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Philosophy of Classroom Management Krystle Bond EDPS 310 November 6, 2013




Philosophy of Classroom Management A classroom full of thirty young adolescent students can be intimidating, overwhelming, and difficult to deal with, that is, if you do not have the right toolkit. Many new teachers wonder how an educator can keep control of an entire classroom full of students who all have different needs and abilities while still finding time to teach. The answer is to develop a well thought out systematic plan of action for handling the classroom, which will contribute to a positive classroom environment and enrich student learning. My philosophy on classroom management is one that is focused on prevention. The way a classroom is organized and run can prevent much of the disruptive behaviour. I believe classrooms should be student-centered, democratic, and based on responsibility (Manning & Bucher, 2012). This allows for student dignity, growth and holds students accountable for their actions, which leads to a safe and productive learning environment. It is my belief that the purpose of school is to prepare students to live successful lives where they control their behaviour, care for others and make intelligent decisions. Teachers, administrators, parents and students need to work together for students to succeed in learning. According to the Teaching Quality Standards, it is the teacher’s responsibility to provide a safe, caring, and productive environment for students to learn what they need to meet the curricular outcomes (Alberta Education, 2013). For effective learning to happen, teachers must manage student behaviours to maximize the time students spend on learning (Willis, 1996). Administrators need to set school wide policies and guidelines for behaviour management and provide guidance and support for teachers working with an increasingly diverse population. Parents need to be accepting of the various teaching techniques; they need to share with the school their children’s strengths and weakness; as well as encourage and motivate their children to learn. Students need to participate in the learning experience and take responsibility for their own learning. When all



parties in a child’s learning community work together classrooms become a positive learning environment for all students. My classroom philosophy is most closely related to Curwin and Mender’s Discipline with Dignity model. Disciplining with dignity requires a focus on long-term behaviour changes that teaches responsibility over obedience (Manning & Bucher, 2012, p. 219). I like that the model follows my belief that classroom management should be student centered, democratic and responsibility based. Choice is the number one aspect of student centered learning as students only learn to make good choices by being given that opportunity. (Levin, Nolan, Kerr & Elliott, 2012, p. 92). Students should have a say in classroom routines and procedures, activities and assessments of their learning. When students are allowed to participate in decisions that affect them and are given choices about their learning experiences, they gain a sense of ownership over their behaviours and their learning. I believe this philosophy lends credence to my desire to be a teacher with a referent and legitimate powerbase. When students are treated with respect and dignity they like you as a person; when you have proper knowledge of the curriculum and student interaction students know they can trust in your teaching abilities. An effective classroom management plan is based on prevention. “Up to ninety-five percent of behaviour problems can be solved by effectively organizing a classroom, explaining and reinforcing rules, building a safe and caring learning environment, and providing good instruction and activities” (Willis, 1996, p. 8). Students make classroom rules and expectations in conjunction with their teacher, giving the students a sense of control over their lives and ownership in their behaviours. It is important to build an environment where students can make mistakes without fear of punishment or embarrassment and where students are respected and treated with dignity, so they can become fully invested in their learning. Quality instruction takes into account all students’



learning styles and gears lesson and activities to meet individual needs as best possible. According to Hardin, “A large proportion of unwelcome behaviors can be traced to a problem with what students are being asked to learn” (2008, p. 144). Content must be engaging, relevant and meaningful to students inorder for them to want to stay on task and learn. Collaborative activities are an important part of students’ learning experiences. Students learn more and are more likely to choose to act in ways that are in the best interests of everyone (Delisio, 2011, p. 5). Orchestrating classroom routines and activities to enhance learning and minimize behavioural issues makes for a better learning and teaching experience. Despite a teacher’s best effort to prevent misbehaviour, students will still act out. However, a problem only exists when behaviour “interferes with the act of teaching, interferes with the right of others to learn, is psychologically or physically unsafe or destroys property” (Levin et al., 2012, p. 10). If behaviour is not a direct problem, then I would see no reason to intervene. Doodling and quietly doing their own activity instead of following along are behaviours that do not require discipline or intervention. However, a good strategy to get the student on task without disrupting others learning is to move closer in proximity or get them involved in the activity by asking him or her a question. Behaviours that require intervention include bullying and student talking over the teacher as it disrupts others learning. Student misbehaviour should be seen as a learning opportunity. When a student misbehaves teachers need to find out what motivates the child and try to develop ways of meeting the unmet need by learning new skills (Levin et el., 2012, p. 94). Strategies to stop bullying include, immediately removing the bully from the situation, discuss with the student why they were behaving that way, jointly strategizing ways to handle their feelings and deciding on ways to fix the problem they created. No one discipline model or technique will work



for every child because each student and situation is unique. Therefore, consequences for misbehaviour should be tailored to the individual. I believe that whenever possible teachers should allow students to experience the natural consequences of their behaviour. Students directly learn from their experiences without teacher intervention. However, it is sometimes necessary to use logical consequences if no direct or meaningful consequence is experienced or understood. Rules and guidelines are set out beforehand and students are given a warning about what will happen if the behaviour continues. “You Break It, You Fix It,” is one type of logical consequences I would employ in my classroom. When a student behaves in a way that harms another student, he or she must take responsibility for fixing it. Logical consequences are directly related to the misbehaviour, are respectful of the child’s dignity helps children develop internal controls and to learn from their mistakes. Managing a classroom is a large responsibility that comes with many challenges. The biggest challenge for me will be having the confidence to handle unruly behaviours. Developing a classroom management philosophy and establishing a plan for handling the classroom is a great start. Additionally, reading up on behaviour techniques will give me further insight into how to handle the issues that arise in a classroom. Finally, observing how my mentor teacher handles misbehaviours, strategizing with her on effective classroom management techniques and applying the techniques out in a supportive classroom will increase my skills and give me confidence in my ability to manage the learning environment in my classroom. Classroom management is essential to create a positive and effective learning environment. Student’s behaviours need to be properly guided in order for effective learning to take place. Being prepared, setting firm expectations, following through with natural and logical consequences and



providing the students with choices to empower them to a higher level of achievement are all imperative to the students, and the teacher’s success. This is achieved by taking a holistic approach to education, including all the stakeholders in a students’ life and by utilizing a dynamic set of skills catered to creating success in each individual student’s situation.



References Alberta Education (1997). Teaching quality standard applicable to the provisions of basic education in Alberta. Retrieved from teachqual.aspx

Delisio, E. (2011) Discipline with dignity stresses positive motivation. Education World. Retrieved from

Hardin, C. J. (2008). Effective classroom management (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill Prentice Hall.

Levin, J., Nolan, J., Kerr, J., & Elliott, A.(2012). Principles of classroom management: A professional decision making model (3rd ed.). Pearson: Toronto.

Manning, M. L., & Bucher, K. T. (2012). Teaching in the middle school. Boston: Pearson.

Willis, S. (1996). Managing today’s classroom: Finding alternatives to control and compliance. Managing Today’s Classroom, 30(6). Retrieved from newsletters/education-update/sept96/vol38/num06/Managing-Today's-Classroom.aspx

Classroom Management Philosophy