The First Day Of School In A 9th Grade Classroom That Runs Like Clockwork: A Video Of Classroom Management

We don’t talk much about classroom management here at TeachThought. (Well, sometimes we do.)

First and foremost, our mission is to both think about and enable better ways of learning in highly-connected, 21st century society: critical thinking, principles of mobile learning, self-directed learning, the role of play in learning, and so on. Which means stuff like organization tips, bulletin board ideas, and classroom management strategies aren’t often at the core of our content.

But I recently stumbled across the following video on YouTube, and was strangely mesmerized. In lieu of its length, I sat and watched 35 minutes straight, and tried to do so from a variety of perspectives: teacher, parent, administrator, “change agent,” and education dreamer.

The teacher–a well-dressed male in his mid-to-late 20s–is filmed during the first day of school–presumably to model “best practices” in classroom procedures, interaction with students, and general classroom workflow and management.

It’s the first day of school, and the teacher greets the students at the door with very specific instructions, and clearly states his “expectation” for both action (sit here and do this) and behavior (do not speak under any circumstances). Students wait patiently in line, listen intently to his instructions, and do exactly as they’re told.

They have a safe learning environment, clearly stated expectations, are spoken to respectfully and with positive presuppositions (“I know we’re all here for the right reasons.”), and are given feedback for their levels of compliance (“3rd period, you are constantly meeting my expectations for behavior. Thank you.”)

It’s hard to make an accurate evaluation of this classroom simply by watching the first (or the second) day of school. It’s entirely possible that six weeks into the school year, the classroom explodes to life in a frenzy characterized by curiosity, deep thinking, creativity, and technology. So rather than browbeat or defend, I thought it might make more sense to hear your thoughts:

What do you notice in the video?

Judging by the walls, the teacher’s comments, and other tidbits you pick up, what seem to be the priorities in the classroom?

How do the students react to the efficient and extremely clear instructions?

How do positive presuppositions impact his general tone with the students?

Is this a classroom of the past, or the future?

What’s the lesson here?

If you have children of your own, would you want your son or daughter in this classroom? If so, why? And if not, why not?