‘Read! In the name of thy Lord and Cherisher, Who Created-‘
(Surah Al Alaq, verse 1, the first Revelation)
Assalamualaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh, my dear brothers and sisters.
Alhamdulillah, the recent Khalifah Mind Teacher Training that I did went well, with a lot of great feedback from the teachers. (Thank you so much, may Allah bless you!!!)
Even though the training ran from 9.00 am to close to 5.00 pm, I still wasn’t able to share more classroom management tips and techniques with the teachers so they asked me to include them in my blog. Insha’Allah, I will include the tips over several posts.
The first is a script of what to say to the students in certain situations incorporating Khalifah Method’s ‘Kind Discipline and Directed Positive Influence’. I will write the situation/dialog followed by the script I use with my students.
Example 1: Ensuring class is prepared to learn
“I know you are ready to learn when I see your books and stationery is prepared on the table, you are sitting up straight and your eyes are looking into mine.” [organisation, posture, focus and attention]
Example 2: When I ask a question and the student answers, ‘I don’t know’. (sigh…)
“I know you know because I taught you this before. Think harder.” [I will wait for the student to give the right answer even if it takes a long time. I first must assess that the student IS able to answer the question i.e. was taught(came to school), did understand the lesson. When the student answers, the message ‘I know the answer and I answered the question!’ is written in his mind and this should increase the frequency of him answering in the future, Insha’Allah]
Example 3: When students are involved in a dispute, argument.
“Do I need to know about this?” Usually, they know that the issue is not major enough (petty playground arguments) for it to need my intervention (and that if I get involved, both parties would end up with consequences from me…) So, they will resolve on their own and apologise to each other the Khalifah Way (direct eye contact, firmly grip the hand and apologise). This ends bitterness and longterm hasad (envy/hatred).
Example 4: When I ask for help, and someone asks me, ‘What do we get for helping you, Teacher Cher?’ (It happened!)
“Well, since you asked me that question, ‘Nothing.'” This is to teach the children to do things for others sincerely and without expectation of reward. The students know that my reward system varies and is unpredictable. Sometimes, I will reward them when I see a lot of effort is being made to be good and sometimes, when I know the good behavior has become a habit, I stop rewarding them for that same behavior.
Example 5: When I’m addressing a large group of students and want to anchor their attention to what I’m saying.
“I know you are paying attention to me when I can see you sitting up straight and your eyes are looking into my eyes.” This helps empower the students with the CHOICE of paying attention instead of just me telling them/ instructing them to.
Example 6: When someone raises her hand in class, ‘Teacher (whining)…she fill in the blank to me”.
“I don’t listen to tattle tales in my classroom so you need to deal with it yourself.” The students are first taught what tattle-tales means (saying something that is not nice about another person) and that I am strict about not paying attention to tattle-tales. This has helped to eliminate whining in class and the students learn to resolve conflict and arguments nicely through talking to each other and learning to be accountable.
Example 7: When someone whines, ‘Teacher, she doesn’t want to be friends with me anymore…’ (usually at the start of the year…)
“Are you sure? I just saw the two of you playing/ talking earlier on. Why don’t you talk to her and find out why she said that to you?” Do not get involved because this is a clear case of attention-seeking and the students manipulating you to take sides. Settle it once and for all by handing over responsibility to the students themselves to resolve their differences.
Example 8: When a question which I’ve answered before is asked again
“Why are you asking something you know the answer to?” Kids usually want instant gratification and if they can get away without having making any effort, they will do that instead. By answering their question which you know you’ve told them before, it is actually teaching them to be lazy to think and use their mind.
Example 9: Teacher, how do you spell fill in the blank ?
“Think. Sound it out first.” Again, as the reason above, if they can get away with getting the answer from you instead of thinking for themselves, they will.
Example 10: When you say ‘Time’s up’ (or any other situation involving time management; exams, lining up) and someone replies, ‘Wait, Teacher!’
“Don’t say ‘Wait’ to me.” As a teacher, I know I have the right to expect respect from my students and by making me wait for them, that shows disrespect. I can choose to wait for them, to give them extra time but they cannot tell me to do it.
As a khalifah teacher, I had earned the right to expect a higher standard of behavior from my students because I had first taught them about being Khalifah of Allah and what their responsibilities involved. So, the students actually know what they can or cannot do, but kids being kids, just need reminding and correcting sometimes. Do first believe in their ability to know what is right and wrong after they have been taught and let them choose for themselves. It’s okey to let children make mistakes; it’s how they learn to avoid them in the future.
Being a khalifah teacher doesn’t mean a teacher will automatically receive respect and good behavior from the students. Just like any other successful ventures, it has to be earned first.