Classroom management is a term used by teachers to describe the process of ensuring that classroom lessons run smoothly despitedisruptive behavior by students. The term also implies the prevention of disruptive behavior. It is possibly the most difficult aspect of teaching for many teachers; indeed experiencing problems in this area causes some to leave teaching altogether. In 1981 the US National Educational Association reported that 36% of teachers said they would probably not go into teaching if they had to decide again.
A major reason was “negative student attitudes and discipline”. (Wolfgang and Glickman) According to Moskowitz & Hayman (1976), once a teacher loses control of their classroom, it becomes increasingly more difficult for them to regain that control (Moskowitz & Hayman, 1976, p. 283)). Also, research from Berliner (1988) and Brophy & Good (1986) shows that the time that teacher has to take to correct misbehavior caused by poor classroom management skills results in a lower rate of academic engagement in the classroom (Berliner, 1988, p. 310; Brophy & Good, 1986, p. 335).
From the student’s perspective, effective classroom management involves clear communication of behavioral and academic expectations, as well as a cooperative learning environment (Allen 1986). Classroom management is closely linked to issues of motivation, discipline and respect. Methodologies remain a matter of passionate debate amongst teachers; approaches vary depending on the beliefs a teacher holds regarding educational psychology. A large part of traditional classroom management involves behavior modification, although many teachers see using behavioral approaches alone as overly simplistic.
Many teachers establish rules and procedures at the beginning of the school year. According to Gootman (2008), rules give students concrete direction to ensure that our expectation becomes a reality (Gootman, Marilyn E. , 2008, p. 36). They also try to be consistent in enforcing these rules and procedures. Many would also argue for positive consequences when rules are followed, and negative consequences when rules are broken. There are newer perspectives on classroom management that attempt to be holistic. One example isaffirmation teaching, which attempts to guide students toward uccess by helping them see how their effort pays off in the classroom. It relies upon creating an environment where students are successful as a result of their own efforts (Pintrich and De Groot 1990). Classroom Management Gene Van Tassell Teachers do not generally want to give control to their students. Teachers are instructed that the mark of a good teacher is that the teacher is in control of the class. (Taylor, 1987) The amount of control that teachers have in the class is often seen by the administration as a measurement of the quality of a teacher.
Administrators are usually happy if a teacher never sends a student to the office and interpret this as proof that the teacher is in control and must be doing a good job. (Edwards, 1994) Teachers are afraid of losing control if students have increased autonomy. Control is an issue with which many people in management have had to struggle. Although somewhat cyclic in its application, the business world has only in the last couple of decades really accepted the idea that central control may not be the best choice of management. The management systems of the U. S. ilitary are also an interesting example. In the Vietnam war, the U. S. military was central office oriented. Most decisions were made at the Pentagon and White House. Even tactical decisions regarding the battlefield were often made on a table in Washington, D. C. If this style were compared to the management style of the Gulf War in 1991, it would be obvious that the U. S. military currently accepts that local control and autonomy are a better management style. Teachers fear that students with more control will not want to learn what the teacher wants to teach. This is Theory X type thinking.
An examination of McGregor’s (1967) Theory X and Theory Y would help teachers to understand that students want to learn. If the barriers to their learning were reduced, then students will of their own intrinsic nature will want to learn. The role of a teacher is to facilitate and help remove those barriers. It should not be the role of a teacher to assume responsibility for the motivation of the student. Teachers do not know alternative discipline methods which allow for increased student autonomy. The local state university teaches Assertive Discipline methods in its teacher training.
Teachers are generally unaware of alternative methods of discipline and what these methods have to offer to them as educators. Control of students by teachers tends to be regarded as the goal of classroom discipline. This emphasis on control is so pervasive that control by teachers is often seen by educators as more important than the learning that goes on the classroom. (Edwards, 1994) Glasser (1984) states that control is necessary for the psychological balance in one’s life. It is a common trait of human beings to want control in their lives.
In schools this is carried to such an extent that discipline itself is often seen as synonymous with control. “In schools, the most widely and practiced interpretation of the word discipline is control” (Wlodkowski, 1982, p. 2). Many students do not always know how to manage their behavior. It is a common theme for parents to be frustrated by teenagers’ lack of ability to mange their own behavior. Children themselves are frustrated with their lack of ability to cope with the problems they see in life. Suicide rates have skyrocketed in the past 30 years. Suicides have increased 300 percent in the past thirty years, while suicide attempts have risen 350 percent to 700 percent” (Edwards, 1989, p. 59). Teachers are not trained in the use of effective discipline methods. (Fuhr, 1993; Hyman as quoted in Harper ; Epstein, 1989; Taylor, 1987) Even though other methods are allowed, teachers most often use Assertive Discipline. Canter claims that 500,000 teachers have been trained in the methods of Assertive Discipline. (Render, Padilla, and Krank, 1989) No other discipline method has reported to have trained so many educators.
There has been substantial debate as to the relationship between self-esteem and performance by children in education. Although a positive correlation between achievement and self-esteem would seem logical, there has been considerable research which questions whether this correlation actually exists. (Moore, 1993; Kohn, 1994) Even if focusing on the improvement of the self-esteem of children may not produce enhanced performance, it is highly unlikely that battering the self-esteem of children will increase their performance.
Children who have poor self-esteem are more likely to be discipline problems. (Edwards, 1994) Kohn (1994) makes this point in an article which rebuts the positive correlation between self-esteem and achievement. Kohn states that “it is entirely possible that children who feel good about themselves are not necessarily high-achievers or caring people – and yet, at the same time, that those who doubt their own worth are even less likely to be so” (p. 272). The fear and stigma of public punishment must not be underestimated.
I have asked persons 60 to 70- years-old to recollect school experiences. The majority of those memories are negative ones — punishments handed out by teachers in front of children a half century before. I feel for the shy first grader who always will remember her name on the board for something that was not her fault or should have been ignored. (Gartrell, 1987, p. 10) There are many stories of how discipline used incorrectly can have lasting negative effects on the lives of children. Harper ; Epstein, 1989) It is difficult to argue that these are positive influences on the education of a child. Children need to be provided with an education in an environment which does not destroy their self-esteem. Discipline is widely regarded by most educators and the public alike as the number one problem in schools. (Wlodkowski, 1982)
Even though administrators and teachers alike view discipline as their number one problem, newly graduated teachers still feel woefully unprepared for the task awaiting them when they start their first teaching job. Taylor, 1987) There is a plethora of opinions on classroom discipline and systems available from which to choose. Ginott Model The Ginott Model concentrates on the communication between teacher and student. This approach concentrates on avoiding criticism and trying to understand the student’s feelings. Teachers are encouraged to foster student autonomy and try to help students take responsibility for their actions. These goals are accomplished by establishing a communication with the students and by reasoning with the student. (Edwards, 1993) Kay Model
The Kay Model views the character of children built upon internalized standards. People constantly judge their actions by these internal standards. By teaching and building upon these internal standards, children can be taught to by self-governing and responsible for their own actions. Students are intrinsically motivated to behave properly if they are taught how to do it. Students are responsible for their own motivation and for monitoring their own behavior. Teachers should not lift these responsibilities off of the students’ shoulders.
The role of the teacher is to teach students how to monitor themselves. (Kay ; Kay, 1994) Jones Model Fredric H. Jones developed a model of classroom discipline which accentuated the physical presence of the teacher. The basic assumptions of the Jones Model are that children need to be controlled and that teachers can achieve this control through body language, administration, and parental support. A teacher needs to understand stage presence. The ripple effects of the teacher’s presence will go out and affect each student if the teacher adequately forceful.
Stopping instruction, staring, sitting close to the student are all powerful intimidation techniques which should stop students from misbehaving. (Edwards, 1993) Recommendations 1. Training in discipline techniques is needed by any teacher. Many teachers know little or nothing of nonbehavioristic discipline techniques and are generally thrilled to hear about alternative methods. 2. Non-behavioristic discipline techniques need to be taught to teachers more than once. These techniques are the most difficult for teachers to grasp and to be comfortable applying in the classroom. 3.
Teachers must role play Reality Therapy many times in a learning environment such as a seminar before they can apply this method in the classroom. Although teachers may choose this as their favorite method, teachers may not be successful in its application without sufficient practice. 4. Classroom management is an ongoing process which is unlikely to be learned in a single seminar. Given that many discipline seminars are only a day long, such a short seminar may not give all the information needed for teachers to make a education decision regarding classroom discipline techniques.