My Classroom Management Philosophy
I would like to put a heavy emphasis on a classroom community when I'm a teacher. Dreikurs says that all students want to be belong. I want my classroom to be a safe place where students will feel at home. I also want parents to be involved in my classroom. The people who care for my students are going to have such a big impact on them, so I want them to be in the know and be able to help their children accomplish their goals. Jane Nelsen emphasizes the importance of effective communication with students and parents. Rules and procedures need to be effectively communicated with students on the first day of school. Harry Wong suggests that that day will set the tone for the school year. That adds a lot of pressure, but he is right! I also like Wong's idea about seating assignments. I can see how that can prevent misbehaviors and provide a simple way to take role. That can save teachers value time, which Fred Jone's is all about! I want to use my time wisely while in the classroom.
Of course I want my kids to succeed in my classroom, and I will do whatever it takes to get them there! One way to help children along the way is to encourage them. Nelsen also puts a huge emphasis on encouragement over praise. Encouragement is more personal to the student. Encouraging an effort can ultimately make students more apt to task risks and attempt more challenging tasks. I'm not big on incentives because I would like my students to understand the true value of learning.
I know that as the teacher, I will have a lot of pressure on myself to perform as well. Fay and Funk say that teachers should always model desired behavior with enthusiasm. One strategy for doing this is to "think aloud". Ginnot states that teachers are the decisive factor in a classroom. Alfie Kohn has written articles about how we should start examining ourselves when it comes to misbehavior. There will be a lot of pressure to perform and model good behavior. The students desire my absolute best, regardless of what I may be going through personally, so that's what I'm going to give them!
As far as my discipline goes, I like Jane Nelsen's model of "Positive Discipline". The reason I like it so much is because it has a heavy emphasis on long term solutions. Some behavior can just be redirected, but more serious misbehaviors need to be investigated. Teachers should find out the root of the problem and work to fix it for good.
As a teacher, my ultimate goal is for my students to succeed. They can in an organized, learning conducive environment. I will need smooth transitions and clear rules and procedures according to Jones. Even things like where supplies are placed it the classroom can contribute to how a classroom runs. Kounin emphasized "withitness". Teachers truly need to know what's going on at all times in the classroom. They can't lose that momentum. I want a smooth, effective classroom one day. I know that the immense amount of resources I've collected in my portfolio will help when I become a teacher. I'm sure philosophies change all the time with experience. But these are the things that I value and want to incorporate in my future classroom.
Structure of the Learning Environment & Strategies for Building Relationships
A Conducive Learning Environment
- Time efficient
Teacher-Student RelationshipsThe biggest thing that I want to emphasize in my classroom is the concept of community. According to Ginot, if children know that they are loved and cared about, they will be more apt to take risks. I want all my students to know that I am their number one fan and want them to succeed. I also want them to realize that they will have twenty-five other classmates in class that will want the same thing. One specific thing I will do to make my students feel valued is letting them contribute to making up the rules and procedures in our classroom. The classroom will run more smoothly if students believe that they are the ones who came up with the rules. Asking for their input shows you care about their preferences. Another great community building activity that I have seen is a class meeting. That is a great way to come together and share accomplishments, concerns or problems. It's a safe way to make sure everyone's voice is heard. The way teacher's communicate also effects the relationships with students. I like the concept of congruent communication. I would never want a student to feel attacked or accused. If there is a problem, I want them to understand that I will help them come up with a solution to fix it.
As a teacher, it is extremely important to build relationships with students. I will need to find a balance between high dominance and high cooperation in my classroom.
That relationship is important because
- 12-22% of students have emotional or behavioral disorders
- 40% are at risk for failure
- 60-70% of students are abused
- 18% have special needs
Sometimes behaviors occur because of the breakdown of teacher-student relationships. I plan on having a set of "helping skills"
- Communication skills
- Positive Responses
- Personal Interest
Because I want my classroom to feel like a community, I want all of my students to get along and support each other. Of course this won't happen all of the time. But it should still be valued. I have seen children be cruel in my practicum settings. I have seen the aftermath of that! Dreikurs suggests that all students just want to belong. I agree with that! I want my students to be a team and work together. I never want anyone to be left out!
Expectations, Rules and Procedures
Preventative Strategies, Recognition and Motivational Techniques for Managing Student Behavior
One preventative strategy that I have seen for misbehavior is a seating chart. This can stop a minor problem before it even begins! Also, a set of clear expectations for activities can remind children what they need to be doing. In my practicum, I have seen students off task simply because they don't know what they should be doing. Ultimately, your students can be self-disciplined.
- Remove or limit conditions that tend to promote misbehavior.
- Teach students how to behave appropriately and support their efforts to do so.
- Intervene helpfully when students misbehave by directing them back to proper behavior.
Recognition and Motivation
I want to recognize my students for all of their hard work and accomplishments! However, through this class, I have learned that there is a lot of empty praise going on right now in classrooms. I have seen it, and I am guilty of it. Jane Nelsen has great resources for encouraging students instead of praising them. I want to encourage the deed, not the doer. Recognizing students' efforts (whether successful or not) can lead them to take on more risky, challenging tasks. That's what encouragement is after all: developing courage. I don't want my students to just be praised after a job well done, I want to encourage them along the way. That will lead to a better self-concept for the students. They won't feel valued based on their performance.
I think incentives can be okay sometimes, but I don't plan on using them that much in my classroom. External rewards can cause students to be extrinsically motivated rather than intrinsically motivated. That means students may only try hard just to get a "thing". What will happen when they are no longer offered incentives for working hard when they are older? Students have to recognize the value of learning and the internal payoff of working hard! I hope to convey that to my students.
Developing Rapport with Students
Students want to listen from someone that they respect. I think the best way to earn a child's respect is to be nice to them and make them feel important and special. A teacher should always model desired actions and behavior. If you speak disrespectfully to students, but punish them when they do the same to you, you create a double standard. A teacher is an example all the time! Ginott stated that the teacher is the decisive factor in the classroom. That's a lot of pressure. But we have high expectations of our students, so they should have high expectations of us!
A teacher is like a performer. It will be my responsible to keep students engaged in my classroom. Like Alfie Kohn, I think that teachers hold a lot of responsibility concerning student behavior. I plan on being extremely energetic and happy in my classroom. Even if I'm having the worst day, I will leave my problems at the door. It's not a child's fault that everything is going wrong in my day, and their learning definitely shouldn't be hindered from that. Excitement is also a big part of engagement. How can I expect my students to be excited to learn if I'm not? I really like two strategies for active learning. First of all, hands on activities can be a great way to get students up and moving and involved in their learning. It's a nice break from just sitting there and listening to the teacher. Second of all, making learning meaningful is a great way to get a lot of involvement from students. Let them choose which topics to read or write about sometimes. They will have a greater interest and more willingness to learn! I plan on considering my students' preferences when selecting lessons. I want learning to be meaningful and authentic.
Whole Group Instruction
The key to productive whole group instruction is a clear understanding of basic classroom rules and procedures. My practicum teacher tells her students to be "star" students during instruction.
Stay seated and quiet
Try your best
Act responsible and respectful
Raise your hand
Those broad categories can prevent many problems during whole group instruction. They provide clear expectations for behavior during this time.
From personal experience, I know that group work can go wrong. People can get in fights, someone doesn't contribute, or someone ends up doing all the work. To make sure that these things don't happen in my classroom, I'm going to teach my students how to work in a group. I won't just suspect that they will know how. Again, expectations will be very clear in my classroom. I plan on having an anchor chart posted about group work.
Give thoughtful feedback
Respect others and their thoughts
On task all of the time
Use soft voices
Stay with your group
For individual work, I will expect my students to work quietly, stay on task, ask for help when needed and be efficient. They will need to be quiet so that their classmates can work on their work too. However, they should feel free to ask any question that they need. In my practicum setting, my teacher emphasizes that the students should be quality producers when they work, or else they are wasting a value resource: time. I would like to emphasize that in my classroom as well! It's a great thing to encourage students to be all year long.
I liked how Fred Jones focused on smooth transitions and less wasted time. He stated that it can take 7 minutes to start class. He also said that speeding up your transitions can give you up to 10 more minutes of learning time for every class period. That is huge! Time is so valuable in a classroom.
Tips for smooth transitions:
- Let the children know what is going on
minutes they'll have throughout. Don't surprise them by transitioning to another
activity out of the blue.
- Preferred Activity Time
another. Make the students want to save that time!
- Practice Transitions
have to make my students practice lining up over and over. But if that's what it
takes, I will do it!
- "Catch them being good"
- Short, verbal affirmations
Redirection Strategies for Misbehavior
- Simple Gestures
- Ripple Effect
- Explicitly state what they should be doing
- Have students acknowledge their behavior
Escalation of Interventions
- Withhold a privilege or desired activity
- Isolate or remove student
- Use a penalty
- Referral to the school office
- Confer with a parent
- Individual contract with student
In my practicum setting, I have seen the teacher use a "clip chart". All the students start in the middle at the beginning of the day and they clip up or down based on their behavior. I like this system of consequences because it allows the student to move back up if they move down. They have the opportunity to redeem themselves. I will incorporate this strategy in my classroom every day. If a behavior persists, I will refer to the hierarchy of interventions above.
The Influence and Relationships with Family
Tell them what is expected
Aim for success together
Let them know if there is a behavior issue
Keep them informed
Organization of the Physical Arrangement
SeatingIn my classroom, I would like my students to be grouped together. I don't want rows in my class. I would like tables or groups of desks. However, I agree with Wong and think that students need assigned seats. I view assigned seating as way to prevent misbehaviors. If you know that two particular students can't stay on task while they're sitting by one another, simply separate them! Also, seating arrangements provide an efficient, non-disruptive way of taking roll.
Below, I provided an example of a classroom setup that I like. I included the teacher desk. I tried not to put it in the complete corner of the room. I want to be accessible to my students if they need me. In the front of the room, I put a large rug in front of the projector. I want to have a common space where I can read to students or conduct class meetings. A kidney table is on the other side of the room. I would do guided reading there. I tried to keep it far away from the noisy parts of the classroom. I placed in my the library and reading area. I like the idea of having a bin in the middle of each table that includes paper, pencils, scissors, etc. This will prevent students from getting up to get supplies or sharpen a pencil during a lesson. Materials that aren't used as often will be in a storage cabinet, but I would pull them out beforehand if I knew we would need them.
Zones of Learning
- Quiet Zone
- Discovery Zone
- Reading Zone
- Art Zone
- Math zone
- Geography (map) zone
- Community zone
- Personal Zone
Cubbies, coat rack
Description of My Classroom
I want my classroom to be a welcoming, exciting place. However, I don't want it to be over the top with bright decorations, because I know that can make students hyper! I want a lot of useful anchor charts on the wall as well as examples of student work. Students should feel at home in the classroom, so I want to make sure they feel like it is our classroom instead of mine. I want it to be safe physically and emotionally. I hope it will be clean for the most part and organized. During quiet times, I will turn the lights down and let the students relax. My number one priority will be to make sure the students feel good about being there!