One of the first routines of the day is the observation of our students entering the music rooms. Having a student procedure for entering the classroom can improve the tone of instruction for the remainder of the class. The standard to which you reinforce this simple procedure can have a rippling effect and define your program.
Can You Afford Not To Teach?
Can you afford not to have a procedure for students entering the classroom? Music classrooms are unique in the sense that we naturally make sounds and work, sometimes, in large groups. If no procedure is laid out for students to follow, the result could be unusually loud, rowdy, and late attendance.
Some students are naturally well behaved, whereas others lack the guidance to know better. Is it truly the child’s fault if they don’t know how to enter your “musical sanctuary?” If you never nurture this skill, students will not know what to expect. Consequently, if the procedure is not modeled and practiced, it will never be mastered. What is your expectation?
Music teachers often have a structure means for students entering the classroom. So require students to come in calmly, get their instruments, and warm-up before the director making announcements. Others complete an activating strategy that would require the student answering a short worksheet or do some activity. Whereas other classes may begin by directly into a warm-up and starting rehearsal.
Regardless of what you do with your students, they need to know the when, what, why, and how of entering your class. To start, review the student procedure. Be sure to model your expectation of them physically. This expectation can be demonstrated quickly. Highlight the essential aspects of the process and any pet peeves you might have.
Check for Understanding
Check for student understanding. Do more than ask if they understand it. Rather, have them explain what the process is in steps. If there is a question about the student procedure, be sure to address it.
Practice, Practice, Practice
Now its time to physically have students demonstrate the procedure for entering the classroom. Instruct students to pick up their belongings, leave the classroom, and wait for the signal. Next, have students walk back into the classroom as if the class were about to start.
Debrief and Reflect
Now, reflect with the students what they did right and what was wrong. Did everyone come in quietly or were some people yelling? Were belongings thrown into the room or where they placed in their designated locations? Did students come into the class ready to learn or were they more interested in socializing with their friends?
Do it Again
Practice for mastery. It is unlikely every student entered the room precisely the way outlined in the procedure. That is to say, be clear how you want the class to improve. Practice the process again. Most importantly, practice this skill until everyone can successfully enter your classroom correctly with little to no prompting.
In conclusion, entering the music classroom is a process that must be practiced. Setting the standard and practicing behavioral skills are necessary for having a productive rehearsal. By transferring this simple approach of teaching, you will build your program up to be masters of procedures.