“Withitness” (with-it-ness) is a collection of superpowers that allow teachers manage their classroom effectively through preventative discipline. Do you have these superpowers?
Withitness is a model created by educational theorist Jacob Kounin who focused on a teacher’s ability to affect student behavior through instructional management. He defines withitness as the teachers ability to be aware of every action in the classroom and responding appropriately to it.
Here are a few of his key ideas…
Proximity and Body Language Eye contact, facial expressions, gestures, and physical proximity all indicate to the students that the teacher is in control. Constantly moving throughout the room and always facing the students demonstrates that the classroom is your domain and that you command student attention. Not in a threatening manner…but showing strength and confidence.
Overlapping This is the teachers ability to multitask in the classroom. Taking attendance, greeting students entering the classroom, and offering a word of encouragement for the students completing a morning activity all at the same time is an example of overlapping. Students are more likely to stay on task when they know the teacher has her eyes on everyone at all times.
Ripple Effect This is where the teachers clarity and firmness when correcting one student’s behavior positively impact the behavior of other students. This is most effective at the beginning of the school year in order for students to learn what will be tolerated and what will not. Along with this is the idea of correcting even the smallest infractions as if they were major in hopes of lessening the chances that major infractions will occur. The ripple effect is enhanced when the teacher names the offense and gives the reason why it is unacceptable with a firmness that conveys “I mean it”.
Group Focus Holding the attention of students is essential to managing the classroom and reducing misbehavior. Active participation is key to keeping students engaged. Questioning, regular checks for understanding, and varying students who are called upon to answer or contribute are a few ways to focus the attention of the class. Keeping a pace and rhythm to the day, smooth transitions, offering variety and challenges, and accountability all improve student attention and participation.
Bottom line….students are mirrors that reflect YOU.
If you are dry, dull, slow, and quiet they will be too.
If you are aggressive, mean, and demeaning they will be too.
If you display withitness….they will too!! Everybody wins!!