Classroom Management

Classroom management is a term used by teachers to describe the process of ensuring that classroom lessons run smoothly despite disruptive behavior by students. The term also implies the prevention of disruptive behavior. It is possibly the most difficult aspect of teaching for many teachers; indeed experiencing problems in this area causes some to leave teaching altogether. In 1981 the US National Educational Association reported that 36% of teachers said they would probably not go into teaching if they had to decide again. A major reason was "negative student attitudes and discipline". Classroom management is crucial in classrooms because it supports the proper execution of curriculum development, developing best teaching practices, and putting them into action. Classroom management can be explained as the actions and directions that teachers use to create a successful learning environment; indeed, having a positive impact on students achieving given learning requirements and goals (Soheili, Alizadeh, Murphy, Bajestani, Ferguson and Dreikurs). In an effort to ensure all students receive the best education it would seem beneficial for educator programs to spend more time and effort in ensuring educators and instructors are well versed in classroom management. Teachers do not focus on learning classroom management, because higher education programs do not put an emphasis on the teacher attaining classroom management; indeed, the focus is on creating a conducive learning atmosphere for the student (Eisenman, Edwards, and Cushman ). These tools enable teachers to have the resources available to properly and successfully educate upcoming generations, and ensure future successes as a nation. According to Moskowitz & Hayman (1976), once a teacher loses control of their classroom, it becomes increasingly more difficult for them to regain that control. Also, research from Berliner (1988) and Brophy & Good (1986) shows that the time a teacher has to take to correct misbehavior caused by poor classroom management skills results in a lower rate of academic engagement in the classroom. From the student's perspective, effective classroom management involves clear communication of behavioral and academic expectations as well as a cooperative learning environment. Douglas Brooks (1985) reports seminal research on the first day of school activity selection and sequence of novice middle school teachers compared with experienced, successful classroom managers. Brooks reports that effective classroom managers organized their activities on the first day of school consistent with the emerging needs of the students.

These middle school student needs were the following:
Am I welcome?
What are we going to do today?
Am I in the right room?
Is the teacher interested in me?
What are the rules for this classroom?
What are the goals, instructional methods and assessment systems for the class?
Is the teacher interested in how I learn best?
What interests does the teacher have that I can relate to?
What are we expected to do for tomorrow?
Will the teacher answer a question I have after class?

In response to these emerging and sequential student needs effective middle school teachers organize the first day activities in the following sequence:
Personally greet students
Advance organizer for the session at the bell
Roll and seating
Student information cards
Introduce 5 core rules (entry, listening, raising hands, leaving other's stuff alone and finally exiting the class)
Describe class goals, instructional methods and grading system
Assess preferred learning styles
Preview of next session
Access after class.

Middle school teachers that meet these 10 student needs with specific activities tend to communicate competence and effectively communicate behavioral and academic expectations.

Classroom management is closely linked to issues of motivation, discipline and respect. Methodologies remain a matter of passionate debate amongst teachers; approaches vary depending on the beliefs a teacher holds regarding educational psychology. A large part of traditional classroom management involves behavior modification, although many teachers see using behavioral approaches alone as overly simplistic. Many teachers establish rules and procedures at the beginning of the school year. According to Gootman (2008), rules give students concrete direction to ensure that our expectation becomes a reality.

They also try to be consistent in enforcing these rules and procedures. Many would also argue for positive consequences when rules are followed, and negative consequences when rules are broken. There are newer perspectives on classroom management that attempt to be holistic. One example is affirmation teaching, which attempts to guide students toward success by helping them see how their effort pays off in the classroom. It relies upon creating an environment where students are successful as a result of their own efforts. By creating this type of environment, students are much more likely to want to do well. Ideally, this transforms a classroom into a community of well-behaved and self-directed learners.

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