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Group Guidance Approach to Classroom Management

Instructor: Frank Clint

Frank has been an educator for over 10 years. He has a doctorate degree in education with a concentration in curriculum and instruction.

Did you know that most discipline problems are triggered in groups of students? The group guidance approach to classroom management helps teachers understand group defiance by looking at root causes to guide students to a better way forward.

Unfortunate Circumstances

When a group of students tries to work together to defy the teacher, resist, and be hostile, don't try to match force with force. As a teacher, you may find yourself in one of these most challenging and unfortunate situations where a group of students:

  1. Excessively talk while you are trying to give a lesson
  2. Constantly disrupt while you try to teach, interfering with instruction
  3. Outright refuse to follow classroom rules or school policies
  4. Refuse to obey or challenge to authority
  5. Work against you in solidarity as a group, resisting your efforts as their teacher

These are extreme examples of a hostile and aggressive group of students who are overtly defiant and disrupt instruction. In cases such as these, using the group guidance approach is the best way to handle this problem. The wrong approach would be to become aggressive yourself, making the situation worse. Let's take a look at this approach to classroom management.

Group Guidance Approach to Classroom Management

Group guidance was developed by Fritz Redl and is based on altering the behavior of individuals and groups. Before thinking about manipulating surface behaviors and trying to maintain good behavior from that point on, think about some of the things that cause students and groups of students to misbehave. One of the leading causes of discipline problems is boredom. Boredom leads to frustration, withdrawal, aggression, and irritability of a whole group of students. There are also three primary causes.

Three Primary Causes

  • History of the Individual -
    • A problem related to a psychological problem of one child.
    • 10% of misbehavior is individual
  • Conditions of a Group -
    • A problem related to conditions the group dislikes.
    • 30% is group condition
  • Mix of Individual and Group -
    • A problem centers around an individual but something in the group triggers it.
    • 60% includes a mix of individual and group

Group Guidance Approach

Research suggests that 90% of all discipline cases need group remediation. To maintain good group discipline, you need to try to first gain a good understanding of your group of students. Understanding the group's needs and interests will help you manipulate the surface behaviors. Ask yourself these questions about your students:

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