Just a few quotes I liked from LouAnne Johnson's Teaching Outside the Box.
I cannot control my students' behavior, but I can control myself and my classroom. As soon as I understood that simple concept, I stopped responding to their behavior and started making them respond to mine.
Focus on giving your attention to the students who are cooperating and verbally praising them for their excellent behavior, instead of letting students derail the teaching train.
You can't save your students from themselves. But you can teach them to think, to solve problems, to analyze choices, to be successful people, and they will save themselves.
Somebody tried to force a lesson on him, or he was punished harshly for not doing right. So now he's nervous, scared, and defensive. He is just flat-out turned off to learning.
Students, like horses, resist having their spirits broken or being forced into performing uncomfortable or unfamiliar actions. If we give them time to get used to us and time to understand what we want from them, they are much more apt to cooperate. Children, like horses, may cooperate temporarily out of fear, pain, or exhaustion, but unless we gain their trust we're going to have to fight the same battles over and over again.
You can establish that you are the leader, number one in the pecking order, without causing your horse pain or fear. The way you do that is to control your horse's mind instead of his body.
Instead of focusing on how to fix your students, find ways to fix yourself. Perhaps you have created the problem or contributed to it in some way.
Instead of trying to bulldoze students into accepting my perception of their talent and potential, I need to find a way to help them change their perceptions of themselves as hopeless losers or powerless pawns- a subtle but powerful difference.