Managing a classroom is a very complicated affair in modern times. Teachers are faced with many challenges in the course of handling students in classrooms. The modern student is more rebellious towards authority either as a result of lifestyle differences, the influence of drug and substance abuse, or social pressure that comes in the form of peer pressure.
For proper lesson delivery, teachers must be able to maintain the required level of order in the classroom. A number of methods are at the teachers’ disposal, which, when well employed, can help in maintaining discipline. These methods can be classified into two categories i.e., assertive and non-assertive methods.
Assertive methods apply force to elicit a required behavior from a student while non-assertive methods involve using polite ways that will make a student realize the best path to follow in their academic life (Konza, Grainger, & Bradshaw. 2001, p. 42). Most teachers apply the assertive methods of student correction, which have, on many occasions, led to students becoming more rebellious.
This paper develops a classroom management plan which addresses three instructional methods, namely; direct instruction, cooperative work, and assignments. The paper proposes a classroom management plan consisting of a goal, rule, consequence, and a reinforcement modality for each of the instructional methods listed above.
The Direct Instruction
Goal: To achieve full participation of the students during the lesson presentation.
Rule: students must be active during the lesson presentation and participate by either answering questions, asking a question, or taking part in in-class presentations.
Consequence: Students who consistently don’t participate during class shall take extra assignments for homework.
Reinforcement: A student, who attempts to give a positive response to a question posed by either the teacher or other students, asks a question during a lesson, or makes a presentation to class shall be praised by the teacher. The teacher shall creatively recognize student effort by, for example, asking the other students to clap for or applause the good attempt.
Goal: Students should be able to learn from one another in the group and leverage on their different abilities.
Rule: Every student must be actively involved in the group work assigned by the teacher.
Consequence: A student who fails to take part in the group work assignments shall have to work on the assignment individually.
Reinforcement: the groups shall be rated basing on the quality of the work presented. The best group work presented shall be displayed on the school or class notice board among the best section.
Goal: To check the level of understanding of the individual student in the class.
Rule: Every student should attempt the assignment and hand it in on time, as specified by the teacher.
Consequence: The class assignments shall contribute a percentage mark to the student’s overall grade. Failure to hand in the assignment for marking on time shall lead to forfeiting a given percentage on the student’s final grade
Reinforcement: students shall be awarded marks based on the quality of work that they hand in. The marks so awarded will form part of the student’s final grade.
The teacher should learn to refer to students by names rather than just pointing or calling them by nicknames. Learning student’s names can be easier if the teacher devises a seating arrangement that will enable the teacher to master the student’s names.
A teacher can attain a high level of classroom control by referring to students by name. A student who knows that the teacher knows him by name is more likely to behave well when such a teacher is around because he knows the teacher will be able to recognize him in case he messes.
It is also important for teachers to develop their students’ positive esteem as much as possible through every action they carry out in class. Each item or action is done by the teacher ought to be meaningful. For example, the color of ink used to mark students’ scripts depending on their cultural background can either be demoralizing or lift their esteem.
Red ink for example is not very appealing to some students even if the work done by them is marked correct. In the Korean culture, writing someone’s name in red is a sign of death! Korean parents are often horrified when papers come home with their child’s name written in red (Konza, Grainger, & Bradshaw. 2001, p. 29).
Self-esteem is critical for students being able to behave in a disciplined way. Teachers can help bolster a student’s self-esteem by using a number of reinforcements. Once a student does the right thing, reinforcement should always follow immediately. This enables the student’s mind to associate the reinforcement to the behavior that caused it. If reinforcement is delayed, the student is likely to associate it with a different action.
Teachers should emphasize intrinsic motivation rather than extrinsic motivation. Intrinsic motivation makes the student be responsible for his or her own motivation and not to peg it on some outside motivation. Extrinsic motivation is based on material gifts to elicit a required behavioral change (Konza, Grainger, & Bradshaw. 2001, p. 49). If a student develops tolerance on extrinsic motivation, it becomes difficult for them to perform in the absence of it.
It also helps to be consistent in the application of motivation strategies to the students in the class. This way, the students will be able to master the path to the required response. A teacher who keeps on shifting the requirements for correct and standard behavior makes it hard for the students to attain it, and this will eventually make the students discouraged in pursuing the right path.
Teachers should maintain positive communication between them and the students. Avoid over criticizing students whenever they make a mistake. Instead, the teacher should explain to the students what they expect them to do and give them some level of autonomy to exercise self-responsibility.
A positive communication link between a teacher and students helps create an emotional bond between them. Konza, Grainger, & Bradshaw (2001, p. 41) indicate that the emotional bond that exists between a teacher and a student is crucial in the management of behavioral problems.
Konza, D., Grainger, J., & Bradshaw, K. (2001). Classroom Management. Toronto: Thomson Learning Nelson.