Monday, October 15, 2012

Classroom Management Plan

Classroom Management Plan

Much like I am a mesh of educational philosophies, so too am I mesh of classroom management approaches.  My mesh of reconstructionist, essentialist, and experimentalist educational philosophies dictate how I view the education system, classroom, and my students.  Students hold the key to their own education and acquisition of knowledge; teachers are the guides for students to achieve their goals as well as to changing the world through social activism and change. As any decent guide, I must lead the students while not inhibiting their creativity, ideas, and zeal while managing the classroom to create the best environment.  I feel the best approach to do this is through synergy as well as through Assertive Discipline, Cooperative Discipline, and Discipline through Self-Control.  I believe these four approaches best suit my philosophies as well as my students needs.

Preventive Approach

Preventive approaches are much like preventive healthcare, they seek to cure illness the before the sickness sets in.  In the case of a classroom, preventive approaches address behavior problems before they can develop in the student.

  1. Create rules and present them to the students from day one (Canter 1976).  The Assertive discipline created by Lee and Marlene Canter can be harsh at times, however, I agree with setting rules with set consequences and insuring that students are aware of the consequences eliminates many problems before they manifest.  In my classroom, rules for the class are introduced on the first day.  Consequences are clearly stated for violating the rules, the most imperative of the rules being cheating and plagiarism.
  2. Look for students behaving or “being good” (Albert 1996).  Preventing behavior issues is more than informing students of the rules and consequences beforehand.  Students respond to positive reinforcement, especially to reinforcement that they didn’t expect.
  3. Motivate students to create excitement and energy (Charles 2000).  Synergy brings back memories of company outings or picnics with fun games, prizes, and BBQ’s all with pep talks by guest speakers and reinforcement of being a good employee.  Unlike company picnics or meetings, synergy in the classroom creates an atmosphere that students want to learn in.  By teachers motivating their students to create excitement whether through games (prizes maybe arbitrary marks on the board or the rare extra credit point), the likelihood of students misbehaving decreases.  The students want to be there and enjoy the environment and positive energy they created.
  4. Build a positive, caring relationship between students and the teacher (Albert 1996).  One of the most important things I’ve seen with my cooperating teacher and her students is the caring nature she has and they have for her.  She achieved this through sharing a bit of life with them.  By giving them insight into her life (though not too much insight to be inappropriate), they came to view her more than just a teacher feeding them information they may or may not want to a person.
  5. Treat the students as adults (Coloroso 1994).  There is no denying the tumultuous teen years are tough.  High school students have graduated from the middling years in middle school to the responsibility and freedom that drivers licenses, jobs, and less restrictive social lives bring.  Treating the students with the respect of an adult inflates their ego, but to the teachers benefit. 
  6. Furniture arrangement (Kohn 1996).  How the furniture is arranged in a classroom affects how students learn and are willing to learn.  Arranging the desks so that they face each other in small groups allows for students to interact with each other, creating an environment conducive to discussion and collaboration.
  7. Student artwork on walls (Kohn 1996).  Student work is the best artwork.  They become Picassos, Rembrandts, and Raphaels of the classroom.  The pride of having their own work decorate the walls creates an atmosphere of welcoming and a learning environment where students want to share their work.

Supportive Approach

  1. Students respond amazingly well to supportive behaviors by the teacher and their peers.  Students are given the opportunity to solve their own problems (Coloroso 1994).  Teenagers are an odd mix of dependency and new independence.  Talking with a student and informing them that they made a mistake and it’s up to them to fix the situation places the responsibility on them.  They must think for themselves to solve the situation they put themselves in.  It shifts the responsibility from the teacher to the student, giving the student the independence to solve their problem.
  2. Provide clear consequences and state them calmly, matter-a-factly, and do not waiver (Canter 1976).  By stating the consequences of misbehavior and sticking to it, I seek to create a fair environment without favoritism or discrimination.  Also, with the rules clearly stated, there is less opportunity for students to say that they didn’t know.  For example, the late work policy in my cooperating teacher’s classroom is posted in five different locations and in the syllabus.  Students do try and claim that they didn’t know about the policy, however, pointing out the locations of the policy quickly deflates that excuse.  Students are much more likely to take responsibility for their actions if the rules are clearly stated and enforced.
  3. Use the teacher “eye” (Albert 1996).  Using the teacher “eye” is essential in a classroom.  Often times, students don’t need to be verbally reprimanded for every infraction or deviation from the task at hand.  Students watch the teacher as much as the teacher watches them.  They may goof off, however, the teacher can give them “the eye” and as long as they see it, it’s all students need to get back on track.
  4. It’s okay to make mistakes (Coloroso 1994).  People make mistakes.  They are a part of everyday life and should be viewed as a learning opportunity, not a failure.  The only time a mistake should be considered a failure is if the student (or teacher) fails to learn from it.  

Corrective Approach

  1.  Play a musical sound (Albert 1996).  This is ideal for when the class overall is acting out.  It’s a quick and efficient way to grab the student’s attention without shouting or straining voice muscles.  My cooperating teacher has a small xylophone that she uses to grab student’s attention.  It works well.  Students immediately stop talking and shift their attention to the front of the classroom to where she is waiting to shift to the next assignment.
  2.  The teacher should look and address the cause of the misbehavior without being confrontational (Charles 2000).  Student misbehavior comes from somewhere.  It may be from problems at home, issues with friends, or some other problem that is causing the student to manifest the misbehavior and act out in class.  Talking with the student that is causing the trouble shows that the teacher cares about the student and wants to solve situation in a calm manner without yelling or accusations.  By approaching students and people in general in this manner, they are much more likely to be receptive to talking with the teacher and resolving the issue.
  3. Rules should be clear (Coloroso 1994).  The classroom is almost like a mini courtroom.  Rules must be specific.  If they are vague, just as in a court of law, students can make a case as to why they shouldn’t be punished or have to do an assignment.  By insuring that rules are clearly stated, it removes student’s ability to wiggle out of responsibility.  They will still try, however, the likelihood of them being successful is reduced greatly.
  4.  Communication, communication, communication  (Coloroso 1994).  The classroom relationship is like any relationship, communication is key for it to survive.  Students must be able to come to the teacher and discuss issues they are having in the classroom or at home.  A warm, welcoming environment will help students be open and willing to discuss pertinent issues are experiencing.  Through this, the students will be much more likely to communicate with the teacher and vis versa. 

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