Learning in Classroom
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This paper will discuss and evaluate classroom learning strategies and methodologies. The paper would elaborate experiences and modalities of various educationists and academicians in a pedagogical set up. It would also transpire how these renowned educational philosophers and legends acquire the best results from their empirical studies reflected in their practical approach. My own experiences would also be included to give the study a subjective touch.
Disruptive behaviour during class was addressed through implicit teacher acts such as pausing class instruction and making eye contact or moving in closer proximity to the disruptive student. These preliminary classroom management strategies curtailed the inappropriate behaviour and formal school behaviour management policies were not needed. The observed classrooms clearly achieved both the teacher’s and learners’ objectives, for information to be interesting and therefore engaged with by students. The question to be investigated within this research report is how was such a successful classroom established? Are there any theories or researches that suggest how the classroom environment may better support learners?
The goal of a classroom management plan is to develop students’ respect for each other and create a controlled learning environment. Time management and organization of the classroom are major themes in establishing a well behaved classroom. Monitoring is a preventive tool used to quickly deal with problem before they escalate. When a problem arises, working with the student to correct a situation maintains respect and a positive classroom atmosphere. Classroom management is an aid to provide an open, respectful, and equal learning experience for every student.
Rationale of the study
Beaconhouse School System (BSS) emphasises imparting quality education. In Pakistani set up, it has been observed that most of the parents are still illiterate. They themselves don’t know how to grapple with the gigantic issue of their children’s comprehension and learning management. Students are the future of Pakistan and key to prospective progress and development. BSS offers maximum opportunity to all its students to cope with the issue of learning management. Teachers are the focal point in this respect. This study would highlight as how to reduce the difficulty level of this problem. When dealing with classroom management it is important to consider the level and type of education being taught. Middle school student behave differently than high school students, and gifted students behave differently than “exceptional” students
For many teachers, misbehaviour is the most difficult problem to deal with. It disrupts their lesson plans along with other students’ learning. In The Synergetic Classroom, C. M. Charles explains some reasons why students misbehave in the classroom. Some students like to see how far they can push and what they can get away with. Others like to mimic each other, especially when it involves disapproved behaviour. Most students crave attention and if necessary, they will misbehave to get it. Few students are egocentric and believe anything they do is all right, including retaliation when they don’t get their way. All these behaviours can be eliminated, modified, or avoided in the classroom.
Avoiding, or preventing these disruptions is the primary goal in classroom management. To set the stage, there are several aspects of classroom management that reduce the chances of misbehaviour. In her book, The Caring Teacher’s Guide to Discipline, Marilyn Gootman explains a model of organization to avoid discipline hassles. By organizing space and scheduling time, students will know where things belong and what to do. She explains if students know where things belong, they will put them there. When they know what to do, they are more likely to do it. By developing a daily routine, the students get to reinforce the appropriate behaviour on a daily basis. Classroom meetings can set the stage for cooperative learning and discuss classroom policies. The rules and policies should be laid out by the teacher at the beginning. If the students are mature enough, this process may be democratic. The rules, policies, and consequences of breaking them should then be understood and agreed upon by entire class.
Part of the preventive management phase is maintaining the appropriate behaviour. Now that the grounds are set for a well-behaved and productive classroom, the teacher must monitor and maintain appropriate classroom activity. Edmund Emmer explains in Classroom Management for Secondary Teachers, to be an effective monitor of classroom behaviour, you must know what to look for. He explains the two main things to look for are; the students’ involvements in learning activities, and the students’ compliances with the classroom rules and procedures. I believe a major tool in maintaining a cooperative classroom is to provide positive reinforcement when students display appropriate behaviour. This may come in the form of praise or rewards. This is psychological method is known as “shaping.” This provides a positive learning environment where the teacher works with, rather than against, the students’ nature.
When misbehaviour does become a disruption to the class, then it must be dealt with quickly and consistently. Several method of discipline exists, from old-fashioned methods of intimidation and punishment to more modern “softer” approaches. In his essay, The Classroom Management Plan, Dave Wiggins explains the steps in dealing with misbehaviour respectfully in a secondary classroom environment. The first step would be to use non-verbal communication, such as facial gestures to the misbehaving student, to prevent further escalation of the problem.
If the student’s attention is not received, then a verbal reminder of the rules and policies may be all that is needed to stop the misbehaviour. Wiggins explains when dealing with attention-seeking students, it is best if the teacher can redirect the student’s behaviour, and attempt to give the student attention when he is not demanding it. This method encourages students to seek motivation from within, instead of depending on attention from without. He warns if a teacher ignores an attention-seeking student, the misbehaviour usually escalates to a level which eventually cannot be ignored. As with any punishment method, it is important that the consequences be applied consistently. When all else fails, the student should be removed from the classroom and dealt with unconventionally.
The term management is often associated with the supervision and control of others, usually within context of the business world (Dinsmore, 2003, p.6). This association is also evident within education, whereby classroom management is commonly associated with the control and regulation of students within the classroom (Porter, 2000, p.3). Clearly this definition of classroom management is flawed as it only considers the management of student behaviour, not the causes of such behaviour, teaching strategies used or the physical environment in which learning occurs. Krause, Bochner and Duchesne (2003) define classroom management as “the planning, organisation and control of learners, the learning process and the classroom environment to create and maintain an effective learning experience” (p. 374).
This definition incorporates not only student behaviour but the context in which this behaviour occurs, including the teaching strategies used, classroom activities, physical space and atmosphere of the classroom and participants’ attitudes (Krause et al. 2003, p.374). Classroom management may also incorporate the teacher’s beliefs and values, the physical environment of the classroom, the amount of teacher preparation and the ways in which the lesson is presented (Dinmore, 2003, p.6). Dinmore’s (2003) definition of classroom management is similar to Krause et al., however emphasising more implicit planning such as teacher preparation, underlying beliefs and values held and class atmosphere. These factors would consequently set the framework for the types of teacher instruction and class activities able to occur, laying the groundwork for the planning and control of learners described by Krause et al.
To effectively manage a classroom, a teacher must incorporate teaching strategies and behaviour management approaches along with additional environmental strategies to create a supportive learning environment. Depending on the beliefs and values of the teacher, how the classroom is managed can exist within a spectrum of models given by Krause et al. (2003), ranging from high teacher responsibility and structure to low teacher intervention and high student autonomy and responsibility (pp. 381-390). Wolfgang (as cited in Krause et al, 2003) termed the degrees of teacher-student authority as ‘interventionist’, ‘interactive’ and ‘non-interventionist’ to display a spectrum of classroom management models with the emphasis on types of behaviour management and student responsibility (p. 381).
The interventionist teacher exercises a high amount of control over student behaviour and classroom structure as development is seen as an outcome of external factors (Krause et al. 2003, p.282). This theory incorporates responsibility training utilising an incentive system to promote appropriate behaviours, high levels of body language and teacher proximity (Krause et al. 2003, pp.282-283). Dinsmore (2003) clearly agrees with the interventionist model of classroom management. Her research findings concluded that seventy-six percent of the students responded yes when asked if they were more likely to be on-task during direct instruction if the teacher was in close proximity (p.13).
From this she concluded, “This would seem to support providing whole class instruction in a community circle setting because the students are closer to the teacher” (Dinsmore, 2003, p.13). The interventionist approach to classroom management however does not accommodate all requirements of the Professional Standards for Teachers (2003). These standards state teachers are obligated to implement classroom management strategies that enable students to learn to take responsibility for their own behaviour. This approach to classroom management is inefficient in teaching students to become responsible for their own actions by attributing control and consequences to the teacher.
Dinsmore may have alternatively concluded that students where more on task when instructed in a community circle due to the close relationship with their peers if she had observed an interactive model of classroom management. The interactive teacher believes in a high degree of student autonomy and responsibility for students’ actions as their development is a product of interaction between internal and external factors (Krause et al. 2003, p.384). Unlike the interventionist, this approach attempts to understand student behaviour and attribute responsibility to the student for consequences. (Krause et al. 2003, p.385). Norris (2003) presents an interactive approach to classroom management, emphasising that social and emotional learning teaches students valuable self-regulatory and social skills, effectively reducing negative peer relations and improving learning by increased academic achievement (p. 313). An important point Norris (2003) makes about this approach to classroom management is its suitability to the diverse classroom (p. 318). As the interactive model of management depicts development as occurring through interaction between internal and external factors, a sense of belonging is created by positive peer relations, irrespective of cultural background (p.318).
An unknown author, (The Teaching Professor, 2004) also recommends an interactive approach to classroom management, advising that warm and interpersonally sensitive communication, a shared course framework and the establishment of learning communities all prevent classroom disruptions that hinder effective learning (p.6). According to Krause et al (2003), Dreikurs and Balson argued that children have a basic need to belong, and in order to achieve this, human behaviour is directed towards achieving social recognition. Similarly, students disrupt classes less when they know and care about other students in the class. Faculty regularly underestimate the power of peer pressure.
Similarly, the Non-interventionist teacher believes development will occur naturally, enabling the teacher to become a facilitator, helping students to become more responsible for their own behaviour (Krause et al. 2003, pp.387-289). Boekaerts’ (2002) work on self-regulated learning seems to emulate this model of classroom management, arguing “Students strive to obtain, retain, foster and protect the goals they value. Personal goals are part of their theory of self, and a key to our understanding of their adaptation system” (pp. 595-596) Boekaerts (2002) also refers to more traditional forms of classroom management as described in the interventionist model where “students are cognitively, emotionally and socially dependent on their teachers to formulate the learning goals” (p.594). The non-interventionist model, as detailed by Wolfgang, works on student self-regulation and consequently emphasises student responsibility for learning and the role of the teacher to facilitate and model appropriate behaviours and techniques.
Theoretical Approaches towards Classroom Management
Theoretical approaches to classroom management describing the balance of power between student and teacher are not the only variables to be analysed when managing a learning environment. Dinsmore (2004) investigates how the overall atmosphere of the classroom affects student behaviour, “there is a significant correlation between on-task behaviour and a comfortable atmosphere. Eighty-one percent of students surveyed indicated that they are more likely to be on-task if the classroom has an inviting and comfortable atmosphere” (p.21). Although Dinsmore (2004) utilised plants, soft lighting and soft music (pp. 14-19) within her study, Killen (2003) recommends that decorating the space with posters, students’ work or models creates a visually stimulating learning environment and creates a sense of pride amongst students involved in decorating the classroom (p.7). Killen (2003) also proposes the role of music in creating a safe, comfortable and supportive environment (p.7).
Educational Investigation and Academic Reflection
A supportive school environment is one which aims to maximise the educational opportunities and outcomes for all students. According to Student Management Policy within this manual, supportive school learning environments are to be implemented to provide an environment that is characterised by non-violent, non-coercive and non-discriminatory practices and quality interpersonal relationships, leadership, organisation, physical environments and teaching and learning strategies. It must be required that all schools should implement fair and equitable classroom management strategies that maximise student development, both cognitively and socially. Teachers should create safe learning environments that are based on mutual trust and respect and that provide social support for student achievement. The aim and objective should be to provide learning environments in which students have responsibility for their own learning and implement classroom management strategies that enable students to learn to take responsibility for their own behaviour. A safe and supportive learning environment must be established for all learners and that classroom management practices must allow students to take responsibility for their behaviour.
The core of classroom management can therefore be seen to incorporate the planning, organisation and control of learners, the learning process and the classroom environment to create and maintain an effective learning experience as stated by Krause et al. (2003, p.374). A thorough classroom management approach must be developed as stipulated by the Professional Standards for Teachers, and should investigate modes of classroom management in terms of student autonomy and attention to the physical and intangible qualities of the general learning environment to ensure learners are actively engaged. Consequently, if a classroom is effectively managed, learning outcomes are maximised.
Theories and research of classroom management reviewed above were evident within the observed classroom. Wolfgang (as cited in Krause et al. 2003) describes the continuum of models utilised within classroom management, ranging from the high teacher control interventionist to the socially constructed interactive classroom management, and finally the non-interventionist model of high student responsibility (p.282). Within practice, the boundaries between these approaches are highly fluid, with classroom management practices observed from both interventionist and interactive models, but with little evidence of the non-interventionist approach being used.
Interventionist techniques such as teacher proximity were observed in the classroom, and the physical space of furniture was arranged in an ‘L’ shape to enable increased teacher mobility. As regards to this with the findings of Dinsmore (2003) where student on task behaviour was positively correlated to the closeness of the teacher (p. 13). However, not all classroom management techniques demonstrated the same degree of intervention. Like the interactive model (Krause et al., 2003), the observed teacher investigated the causes of disruptive or disengaging behaviour in a sensitive and caring manner in private, while at the same time attributing personal responsibility to a student’s actions. Positive peer relationships were also encouraged within the observed classroom, positively affecting the overall tone of the classroom environment, allowing maximum learning to occur.
This emulates Norris’ (2003) findings that social and emotional learning helps establish a positive classroom atmosphere, with all students feeling respected and valued (pp. 313-314). The movement between the interventionist and interaction strategies could also be explained by the development stage of the students. Due to their age and relative maturity in the ninth grade, implementing the non-interventionist approach may not have maximised learning, as students at this stage, may still require much support to be fully self-regulating in their behaviour, although this may be within their zone of proximal development if appropriate scaffolding is provided (Krause et al., 2003, pp.63-65).
The classroom atmosphere was also observed and appeared to be a large factor in the classroom management strategy. Much in line with the findings of Dinsmore (2004) and Killen (2003), student work was displayed on the walls of the room creating an intimate atmosphere for learning. Natural lighting and a high degree of natural airflow existed within the classroom, with floor to ceiling windows. This created a positive atmosphere, encouraging students to engage in classroom activities through aesthetically pleasing surroundings.
As stated previously, students within the observed classroom presented little inappropriate behaviour and enjoyed the learning experiences conducted within the classroom environment. In addition to the above approaches used, the teacher observed also organised classroom management according to the requirements of the Queensland Department of Education policies and professional teacher’s standards. The environment was safe and equitable to all learners and encouraged positive social development amongst peers and teacher through mutual respect for each individual’s right to learn. This was also established through the high teacher-student connectedness that occurred in private meetings outside class time to overcome a specific learning or behavioural issue. Teaching strategies used enhanced student responsibility to choose their actions and supported learning by relating subject material to real life experiences of students. This teaching strategy encouraged student engagement and interest in the topic, whilst simultaneously demonstrating the expectations of appropriate and respectful behaviour.
Classroom management observed was seen to address the educational applications of a supportive learning environment as required by Education Queensland. Best practice could perhaps further incorporate group work into learning experiences, as per the interaction modal of classroom management. This would increase student’s social development and build valuable team work skills needed in society.
Classroom management is therefore a complex issue, requiring a firm knowledge of behavioural management issues, teaching strategies and how learning is best constructed. The physical environment must also be utilised to maximise student comfort. The level of student autonomy and responsibility must also be considered in addition to educational outcomes required to be developed other than curriculum comprehension. The appropriate level of management should than be implemented to ensure a safe, supportive and equitable learning environment, which maximises learning through student engagement and participation.
Behaviour management refers to the actions and strategies of teachers to prevent and respond to inappropriate behaviour of students as well as to enhance self discipline among students. (Walker, J.E. and Shea, T.M, 1999 pg7) Inappropriate behaviour in classrooms may refer to students ‘fighting, swearing, disrupting class activities for no reason, displaying loud and disorderly conduct and inept or misuse of equipment.’ (Walker, J.E. and Shea, T.M, 1999 pg 10) This kind of negative behaviour can cause distress, chaos and disruptions in learning especially for those who are keen to enjoy the learning. (Walker, J.E. and Shea, T.M, 1999 pg 10) Hence, it is fundamental that teachers develop an appropriate framework to manage the student’s behaviour. This is as the way in which behaviour is managed by teachers has a major influence on how the students will behave in the future.
According to research, being able to successfully manage the behaviour of students in the early years ensures good academic learning to occur as there is a relationship between intellectual outcomes and behaviour. (McInerney, D, 1998 pg 108) There are three reasons for this. The first is that a student who is responsible would adhere to certain student requirements such as paying attention and completing work on time. (McInerney, D, 1998 pg 108)
These are qualities fundamental to great academic achievement. Secondly, students who behave well will develop positive interactions with teachers and their peers. (McInerney, D, 1998 pg 108) Having a good relationship with the teacher will enhance a student’s learning process as teachers seem to give less attention to students who misbehave.( McInerney, D, 1998 pg 108) Furthermore, a strong rapport among peers, especially peers who value education augments students’ motivation to achieve. (McInerney, D, 1998 pg 108) Thirdly, students who are motivated to behave in an appropriate and socially responsible manner will be motivated to engage well in their academic work. (McInerney, D, 1998 pg 109)
Instilling discipline and good learning skills in students is also essential. These lifelong skills which when imbibed at an early age will help the students to become good citizens in the future who will be disciplined in their working and adult life. Furthermore, having effective behaviour management strategies in place will result in a classroom environment that is conducive to learning and development as well as result in students understanding and developing appropriate behaviour.
Hence, teachers need to be aware of a range of strategies and skills for responding to students’ inappropriate behaviour and managing their behaviour in the classroom. Firstly, teachers need to realise the cause of misbehaviour among the students in the classroom. There may be a few reasons as to why misbehaviour may occur. Misbehaviour and discipline problems tend to occur when students are not engaged in activities that are absorbing or interesting.( McInerney, D, 1998 pg 112) Students may also find tasks given to them either too hard or too easy hence not allowing them to achieve success. All this may lead to attention seeking through disruptive behaviour. Aside from poor quality teaching, students may have social and emotional problems such as inconsistent parenting, poverty, emotional or physical abuse, poor self esteem which could also lead to misbehaviour in classroom. . (Walker, J.E. and Shea, T.M, 1999 pg25) Other factors may include students’ rebelliousness or students not liking or being comfortable with their classmates. . (Walker, J.E. and Shea, T.M, 1999 pg25) According to Dreikurs, misbehaviour among students is usually a need for recognition and attention. (McInerney, D, 1998 pg 125)
As there are such varied causes for misbehaviour, it is vital that teachers analyse the causes of the behaviour of their students so as to provide them with helpful strategies and support to improve their behaviour. This analysis should be done by having a positive and interactive relationship with the students. (Charles, C, 1996, pg 206) Teachers should also provide personal attention towards all students to acknowledge and encourage their efforts. (Charles, C, 1996, pg 207) Teachers should also create a sense of togetherness in the classroom so that students feel at ease with one another and the teacher. Communication regularly and clearly with parents of students is also extremely essential to bring in parental support into the classroom. (Charles, C, 1996, pg 208) In this way, an atmosphere that is supportive, pleasant, encouraging and boosting self confidence as well as being non-threatening will be created. This positive atmosphere will allow teachers to better understand their students as well as the causes of their misbehaviour thus helping the teachers to implement fitting consequences and strategies in managing their behaviour.
Apart from understanding the root cause of the student’s misbehaviour, teachers should also develop a framework of rules, routines and consequences from the onset of the year. The rules should be fair and equal towards all the students. Teachers should teach the students rules by demonstrating them clearly with concise explanations and role modelling suitable behaviour. (McInerney, D, 1998 pg 110) This behaviour should then be practised and positive feedback should be given to students when they practice it. . (McInerney, D, 1998 pg 110) These rules should be guidelines of appropriate behaviour that the teacher expects whilst in the classroom and usually depends on the individual teacher. Examples of rules in the classroom could include “sitting quietly and listening intently when the teacher is talking” or “participating in a group discussion in an apt manner by contributing well and not fighting or speaking rudely to one another”.
Teachers should intervene immediately if they notice misbehaviour in the classroom that is against the guidelines established occurring. This technique is “withitness” whereby the teachers are always aware of what is going on in the classroom. (McInerney, D, 1998 pg 215) This will allow the misbehaviour to be corrected immediately and teachers could decide based on their guidelines if they want to warn the student or provide the student with a consequence. (McInerney, D, 1998 pg 215) Consequences should also be applied with equality to all students and in a calm manner so that students realise that they were misbehaving and understand that their misbehaviour is against the guidelines established. (McInerney, D, 1998 pg 115)
A teacher should be firm but fair. Moreover, a good technique to follow if a student has broken a rule is to help a student evaluate his/her misbehaviour and to provide support to help the student improve upon their behaviour. (McInerney, D, 1998 pg 122) An example of this is to confront a student who has misbehaved by asking him/her to explain their misbehaviour to bring out the cause of the misbehaviour. (McInerney, D, 1998 pg 122) After finding out the cause, the teacher should establish with the student if his/her misbehaviour is against the rules established in the classroom.
If so, teachers should encourage the student to find an alternative of their behaviour or to suggest a consequence that is fair to the student. (McInerney, D, 1998 pg 122) This process will enable the students to understand where and why they went wrong. This technique is called “reality therapy” and is recommended by Glasser. (McInerney, D, 1998 pg 122) This is a practical approach that enables a student to realise their misbehaviour immediately as well as provide them with alternatives of misbehaviour to handling a similar situation. Teachers should be continuously involved in the process of helping students correct their misbehaviour so that they are aware of the misbehaviour and so that discipline is instilled in them.
The Canter model of assertively taking charge is based off of observing not only classroom management skills of teachers, but also how students react to those teachers using different techniques. Assertive Discipline is a direct and positive approach making it possible for the teacher to teach and the students to learn. It is based off of these principles” (Canter 1993)
Teachers should insist on responsible behaviour
When teachers fail, it is typically due to poor class control. They cannot teach and the kids are denied the opportunity to learn.
Many teachers believe that firm control is stifling and inhumane.
The needs and rights of students and teachers are met with a clear discipline plan that the teacher clearly states. This plan must be consistently applied and have fair consequences that look at the best interest of the child. When going with an assertive discipline plan, a teacher must not only teach the expectations, but must also be persistent in stating goals and expectations. Canter believes that there are a few steps to assertive discipline. (Canter 1993) They are:
Recognize and remove roadblocks to assertive discipline.
Practice the use of assertive response styles.
Learn to set limits.
Follow through on limits.
Implement a system of positive assertions.
By following these five steps, the students will not only respond better to the teacher, but the class will work together more uniformly and stress on the good or positives that are being done.
B.F. Skinner tends to agree with Canter’s ideas in that in order for the students to learn must feel that they are in a non-threatening environment. Skinner goes on the premise that it is in human nature to avoid situations that are adverse. So in other words, a person would tend to shy away from doing something that is wrong just because it is intrinsically wrong for them and they do not want to deal with the harsh consequences. While reading on Skinner, he also tends to believe that when someone is put into an unfavourable situation, they become aggressive and defensive. (Noll 37) With this assertion, Skinner writes, “A person escapes from or avoids aversive treatment by behaving in ways which reinforce those who treated him aversively until he did so”. Canter’s philosophy and Skinners are not far from each other in that both agree that student’s behaviour and learning is better when they are working in conditions that are comfortable and encouraging.
Discipline, Learning and Class Management
Discipline is more than keeping a group of children or young people quiet while being talked to. Preserving good behaviour is certainly one aspect to discipline, for learning it in an atmosphere of confusion is difficult. Children have to learn to conform to the rules of behaviour needed in a classroom. However, discipline should be described as ongoing, proactive set of behaviours used to create a cooperative environment, which minimizes the likelihood of negative, disruptive behaviour. Teachers have the right to ask for a quiet class, keep the students in their seats, and have the right to discipline them if they do not cooperate.
In order for a teacher to have his or her needs met, they can influence the behaviour of the children. Until the past decade, students and parents looked at the teacher as the main person in the classroom. The teacher, simply because of their role status, had respect and authority. Today, a teacher has to earn the respect of both the students and their parents. A teacher’s basic techniques of influence, or discipline, is no longer as effective as getting the desired results. The teacher cannot rely on the strong support of the parents anymore. Many parents are openly questioning, the education that their children are receiving, and do not feel they want to support the needs of their child’s teachers. Teachers cannot get their needs met in a classroom unless they have an effective method of discipline in which they thoroughly understand and comfortable utilize.
Review of Own Practice
In my own student teaching experience, I have found that by paying attention to the good, and ignoring the bad, works very well to an extent. This is where I have found Canter to be outstanding. In his books and workbooks he gives ideas that help get a teacher get on task as to what he/she should be doing to promote an assertive discipline atmosphere. I have noticed that Canter stresses how important it is for parents to be informed on what the classroom rules and procedures are and also encourages teachers to write home or phone home to tell them good things about their child.
Canter also thinks that it is important to maintain logs and records of student’s behaviours and also gives many examples of good worksheets that help keep track of those behaviours. At the Middle School, I have to send out at least 6 postcards weekly to parents telling them of their son or daughters good attributes. By doing this, the parent starts to realize that the teacher is not an enemy rather a team member who recognizes and understands that all students, no matter how “bad,” have some good in them. I remember what a teacher taught me in Plainfield, “For every one bad thing you say to a parent, you should have 3 positives to say as well.”
Many times I have pondered the ideas of management and control in the classroom and with there being so many things to think of, it seems to me that the easiest way to deal with management is to create a skeleton plan, introduce it to the classes and then add on and fill in the skeleton plan as your classes need it. With the experiences I have thus far, it seems that overwhelmingly positive reinforcement is the overriding theme in schools with regards to discipline codes, and with teachers and their rules. I believe that positive reinforcement helps the students to be independent and wise as to what they are expected to do, and also gives the proper attention to the students who are working well and doing what they are suppose to do.
Planning is essential to teaching well. Lesson planning is second nature to teachers. Lesson plans are part of a professional routine, and are done almost automatically when the need arises. However, planning for discipline is an entirely different story. The majority of teachers has learned or has been exposed to the steps involved in planning discipline programs, especially those to be used specifically with disruptive students. Because of teachers’ frustrations, all we often hear is their complaining about how difficult the students really are.
Such complaining may help to relieve the strain of dealing with difficult students, but it in no way helps to solve the problem. Discipline planning will structure and guide classroom management efforts the same as lesson planning for academic efforts. Discipline plans are important and helpful to all teachers. Discipline planning is the systematic applications of the assertive principles the teacher exhibits. It involves focusing your attention on any existing or potential discipline problems you may have. These discipline problems may involve an individual student, or a group of students, or an entire class. Having good discipline enables the teacher to deal assertively with their students. He or she will know how to maximize their potential influence to get their needs met.
The assertive teacher recognizes the fact that he or she has wants and needs and has the right to get them met in the classroom. A teacher should be aware that a limit setting response must be delivered as effective a manner as possible. Eye contact is very important when trying to get a point made. Whenever necessary, the teacher plans how to back up their limit setting statement with appropriate consequences. This is done in order to maximize the influence that his or her response can have on the behaviour of the child.
Whenever required, teachers should be prepared to back up their words with consequences in order to motivate the behaviour of more difficult children. He or she is aware some children need more support than others and is prepared to give that child as much as they can. The children learn to trust and respect an assertive teacher. The children clearly know the parameters of acceptable and unacceptable behaviour. This gives them an opportunity to choose how they want to behave while knowing fully what the consequences will be for their behaviours. This does not mean that every child will like an assertive teacher, and does not mean that every child will behave. Some children may still decide not behave for any reason. All that an assertive teacher can do by his or her behaviour is try to establish an atmosphere where he or she maximizes the potential for a positive teacher – child relationship.
The major area where being an assertive teacher helps a child is when the student has special needs or problems. This, when a teacher needs to step things up a notch and become more assertive. Some teachers may lose track of their assertive potential, but they have to teach the child how to behave in the appropriate manner. One problem area where a child needs assertive discipline is when he or she is confronted with peer pressure. This is when the student’s fellow peers force him or her to do something. Confronting the child and telling him what he or she is doing can solve this problem. This problem can also be solved by giving out a punishment like, writing on the chalkboard or may be standing in the corner with his or her back turned to the rest of the class. If all else fails, the teacher may want to call the child’s home and plan a conference with the student’s parents.
Though most teachers feel threatened and overwhelmed by parents, especially if they are pushy or manipulative, they need to take a stand and thoroughly explain the situation going on with their child. The teacher has to be assertive with the parents and the child. The teacher should not down grade the problems they are having with their child. Instead they should tell the parents the way things are. The teacher should let the parents know that they need their cooperation to discipline the child at home for his tantrum. If the teacher does not tell the parents what they truly feel then the child’s tantrum will be even worse the next time.
The corner stone of assertive discipline is the potential positive influence teachers can have on the behaviour of their students. When teachers accept the consequences of their potential influence, they accept the consequences of their potential influence they accept the responsibility to choose, or not to choose, to utilize this potential for the best interest of both themselves and the students. Assertive teachers recognize the responsibilities they have for the children. They know they cannot assert themselves and get their needs and the children needs met. They know they can have the impact on their classrooms if they choose to do so.
Relationship building-the key to minimizing discipline problems-is a process. Encourage parent, community and staff support through a range of measures, beginning with their involvement in the creation of the code. The teacher should use clear and concise language with specific examples of all behaviours that will result in disciplinary action and the specific punishments that will be administered for infractions of the rules. Consequences for even minor misbehaviours and increased punishments required for repeat offences. Children learn best from what actually happens, not from what is said to them. Teaching children good behaviours is more than telling them what to do. Children will test limits. They will whine and argue to find out how you react. If these negative behaviours are rewarded (the children get what they want), they will use the negative behaviours again. By being an assertive teacher, you can prevent children from going outside the limits and promote good behaviour and education to their limits.
In conclusion, teachers should strive to create an atmosphere in the classroom that is favourable to learning by maintaining a facilitating relationship with the students, establishing a reasonable framework of rules and consequences and finally, providing students with a curriculum that is not only motivating, but also appealing. The above mentioned techniques will allow teachers to understand the cause of misbehaviour in the classroom as well as to help curb it. This will be extremely beneficial to all the students as they will be provided with an environment that maximises their full potential in their learning and development and motivates them to succeed and achieve their goals.
Apart from establishing a framework of rules and consequences, teachers should also establish a routine and an appealing curriculum in the classroom. This will help prevent boredom among the students. The classroom routine should be established at the beginning of the year and students should be made aware of it. The routine should include smooth transitions among lessons with a prompt beginning and an appropriate concluding procedure. The learning curriculum should provide activities that are creative and innovative so that students are kept engaged and motivated to learn. Activities should also have objectives and goals that are catered to the individual students’ learning and development so that all students are occupied and enjoy their tasks. Activities should also be pitched at the different levels of ability of the students as well as have a holistic approach encompassing the physical, social, emotional and educational aspects of development. Such an interactive curriculum will reduce the occurrence of misbehaviour, minimize the chance of disruptions and ensure maximum productive work.
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