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Stop messin' around and get back to work: Teachers' managmenet of off task behavior in middle schools

20 January 1995


The study of teachers' management of students' off task behavior has merit because educational researchers have shown the relationship between increased engagement time and increases in academic achievement. Even the most exciting and stimulating classrooms will have off task behavior, and it is important that teachers be equipped with strategies to deal with this behavior. I have employed Elliot Eisner's research paradigm, "Educational Connoisseurship and Criticism." This paradigm allowed me to go into the classroom and observe what strategies are being utilized to reverse students' off task behavior. I have recorded my observations in a mini-ethnography of the four classrooms I observed. Upon analyzing my observations, I conclude that eye contact, proximity, and short verbal reprimands are the most effective strategies in reversing students' off task behavior.


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