Tuesday, October 9, 2012
My classroom management plan is at is roots a Reconstructionist practice. A Social Reconstructionist philosophy is defined as “an educational philosophy that seeks to reconstruct society through education. A Social Reconstructionist believes that students should be educated to change society” (Grant & Gillette, 2005, P. 324). As a History & Social Studies teacher my goals for my classes are to have students be able to apply the concepts in history to their real lives. I believe in the power of my student’s minds and in their ability to create social change within their own lives. It is my hope that they will continue to create social change within their community, nation, and world. In order for my students to attain a higher level of thinking students must be afforded opportunities for trial and error. Life connections must be made between the content in which the students are engaged and the lives my students lead. Once this connection is made students will begin to solve social problems within their own personal lives and that their own trials by fire will be the basis for their knowledge.
As a teacher I believe that classroom discipline thrives at the preventative approach. Being able to stop problems before they start is vital to preventing problems in the first place. I have found that a more assertive approach with the preventative approach works the best. An assertive style of discipline is when “teachers must establish rules and directions that clearly defined the limits of acceptable and unacceptable student behavior” (canter, 2011, P. 65). An example of my assertive approach would be having student expectations laid out from day one. This will reduce a lot of disruption within my classroom. Another example is that I will expect my students to complete their assigned reading every day and come prepared to class with their questions, and debates ready to be discussed. Students are expected to show respect to one another as well as to there teacher. There teacher in return will provide a safe place in which to learn.
One of my favorite quotes about my philosophy on the preventative approach is from Michael Douglas in the movie The American President “Let's see you acknowledge a man whose words make your blood boil, who's standing center stage and advocating at the top of his lungs that which you would spend a lifetime opposing at the top of yours.” (Douglas, 2005). It is my job as an educator to get students to stand their ground on issues they believe passionately in, however there is a difference between passion and out right disrespect towards another’s views. Whatever the argument that is made by my students, they must remember that at the end of the day we are all human beings, and that makes us all have different perspectives on different issues. You may not respect that person’s point of view, but it does not give you the right to disrespect them.
The supportive approach to me would be relying on my students parents, colleagues and administrators to help me deal with issues within the classroom. Assertive discipline again addresses the issue of support that matches how I feel running my classroom properly “They expected school administrators and students’ parents to support the system they advocated for” (Canter,2011, P.65). I believe that it takes a village to raise a child, and that all aspects of the child’s life should be involved in the support aspect in classroom discipline. However, it is my ultimate responsibility to maintain order within the classroom. One of the techniques I would use would be continuing to “confidently and consistently model and express class expectations” (Canter, 2011, P67). I believe that modeling good behavior establishes good expectations not only for my students but also for myself. I hold myself as accountable to the rules as I do my students. For a teacher to do something as simple as admitting that they made a mistake, and redirecting their students a few steps back is like pulling teeth. I feel that if you exhibit confidence, even in your own mistakes you can help support students confidence when they are in the middle of making their own mistakes. Most of the time teachers like to bury there mistakes inside themselves in the hope that on one will notice, but creating that wall is what looses our students confidence, because once that wall goes up, there is no ownership over your own mistakes, but if the authority figure in the classroom can own up to his mistakes, then it breaks down the wall for the students to come out and admit that they have made a mistake as well. Its easier to admit your mistakes, have a laugh, and tri it again. Furthermore I believe that I can also support students learning by having them find meaning in their education. Having students find meaning in their education means being able to have student’s complete assignments in ways that play to their strengths. Just because I ask students to do an assignment a certain way doesn’t mean that that way is the most appropriate, but rather asking students to do the assignments in ways that 1) cover my expectations for the assignments and 2) use students strengths will create an atmosphere of finding meaning in education. This approach will allow me to be able to “Shift from a focus on control to a focus on inquiry” (Towbin, 2010, p. 42-45). Seattle, WA: Educational Leadership.) for my students.
For my Corrective Approach I believe in three things. “There are three things you need to remember when dealing with students who are at the corrective point of classroom discipline: Tone, Volume, and Posture” (Smith, 2004, p. 56). I believe the tone, volume, and posture of the teacher can exist on three different levels: playful, concerned, and serious, a playful tone, volume, and posture indicates to the students that you’re ok with their behavior and that your willing to entertain it so far as it stays appropriate often times this is seen as goofy behavior that is playful but not demeaning. A concerned tone, volume and posture means that the students are starting to push your classroom limits with their behavior and you fear that it may get out of control, There is no immediate alarm, but feelings may start to begin getting hurt if the behavior continues so the teacher takes a more concerned attitude towards what students are doing in order to avoid a potential conflict often times this situation is addressed with a simple “OK guys your starting in on that one a little to much, be careful of other peoples feelings and reactions”. A serious tone, volume, and posture means that situations need to be redirected and they have to know that you are taking direct control of the situation because it will cause an unsafe environment of you do not. Often time’s teachers will use a direct approach with word as “you’ve crossed the line on that one, and you need to stop, now.” Another great strategy that I believe in strongly is having active body language. Active body language can mean anything from “proximity to signals and gestures to Teaching pauses. “ (Kyle and Rogen, 2004, p.1) Using the strategies listed above I believe reinforces my role as the teacher in the classroom. As I have stated before I am the authority in the classroom, however that does not always mean I have to show direct authority over students. Moving closer to a student who is talking makes them quiet down or stop talking all together because they don’t necessarily want you to hear what they are saying. If students continue to talk then you simply stop your class, once the student notices that the attention is now focused on them, often times they become shy and will not talk in the middle of class. This is a golden opportunity to reexamine classroom procedures and rules for all of the students so that the mistake is not done again. For students who struggle with being called out directly in the middle of class, I can adjust to give them a signal that they are being disruptive, this can be anything from a hand in the air to a particular sound that is made, or a hand signal that the student and I develop before the start of class.
I believe that all of these techniques reflect on my philosophy. Being a Reconstructionist I believe that social change beings with ones self. Taking a good look at who you are and how you wish to change can mean a lot to people. It is my hope that my students will go forward into the world and they will do something great with their lives whatever they believe that is. I believe that good classroom management begins with being an assertive teacher, putting your cards out on the table from the start, admitting that you make mistakes, encouraging passion in students, but also showing that humility an respect are must. Having appropriate volume, tone, and posture for situations will create a safe learning environment. I believe in being assertive because it will lead to a safe place for students to come to when they need help with their decisions, and that means a lot to my teaching ethnics and to me as a human being. I want students to know that they can come to me with anything and that I will do my best to provide them with a safe and caring environment in which to explore them.
Canter, L., & Canter, M. (2011). Discipline through Assertive Tactics (p. 65). Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon.
Douglas, M. (Actor). (1995). The American President [Motion picture]. Hollywood: Universal Pictures.
Grant, C. A., & Gillett, M. (2005). Learning to teach everyone’s children: Equality, Empowerment and Education that is Multicultural (p. 324). New York, NY: Thomson & Wadsworth.
Towbin, J. (2012). When Students Don't Play the Game (February 2012 ed., Vol. 67, pp. 42-45). Seattle, WA: Educational Leadership.
Kyle, P., & Rogien, L. (2004). CLASSROOM MANAGEMENT: CORRECTIVE STRATEGIES (p. 1). Bethesda, MD: National Association of School psychologist.
Smith, R. (2004). Conscious Classroom Management (p. 56). San Rafael, CA: Conscious Teacher Publications.