Element 5

Element 5: Teachers create and maintain a safe and challenging learning environment through use of classroom management skills

I believe…

  • There is no such thing as disciplining a student!! There is however some truth behind disciplining the behaviour of a student (Glasser, 1985). All students have the right to education, the quality of their education depends not only the administration aspects of lesson planning or content, but also largely on the effective management of student behaviour within the class context. It is thus extremely crucial that teacher have classroom management skills that are suitable for the class they work with to ensure execution of quality and effective learning experiences.
  • I believe that classroom management skills are closely linked to effective pedagogy. When students are engaged in the learning process they are less likely to misbehave or cause disruptions in the lesson (special ed reference). And thus I believe the key aspect in managing the classroom through development of skills and knowledge of aspects discussed in elements 1-4.
  • The students who do not participate and engage or is reluctant in learning, will often not want to build positive relationships with their teacher or peers (Edwards & Watts 2004; Brady, 1999) and so when teachers are able to build a positive rapport with students they are better able to engage and feel more willing to participate in classroom activities. This willingness deters students from misbehaving and become more responsible for their own learning. And hence through promoting and improving the learning environment we can create a challenging yet safe environment that respects the rights of all learners to feel safe, and be treated with respect (Edwards & Watts, 2004, p. 218)

I have…

  1.  Demonstrated various communication strategies in developing rapport with all my students. Every morning in my last practicum, my students would enter the class with me giving them a hand shake and greeting them formally and in a personal manner. This brief moment gave me an opportunity to speak to each and every student and examine their mood for the day. Which helped me greatly in grouping students in activities as well as assist them in the day’s learning experiences. I have also used personal profiles as mentioned in element 2.
  2. At the beginning of my teaching practicum, I always try to establish a rapport with class students and their parents. I aim to remember students’ names and something about them from their personal profiles in order to start building a teacher student relationship. I have in my recent practicum sent a letter home to parents along with their homework schedule to introduce myself and welcome parents to come speak to me when about their son or daughter in the class. I feel this is an important step for beginning teachers to take in achieving learning outcomes, developing students’ social and emotional development and also allowing for easier classroom management which subsequently allows for greater focus on learning rather than disciplining. I have also participated in community events to further build my professional relationship with students and their parents through volunteering to help at the school canteen, attending school fetes and help organizing festivals at the school.
  3. Ensured I have a sound understanding of the school’s evacuation plan prior to commencement of teaching. I usually request for a copy of the evacuation plan as well as the school’s policies in regards to discipline prior to my pre-prac visit to make myself familiar with such documents. I would also discuss with my co-operating teacher if in certain situations where students are aggressive or of danger to them what the best possible solution can be. I have found this not yet necessary for the classes I have taught however am aware these plans must be in place in case such scenarios break out.

I need…

  1. Learn and practice a larger range of practical approaches to managing student behavior so students can take a greater responsibility for their learning through allowing them to make choices, as noted in my belief about classroom management.
  2. Continue to develop my teaching strategies as means of developing classroom management skills as well as wider my understanding of various principles and practices that can be used for managing students’ behaviors as I understand, quality teaching strategies play a large part in classroom management however there are other factors that must also be considered.

I will…

  1. Request my co-operating teacher to arrange observation times of other teachers in the school so that I can observe various teachers’ approaches to managing student behaviors.   
  2. Widely read about a range of strategies on classroom management and select a number of strategies to trial in my upcoming practicum after discussing such strategies with the co-operating teacher.