Why Children Need Crowd-Control

IMG_0693January 13, 2015

After years of working with children I have a reputation for being what my friends call “crowd- control”

Now I realize those words make people think of muscle-bound men in suits, but with children it’s quite different.

  1. Crowd-control keeps the kids from being too loud or disruptive
  2. Initiates consequences such as the dreaded “naughty chair”
  3. Clearly explains class rules
  4. Oversees any disagreements that may take place during class
  5. And responds any time a student raises their hand [1]

Sadly since being crowd-control is an incredibly exhausting (and frustrating) job not many people are willing to do it…but that’s exactly what children need

Children need crowd-control because in my opinion they are more important than anyone else in the class.

More important than the teacher
More important than the assistant
Even more important than the principal or administrator

It is true that good teachers are able to control a class while teaching it, however it’s incredibly difficult to do both [2] at the same time.

In other words, you need crowd-control

But crowd-control is more than just keeping children quiet. Instead it involves creating an idea of structure in their minds (understanding right from wrong, and there will be consequences for wrong actions).

It took me a while to understand that

For years I took it as a compliment that children would get quiet when I walked into a room, until it became clear that obedience came from fear [3]. The problem with fear-driven obedience is it doesn’t last…eventually the kids stop being afraid of consequences.

So I stopped trying to build obedience upon an idea of fear [4], but instead carry out crowd-control by understanding WHY a young person was acting that way.

It’s amazing what will happen when you get down on one knee, look the child right in the eyes, and ask “okay what seems to be the problem today?”

Normally their response will be something along the lines of “I’m bored,” or “somebody called me a name” but almost every time there is a deeper reason for a child’s being disruptive.

After learning the reason I’m able to have a calm conversation with them about it [5] and explain why they are being punished. Believe me when I tell you this is much more effective than yelling at children.

A huge step in returning home is learning how to instill an idea of structure into the minds of children (both in America and Australia) who have no rules or consequences outside of school.  This isn’t done by raising my voice or making threats, but helping the child understand they did the wrong thing, and how to react in the future.

  1. Knowing there will be at least a 75% chance they have to use the bathroom  ↩
  2. control a class and teach  ↩
  3. either fear of me, or the consequences that would come if they didn’t obey  ↩
  4. If I don’t do the right thing there won’t be any candy  ↩
  5. what are you supposed to do when someone calls you a name? (tell Mr. John) did you tell Mr. John? (no) what did you do instead? (I yelled at him)  ↩

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