Classroom Management For Teachers
Classroom management is not something to be considered after the students have arrived. It is not something that one can simply spend a few minutes thinking about when all of the other instructional concerns have been addressed. It is a big topic in and of itself. As Weber (1990) points out, teaching involves two major activities: instruction and management. The former is concerned with the presentation, demonstration, and assessment of a curriculum. It is that part of being a teacher that people tend to think of when considering what it is to be a teacher. The latter, management, involves those activities in which a teacher engages before, during, and after interacting with children to allow instruction to take place.
Classroom management refers to the things a teacher does to organize students, space, and time to prevent or minimize behavior problems that would interfere with instruction. Among the concerns that fall under this heading are behaviors that the teacher will expect of the students, the materials that will be needed for various lessons along with the convenient storage and retrievability of those materials, the consequences for inappropriate behavior, and the means by which those consequences will be meted out. And here are the important distinctions: classroom management differs from discipline, which differs from rules. Understanding the difference between the terms, which unfortunately are often used interchangeably, will greatly facilitate developing a clearer picture of management in the classroom.
Discipline refers to actions a teacher will take after misbehavior has occurred. While classroom management focuses on the prevention of misbehavior, discipline is concerned with addressing misbehavior that has occurred. Clearly, planning for how the class is to run is a different matter from planning for what to do if things run awry. Keeping the distinction between management and discipline in mind will help you plan for each with much greater clarity of purpose.
The efficacy of discipline in a teacher's classroom will be directly related to the rules established for the class, the consequences announced, and the enforcement, or nonenforcement, of the consequences. The pertinent notions to keep in mind about a discipline plan are these:
- Merely posting rules does not constitute planning for discipline.
- Rules are enforced by imposing consequences.
- Whether or not rules are made to be broken, for one reason or another, at one time or another, they will be broken—so be sure the announced consequences are something you can comfortably impose.
The discipline portion of your overall classroom-management plan will revolve around rules, consequences, and enforcement.
Class rules represent the code of behavior that a teacher expects the students to follow (Burden, 2003). As such, they are clearly a part of the greater classroom-management plan. Through the course of your teacher-education program, you will (or did) spend time observing, assisting, and eventually practicing in real classrooms with real students. During those observation opportunities, and even perhaps right now if you have your own classroom, the class rules will be posted somewhere in the room. But what are class rules? Only those "rules" that are enforced are actually the rules of the class.
Of particular importance is that the students should be aware of the rules, that the rules are considered fair and reasonable (and that doesn't mean that everybody has to like them), and that it should be evident that abiding by the rules serves the best interests of everyone. Without doubt you have seen lists of rules that say "Don't do this, don't do that," and so forth. In such a situation the only motivation to abide by the rules is to avoid some sort of punishment. So rather than focusing on "don't" rules, the teacher may emphasize "do" rules. For example, "Don't be late" could be written as "Be on time and ready to begin class." In this way, the teacher can continually emphasize the behavior that is desired rather than emphasizing the behavior that is considered inappropriate.
Washington Virtual Academies
Tuition-free online school for Washington students.
- Coats and Car Seats: A Lethal Combination?
- Kindergarten Sight Words List
- Signs Your Child Might Have Asperger's Syndrome
- Child Development Theories
- 10 Fun Activities for Children with Autism
- Social Cognitive Theory
- Why is Play Important? Social and Emotional Development, Physical Development, Creative Development
- GED Math Practice Test 1
- Problems With Standardized Testing
- The Homework Debate