1. As a teacher your daily teaching practices and decisions will be influenced by your own professional beliefs and experiences. Therefore, please describe your educational philosophy and beliefs as it relates to classroom management and the inclusion and support for a diverse group of student learners.
Every child comes to school with unique skills, abilities, and background experiences which affect how they experience school and the processes of learning. These skills, abilities, and experiences must all be considered when planning lessons, units, and the environment the teacher creates in the classroom.
Students must first believe that school is a place they come to be supported as they learn. Learning expectations should challenge students equitably and be communicated clearly. The effectiveness of the classroom is based primarily on the teacher’s confidence in herself. If the teacher is not confident in her own teaching and classroom management abilities, her students will not be confident with her either. Students should be able to admire, respect, and relate to a teacher to consider her a role model and to be inspired by her. I would model a love for learning and curiosity about the world by showing interest and enthusiasm in lessons. I would also create an environment that inspires creativity while remaining well-organized.
It is very important to engage every learner in each lesson. Every students’ needs need to be addressed to set-up the classroom for success. Having one on one conversations with students about their feelings and experiences outside of school and how they feel they are progressing builds a rapport and makes students feel that they are a meaningful part of the classroom community. Other strategies that help students feel supported in the classroom include choosing topics that relate to students’ culture of origin, background knowledge, and interests and acknowledging students’ as contributors by asking them to explain topics that they are knowledgeable about, or that interest them, to the class.
Hanging samples of student work, as well as learning tools such as posters and word walls aides student growth and development. Students become resourceful as they use learning tools and when they can see an example of their work on the wall, they build self-efficacy because they can see how they are improving over time.
1. Based on your educational philosophy of classroom management (Question #1) describe in some detail the specific strategies, activities, and teaching behaviors that would be a part of your classroom management plan for establishing a positive learning climate and supporting all student learners.
It is very important to establish a positive earning and social environment at the onset of a new school year. The first step toward accomplishing this is to develop a classroom management plan supporting all student learners. The most important time to establish classroom management is before students even enter the classroom. I will begin the first day of school by smiling as I greet parents and students. Next, I will ask the students to line up outside the classroom door. Lining-up establishes order and teaches the students the expectations I will have every time the students enter the classroom for the rest of the year. Then I will tell the parents to say goodbye to their students and tell the students what they will do and where they will go upon entering the classroom. This establishes a friendly atmosphere and shows students and parents that I am prepared and purposeful.
Once inside the classroom, I will compliment respectful behavior and ask students to raise their hands to answer a couple of questions about themselves to build rapport. I will also introduce myself and begin to introduce students to the expectations inside my classroom. If the classroom is structured with procedures and routines and behavior expectations are clearly communicated, it should not be necessary to post a list of rules to follow. All procedures will be taught, rehearsed, and practiced as they naturally come about within the first weeks and months of the school year, or whenever a new skill is needed.
I also believe that engaging lessons play a role in establishing a positive learning climate. When a topic or lesson appeals to students’ curiosity or is relatable to students’ own background experiences they are motivated to learn. When students are motivated to learn they are more willing to embrace challenges and take responsibility for their own learning. It is important to establish self-efficacy in learners by providing each student chances to succeed and giving positive feedback and liberal praise when students succeed.
When time is spent diligently teaching procedures at the onset of a new school year everyone knows how to be successful for the rest of the school year. When students know how to succeed they feel accepted because they are fully participating in the classroom culture. Students share a common language when they use the same signs to communicate, they learn the same routines, and have access to the same resources, at least while they are in class.
2. How would you handle a student who is a consistent behavior problem in your classroom?
There are many factors to consider when handling a student who consistently presents behavior problems. Initially, it is important to try to discover the root of consistently problematic behavior. The first thing I would do is consider whether there seems to be a pattern in the types of behavior being presented to determine if there is cause for great concern. For example, the child may be using the behavior as work avoidance because a learning disorder or other impediment is present or there may be an extremely stressful, or even abusive, home environment. While ruling out major sources or seeking help for the student, I would continue to give the known consequence as behaviors are presented. For example, having the child change their clothespin or sending a note home to his or her parents.
Next, I would consider the antecedent. What is happening immediately before the behavior occurs? If possible, I would remove or minimize the effects of the antecedent. For example, If the student’s behavior worsened just before lunch because he or she is too hungry, I would make sure that the student ate at recess before playing or allow the student to step outside for a quick snack before the behavior escalates. If the behavior appeared to present randomly, I would consistently give the known consequence, but I would also have conversations with the student to find out what is happening from his or her perspective.
Consequences are only as effective as they are meaningful to the student. In order to find an appropriate solution I would ask the student how he/she sees the problem and why he/she thinks it is occurring. I would ask the student what he or she thinks should happen if the behavior occurs. Bringing the student into the process gives the student a sense of responsibility and also teaches them to self-regulate. Also, students often come up with a much harsher consequence than the teacher would provide, which can also be discussed with the student. After establishing a specific consequence, I would create a contract with the student, and possibly with the parents to bring home and return signed, depending on the age and maturity of the student. I would also consider creating a secret signal to communicate a reminder to the student or for him or her to use to let me know that he or she needs to step out of the room for a minute to cool down.
Positive reinforcement is also a great motivator towards appropriate behavior. Praising the student, even for a very small improvement, shows that you are paying attention and reminds the student that he or she is capable of good behavior. Good behavior must be rewarded positively to build self-efficacy and reinforce the student’s effort.