WR5 Classroom Management and Student Success
through Situational Leadership



Objective -  By the end of the lesson given instructions and reading assignment, scholars will:


Assignment Description


Leadership and the One Minute Manager by Kenneth Blanchard et al. describes a model for four stages of development in the workplace.  At first glance you may ask yourself what has this to do with a teaching environment.  Upon closer scrutiny, the Situational Leadership model simply addresses an employee's learning curve for acquiring specific job's skills and abilities.  That is what career and technical education is designed to do, provide specific skills, abilities, and critical thinking to enter the workforce.  Reading Leadership and the One Minute Manager from this vantage point sheds new light on the strategies Blanchard presents.  Consider the scenarios below.  Let's look as some examples you might see in your classroom.

Case 1:  A student with excellent grades and good attendance to date develops behavioral problems, sometimes withdrawn and sometimes disrupting class, falls behind in assignments, and grades begin to drop.  Attendance issues arise.

This student may have hit the "D2" wall.  That is, they hit a point in time when they no longer have the initial enthusiasm that brought them to you class, but they do not yet have the skills they need to carry them forward.  S/he may become frustrated or even fearful.  S/he may just loose interest.  S/he may believe s/he is unable to continue because it is "just too difficult."  This person needs both support (encouragement) and direction (instructions) from you to get her/him past the "wall" and onto D3.  However, you should also give this student the opportunity to confide in you.  It may be external influences such as transportation, childcare, health or finance issues have developed.  These scenarios are not sufficiently detailed to provide an absolute answer.  Reality is always more complex than can be presented in a simple scenario.

Case 2:  An student arrives early, enthusiastic and excited about instruction to the point of impatience while you setup your lesson, because he or she doesn't know what to do with the time. 

New students at the D1 development stage are often "over exuberant."  They are excited about this new adventure and do not yet have any information or skills with which to occupy themselves.  They sometimes arrive early and stay late in their desire to "get started" not realizing teachers have pre and post course duties.  They crave student-teacher interaction.  During the first week you may consider scheduling your time so you have time before and after class to give these students.  You do not to discourage them or give the impression you are too busy for them.  You can gradually wean them from needing that time.  You may develop activities you can assign to those who arrive early that will help you set up for class and allow a Q & A after class.

Case 3:  A student with a tentative beginning and marginal grades demonstrates gradual improvement and matriculates successfully through the course.  Eventually he or she arrives early prepared for class and begins working independently before your arrival.  She or he even starts helping other students.

This is the classic D4 student.  This student has the skills and confidence to work independently.  S/he knows what s/he needs to accomplish and how to accomplish it.  Other students recognizing this begin turning to him/her for help or he/she may volunteer to help.  The D4 student is a good candidate to assist D1 and D2 students, which will build  his/her confidence before entering the job market and will decrease your work load.  It frees you to work with the more problematic student or groups.

Case 4:  A student with excellent grades and good attendance drops your class without warning.

This might be personal issues, or the student may have hit the "D2 wall," even if the student had previously achieve a D3 or D4 level.  Remember,  learning does not occur in a straight line.  Student make advances, then they make errors causing them to reverse to previous levels.  When you introduce new skills and information the student is a D1 for the new content even if they are a D3 or D4 for previous content.  Assessing your students is an ongoing process for each objective in your course.  It is always a good idea to talk to your students to acquire the total picture and give them the opportunity to express their concerns.  D2 students are the highest risk for attrition.  They need your best efforts to help them past the D2 wall.

Case 5:  A good student with good skills is reluctant to perform tasks without you in close proximity.  Although she or he wants you right there she or he reacts negatively if you offer specific instructions.  She or he demonstrate frustration and possible anger communicating verbally or by body language that he or she doesn't want your advice.

This is typically a D3 student.  You know s/he possesses the skill level, but the student doesn't have the self-confidence to work independently.  S/he needs the security of knowing you are close at hand.  This can be very frustrating for the instructor with so many other students who, to the instructor, needs him/her more.  It is equally frustrating to student and teacher alike when the student reacts negatively to directions provided by the teacher.  This student doesn't need your instructions; s/he knows what and how to do the task.  This student needs encouragement and support.  In other words, this student needs guided practice.  Knowing what and how to do something intellectually doesn't mean the skill is mastered.  On the contrary.  Only after the brain knows what and how can the body begin effectively practicing the task to acquire proficiency.  During this process the student needs encouragement and your belief in him/her.  Providing the student with essential support will earn you comments like "You believed in me even when I didn't believe in myself," or "You are the only person who believed I could do it."



Select four students from a course you teach, one exhibiting symptoms from each development level. Generate an action-plan for providing each of the your four students.  Describe the symptoms, characteristics, or behavior of the student and how it represents the development level you diagnosed.  Discuss how the age of your students (adolescent or adult) impacts the behavior, symptoms, and attitudes resulting for the developmental level.  Develop an pedagogical or andragogical action-plan describing how you will interact with this student to meet his or her needs.  KISS your action-plan, keep it short and simple, but be very specific about your role as an instructor and explain Draw upon previous discussions to explain how it is age appropriate.  In detail, describe what you will and will not do for each student.  If you are not yet teaching, select four situations from your experience as a student, one for each development level.  Develop an action-plan for yourself describing in detail what you wish your own teacher would have done for you in each of the four development levels.  Once you recognize what your teacher could have done for you, you can provide for your own needs or obtain it from another person when you experience it in the future.  When you recognize your own "D2 wall" you can work your own way past it to complete goals and objectives upon which you would previously quit.

You will be asked to write throughout your education.  Continue working on your writing skills.  Cite the book to support your action-plans  Do not summarize the book, just reference it as you develop your action-plans and discuss your conclusions.  Be specific but succinct.  Your report should be 1 to 1 1/2 pages only.  Remember to send your report to the class-at-large using the distribution list.  Your participation in the discussion is necessary to make 504 the best it can be.


Grading Criteria

This assignment is worth 10% of your grade. 

Reports meeting the following criteria will receive an "A." 

Participation in the on-line discussion via e-mail 1 point



Blanchard, K.  (1985).  Leadership and the One Minute Manager.  New York, NY:  William Morrow and Company.