Every teacher needs a classroom management plan. They are responsible for motivating, organising, managing, and teaching the students. Teachers combine the school values with their own personality to form their teaching personality. To me, a good teacher must be patient, fun, caring, consistent, nurturing, and a facilitator of learning. The goals of my classroom management plan are to develop learner responsibility, to create a positive classroom environment, and to maximising time and opportunity for learning.
My personal classroom management philosophy is based on a combination of theories and models. Skinner’s positive reinforcement is effective to me in encouraging students’ good behaviour. Redl and Wattenberg’s group dynamics are in line with my co-operative leaning approach and their situational assistance concept is useful for teaching self-control. I intend on using Gordon’s empathic understanding so that my instructional decisions can cater to every individual student. I think that teachers should be democratic rather than autocratic because students have a right to make an input in everything that is happening in class since it will affect them. The teacher simply has to set some boundaries to guide students. According to Kounin 1970, the instructional method of the teacher will reflect her personality and philosophy. Good instructions must be clear, and easy to follow.
In considering whether it is better to impose discipline or to teach discipline, I believe that it is better in the long run for me to teach discipline. I will do this by teaching students acceptable behaviour (focussing on the do’s) and by being consistent in having a strict routine. However, there will be extreme situations which will require me to impose discipline but while that happens, I will teach self control and leave their dignity intact. I like Coloroso’s Inner Discipline but I cannot rely on it alone because I also need an approach which can both teach and impose discipline. Canter and Canter’s Assertive Discipline has a hierarchy of discipline that suits me for the few instances in which I would have to impose discipline. I intend to address minor, disruptive, and aggressive target misbehaviours in my classroom management plan. I believe in preventing the fire before I have to put it out. Although I may not be able to specifically address each of the minor misbehaviours, I want students to realise the consequences that their disruptions have on others.
I believe that for all students to be treated fairly, I would have to treat them as individuals because they would be of differing abilities, cultures, genders, ethnicities, and socio-economic class. I will expect everyone to perform at their best and everyone’s ‘best’ will differ. I want to encourage self referencing rather than norm referencing to avoid labelling and low self esteem caused by student competition. I will spend more time with the misbehavers, the slow learners, and the boys (if I think that they lag behind the girls). The instruction in my class will vary according to each student’s level. Students who finish tasks before the others will have some enrichment work to stimulate them and prevent the others from being distracted. I personally favour co-operative learning because this really helps the slow learners to grasp the lesson. It would also help the students to be tolerant of different people if the groups are of mixed members - blended across gender, culture, academic level, ability, age, and ethnicity.
I like students to really interact with me because they need to have someone that they can feel safe with. I can help to foster their emotional and social development in this way. Students require more than just spoken dialogue with the teacher to feel like they are really being given some attention. Some students are very physical with their feelings and ideas and do not readily verbally interact with others. To cater for these students I would physically touch them (like a reassuring pat on the back or shoulder), or I would just walk along the pews so that they can feel my presence among them. Then I will ask a few individual questions from time to time based on their body language. I respect the students’ ideas, and I create situations which require them to think critically and make decisions.
Constant reflection is important to me because I think that I need to meditate on my own strategies and performance as a teacher in order to identify and modify my weaknesses. My classroom management philosophy will continue to grow and evolve as I grow and evolve in teaching.