Classroom Management Philosophy


             Classroom management. Text books say that classroom management is anything that teachers do to create a more organized and effective classroom. In my opinion, classroom management involves the skills and tools that the teacher uses effectively to create an engaging classroom. Effective classroom management will allow learning and growth to take place. An effective classroom management plan motivates students, fosters respect, and creates a safe classroom environment.

            While there are hundreds of books to be read about classroom management, it is the most difficult part of being a teacher. It is a constant challenge for me and I am constantly revising my classroom management plan to tailor it to a variety of unpredictable situations. I also believe that wisdom comes with experience in this area. The years of trial and error and revising and trying again give the teacher ample strategies to pull from when managing the classroom.

              Procedures are the most important component of classroom management. Consistent and well-defined classroom procedures create a safe and predictable environment for students. Students thrive with structure. When the expectations are clearly outlined, the students will behave in a more positive manner.

              Guidelines are another important component of classroom management. I do not like the term "rules" because it seems authoritarian and I prefer to have a friendlier tone with my students. I have one guideline in my classroom which must be followed at all times: respect. Each student will learn to tolerate differences and reduce their judgments of others while in my classroom. I do not believe in having a lot of rules and consequences; however, I do believe that there should be some basic principles to which students adhere.

            Many people take pride in having a “democratic” classroom; however that is not how I organize the structure of my classroom. I believe that everyone should have input; that means that the teacher and students can make decisions and arrive at conclusions together. There should be a balance of compromise and decision-making. The teacher will act as a facilitator and guide to the students, however part of the teacher’s responsibility is to ensure there is structure and consistency in the learning environment.

            At the beginning of the school year, I have a discussion with my classes about how the classroom will be managed. I like encourage the students to think about what it means to manage a classroom and how they would like to have the classroom function. It is important to discuss the principles that the students feel are important. Together, we create a list of principles that will be maintained in the classroom. If a student chooses to violate one of the principles, it will be handled on a case by case basis. I do not believe in making hard and fast consequences because often times they are arbitrary. The students need to understand that behavior is a choice, and that they will be held responsible for their actions.
            There is a possibility that situations will occur in the classroom that are more serious. If a dangerous situation transpires, in which the students or teacher are in danger or prevent the learning process from taking place, then there will need to be serious actions taken. I handle this by, first, talking to the student about their behavior. If the problem is not solved after talking with the student the first time, I continue to try to have a productive conversation with the student which involves their parent/guardian. Hopefully by doing involving the parent/guardian this, there will be some change inspired at home that will carry over to school. Also, by knowing the parents and contacting them, I will establish a productive home-school connection and relationship. Persistent problems that occur after this phase will need to be addressed by administrators because it can become a hindrance to the other students and their learning.

            While classroom management often focuses on behavior problems, classroom management should include rewards for positive behavior. I do not believe in completely extrinsically motivating students; however some extrinsic motivation can lead to intrinsic motivation. I believe that students who are doing well in the classroom should be acknowledged so that they are aware that they are doing something good. Therefore, I have a reward system in place for those students who follow the classroom expectations. When students are positively reinforced, I believe that they perpetuate positive behavior in their peers.

            I believe that classroom management plans should allow for flexibility. I do not believe in excessive rules, but I do believe in having a code of ethics by which the classroom is governed. Each student is responsible for developing the code and upholding it. The teacher is responsible for upholding the code of ethics as well. The classroom is a community. In this community there should be a sense of belonging, responsibility and respect. With an effective classroom management plan, the classroom community will thrive.

 

Classroom Management Plans

Click the links below to view some classroom management plans that I have used in my classroom.

 

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