This work looks at a crucial and contentious aspect of education: how good educators can minimize disruptive behavior in the classroom.
To address this issue, Felix compiles an encyclopedic reference of modern research on classroom management. He touches on the student-teacher relationship, the school-student relationship, as well as the school-parent connection. According to Felix, the hallmark of the modern approach to classroom discipline is the paradigm shift away from a behaviorist “teacher control” method to a more constructivist “student control” approach to classroom management. Students, according to Felix, need to feel they belong and are trusted to make positive choices for themselves. To this end, teachers should invite students into meaningful classroom relationships and even into the process of rule setting. Focus should be on strengthening positive behavior, and misbehavior should be regarded as a student’s cry for help.
While well researched and well intentioned, the book has some serious flaws. It reads much like a dissertation. As such, it would be difficult for a teacher to consult the book for concrete advice in any meaningful way. Felix’s main ideas are lost in lengthy citations of such things as T.V. Savage’s list of five different forms of authority and L.A. Froyen’s five forms of power. It is often unclear what point Felix is trying to make in any given passage.
Finally and most importantly, the book is devoid of any of Felix’s personal experience in the area of behavior management. Though he has impressive credentials as a teacher and through his work with a juvenile probation department, one wonders how he implemented this research into his own practice. All good educators have struggled with the gap between theory and practice. Felix does little to close this gap.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.