Classroom Management: Learning from Experience
Do You Have Classroom Management Skills?
What I Learned from Experience
This was part of a classroom management plan I had to design for one of my last college education classes. Some of these ideas came with me when I became a full-time professional teacher. The names of the researchers I'll never actually remember but their general ideas I used in my classroom many times on a daily basis without even thinking about it.
The role a teacher plays in the world is ever so important, but it is difficult being in the public eye. Everything we do is examined to the nth degree. We really do need to think about everything we do in our jobs and even in our private lives. We are the role models for our nation's future adults and we need to accordingly.
A Conceptual Framework for a Classroom Management Plan
I believe that teachers have difficult roles to fulfill in our society. Since students are with them 180 days or more a year, teachers are sometimes the major contributers to shaping behavior in our children. To bring about desired changes in the behavior of students, teachers themselves must first become models of good and acceptable behavior, along with setting up an environment in the classroom that encourages good behavior. They need to have a set of established rules. They need to provide support and encouragement. In order to establish this system of behavior management, teachers need to use discipline. Discipline, to me, is keeping control over the classroom with the use of positive consequences and also negative consequences, when needed. This discipline is to be in effect immediately after a behavior is performed—whether good behavior or misbehavior. In my opinion, classroom misbehavior is when the flow of instruction is interrupted due to the lack of respect for the teacher and for the other students. My ideas of discipline and behavior or misbehavior stem from researchers such as Glasser, Kouin, Dreikers, Redl and Wattenberg, and Lott, Nelson and Glenn.
There are several essential components of an effective discipline system in which I believe. ‘With-it-ness’, an idea of Kounin, will probably be one of my best tactics, which means I really will have to stay on top of everything that is happening in the classroom at all times. I would also like to have a democratic classroom, as Dreikurs would call it. With this setting, I would be able to provide my students with choices so they have a say in their curriculum and so that we have an ‘agreed-upon set of rules’, as Glasser would suggest. Glasser suggests conducting classroom meetings, which I believe is great because meetings allow everyone to be involved in the decision making process.
'With-it-ness' can be a teacher's greatest ally. If you plan correctly, arrange your classroom in a clean orderly way, be aware of student cues and maintain the flow of instruction, your life will be so much easier. It's the teacher who is distant and aloof in such matters who loses control of the classroom very, very quickly.
Democratic classroom? Not so much. I am all for giving students choices and giving them a chance to voice their opinions about certain matters, but giving students too much free reign is not such a good idea. It takes a lot of time to hold meetings and a really special group of well behaved, intellectually minded students to benefit from them. Allowing students to be able to choose how to complete an assignment or project or letting them voice their opinions about classroom rules, however, are great ways to involve students in decision making matters.
Redl and Wattenberg make a point to make the teacher aware that she or he often becomes a model for the students, something that I hope to keep in mind while I teach. As I move about in the room, my students will be scrutinizing every action I take, everything I say and every movement I make. Because of this, I am going to try to remain calm at all times, be respectful of my students and the classroom, and have a positive attitude towards every aspect of the learning process of my students.
This is so true. Teachers do become models for students, and man, do they notice everything! Some will have no problem calling you out on a mistake, but you just have to admit the mistake, correct it and then move on. Of course, it may take a lesson in making and taking constructive criticism...
Nelson, Lott and Glenn’s classroom management ideas encapsulate the most what I want to do in my classroom. They believe that a student can really be in control of his/her behavior, and that a positive classroom environment can help the student with controlling behavior. With my classroom rules, I want my students to know their place in the classroom and how they should control their behavior in the room. I want them to want to be in my classroom, to enjoy learning, and to feel like they belong, thus why I want to create a positive classroom atmosphere.
Having effecive and consistent classroom rules is essential to keeping control of a classroom. Yes, students do know how to control their behavior, but they need to be reminded often what is expected of them in your classroom.
Henry James said, “A teacher affects eternity”. I believe this, because as teachers we will help to shape the behaviors of our students that they will take with them as they move on in life. They then model the behavior for other people, and those people model the behaviors for others, and so on. It continues on for many generations. I want to be one of those teachers. I hope to have a very controlled environment that allows for creativity and imagination but that also helps to enhance good, acceptable behavior in my students. I know this is going to take me a long time to establish, but I will do my best to see that my students have the optimal learning environment that gives them the opportunity to make their own decisions and choices while maintaining control over their behaviors.
Oh. the dreams and wishes of a young teacher looking to save the world one student at a time!
Teachers really do have an influence on their students. Many veteran teachers could tell you of the countless times they have been approached by former students who remember how the teachers acted and what they said. It never leaves their minds if you have a positive influence on them. The former students also thank their teachers for teaching them certain life lessons that helped them get through tough or stressful times. It's in that thanking that teachers know they have made a difference in someone's life.
Thoughts from the Teacher
I really had some lofty, well-thought of ideas as a young teacher. I could tell you though, even though I couldn't tell you anything about any of those educational theorists anymore, I could tell you that having an effective classroom management plan and sticking to it will make the difference in any classroom. Being a good role model does help too, along with having a positive clasdroom atmosphere, to keep your students on task and in a constant state of learning.
Good luck to all young teachers out there!