I do believe classroom management and management of student conduct are skills that all educators require but, I also believe they are acquired skills we gain over time and with practice. Managing the array of tasks and situations that take place on any given day in a classroom should be rooted in a common sense approach that is consistent and fair. However, because effective management techniques are an acquired skill that is learned over time, educators must be willing to accept that making mistakes is part of the process and to use their mistakes as a means to improve the classroom climate.
Having said that, I am not a big believer in a host of rules that are shared with students to make them aware of behavioural expectations in my classroom. Rather, I support creating a learning environment that fosters making students feel included, important, and recognized as a valuable contributor to all learning that takes place in the class.
Elizabeth Barkley, in her book Student Engagement Techniques: A Handbook for College Faculty (2010), suggests that by creating a classroom that has a sense of community, that is, where all students feel respected and valued in situations where they interact with each other as part of the learning community, promotes student engagement. Through engagement, students are encouraged to learn actively as they collaborate to discover new knowledge. By creating a positive learning environment students are more likely to want to do well and will be successful as a result of their own efforts. I believe this will translate into a community of well-behaved and self-directed learners thus creating the perfect classroom environment for learning.
In my research I found An Effective Classroom Management Context that makes sense to adopt:
- Know what you want and what you don’t want.
- Show and tell your students what you want.
- When you get what you want, acknowledge (not praise) it.
- When you get something else, act quickly and appropriately.
Barkley, E. F. (2010). Student Engagement Techniques: A Handbook for College Faculty.San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Kizlik, R. Catalyst: Tools for Effective Teaching 2.0. Retrieved from: www.adprima.com/managing.htm