I believe the key to creating a productive learning environment is for students to feel safe and respected. Without these two things I feel that it would be impossible for students to learn effectively. When I use the word safety I am not solely referencing personal safety although this is of utmost important. I am also referring to social and emotional safety as well. The student must feel comfortable that they can express themselves and be listened to. This means that the teacher is responsible for fostering an environment that uses respect as its foundation. The teacher can do this by incorporating several classroom management techniques. The first is building relationships with students. This can be done if the teacher treats each student as the individuals that they are. For instance, the teacher should be knowledgeable about happenings in the school and the extracurricular activities that his/her students are participating in. They can celebrate any accomplishments that the students have made inside and outside the classroom. I also believe providing an arena to highlight talents and skills such as a gallery or newsletter are very good methods of increasing morale. Next teachers should have clear rules and techniques that outline an environment of respect. If students understand that respect is the community climate and abide by this they should feel safe and be able to be productive learners.
For the purpose of anonymity I will refer to the teacher that I observed as Mr. Positive. He is a resource teacher at Homer High School. The class that I sat in was comprised of students in grade levels 9-11.
1). Mr. Positive began the lesson checking in with the students seeing how they were doing. (I believe getting a feel for the climate of the class is good way to start.) Next, he discussed what they were going to be working on essentially providing an outline for the class period. Third, he checked to make sure the students had everything they needed in order to begin task discussed.
2.) The class that I observed was a resource class so it did not have traditional transitions. The students were doing their work independently. When students completed their work they would raise their hand or walk up to Mr. Positive. Mr. Positive would review their work and begin each conversation with one to two positive points about the assignment and then review any changes that needed to be made. Mr. Positive would then wrap up the conversation by describing more positive attributes about the task.
3.) The one thing that stood out the most to me in Mr. Positive’s classroom management style was that he clearly had established relationships with the students. When I walked into the room I had a lanyard from the University of Oregon. One of his students asked me a question about the sports teams in Oregon and Mr. Positive contributed to the conversation acknowledging that the student had family in Oregon. Mr. Positive also used humor often when talking with the students.
This is not to be confused with sarcasm, which I believe can be very destructive to the student-teacher relationship.
Instead Mr. Positive would use play on words for example he was being silly when a student misspelled orca in their paragraph as okra. He teased about how the vegetable would fit into the content of the paragraph as if it were intentional by the student. The student understood that they spelled the word wrong, but it was done in a fun manner. (You may have had to have been there) Then he made sure to follow-up with something that was very strong about the paragraph. I don’t think joking with students in this manner could be administered effectively without having laid the ground work to positive student-teacher relationships.
The quality of relationship was also noticeable as the students exited the classroom. Mr. Positive wished them a good day, but in response almost all of the students thanked him. The ones that did not thank him said they would see him tomorrow or gave some kind of acknowledgement. I was pretty impressed by this small gesture from the students especially from high schoolers. They genuinely respected Mr. Positive and looked forward to seeing him again. I believe this was built off the respect that he shows the students and his investment into getting to know the students as individuals as well as he positive demeanor.
In the name of staying up to date with the latest trends in classroom management this website includes some fun ideas for working with younger students. I personally like the “self control” bubbles. I think it is one thing to ask students have self-control, but another to have them practice it and understand what it feels like.
This blog has some interesting posts about classroom management and trainings available to teachers. I am not sure that I agree with everything posted, but it was interesting to get a different perspective. For example, one posts suggests to the new teacher to not begin with rules rather let situations present themselves then address them right away. I am sticking to setting the expectations up front.
The video I have included is just a brief reminder of how easily a teacher can fall into the trap of using negative statements in the classroom. The video presents to different teacher responses. Do you see yourself more like the first half or the second half of the video.
I thought the article was well written and thought provoking. I just can’t help but wonder when will humanity learn, when will groups of people stop attempting to exterminate others and their cultural beliefs? I have hope that the future of Alaskan Education will be able to make gains in areas that were depleted in the years past. In one school I work in there is community and educational effort to teach the Native language and provide a infrastructure that follows Native ways of teaching. However,just writing that I can tell you that the majority of the teachers are not Native and perhaps this slows the process. Although this should not be confused with inhibiting the process as some responded. As someone that is not Native I believe I can support the community and cultural goals with my willingness to learn and dedication to cultural restoration.
The classroom rules that I have established are the three R’s.: respect yourself, respect others, and respect the school. I go to so many different classrooms that I like for the expectation to be the same in each class. The first day of school I went over the three R’s with students I had them brainstorm what kinds of things fell under each category. For example, students’ may say “being a good listener’ for respecting others. I have had a great deal of success with this method so far. When I walk in and ask what the three R’s are the students’ usually rattle them off. I then ask for examples. I also point out when students are practicing the three R’s ie. “Nice job respecting school equipment.’ In terms of procedures I let the students know what we are going to be doing for that lesson. I try to give them as detailed information as possible and write on the board as we go along. Occasionally, I will give an award and let them know what is expected to get the reward. I believe positive reinforcements are the best reinforcements.
Music Video on Respect (Elementary Focus) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iGuT9-_Y5J4
Greetings! My name is Natali Jones. I spent the summer in Oregon, but am very happy to be back home in Homer. I enjoy hiking, exploring outdoors and most things chocolate.
I graduated last spring from UAF with a MA ED in Counseling K-8. I am currently working as a 7-12 itinerant guidance counselor, which doubles as my internship experience to become 9-12 certified this spring. I am very excited to work with and learn from a variety of Alaskan communities. I plan to implement a comprehensive guidance program, which includes classroom lessons. I believe this course will assist me in being successful in the classroom.[caption id="attachment_617" align="alignnone" width="300"] Oregon goodness![/caption]