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Classroom Management Philosophy & Dicipline Plan

  

Classroom Management Philosophy
and Discipline Plan 


Summary

My classroom management theory is based on Curwin and Mendler’s responsibility model of discipline which stresses student-regulated self-discipline.  This model suggests that students learn to be more responsible when given the power to make the right choices.  I further believe that placing an emphasis on the value of right versus wrong is substantially more effective in the long run than focusing solely on rewards and punishments.  Students must be able to envision a reasonable probability of success in order to feel that their choices make a difference, therefore they must know that their decisions come with consequences, whether positive or negative. My ultimate goal is to move students away from external, authority-imposed control and toward internal, student-owned responsibility.  This way discipline is not perceived by the student as obedience, but rather the opportunity to make the right choice. 

 

Discipline is intended to prevent, suppress, and redirect misbehavior.  In a responsibility-based classroom, however, the teacher spends less time struggling with these issues as students become more committed to making the best choices.  This inevitably leads to a much healthier learning environment for all.  Therefore, in developing a discipline plan, I have focused a great deal on C.M. Charles’ preventative, supportive, and corrective approach which I believe is particularly compatible with the responsibility model.

 

A good discipline plan must have rules, consequences, praise and rewards.  Rules should be clear and openly posted.  Consequences should be reasonable, fair, consistent and related to the behavior.  Praise should be sincere, straightforward, and specific, and rewards should be contingent upon good behavior.  My plan covers all four of these characteristics within the framework of the Charles approach.  The following describes my philosophy in further detail.

 
Classroom Management Techniques:

Preventative Approach
 
 

The ideal method for minimizing student misbehavior is to prevent it before it occurs. This is the premise behind C.M. Charles’ preventative technique. 

 

First and foremost, it is imperative for me as a teacher to develop good personal relationships with my students based on a mutual trust and respect, because these are the essential building blocks of positive behavior.  I realize that I must be a good role model and continually emphasize good manners, self respect, and respect for others in order to expect the students to follow suit.

 

I recognize also the fact that students crave excitement, as well as freedom and dignity.  Because of this, I strive to vary my lessons and make them as worthwhile and enjoyable as possible.  I choose to actively involve my students in the lesson by asking for their input and allowing them to express themselves in class activities.  This serves to empower them and help them to feel a sense of responsibility to the class.  The key is to keep the students as engaged as possible.


Classroom Expectations
As a preventative measure, rules and expectations are openly discussed in my classroom on the first day and are then posted on the wall.  A copy is signed by each student and sent home for the parent or guardian to review.  I believe that clear expectations are vital to consistent class control.  Adequately communicating those expectations is paramount.
 

Below is a list of the classroom expectations which I feel are non-negotiable: 
 

§         Be on time.

§         Stay awake and alert.

§         Bring all materials and assignments to class.

§         Respect others and the property of others.

§         Participate in class activities and discussions.

§         Work hard and do your best at all times.

Routines & Procedures
Students will often act up if they don’t know exactly what they should be doing at any given time.  In order to avoid these situations, I have established classroom routines and procedures.  These routines are explained in detail on the first day of class and modeled if necessary.  During the first few weeks of school, they are rehearsed until they become habitual exercises.  Then throughout the school year, they are continually reinforced.  This ensures that every student is on the same page and there is minimal confusion.

For example, students in my class know that they are to be in their seats before the tardy bell rings working on the day’s bell-ringer activity.  This accomplishes three things: 1) it eliminates loss of instruction time, 2) minimizes the opportunity for students to misbehave, and 3) gives students the comfort of consistency, which further contributes to a well-behaved environment. 

Be
low are the routines and procedures used in my classroom:

§         Students will maintain a three-ring binder throughout the school year.

§         Students will begin work on the bell-ringer activity immediately upon arrival.

§         All work will be done in pen and turned in on loose-leaf paper.

§         Students must have a hall pass to leave the classroom for any reason.  Passes will not be issued during the first 15 minutes or last 15 minutes of class.

§         Students who are absent will be required to provide an excused note within 5 days of their return.  Otherwise, the absence will be considered unexcused.

§         Any student who is absent on the day of an announced test or quiz (and that is the only day of absence) should be prepared to take the assigned test or quiz immediately upon their return to school.

§         It is the responsibility of the student to make up any work missed following an absence.
 

Organization

It is essential for me as a teacher to be highly organized.  Being organized helps minimize unnecessary downtime and facilitates greater student time on-task.  In turn this helps keep distractions caused by delays to a minimum. 

 

There are several organization tactics which, when used simultaneously, help to prevent a disruptive classroom environment: 
 

§         An organized teacher’s binder, filing cabinet, instruction calendar, and substitute folder ensures that I will not be constantly searching for assignments, lesson plans, or materials during instruction time.

§         Time-filler assignments, such as studying for an upcoming test, doing homework, and reading silently can keep disruption to a minimum during transition times between activities.

§         Seating charts are helpful to quickly and easily keep track of attendance and absences.

§         Setting up the classroom in rows that are easily accessible enable me to get to those students who may need additional help.

§         Modeling activities for students before they begin work on their own prevents an over-abundance of questions and confusion.


Supportive Approach

 
The primary purpose of being supportive is to encourage and assist.  When students are disruptive or have lost focus in class, it may become necessary to help them get back on task through supportive measures. 

In developing a theory on supportive discipline, I have relied on Glasser – good behavior comes from good choices – and Skinner – behavior is conditioned by its consequences.  Students need to be made aware when they make good choices and when they make bad choices.  To signal good behavior, I rely on positive reinforcers, such as recognition and praise.  For bad behavior, I use non-verbal communication and limit-setting acts such as eye contact and proximity control.  

Below is a list of both positive reinforcement and limit-setting acts which I use in the classroom:

Positive Reinforcers

  • Recognition and praise from the teacher
  • Display work on the “Wall of Fame”
  • Call home or note home telling how good the student's work has been
  • No weekend homework
  • Computer time
Limit-Setting Acts
  • Proximity through mobility
  • Eye contact
  • Long pause
  • Tap finger on student’s desk
  • Gestures
  • Blink lights or raise hand for class attention.

Sometimes it becomes necessary to provide incentives if student misbehavior becomes an on-going problem in the classroom.  For these situations, I have developed an incentive plan in order to help reinforce appropriate classroom behavior.
 

 Incentive Plan

I will announce to the class that an activity time reward will be forthcoming should the misbehavior cease.  I will offer this reward when I deem that the on-going class behavior problem has sufficiently improved.  As a caveat, I may hold periodic activity time “days” such as every other Friday, should I feel it would improve behavior more effectively.

 

The class will choose the preferred activity from a menu developed by the class and approved by the teacher.  These activities will be educationally-related, but desirable enough for the students to want to participate.  Some examples are jeopardy, academic baseball, stump the panel, and tic tac dough.  I will consult the internet from time to time for new and exciting activities to share with the class.


Corrective Approach
Misbehavior is a disruption to the learning environment. The time spent dealing with misbehavior would be better spent teaching the others. Therefore, misbehavior in my classroom will be dealt with quickly and consistently utilizing corrective discipline techniques.  Below I’ve listed the hierarchal steps to be used when limit-setting acts are ineffective.   

These are the negative consequences which will be followed consistently throughout the school year: 

Negative Consequences

Step 1.            Talk with student in hallway or after class

Step 2.            30 minute detention

Step 3.            1 hour detention

Step 4.            A letter is sent home to be signed and returned

Step 5.            Referral to office

Step 6.            Parent/teacher conference

 


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