Effective learning takes place when students feel safe and are willing to take academic risks. In order to facilitate this type of learning, a comprehensive classroom management plan that benefits all students is needed. Classroom management has been a priority for all teachers; teachers are concern about students’ safety and their need for strategies for dealing with students’ negative and/or disruptive behaviors. According to Evertson and Weinstein, (2006) classroom management has two distinct purposes: “It not only seeks to establish and sustain an orderly environment so students can engage in meaningful academic learning, it also aims to enhance student social and moral growth” (p.4).
I agree with Brophy (2006) that effective classroom management works best when “three basic principles are embedded: (1) emphasize student expectations for behavior and learning rather than focusing only on problematic behavior and discipline problems; (2) support the learning environment by promoting active learning and student involvement and not just compliance with rules; (3) identify to your students the behaviors that are an integral part of the instructional agenda, more specifically: a) what behaviors are required for the goals of the learning activities to be reached; b) what does a particular learning activity imply about student roles, and c) how will the teacher prepare students to successfully enact these roles” (Brophy, 2006, pp. 39-40).
I believe that goals of education are: to prepare students for citizenship, to cultivate a skilled workforce and to help them compete in a global marketplace; also to develop students’ ability to think critically and integrate ideas, rather than to accumulate facts. The student still will know the content; the critical thinking and creativity, though, will help them in learning process.
Preparation before the school year starts
The school and school district have policies and procedures that I will need to learn before school year starts; so I will be familiar with attendance policies and discipline plans, layout of the school. Then I will organize and prepare my classroom in a way that it will be safe, comfortable for students, and in order for “effective learning.” (Marzano, R. et al. 2009). Appropriate literature sources, such as scientific books and magazines, will be ordered, laboratory equipment checked for safety and working condition, all furniture in the classroom will be organized for easy access and exit in case of emergency.
In order to be prepared, I will overplan and make detailed lesson plans for the first couple of weeks, including directions for myself on what to do throughout each class period (Kelly, M. 2014). Also “getting-to-know-you” activities, approximate set of rules and procedures, academic expectations, syllabus with major deadlines dates, homework and grading policies will be ready to go over with students and set learning goals for the year (Marzano, R. et all, 2009).
Rules and procedures in the classroom ensure a positive atmosphere and contribute to a controlled and learning environment for everyone, teacher and students. Rules have to be taught, reviewed, and reinforced if they are to be remembered. To establish rules, I will involve the class, keep rules in a positive manner, remind of the rules when someone will be misbehaving, review the rules periodically; and if a rule isn’t working, it needs to be changed. In my classroom I would post the following rules:
1. Treat Yourself And Others With Respect
2. Listen And Participate Actively
3. Strive To Do Your Best
4. Be Kind, Be Helpful, And be Excellent!
Students will be expected to follow rules and procedures. I will recognize students who choose responsible behavior and offer a reward, such as turning assignment late for full credit or bonus points on test or quiz. In case of misbehavior, warning will be issued with following detention (if not stopped), calling parents, and/or time out. To ensure students’ safety while in the Lab, a special set of rules and procedures will be ready for students and patents to read and sign it as the agreement to follow them.
I will determine what positively reinforcing my students by simply watching what activities students choose when they have free access to them, such as reading book in a library corner, having quiet conversation with their peers, or writing notes; gathering information from allowed websites for following assignments. In addition, I can ask my students through a vote what activities would be reinforcing. Students should always have a bank of reinforces to choose from; of course, all of those reinforces will be approved by me, as their Teacher. I can use the system of points for activities and assignments to be done in time, collecting those points would praise a student, such as 10 minutes on the computer with allowed websites to visit. If we will use collecting points for good behavior for whole classroom, at the end of the week watching a movie would be rewarding for all my students. They will be appreciated for turning all the assignments and homework in time. Students will follow set of rules and procedures that are simple and easy to remember. Visual posters with rules will be made by students, or posted on the board.
Safety and legal requirements
The balance between “rules and procedures….and discipline, consequences, and rewards…foster the development of positive relationships between students and teachers and create a productive learning environment in the classroom.” (Marzano, R. et all., 2009). Any type of behavior, appropriate or inappropriate, will be addressed. Appropriate behavior will be reinforced and rewarded. It is important for students to feel positive and welcoming environment. In the case of inappropriate behavior, if not stopped by verbal and nonverbal interventions, direct cost strategies will take place; independent group contingency and home contingency might be used if needed.
Safety of students is a primary concern. Rules and procedures in the classroom will be aligned with school and district rules and safety procedures. Students will know where emergency plans and phone numbers posted in the classroom, will participate in fire drills, lock downs, and other incidents drills that might threaten students’ safety.
Diversity and disability will be embraced; all students will be treated with dignity and respect. A disability “should always be considered within its cultural context” as well (Gargiulo, R., 2014). Everybody is different and I want all my students to understand that. I will continue encouraging each of them to value own individuality and be concerned with improvement themselves. I will accommodate different learning styles and levels through assessments and individual attention. The communication with students is the highest priority for me; it will help me to be aware of where each student stands and to help guide further improvement.
Planning and conducting instruction
As teacher, I will be prepared and organized; conducting instructions, I will exhibit all “withitness’s” “constitutes: occupying the entire classroom, noticing potential problems, using a series of graduated actions, forecasting problems.” (Marzano, R. et all, 2009). I expect my students follow rules and procedures, be prepared, bring all material and books for the class, not tardy; turn in assignments according to due dates. The lesson will start with opening routine (greeting, checking absence, questions on previous homework), new content development (visual, audio presentations); seatwork, group work, and/or discussion; closing the lesson (new assignments, questions).
Effective teaching and learning take place only in well-managed classrooms. If students are disrespectful and disorganized, rules and procedures are not established, chaos becomes the norm. In this situation, teacher has difficulties with teaching, and students learn less. A well-managed classroom does not appear from nowhere. Only the teacher can create it. It takes time and great effort, lots of planning and organizing. The teacher sets the classroom, develops rules and procedures according to the school/district policies, provides safe learning environment, recognizes student diversity, sets high expectations for students. My expectations for students are the following: to succeed and become professionals, caring parents, valuable community members, and responsible citizens. For these roles that I feel I am preparing my students for.
Brophy, J. (2006). History of research on classroom management. In Evertson, C., Weinstein, C. (Eds.), Handbook of classroom management: Research, practice, and contemporary issues (pp. 17-43). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Gargiulo, R., Special education in contemporary society: An introduction to exceptionality (5th ed.). 2014. SAGE Publications, Inc.
Kelly, Melissa. “Ten things new teachers should do for the first day of school.” December 1st, 2014. Retrieved from 712 educators.about.com
Marzano, R., Gaddy, B., Foseid, M., Foseid, M., & Marzano, J. (2009). A Handbook for
classroom management that works. Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Merrill.
Weinstein, C., Everston, C. (2006). Classroom management as a field of inquiry. In C. M. Evertson & C. S. Weinstein (Eds.), Handbook of classroom management: Research, practice, and contemporary issues (pp. 3-16). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.