Classroom Management Plan
The classroom strategies I will bring into my classroom are based on the basic philosophies of experimentalists and reconstructionists. My overall philosophy of classroom management is to not just utilize one or two discipline strategies, but to use a variety of different strategies. In my opinion, each strategy has pros and cons, so I think as a teacher it will be in my best interest to use multiple disciplines to create a fair and balanced atmosphere. Out of all of the disciplines, I think the one I identify mostly with is the synergetic discipline. I like the idea of teachers working with students to create an energetic and exciting atmosphere, and when misbehavior does occur, I think it is extremely important to take care of it gently and respectfully. A few other disciplines I identified with include, Positive Classroom, Noncoercive, Discipline with Dignity, and Beyond Discipline. My main focus is to create a synergetic classroom environment by including students in decision-making, having students take responsibility for their own actions, and as a teacher to remain calm and respectful while dealing with misbehavior.
I believe the best preventative approach to misbehavior in the classroom is to have great lesson plans that keep the students engaged and working on assignments until the end of class.
1. The most important strategy I believe in the preventive approach to classroom management is establishing rules to guide the class. Not only do the students need to know the rules of the class, but also as a teacher it is important that I hold class discussions on the rules, their implications, and their consequences (Coloroso, 1994). Teachers cannot assume that the students will read the class syllabus and go over the rules. Instead, teachers should assume that the students would not read the syllabus and rules, and should take a little class time to discuss inappropriate behaviors and the consequences.
2. Not only is it a good idea to go over the rules during the first few days of school, but also it is also important to ask for student input on what the consequences should be for breaking the rules (Glasser, 1985). Another important part in establishing the rules is staying consistent in enforcing the rules and consequences (Glasser, 1985). Teachers need to stay consistent in combating disruptive behavior or students will take this as a sign of weakness and continue with the inappropriate behavior. Normally, it takes one student to get in trouble for students to comprehend that they don’t want to make the same mistake.
3. As a teacher, it is also very important that the teacher is more like a leader and not as a boss (Glasser, 1985). Anybody who has had a boss that “tells” everybody what to do instead of asking knows that telling somebody to do something is not the best approach. A good educator knows how to effectively communicate with students and to explain to them the importance of learning the assignment for the day. Teachers should ask their students to do only work that is useful and try to eliminate busy work (Glasser, 1985). Students will have a better attitude about learning when they know how it will be useful to them later in life.
4. In order to prevent misbehavior, teachers should concentrate on removing the causes of misbehavior (Charles, 2000). One of the problems I have seen in my class is students using their iPods. In order to be effective in combating the problem with iPods, teachers should explain on the first day of school that iPod use in class would not be tolerated. I would explain to the class that if I see earphones or an iPod out, I would immediately take it away and turn it into the VP. After the teacher sets these guidelines, it is very important that they stay consistent.
5. Another great way I will use to prevent misbehavior is to reward positive behavior. During my lessons this year, if students are misbehaving I will stop until I have everybody’s attention. While I am waiting, I will thank the students who are sitting quietly. I have noticed that just by thanking the students will encourage other students to behave more appropriately. I think the use of incentive programs to motivate responsible behavior is a great way to create a positive atmosphere (Jones, 1970s). Students in my classroom will also be rewarded for their good behavior by gaining participation points for the day. In my class, participation is worth twenty percent of the student’s grade, so it is very important that they behave appropriately on a regular basis.
The supportive approach is used to get students back on task. Teachers can use body language to gain students’ attention to get back on track, or they can simply use appropriate lesson planning.
1. I believe the most important aspect to the supportive approach is to always treat the students with dignity (Curwin & Mendler, 1983). When students have a lack of judgment and make a mistake, it is crucial that the teacher still treats the student with dignity and respect. One of the biggest problems a teacher can have is if a student shuts down because they feel like they were embarrassed by the teacher in front of their peers.
2. A supportive approach that I use inside my classroom is to send an individual a secret signal so that other students don’t know (Albert, 1996). As I stated above, it is very important that the teacher does not embarrass any students. Most of the times I will either shake my head towards a particular student or just give them the “eye.” Our classroom is also set up where I can move around in between desks so that I can stand near the inappropriate behavior while I give the lesson. Students often stop the inappropriate behavior when the teacher is standing close by.
3. One of the best supportive approaches is that the curriculum must be organized to meet students’ needs for survival, belonging, power, fun, and freedom (Glasser, 1985). As I stated earlier, I think one of the most important aspects to classroom management is having effective lesson plans. The curriculum needs to be taught where students are continuously challenged and engaged. The lessons also have to be designed in which they aren’t too challenging or boring for students or else there is a possibility where students will just shut down.
4. Providing efficient help to individual students is another great way to combat disruptive behavior (Jones, 1970s). It is crucial that the teacher provides assistance to the “helpless hand raiser.” Students tend to get a little restless when they don’t understand the material, so it is extremely important that the teacher walks around and assists students who need additional help.
5. Give students the opportunity to solve their own problems and ask how they plan on doing so (Coloroso, 1994). I believe this aspect gives the students the opportunity to reflect on the disruptive behavior and it gives them the opportunity to empathize with the teacher. Put them in the teacher’s shoes. How would they feel if their class was disrupted, and what would they do? It is important that students understand that there are reasonable consequences for their actions. The main goal is to get the students to think about what they did and how they would correct the inappropriate behavior.
The corrective approach is how the teacher handles students when they violate the rules. Effective corrective discipline should not intimidate students or be a struggle in power. Corrective discipline should focus on how to stop the disruptive behavior from happening again in the future.
1. Reasonable consequences are when teacher and student jointly agree on a set of reasonable logical consequences (Coloroso, 1994). I agree with this approach that the “punishment has to fit the crime.” I think teachers get this idea that if the punishment is severe, the student won’t misbehave anymore. I could not agree with this more. Going back to the leader vs. boss, most students want to please their teacher if they respect them. Students that are severely punished for a simple mistake would lose all respect for the teacher.
2. Secondly, if the misbehavior is minor enough, I think the teacher should defer discussion to later time and let the anger pass (Curwin & Mendler, 1983). If both the teacher and the student are “fired” up, words could be said out of anger. Minor misbehaviors should be dealt with after school or in between classes out of the view of others. It is sometimes important to let the student calm down for a few minutes before a discussion about a punishment ensues. The student will be most likely be angry and the teacher’s main concern is to diffuse the situation so that it doesn’t cause a bigger disruption.
3. When sitting down with the student, it is extremely important to discuss how the problem started, how the rules were broken, and how to prevent future occurrences (Glasser, 1985). Sometimes the teacher does not get to see the entire disruption, so it is important to discuss with the student exactly what happened. The student may not understand what rule they broke and in order for the student to learn from the misbehavior is to first identify what that behavior was. The teacher and the student should then discuss how the behavior could be prevented in the future.
4. If the behavior in class is a serious infraction, use the Three R’s of reconciliatory justice: restitution, resolution, and reconciliation. That means they need to fix what was done wrong, figure out how to keep it from happening again, and heal with the people they have harmed (Coloroso, 1994). It is extremely important that if a serious infraction takes place during a lesson that the teacher intervenes and takes disciplinary actions immediately. The number one priority for every teacher should be to protect each and every student. Since the student will more than likely remain in the classroom, it is extremely important that all parties involve heal together and come up with a plan to prevent future instances.
5. Since the main goal of disruptions and misbehavior in class is to prevent them from happening again, it is crucial that the teacher finds the first opportunity to recognize a student’s positive behavior after the student receives a consequence (Canter, 1976). As the teacher you want to build the student’s confidence back up after they have been disciplined. At times, students will act out just to get the teacher’s attention. Instead of the student always drawing negative attention, it is very important that the teacher commends the student when they are behaving well in class. Most students want their teachers to see them as “cool” or a nice student, so I believe the more positive attention the teacher gives the class, the more the class will act more positively in return.
The atmosphere of a classroom plays a vital role in student success. Students need to be able to walk into a classroom environment that is welcoming. Studies have shown that students’ achievement levels were lower in schools that modeled more of a prison environment than a learning environment. What type of message are we sending to our children when we send them to schools that are unkept? To me it shows students that we do not care about their welfare or well-being when we send our children to battered and weathered schools. Students should walk into an inviting atmosphere, halls filled with students’ work, bathrooms in good condition, a welcoming office staff, and students helping staff in a variety of roles (Kohn, 1996). Desks in the classrooms should be arranged in groups where students can collaborate with one another and discuss the lesson content. Classroom discussion should include students often addressing one another directly, emphasis on thoughtful exploration of complicated issues, and where students ask questions at least as often as the teacher does (Kohn, 1996).
Start Where Your Students Are:
It is extremely important that teachers recognize what environment works best for their students. Teachers may assume that when they explain something to their students, the students will think the same about it as they do. For example, when a teacher tells the students that they have to do well on a certain test because it will look better for college, the students may not care enough or realize the importance at that time. Now if the teacher knows the students are competitive, they could present the students with a friendly competition. It is also important for teachers to take time and reflect. Why aren’t the students doing their homework? Is it because I am assigning too much? The last thing students want to do when they get home from school is to sit and do twenty pages of notes for one class. Teachers also tend to make too big a deal when students make a mistake (Jackson, 2010). I liked the idea Cynthia had. As a teacher, I would try to make it a learning opportunity and at the same time allow students to redeem themselves. Everybody makes mistakes and students should not have built-up anxiety over a homework assignment. Teachers should instruct their classes to the classroom strength. If the classroom works better as a group, or broken into smaller groups to learn content, the teacher should let them do so. In contrast, if the classroom as a whole likes to work on instruction independently, the teacher should try to have a quieter classroom environment.
The synergetic classroom atmosphere promotes the best learning environment in my eyes. I think the two disciplines I will use the most are the synergetic and noncoercive models. I like how the noncoercive discipline suggests that teaching a quality curriculum is essential to good discipline. The number one priority of mine is to let the students understand that they have a voice in my classroom. By preparing well-developed lessons, my classroom will be fun, engaging, exciting, which will deter students from acting inappropriately.