Preventive or pro-active discipline is critical in building a positive and
productive learning community. Transitions are one of the best examples
of the importance of preventing rather than correcting situations. Examples
of transitions in elementary school might include, going to recess, moving
from one area of instruction to another -- from a chalk talk to seat work,
from learning centers, to whole class instruction, changing from one subject
to another. High school transitions tend to occur outside the classroom,
but may also include entering the classroom, moments before the bell, moving
from instruction to guided practice. The following steps help smooth these
- Teacher has a clear idea of what comes next.
- With the help of the class, streamline the process and then make it procedural, practicing the components until each person is clear about expectations.
- Alert students that a change is coming - ex: "We will move to guided practice as soon as this section is completed"
- Give time frames - ex. In five minutes we will clean up our areas and move to the next activity."
- If the transition gets sloppy, stop what ever is going on and practice the transition as a class, making no recriminations, only noting that a little practice will smooth things again.
- Always begin directions for a transition by telling students that you will tell them when to begin the transition.
"I am going to give you instructions, and then I will tell you when we are ready to begin the change.
- We are about to move into science.
- During the lesson - remember, not yet, but during the lesson, we will go to centers and . . .
- I will write the flow on the board so you can refer to it once you have started your experiments.
- Now, you are about to move into the centers, so remember to stand quietly, push in your chairs and take the necessary equipment with you.
- Are there any additional questions?
- Please quietly move to your new work areas."
A similar monologue can proceed each change, thus eliminating the mad rush to go without hearing the destination or directions.