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Copy of Dan's Classroom Management Plan

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John Rust

on 18 June 2013

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Transcript of Copy of Dan's Classroom Management Plan

"Achievement is a we thing,
not a me thing."

--J.W. Atkinson
1) Routines will be incorporated primarily in middle school classrooms. Individual students will be assigned certain jobs such as taking lunch count, role, putting the attendance sheet outside, etc. The point of this exercise is to fill in the transition time between classes.

2) Routine will be somewhat limited in high school classrooms. I want these classes to be more dynamic and somewhat spontaneous. This will depend on the individual class, however.

3) In all cases, each student enters the classroom quietly and begins to review their homework for the day.
My primary goal in handling misbehavior is to do so in a way that does not single a student out and make him or her the target of attention. Some students, often the worst, feed off of tempered teacher reactions. As such, a particularly disruptive student causes giggles and general disruption of the entire class. What ensues is a vicious cycle of misbehavior and rage. Threats directed at an individual are perhaps less productive than those focused on the entire class. Levin and Nolan (2010) point out that “Studies have shown that rough and threatening teacher behavior causes student anxieties, which lead to additional disruptive behaviors from students. Students who see disruptive students comply with the teacher’s management technique onlooking and tend to rate their teacher as fair are themselves less distracted from their class work than when they observe unruly students defying the teacher” (p. 29). As frustrating and infuriating as individual problem children may be, I do not intend to single them out. Instead, I plan to talk to them outside of class when other students are not around to exacerbate his or her poor behavior.
Handling Misbehavior: phase1
The first step to handling misbehavior is to determine whether the behavior constitutes disciplinary action. Levin and Nolan (2010) state that discipline problems are multifaceted and define them as follows: "A discipline problem is behavior that 1) interferes with the teaching act; 2)interferes with the rights of others to learn; 3) is psychologically or physically unsafe; 4) destroys property" (p. 23). In some cases it is more disruptive for the teacher to reprimand a student in front of the class, and better to let it lie. Not all behavior needs immediate attention no matter how annoying and frustrating it may be for the teacher.
Nonverbal intervention is arguably the most effective way to promote self- accountability, and I will use this method first when faced with a disruptive student. Much can be said by saying nothing at all. Body language and eye contact can have an intimidating and persuasive effect. Although intimidation hints at dominance, a potentially negative presence in the classroom, disruptive students sometimes need a subtle but stern reminder of who is in charge. Levin and Nolan (2010) describe these techniques as follows: “the initial interventions are subtle, non-intrusive, and very student centered. Although these behaviors communicate disapproval, they are designed to provide students with the opportunity to control their own behavior. If the misbehavior is not curbed, the interventions become increasingly more intrusive and teacher centered; that is, the teacher takes more responsibility for managing the student’s behavior” (p. 165). I have noticed that proximity interference has a significant influence on disruptive students. Simply walking around the classroom, up and down the rows of seats, keeps them on guard and more attentive. I find this to be an effective technique for all ages.

“The most powerful education in the world occurs where a group of humans devotes themselves to learning” (Carson, 2003, p.6).

Quality education demands that teachers work hard to create a welcoming, safe, learner-centric classroom environment in which they integrate as many different teaching methods as necessary. The role of educators is to develop social skills, promote participation, and challenge students to build upon each other’s ideas. Ultimately, I want my students to cherish the hours they spend with their nose in a book and be inspired, by my example, to incorporate those hours into their daily lives.
Students must have an interest in what they study. Teachers are obligated to change their lesson plans often and accordingly. As well, they should be open to using technology to engage modern students.

Although choice of study is not possible in some subjects, I will be teaching English in which numerous books are available that are applicable to the same topic. Allowing students to choose from 3 or 4 different works gives them a certain amount of power, an interest in what they choose, and respect for the teacher who gave them that choice. As a teacher, I would rather discuss material that everyone decided upon because they have a shared interest in it, even if they chose it based solely upon the cover.

Relating subject matter to children’s lives outside of school has tremendous motivational power, for students as well as teachers. Levin and Nolan state, “Human attention spans can be remarkably long when people are involved in an activity that they find fascinating.” (2010, p.106). Here, the authors are referring to the introduction of novel learning activities, but the same idea applies to relating material to current events, pop culture, and the various dramas which every man, woman, and child experiences in their lives. A wonderful aspect of literature is that many of the themes are universal, i.e., they describe the human condition in ways that anyone can relate to. Classic works of literature are held in such high regard because they meet these criteria. When effectively applied to modern society, the book lives on and becomes more powerful. Most kids (and many adults) have no desire to read something written by a dusty white guy 500 years ago. But when the topics and themes can be related to the students’ lives they will perk up, show interest, and perhaps be motivated to read further if for no other reason than to see other ways in which the work relates to them personally. A book you have been reading and teaching in the same manner for years can be rediscovered when viewed through an updated lens.

One thing I may try in my classroom is an online chat room of sorts. Because kids these days are used to communicating through mediums such as Facebook, creating a website such as a Facebook page may pique some interest from my students.
“The way to belong is to share in the work of the group, to see others as equals, to respect the rights of others, and to direct one’s efforts toward the service of others” (Carson, 2003, p.5).

One technique I will use in my classroom is cooperative learning. This approach to teaching seeks to create a learner-centric environment in which students work together to develop a positive, reciprocal relationship between the individual and the group that results in the overall cognitive and social advancement of each.

A crucial component of cooperative learning is the idea of interdependence. This concept involves a certain amount of individualism and personal responsibility within the group. Social interdependence is created when goals are structured so that the accomplishment of a person’s goal is affected by others’ actions (Johnson & Johnson, 2008, p.11). When interdependence is properly understood, individuals realize that their efforts are required in order for the group to succeed. As such, one student cannot simply ride on the coat tails of his peers. It is important that students consider their contributions to be unique and effective. Johnson and Johnson (2008) point out that when members of a group see their efforts as dispensable for the group’s success, they may reduce their efforts; when group members perceive their potential contribution to the group as being unique, they increase their efforts.
Cooperative Learning
Basic rules include but are not limited to:

1) Bullying, racial slurs, and homophobic quips will not be tolerated.

2) Show up on time with all materials.

3) Treat everyone with respect.

4) Raise hand to speak and wait to be called upon.

5) No interruptions.

6) Other rules will be made up over the first few weeks as students' behavior is evaluated. In some cases, students will be allowed to propose other rules or make changes to existing ones.

Handling Misbehavior: phase 2
While nonverbal techniques are the preferred method for managing disruptive behavior, verbal intervention is sometimes necessary and perhaps inevitable. Taps on the shoulder and sinister glares only influence some students and few teachers can resist an outburst now and then. Verbal discipline has a time and place. As Levin and Nolan (2010) point out, potentially harmful situations must be stopped immediately (p. 175) and verbal intervention is needed. But most misbehavior is only superficial. Sometimes a class can get disengaged to the point that the teacher must intervene verbally to get them back on track. However, composure must be maintained and rhetoric held in check.

As much as possible, discipline problems will be handled myself. Administration will only be called in when the situation is out of my control or dangerous. Trips to the principal's office only remove the student from the learning environment and sometimes encourages more disruption.
I want to create a safe and positive learning environment to which my students are excited to go. They should not feel like they are entering a room infected with despotism and ennui. As Carson says, “An aggressive, competitive, authoritarian, and punitive environment invites students to misbehave, to seek revenge, and eventually become discouraged” (p.7). By incorporating interesting materials, a little self-deprecating humor, and plenty of genuine encouragement, I believe most or all of my students will relax, behave well, and enjoy the class. I expect students to be open and lighthearted while simultaneously taking a serious, professional approach to their work.

An effective learning environment also requires good ethics. Students should respect me as well as their peers. It is my job to serve as a role model since I cannot force them to behave properly or take their academics seriously. Levin and Nolan make a valuable point in this regard: “a teacher changes behavior only by influencing the change through changes in her own behavior, which is the only behavior over which she has total control” (2010, p. 5). The atmosphere of the classroom, therefore, will be a reflection of myself.

I find humor to be an especially effective means of redirecting student behavior and creating a relaxed environment. By making a few tactful jokes, the teacher can redirect the laughter, and likewise the attention, back to himself. Levin and Nolan (2010) state that “Humor that is directed at the teacher or at the situation rather than at the student can defuse tension in the classroom and redirect students to appropriate behavior” (p. 180). It is a bit of stretch, I think, to assume students will behave well after making them giggle, but it does divert their attention away from whatever their peers were saying and focuses it on the teacher. Quite often disruptive behavior develops because students are bored; they are tired of trying to focus on a podium with a pulse. A little self-deprecation, however, can go a long way. It makes you human. As well, the occasional sarcastic quip regarding a seemingly boring text can change a student’s attitude by revealing certain amusing, but applicable aspects that were veiled by ennui.

Teachers must use discretion, however, when employing humor in the classroom. Although it can have fantastic results, the consequences of thoughtless rhetoric can be disastrous. Levin and Nolan (2010) point out that “There is a fine line between humor and sarcasm. Used as a verbal intervention, humor is directed at or makes fun of the teacher or the situation, whereas sarcasm is directed at or makes fun of the student” (p. 180). Not everyone appreciates sarcasm, especially when felt to be targeted at them.

The expectations I set will influence the learning experience, student motivation, and classroom ethics. My standards are high and I expect my students to work hard to meet the standards I set, both academically and ethically.

However, I am acutely aware that not everyone can reach the same academic goals. Inevitably I will encounter low achievers who need special assistance. In this case, I will customize my academic standards so that the student may be successful and confident, yet still challenged to his full potential.

One thing I need to avoid is "picking on" students who are not meeting expectations. In regards to a study done by Jere Brophy and Thomas Good, Levin and Nolan (2010) state that "multiple research studies found that teachers often unintentionally communicate low expectations toward students whom they perceive as low achievers" (p. 111). Such actions only make the student think less of himself and set his own expectations lower.
Getting to know your students is a necessary aspect of teaching. Much can be learned from speaking with students outside of class about topics unrelated to school such as hobbies, family, etc. Attending sporting events and various ceremonies goes a long way towards developing an understanding of what drives your students as well as earning their respect and appreciation.

Having a solid understanding of students' backgrounds is imperative. Cultural and social differences can cause problems among students and their learning (some societies learn in different ways or even approach education in a completely different manner than we do in the U.S.). Teachers can engage these students in class by encouraging them to speak their native tongue or translate for the class when the opportunity arises. Whenever possible, getting to know the parents is especially beneficial as it provides information on how the child was raised, culturally and otherwise.

However, teachers must be sure to maintain a certain amount of professional distance from their students. Getting too close can cause emotional attachment and favoritism. One must find a balance between the two.

Brophy, Jere. 1988. Research on Teacher Effects, The Elementary School Journal, Vol. 89, No. 1, pp. 3-21. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/1001909.

Carson, R. (2003) Beginning to Teach. EDCI 552 Coursepack. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University, Northern Plains Transition to Teaching.

Carson, R. (2003). Beyond Competitive Schooling. EDCI 552 Coursepack. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University, Northern Plains Transition to Teaching.

Gardner, H. (1982). Art, mind and brain: A cognitive approach to creativity. NY: Basic Books.

Johnson, D. W. and Johnson, R. T. (2008). “Social Interdependence Theory and Cooperative Learning: The Teacher’s Role.” In Gillies, Robyn M.; Ashman, A.; Terwel, J. (Eds.). The Teacher’s Role in Implementing Cooperative Learning in the Classroom. (pp. 9-37). Springer.

Levin, J. and Nolan, J. (2010). Principles of Classroom Management. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc.

Linsin, Michael. (2010). 8 Things Teachers Do To Encourage Misbehavior, Smart Classroom Management. Retrieved fromhttp://www.smartclassroommanagement.com/2010/12/04/8-things-teachers-do-to-encourage-misbehavior/

Sowers, J. (2004). Creating a Community of Learners: Solving the Puzzle of Classroom Management. Portland, OR: Northwest Regional Education Laboratory.

Dan Rust
EDCI 553
June 17, 2013
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