2017, he was recognized by the #1 ranked state for education. He is a 21st century skills expert, including Leadership, Sales and Communications. He provides consulting help to businesses and schools on a limited basis. He also writes freelance and on Medium. If you want more info, you can learn more at Leaf Academy (find the url link in bio.)