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Andrew Pang

EPSE 432 – Reflection Paper
From this course, I have learned and reviewed many things regarding classroom
management that I will be taking into my teaching. Many of these include ways that
reinforces the behaviour that I would like to see and ways to prevent problem
behaviour from occurring.
I would like to implement a positive behaviour support plan when tackling down
individuals with problem behaviour. Often times I would react to problem behaviour
and just punish it without thinking it through. For example, if I see someone acting up
or goofing off in class, I would just tell them to focus on the work or do something
punitive. This thoughtlessness might work, but it might also work against me as it
might feed into a need for attention and cause him or her continue to act up. By
analyzing the situation and the cause of the problem behaviour, I can come up with a
better intervention. In this case, if it was attention that this person wanted, I might have
to do some planned ignoring or I might have to praise this person for staying on task. If
possible, I could talk with the student and find out what the underlying cause is. Then I
could also continue on with the conversation by suggesting alternate behaviours that
the student can engage in that are more appropriate. I can also reinforce the positive
behaviours with praise and even small token rewards.
Use of reinforcers is an interesting topic. For me, I would like to use extrinsic
motivators to only motivate positive behaviours from the start or when I need to
intervene with some problem behaviours, but I would like to move away from using
them as time goes on. For example, I might need to reward a student with something
tangible when they finally participate after many periods of low participation, but I
eventually want this student to be willing to participate without the need of that
reward. It would be really troubling if they feel that a reward is necessary for any
participation, and they need to learn that the participation itself is rewarding on its
own. In addition, the use of praise as a reinforcer should be used carefully. I believe
that if I say good job to someone, I should follow it up with what they did. For
example, “Good job, I like how you raised your hand,” rather than just, “Good job.”
This way would reinforce the actual behaviour by confirming to the student that it is
that action that I am praising.
A technique I would really love to try in my classroom is the broken record technique.
This technique is used when a student tries to argue with the teacher. Rather than
argue back, which would often end up with the student winning, I would repeatedly
state a rule or statement firmly and persistently say what I want. This would show the
student and the class as well that I have the authority in the classroom, get my point
across, and avoid escalation of the problem in a quick and concise manner. I do have
some qualms with using this technique as, for instance, I would really need to practice
being assertive with what I have to say. If I repeatedly state what I want to say but in
an unassertive way, I would end up looking weak and may end up being taken over. I
also need to figure out what to say to make my point, which may be hard when I have
very little time to think about it after the student begins arguing. Referring to classroom
expectations would be a great thing to say, on the other hand, as it would be something
that has already been established and reinforces the expectation. My other qualm that I
have with this technique is that it is not guaranteed to always work in de-escalating an
argument, and I am afraid that if I do it ineffectively or to the wrong type of student, it
may end up escalating the argument further and destroying the rapport with the
student.
This brings me to my next point – rapport. I believe building rapport with my students
will make classroom management much easier. Simply, if I can engage with the
students, then they can engage in the class and the likelihood of problem behaviours
may decrease. To build the rapport with my students, I might even go as far as
spending the entire first day of teaching to just get to know the students or let them
know me a bit better. Some introduction activities or icebreakers would work well to
do this. In addition, on a regular basis, I should try to get to know the students better
throughout the year, engage with what they do not only in class but outside of class as
well, and simply greet them at the door as they come in and wish them a good day as
they leave.
Clear expectations and behaviours should be defined immediately when I begin
teaching as it is necessary for classroom management, and the earlier expectations are
set, the better. Setting the expectations can help prevent problem behaviour in the first
place, as it will highlight what can and cannot be done. As disheartening as it is to me,
a lot of problem behaviours like showing up late, raising hands, not interrupting, or
even no cheating may not be immediately obvious to everyone and reminding everyone
about them can help prevent them from occurring in the first place. Instructions need
to be explicit, and in addition to instructing them, I need to model, practice, and
constantly reinforce and review them. An interesting thing teachers and myself say
often is, “Why did you do that when I already told you once not to?” The thing that
makes it interesting is that what was told was only told once and expected to have been
fully absorbed and understood. As such, I will constantly remind my students of the
expectations quickly and early on when we start each day or move on to some activity.
For example, I should be reminding students to turn cell phones off or be put on silent
before I begin my lesson if that is part of my expectations, and I need to follow through
with the consequence if I catch it disturbing the class.

References
All information taken from power point slides and lecture discussions.