The need for effective classroom management – revisited
By Roger Mikkelsen
Apparently, I did not understand the submission requirements of this assignment earlier since I was the only one to post this paper from week one (and no one said anything). That being said, I will take the opportunity to revise my class rules and add a link for the week 3 assignment.
Establishing the rules at the beginning of the school year is necessary for effective classroom management. Classroom rules need to be clear and simple to understand with clear consequences and agreed upon by students. “Some teachers establish a few briefly worded rules for general classroom behavior” (Marzano 2005). In my class we had three rules, respect the teacher, respect others, respect yourself.
These rules govern the general atmosphere of the class but don’t address the specific disrespectful behaviors that students are capable of displaying in the class. My particular inclination is to allow students to be self-governing and “rise-up” to the occasion of “respectful” behavior. Unfortunately, this approach does not work. My observation (and conventional wisdom) is that you have to be a stern task-master for the first semester (don’t crack a smile). This goes against my temperament, as I am a little more easy going. But what happens it you are too friendly and personal is, the students will walk all over you for the rest of the year. This leads to constant interruptions and which frustrate the teaching process as well as the students.
Classroom Rules need to be reviewed periodically to refresh students memories. Monthly, weekly, or daily if need be. I like the idea of using posters and contracts, but only if used regularly as reminders. Too often, these items are ignored as wall paper.
Classroom rules need to be referred to when students break them and consequences need to be delivered in a consistent and unbiased manner. For example, if a student talks to another classmate while the teacher is lecturing, the student must be held accountable to their behavior and serve the detention or agreed upon consequence.
The following is a link to a site that I found particularly useful and interesting. The suggestion is that the most important rule is to keep the teacher happy. This is an variation of the “golden rule” helping students to understand that they will be happier if they focus on making others happy rather than focus on making themselves happy (which never works).
Establishing rules at the beginning of the school year is necessary for effective classroom management. Agreeing on rules and consequences is the first step. Reminding students of the rules is the second step. Being consistent in delivering consequences for breaking the rules is the third step. Getting students to follow class rules is not always as easy as you would like it to be and requires constant vigilance. A final thought on making classroom rules is to get the students involved with the formation of the rules so that they will have buy-in and enforce the rules on each other, rather than the teacher constantly having to nag students who are looking for loop holes.
Marzano, Robert. (2005). A handbook for classroom management that works. Alexandria, VA: Association for supervision and curriculum development.