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You Can’t Teach Until Everyone Is Listening

You Can’t Teach Until Everyone Is Listening
Six Simple Steps to Preventing Disorder, Disruption, and General Mayhem

Foreword by Bruce A. Marlowe

May 2008 | 168 pages | Corwin

"Page's book is a jewel. Her advice is wise, sound, realistic, and very practical, and the book's main thesis should serve as a focal point of teacher preparation programs."
—Robert Di Giulio, Professor of Education, Johnson State College
Author, Positive Classroom Management, Third Edition

Six simple, practical, and doable steps for managing your classroom!

In this remarkably clear and concise guide, teacher-educator Marilyn L. Page distills years of research, data, and the experiences of hundreds of teachers into six powerful steps to attaining classroom harmony. The result is an easy-to-use handbook that teachers at every level can reference daily for proactive strategies to establish a positive classroom environment.

The author demonstrates how teachers can employ a simple, no-nonsense approach to preventing and responding to classroom disruptions and student misbehaviors. Using vignettes from a cross-section of schools—inner city, rural, diverse, large, and small—this resource illustrates six steps for:

  • Establishing your role as a proactive classroom facilitator
  • Creating a safe environment conducive to learning
  • Building a relationship of trust with your students

Field-tested by novice and veteran teachers in classrooms across the country, these proven steps will help you create a positive and productive classroom from the very first day of school.

Foreword by Bruce A. Marlowe
About the Author
1. The Critical Beginning: Knowing and Using Students' Names

Knowing and Using Students' Names

Your Number 1 Classroom Management Tool

Student Teachers and Interns

Novice and Experienced Elementary Teachers

An Easy Strategy

Other Approaches

Back to Barry

Summary: Step 1

What Comes Next?

2. Avoiding Anonymous and Dangling Questions

Types of Questions Teachers Ask

Levels of Questions Teachers Ask

Dangling Questions: What Are They and What Was Dave Doing Wrong?

Students Left in the Dark

Worse Consequences

What Can You Do?

The Problems With Hand Raising

A Better Way

An Old Teacher's (or Is It Researcher's) Tale

The Results of These Better Strategies

Anonymous Questions: What Are They?

What's Wrong With These Questions?

How Can a Teacher Fix This?

Did Dave Recover?

The Experiment

The Results

Summary: Step 2

What's Next?

3. Choosing and Using Words Wisely

Mariah's Goal

What's in a Word?

The Importance of Tight and Professional Language

What Are Filler Words?

What Happens When You Use Filler Words?

An Unprofessional Word

Mariah's Transformation


And Danae

Using Words of Civility in the Classroom

The Common Thread

Three Other Powerful Hints About Language

Making These Language and Tone Changes in Your Classroom

Summary: Step 3

Coming Attractions

4. Avoiding Confusion When Giving Directions

Clarifying Directions

The Results

A Pilot Project: A Different Story


What Are We Supposed to Do?

Giving Instructions That Don't Lead to Disruption

Why It's Important for Students to Re-explain

Back Up! We Are Missing Two Preliminary Steps

Chris' Plan

The Results

Summary: Step 4

What's Next?

5. Attending to Civility With Reminders and Cues
Seventh Period: A Special Ninth-Grade Class

The First Day of School

What Happened With This Class?

Mrs. Watkins' Advice

The Problem With Classroom Rules

Simple Expectations of Civility


Reminders and Cues

How Often Do You Have to Give Reminders or Cues?

Jeannie's Approach

The Results

The Bottom Line

Summary: Step 5

Coming Next

6. Upgrading Interactions: Can You Feel the Heartbeat?
The Title


Moving to a Higher Level

Challenging Julia

The Results

Two Challenges for You

How to Begin

What Can Go Wrong Here?

Subtle Classroom Disorder


Shy Students

Detached Students

National History Day


The Contest

The Points of This Story

The Results

The Ultimate Goal

Summary: Step 6

Now What?

7. Harry and Clara Reclaim Their Classes

Harry's Mistake: An Ultimatum

Harry's Meltdown and Recovery

The Letter

The Students' Responses

The Results

Streamlining Harry's Format


Clara's Approach

The Results

A Bonus: You Learn More Than You Think From Student Letters or Student Drawings

Your Turn

8. Making This Happen

Teacher Preparation Courses and Preservice Teachers

University Professors

Student Teachers

Novice Teachers

Experienced Teachers

Bon Voyage

Appendix: Handling Unwanted and Inappropriate Responses


"Page's book is a jewel and of real benefit to the experienced or beginning teacher. Her advice is wise, sound, realistic, and very practical, and the book's main thesis should serve as a focal point of teacher preparation programs."

Robert Di Giulio, Professor of Education, Johnson State College
Author, Positive Classroom Management, Third Edition

"Management isn't magic—it can be mastered. Page's commonsense strategies are sound in practice and needed by teachers in the field."

Marsha Alibrandi, Assistant Professor of Curriculum and Instruction
Fairfield University

"Discusses the practical and easy steps to classroom discipline. This wonderful book distills much of what I spend time trying to teach the new teachers I mentor."

Devona Rowe, Teacher
Mandarin High School, Jacksonville, FL

"Covers the fundamentals sometimes overlooked or learned the hard way. Although it is great for student teachers and mentoring of beginning teachers, it is also appropriate for seasoned teachers."

Gail McGoogan, Third-Grade Teacher
Narcoossee Community School, St. Cloud, FL

"A lot of books about classroom management exist, but many of those just offer utopian solutions that do not work in real classrooms. This book provides very solid examples and detailed practices that will not only inspire and prepare new teachers, but also help veteran teachers increase their effectiveness. A must-have reference for all teachers.”

Alper Kesten, Assistant Professor of Education
Ondokuz Mayýs University, Turkey

"Page is a breath of fresh air, reminding us that the soul of teaching is working with kids. This handbook provides a perfect blend of practical advice, research, modeling, and examples to rethink what happens and what needs to happen in classrooms."

Daniel K. Thompson, Assistant Professor
Pennsylvania State University

"Offers six steps for more effecitve classroom management and comes from a teacher who uses years of research and experience to support the presentation of these steps. From establishing a foundation as a classroom leader to building student trust and encouraging cooperative behavior patterns, this book is a top pick."

California Bookwatch, August 2008
Midwest Book Review
Key features
  • The author's credentials and research bring authenticity to the fundamental concepts distilled into the Six Simple Steps
  • The six steps present a no-nonsense, accessible plan to help novice and veteran teachers prevent chaos in their classrooms
  • This how-to book is based on extensive research from K-12 classrooms across the country and fills a gap in teacher preparation programs

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