Legal and Ethical Implications for Classroom Management
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There are many legal and ethical pitfalls for teachers when considering classroom management. Teachers face pressure from administrators, state agencies, parents, and students to have successful and effective classrooms. Over the years, the standard has moved and is constantly changing with initiatives such as Common Core and No Child Left Behind. Teachers need to be aware of the changing landscape of laws and what is acceptable by society. In this essay, I will look at four articles that examine classroom management and analyze them in respect to my future classroom management style and current societal norms. First Article
The first article I looked at was “Consideration for Gender-Friendly Classrooms”. This article discussed the use of gender bias strategies. It highlighted the differences between general learning styles of boys and girls. The highlight of the article was that it recognized the societal gender norms not only impact students, but also teachers as well (Kommer, 2006). Kommer went on to build a case for a mixture strategies that would play on the strengths of both boys and girls. Depending on the culture, girls and boys are said to be the same. Kommer contends that the goal is not to make boys and girls the same, but to have equity in teaching styles (Kommer, 2006). Analysis and Application
This article is driving me to make sure my classroom management policies are fair to both boys and girls. I need to make lesson plans that seek to teach the most students and not what I feel comfortable teaching. I have a tendency to relate to boys, well because I was once one. I was never strong in Language Arts, but had an affinity to Math and Social Studies. I was in the Honors Program in my high school for Math, yet in Language Arts, I was n average student. I realize that I have to make a conscience effort use examples that relate to both genders. I cannot have all my examples and analogies be sports related, but I have need to find things that young lady would relate to, as well. Additionally, I need to make sure my discipline models are effective for both genders.
I teach Sunday School for fourth graders. I have a large number of boys and they are rambunctious. I have to make sure that my discipline fits the child. Many of my boys would find 20 pushups and effective deterrent to misbehaving, while many of my girls would find separation from their friend a much worse punishment. Discipline can be a tricky area, as I would not want to be accused of showing favoritism. Teachers need to be cognizant of how they are administering discipline that it is perceived to be constructive and fair to all students. Second Article
The second article is “Classroom Management: A Critical Part of Educational Psychology, With Implications for Teacher Education”. This article discusses the importance of a teacher’s competency in classroom management. Emmer and Stough contend that teachers need to have a minimal level of proficiency in order to be effective in other areas (Emmer & Stough, 2001). They also assert that the teacher’s emotions play a major part in how they perceive behavior (Emmer & Stough, 2001). Analysis and Application
This article compels me to make sure my classroom management style is buttoned up. If I expect my class to learn and succeed, I have to ensure that I am prepared to handle all situations that occur in my classroom. Good classroom management will prevent a large majority of misbehavior issues. Children internally desire structure and as the authority figure in the class in it imperative that, I bring the needed structure. When I was in high school, I had a Social Studies teacher that had been rumored to be very hard. He had a reputation of being stricter than the other teachers. I had him for American Government my senior year. He had a very direct classroom management style. He would have leaned toward Morrish’s theory. He set very strict ground rules. As the semester progressed, he became more lax in his rules and allowed us to have more freedom as a class.
After the end of class, I realized that the teacher was not mean or cruel, but wanted his students to understand the material that he was teaching. I learned more about American History in that class, than all others combined. In addition to having proficiency in classroom management, I need to make sure my emotions are controlled. A teacher cannot allow their emotions to dictate how they address students. Dealing with children is naturally emotional. These people are relying on us as teachers to be the authority and example.
For many of the children, the school is the only sense of normalcy that they will see. I read article all the time, where a teacher has made a horrible choice. Any teacher that would choose to have an inappropriate relationship with a student is not in control of their emotions. In order to remain ethically balanced, teachers need to remain under control at all times. When the emotions are high, they need to find a way to bring the balance back into classroom. I am not saying teachers cannot show emotions, but it needs to be tempered. Third Article
The third article I read was “Increasing Teachers’ Use of Evidence-based Classroom Management Strategies Through Consultation: Overview and Case Studies”. This article argued that many education programs do not adequately prepare teacher to manage their classrooms effectively (MacSuga & Simonsen, 2012). MacSuga and Simonsen went on to explain how using evidence based classroom management can benefit teachers in managing their class. They did a case study of two teachers and found that the teachers were successful in controlling their classroom misbehaviors. Analysis and Application
I enjoyed how the article discussed using measurable goals. As a teacher, many of the measures will be based upon standardized test and not what is truly going on in the classrooms. I think administrators and government agencies, force teachers in to a precarious position by telling them that they must have perfect classrooms and perfect test scores in order to be judged as an effective teacher. Having checklist and measurable goals for classroom management helps to protect the teacher. My current boss always says that the numbers tell a story. If as a teacher, I can show measured improvement for a struggling class, I am able to deflect criticisms. Additionally, having documentation allows teachers to analyze themselves and see areas of opportunity. Fourth Article
The last article I read was “The Good Student Game: Behavior Management for Diverse Classrooms”. This article discussed The Good Student Game as a technique to help with classroom management (Babyak, Luze, & Kamps, 2000). Babyak, Luze, and Kamps state that children can find satisfaction through their proposed method and that they will self-monitor. They admit that this method will not eliminate all misbehavior issues, but it can be seen as a tool. Analysis and Application
I found that this article oversimplified classroom management. The authors said this method was most effective in a grade school setting. The authors contend that children will self-monitor. I believe this to be naive, I have taught children in a church environment for years and even the best of young kids will make bad choices when it comes to behavior when left to their own devices. The philosophy hinges on providing tangible reward for completion of the game. Growing up I was a good kid, but if you put candy as the prize and I was allowed to monitor my own behavior, I believe I would have not always been honest about my assessment of my behavior. As teachers we need to set up our children for success and giving them treats every time they behave may set an incorrect assumption of how the world really works.
Teachers ethically are bound to help train children to be productive citizens. In conclusion, these four articles all looked at different approaches on how to manage a class. I agreed with three of the four and was able to garner some wisdom for my future class. Teachers need to be diligent to stay trained on current trends and acceptable practices. Many teachers that I had in school would not be able to use the same methods today, as they used thirty years ago. Regardless of when the teacher is teaching, effective teachers learned to engage their students and help them see the benefit of proper behavior ethically and legally.
Babyak, A. E., Luze, G. J., & Kamps, D. M. (2000). The good student game: Behavior management for diverse classrooms. Intervention in School & Clinic, 35(4), 216-223. Emmer, E. T., & Stough, L. M. (2001). Classroom Management: A Critical Part of Educational Psychology, With Implications for Teacher Education. Educational Psychologist, 36(2), 103-112. Kommer, D.
(2006). Considerations for Gender-Friendly Classrooms. Middle School Journal, 38(2), 43-49. MacSuga, A. S., & Simonsen, B. (2012). Increasing Teachers’ Use of Evidence-based Classroom Management Strategies Through Consultation: Overview and Case Studies. Beyond Behavior, 20(2), 4-12.