Order arises from a teacher's leadership. Teachers, not students, must establish the organization and atmosphere of their classrooms. A secret of instruction lies in a teacher's ability to get their students to follow where they seek deliberately to lead. For while closely linked to authority, leadership embodies intent and direction.
Teachers must make clear their purposes in teaching each lesson and must relate it to their students' own welfare in ways that the students themselves can understand. In doing so, teachers both establish the orderly and comprehensible external structure in which teaching can take place and help create the internal mental order without which students cannot learn. Once teachers are clear in the goals they have in mind and the intellectual and moral compass by which they steer toward them, students are more likely to adapt to the teachers' standards and, no matter how rigorous the demands of learning may be, rise to their challenge.
Most teachers know where they are going but often forget that they must communicate their direction and goals before starting to move toward them.
"Follow me!" may be a stirring command, but students are likely to want to know where they are going and why they should want to go there. Good teachers anticipate and answer such questions before they are asked. Order requires teaching to have direction and momentum. Which of us does not remember a history teacher who announced at the beginning of the year that the course would span the nation's history up to the present day but then, in dithering over provisions of this and that act, telling tales about this and that prominent figure, and pausing to discuss topics unrelated to the course, never got beyond 1932? Or a biology instructor who never carried the class beyond worms, when mammals were still to be studied? Such teachers fail for lack of orientation and impetus toward their own established goals; they let down their students, many of whom have internalized some expectations about the course's contents; and they endanger students' welfare by denying them further, promised knowledge. They know how to cover materials but not how to create from those materials a coherent whole; they know how to raise issues but not how to make their presentation aesthetically pleasing and intellectually satisfying for having been concluded, not just terminated by the calendar. Courses, like many things in life, are hard to end; but far more satisfying is a genuine conclusion than an abrupt cessation, and a goal achieved is better by far than one abandoned.
Order implies tranquility in the classroom. There are, of course, always appropriate occasions for creative disorder and noise - when children are learning through games, in the laughter of a class, during staged experiments and demonstrations. Where there is error, a teacher can adjust and establish truth; but confusion is no basis for constructive work of any sort. Learning is not likely to take place when a classroom is always noisy or continually disorderly for want of a teacher's authority. Learning has no chance in a climate in which knowledge and its pursuit are not taken seriously. A classroom's calm and quiet environment allows students to fix their attention on the teacher, whose instruction can then be heard and understood.
Yet to create this classroom tranquillity, teachers must themselves try to be calm. A teacher's practiced, even-tempered bearing may not mute all the chaos toward which many groups of students naturally incline, but serenity at the front of the classroom is always preferable to a raised voice or the aspect of confusion. This does not mean that an occasional teacherly outburst or a stern rebuke ought never to be employed to discipline unruly or impertinent students. But such sharp punctuations should be rare and exceptional. Then, of course, they are likely to have their maximum effect-and calm may settle in once again.
Order involves discipline.
1. Yet discipline necessitates neither reproof nor punishment. What it does require is clarity of expectation, appropriate correction, justifiable penalty for infraction, and forgiveness. Consistency, dependability, and fairness equal good discipline.
2.Reprimands need be no more than calm, simple statements of faults, coupled with expressions of disapproval and disappointment on the teacher's part. They should always be followed by something hopeful and positive, something to indicate that students' errors should not be repeated and something to suggest ways of avoiding them in the future. Students should be left with the sense that the matter has been addressed and dismissed as past experience and that the teacher bears no grudge and still has an open mind about the student who has been found momentarily wanting.
Good teachers always try to turn experiences that may discourage their students into encouraging ones. The teacher's object, after all, is to get students to do better, not to demonstrate superior understanding or to provide exemplary punishment.
A student who, upon being corrected, concludes that the teacher "thinks I'm stupid" or "expects too much of me" is likely to be a student lost to learning.
Discipline should be accepted as good. The structure established by good teachers makes learning possible. Therefore that structure must be good if it facilitates a good result. Yet many students see the discipline necessary to that structure as an enemy, as something externally imposed, as something to be resisted if they can get away with it. A good teacher will be aware of this attitude, will argue against it, and will provide incentives for making order pleasing and discipline acceptable. All games are organized by rules, and the young are usually quick to accept such rules on the playground and in the gymnasium. But they are often reluctant to acknowledge the importance of rules and order in the classroom. Good teachers work hard to see that they do.
The language of discipline, of course, has its drawbacks. We speak of the enforcement of discipline, and its metaphors are often those of curbs and whips and, for students at least, bits on recalcitrant colts. But good teachers know that effective discipline is not external at all. The discipline that matters, that outlives all other kinds, is inner, self-imposed, and self-accepted order. Effective teachers must therefore encourage, whenever and wherever they can, the growth of inner order by demonstrating its advantages in the environment of their classrooms and by furnishing living examples of its benefits in their own behavior.
Order necessitates that teachers set good examples. The virtues expected of students must first be evident in teachers: industry, patience, punctuality, honesty, clarity, perseverance, seriousness, dependability, and consideration. Habits of self-discipline in a teacher provide models for their students and justify teachers' high expectations of those they teach. While intelligence may be innate, organization requires long practice and assiduous discipline. In this context, teachers must be ready to reveal appropriate dimensions of their personal habits and professional lives out of school in order to establish models of behavior for their students. If teachers keep journals to improve their writing skills or read some Spanish prose or Latin poetry every day to maintain their language competence, they should not hesitate to mention such practice to their students when it seems natural to bring it up-not to impress their students with their erudition or industry, but to stimulate the students' curiosity and imitation.
Order requires the maintenance of standards. These standards should be set by teachers so that they are always a little beyond the capacities of their students. Robert Browning summed it up by declaring that our reach should exceed our grasp, "or what's a heaven for?" A test on which anyone gets 100 percent is not fully measuring the achievement of that student. Thus students should always be striving to outdo themselves but not to the point of being discouraged into feeling that there is no point in trying. "Demanding but fair" is a good description of an effective teacher, but "too demanding" is a condemnation in itself. Students are learning satisfactorily when they are regularly reaching for the almost-attainable.
Standards range from minor ones (such as the appropriate form for written assignments) to major ones (such as how much a student must know about the reproductive systems of various kinds of animals in order to meet the requirements of a biology course). No matter what their level of importance, expecting strict adherence to all standards-the reasons for all of which should be openly explained-is a mark of all good teaching. Form may be of slighter consequence than substance, but to yield in small matters makes it harder to maintain standards when they really count.
In the end, the maintenance of order in teaching creates respect for knowledge and for those who are learning. Both are prerequisites for the act of teaching itself. Reciprocally,
1.respect for learning creates the condition for order. Disorder is the enemy of teaching because it is foreign to knowledge.
2.The world may not be orderly or coherent, but knowledge of the world, even of its very incoherence, must be orderly-as must be its pursuit. Teachers who can order their words, their presentations, and their goals are more likely than those who cannot to teach their students well and thus to recruit them to a lifelong effort to learn.