Maintaining order in the classroom is the number one challenge that new teachers face.
In the past few years due to children maturing faster and many coming from broken homes this problem has intensified. Students seem to be more defiant and teachers are more intimidated and unprepared to deal with the issues in the classroom. This usually results in poor classroom management. With the implementation of an effective plan the teacher can make modifications to the classroom to ensure the students are under control and the environment is set for students to excel.
There are several strategies that have captured my attention for various reasons over the past few weeks. They are Canter’s Behavior Management Cycle, Win-Win Discipline, Morrish’s Real Discipline, Wong’s Pragmatic Classroom Discipline and William Glasser’s Discipline Guided by Choice Theory. The Canters take an assertive discipline approach when it comes to behavior management. “Assertive discipline is a systematic and objective way of ensuring a teacher controlled classroom” (Charles, 2008).Lee Canter and his wife founded this behavior management plan from a three step cycle.
First explicit directions should be communicated to the class. When these instructions are given, behavioral narration can be used to reinforce positive behaviors of those students doing as they were told. In the case that the student continues the disruptive behavior, corrective actions must be taken to stop the unwanted behaviors. This cycle can be modified to target any age group. In addition, it can be tailored to deal with different stages of classroom disruptions as well.Canter firmly believed that teachers have certain rights and responsibilities.
Both he and his wife feel that the teacher is responsible for establishing the rules and directions in the classroom. These rules and directions are to be clearly defined and understood by the students. It is also expected that students follow the determined set of rules each and every day. A prime example of this type of management cycle would be Mrs. Jones instructing her 4nd grade class to come in, have a seat and without talking begin working on the bell assignment posted on the board.
The directions given were explicit and there should not be any students that are unclear on what to do because of the details given. If Mrs. Jones comes into the classroom and sees Maria and David are talking and not working the assignment she could use behavioral narration to reinforce the positive behaviors of the students that are doing as they were told. For example, “I see that majority of the class is working on the bell assignment without talking. ” This will allow the students that are not on target a second chance to do as they were told.
If they continue to break the rules consequences must follow. The second classroom management system is Kagan, Kyle and Scott’s Win-Win Discipline Model. “The primary goal of Win-Win Discipline is to help students develop long-term, self-managed responsibility” (Charles, 2008). This method allows for second chances which can be a disadvantage to some students.
For example, if a student is always allowed a second chance he/she may be led to believe that every time they are wrong they will get the chance to correct that mistake. This is not always the case.This method also empowers student to make choices that best suits them and are compatible with the interests of their classmates. I feel that this method is best suited for older students, perhaps the latter years of junior high and high school. Elementary aged students are not capable of making decisions solely by themselves that will benefit them and their classmates.
Also this method places a lot of emphasis on the student asking for help when needed. Younger students require more help and that assistance should be given without having to ask each and every time.With older students, they are more independent and often can read and follow directions and rules on their own. Elementary school aged children need a more structured environment with plenty of guidance. The third method is Morrish’s Real Discipline Model. “Morrish contends that today’s popular discipline systems are inefficient because they expect student to make decisions they are not yet ready to make, resulting in an overabundance of negotiating and haggling between teachers and students” (Charles, 2008).This model supports guidance for students and teaches the students right from wrong. Morrish believes that discipline is used as a deterrent for misbehavior.
In other words, discipline is used to prevent misbehavior not something that is done when a student misbehaves. I do believe that this method could work for all ages. However, with the younger students it could be most effective. During their beginning years, students need more guidance and rely on the teacher to make decisions that are in their best interest. They also rely on the teacher to instruct them on how to act and behave.For example, if a Kindergartner were standing in their chair and yelling in class the teacher would need to intervene and correct that student. A high school student can already determine that this type of behavior would be considered inappropriate and would be less likely to engage in such. The fourth model for classroom management is Wong’s Pragmatic Classroom.
Harry Wong believes that discipline problems largely disappear when students are carefully taught to follow procedures for all classroom activities (Charles, 2008).The problem here is that students are so diverse that not all will act appropriately even if they are taught to do so. This concept holds true for every age group. The main point of this method is to plan. Wong stated “If you fail to plan, plan to fail” (Charles, 2008). Harry Wong and his wife feel that by planning, the classroom will be more manageable and students will learn effectively. All teachers can plan; however, not all of them do so. In addition, not all teachers create effective plans.
Not planning takes away from valuable instructional time which short changes the student in the long run.Lastly, is William Glasser’s Method, Discipline Guided by Choice Theory. “Glasser says that most classroom misbehavior occurs when students are bored or frustrated by class expectations, conditions that occur when student’s basic needs are not being met in school” (Charles, 2008). This happens all the time in the local school here in California. In 1st grade there was a student who knew little English. He was often bored and frustrated during class time because he did not understand the language being used. The student was constantly acting out and disrupting class.He started to receive some help from an ESL teacher and his behavior improved some; however, when the student reached 2nd grade he was again disruptive.
The administrators made the decision to place him back in 1st grade and have him work with a bilingual aid. This helped the student tremendously and once the student was able to overcome the frustration associated with the language barrier he no longer disturbed class. Glasser believes that student’s basic needs must be met in order for them to flourish in the classroom.The Choice Theory, states that “we cannot control anyone’s behavior except our own, and cannot successfully make a student do anything” (Charles, 2008). I firmly believe that students have a mind of their own and when they get into that stubborn state of mind you cannot get them to do anything they do not want to do. The reason I chose this method to discuss is because I feel that the student’s behavior can be positively influenced. The teacher may not be able to effectively make the student do what’s asked; however, through proper techniques the student’s decision to ignore what the teacher is asking could be influenced for the good.I think this theory can relate to all students no matter the age; however, it relates to them differently.
For example, the fact that students will do what they want regardless is definitely the junior high and high school level. However, in today’s society students are starting this rebellious behavior at an earlier age. I have seen so many students that are unruly and no matter what the teacher says they continue to do as they please. However, I feel that it also depends on the teacher and what the teacher allows the students to get away with on a daily basis.When it comes to elementary aged students, I feel that they can be controlled more and their behavior and actions are easier to influence. In other words the student does have a choice to obey or disobey; however, I do not totally agree with the choice theory and the message it relates.
It all depends on the student. All in all there is no one size fits all approach to classroom management. There are methods that work best for certain teachers and methods that are better suited for different groups and developmental levels.The key with any management plan is to make it clear from the start and let students know that there are consequences associated with unwanted behavior. It is important to allow time for adjustments and modifications to be made after school has started and be sure to tweak the system if needed. The main idea is to do what works.
It is up to the teacher to effectively manage his/her classroom and implement corrective action if needed.ReferenceCharles, C. M. (2008). Building Classroom Discipline (9th ed.
). Boston: Allyn & Bacon.