Classroom management is a phrase used to illustrate the process of making sure that classroom activities go on as planned and that the students undertake the activities relegated to them without any disruptive behavior. It involves all the activities undertaken by a teacher or any educational instructor to ensure the prevention of disruptive behavior in the students left in their charge. According to Tauber in his 2007 book Classroom management: sound theory and effective practice, the management of the behaviors of students in a classroom setting is the most difficult aspect of teaching especially in cases where the students have a negative attitude towards learning (Tauber, 2007). A survey conducted of graduates from several education schools and colleges shows that the number one area that concerns most educators is their feelings of inadequacy towards the management of their students in class. In spite of the clinical experiences of teachers in their field of work, the inadequacy of classroom management still persists.
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There is no magical elixir that will help solve this decade’s long problem. According to Canter, it becomes increasingly harder for a teacher to regain control of a classroom once the students have discovered the loss of it (Canter, 2005). This eventually results in decreased classroom engagement and poor academic grades for the students as the teacher struggles to regain the lost control. Only professional responsibility, consistency, courage, diligence, experience, and general “common sense” are paramount to the acquisition of these skills. It is important that educators understand better the psychological and developmental levels of the students that are left in their charge and realize that they cannot handle the students equally. Effective classroom management is developed by encouraging students to give regular responses on discussion issues and not being afraid to acknowledge mistakes. Sadly, most teachers are not ready to do this.
From the point of view of the students, and effective classroom manager is one who involves them in the learning and gives a clear statement of behavioral and educational prospects. A student will behave properly in a classroom if there is motivation to learn, the teacher treats him/her with respect, and is able to maintain discipline. From the perspective of affirmation teaching, students respond better to classroom activities when their teacher is keen on guiding them towards success by helping them realize how their efforts will be rewarded. This perspective is based on making the students realize that their success will come from their own efforts (Canter, 2005).
Consider a situation where a student repeatedly interrupts the classroom by incessantly talking during the lecture. On noticing this, the student responds by making hostile comments directed towards the other students and sometimes aggressively takes over the lectures by taking over the class discussion. As the case escalates, the student offensively uses a cell phone in the middle of a lecture and goes ahead to talk audibly interrupting the concentration of the other students. The other students are at first angered by these actions but as it continues with no reproach, come to accept and eventually, start picking up the insolence.
Disruptive behavior is detrimental to the academic excellence of both the students and the educators involved since it will interfere with the student’s ability to learn, hinder the teacher’s ability to teach, redirect institutional resources away from the educational mission, and may lead to significant social or psychological suffering on the disruptive student. To avoid this, the teacher should clarify basic behavioral expectations and standards that are expected in the classroom, how they are going to be implemented, and any disciplinary actions and consequences that will result in the infringement of these standards. It is important to be clear on these expectations and to be unswerving in ensuring their enforcement. Courage is required here as the teacher cannot keep on changing his/her mind each time a difficult situation arises (Canter, 2005).
Students look at adults as their role models. If the teacher is not a person they would not want to be, then they most likely will not give them respect. It is important that teachers serve as role models to the students while maintaining a sense of mutual respect in their interactions (Tauber, 2007). If the students realize that the teacher is dependable and respects them, then they will most likely respect the teacher back and refrain from disruptive behaviors.
It is also important not to take disruptive behavior as a personal insult and react heatedly. However much the behavior might be irritating, it is important to establish a dialogue with the student(s) involved instead of jumping into heated arguments in front of the entire class as this would most likely lead to loss of respect and control. In most situations, it is normally one student who starts the disruptive behaviors while others watch and listen to the teacher’s reaction (Canter, 2005). Thus, it is important to nip the disruptiveness in the bud, before it becomes unmanageable. Focus on the entire class first rather than going for the particular student. This will quell any disruptive thoughts that might have come up. However, if the disruptive behavior goes on, the teacher should ask the disruptive student to stop and call for a private session with them after the class. During this meeting, the teacher should remain calm, in control of the discussion, and focus on areas of agreement between them. A resolution and expectations for the future should be found detailing the actions to be taken if further disruptive behavior is continued.
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Disruptive behavior comes about when students feel that their teachers are not in control of the classroom. This control comes from the respect that the students have for their teacher and which has to be earned, not demanded. Though the methodologies of establishing effective classroom management remain a matter of fervent debate among educators, the approaches taken depend on the teacher’s values apropos to educational psychology and the response of the students to the approach chosen.
Canter, L. (2005). Classroom Management for Academic Success. Indiana, IN: Solution Tree.
Tauber, R.T (2007). Classroom management: sound theory and effective practice. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill/Irwin Publishing Co.