Grand Canyon University: Classroom Management for Current Practitioners
April 29, 2015
My first few days as a teacher and throughout my first year, the term “classroom management” was often heard but hardly ever understood. As an alternately certified teacher, I had certainly never heard those terms. I had expected to enter a classroom similar to any of the ones I attended as a student. Surely, my students would come into my classroom, sit down and eagerly await the receipt of scientific knowledge. Confusion ensued. My students chatted and did not complete assignments. Worse, I felt disrespected as the authority in the room! After several months, Harry Wong told me by video that I needed to have “good classroom management.” I was in, what he termed, “survival mode.” Taking notes on “The Effective Teacher Series” my district offered to me, I began to understand that classroom management is about providing a series of procedures and guidelines for behavior to my students so that they understood my expectations of their behavior. Going hand-in-hand with classroom management comes discipline, which involves putting the guidelines into action along with their intended positive and negative consequences (Wong, 2005). Classroom Management and Discipline Defined
Education literature is quick to point out that an effective teacher is one that demonstrates good classroom management. In all of the articles that I reference in this essay along with the one book and the three articles assigned this week, the message that solid classroom management is essential for a classroom that creates a good learning environment pervades. Classroom management and discipline are partners that work together to assist the teacher in creating a classroom environment. Yet, discipline has taken on a very negative connotation. However, discipline is not only a system of negative consequences, it can and should have rewards as well (Wong, 2005).
Classroom Management My first year in the classroom was chaotic at times. I had no classroom management skills. As the year progressed, I worked with my mentor and our department chair to develop a set of procedures. I hung up posters with procedures and positive and negative consequences. I pointed to them. Still, something was missing. I began to notice the things that would begin the chaos. Prediction and prevention became key (Stevens and Lingo, 2013).
Moods of certain students when they entered the classroom would sometimes let me know I had to be on alert. For example, “Brittany” tended to have a very short temper with fellow students and expressed herself as a volatile person. When “Brittany” entered my classroom and appeared agitated or not “herself,” I knew to be on alert for her to act out against others either verbally or physically. A technique I developed with “Brittany” allowed her to leave the room to “cool off” with a “thumbs up” to me. Another student, “Angel,” began the school year on a positive note in my classroom in spite of her classmates teasing her about “being bad.” I told them that I had not conferenced with their last year’s teachers and that all student-teacher relationships are different. I told “Angel” that I believed she had great capacity to learn. It was, for a time, a “self-fulfilling prophecy” (Palardy and Palardy, 1987). The success of that management style, as with my management style as a whole, is rooted in the relationships that I have cultivated with my students. Those relationships are developmentally important and increase classroom management effectiveness (Englehart, 2013).
Another classroom management strategy I worked on was planning a lesson that engaged my students (Englehart, 2012). I knew that I was due to have chatty students on my hands because I had failed to take into account their intellectual development (Schussler, 2009). To counteract lack of engagement, I…