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CLASSROOM MANAGEMENT

Richard McKenna
GMIT Letterfrack G00295467

ACADMIC ESSAY 2012

ABSTRACT

Classroom management is such a wide and interesting topic with many directions to discuss, in
this essay it will focus on lesson planning and preparation; physical layout of the classroom and
resources; creating a positive environment for learning; health and safety; rules and routines;
appropriate rewards and sanctions; behavioural management and discipline and record keeping.
This essay explores certain aspects of classroom management that occurs within the schools. It
focuses on three aspects of classroom management; Firstly, there is a discussion on lesson
planning and preparation, including why is it crucial to have a good lesson planned out to keep
the students engaged throughout the lesson. This is followed by how to create a positive learning
environment; here I introduce the theories of Maslow and Rogers. Finally behavioural
management is examined where I will discuss how we model our behaviour onto the students
and discuss behaviour disorder on how to identify and manage them.

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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I would like to thank my lecturer; Dr. Pauline Logue-Collins, who provided me with great
support, advice and guidance throughout this essay and also the librarians at GMIT who helped
while I completed my research. The following people reviewed various parts of the essay
throughout its completion; who were Denise Lynch; Sandra Wogan; and Fiona Brennan. Their
ability to identify errors that my eyes had stopped seeing after the amount of time I spent looking
at the essay I found this was indispensably beneficial. Also my peers who have gave me great
support throughout this essay.
Thank you

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ACADMIC ESSAY 2012

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Abstract

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Acknowledgements

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1. Introduction

2. Lesson Planning

3. Positive learning environments

4. Behavioural Management and Discipline

5. Conclusion

6. Bibliography

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1. INTRODUCTION

Classroom management relates to such areas as

Lesson Planning and Preparation;

Physical Layout of the classroom and resources;

Creating a positive environment for learning;

Health and safety;

Rules and routines;

Appropriate rewards and sanctions;

Behavioural Management and discipline;

Record keeping etc

The areas which will be explored in this essay include, Lesson preparation and planning; creating
a positive environment for learning and behavioural management. Being a humanist myself I am
of the opinion that if we get in touch with our students and get to know each of them on a
professional person level we will have a better working relationship, I feel all three works well in
conjunction with each other and if practiced in the right way will lead to an excellent class.

ACADMIC ESSAY 2012

2. LESSON PLANNING AND PREPARATION.

Lesson planning serves a variety of purposes. One important purpose is to help you develop your
abilities to select, structure, and organize lesson content into effective support for learning.
(Richards, 2011, p. 37). Lesson planning plays a vital part in classroom management, as a good
lesson plan will keep bad behaviour at bay and keep the students interested as you will have
planned for the different learning abilities of the students. A clear delivery of a fun interesting
lesson will keep the student engaged. The room should be previously laid out in the correct
manner and be clean and tidy. Students will not perform well if the environment in which they
are taught is untidy, dull, disorganized and lacking in visual interests. (Butt, 2008, p. 72).
Students will copy the teachers habits so therefore it is best practice to be extremely organised
and tidy to model the desired behaviours for students. The lesson plan will have to take into
consideration the layout of the room, as this will affect how the lesson goes. Active learning is a
good way to keep the students attention but not always possible where the teacher would be
moving from room to room and not always have full access to their recourses. This is where
lesson planning is more important. (Butt, 2008). Also, lesson plans often differ from the lessons
that teachers using them actually teach, since there are sometimes good reasons for departing
from a plan, depending on the way a lesson proceeds and develops (Richards, 2011, p. 35).
Reflecting on each lesson will help in so many ways by listing what worked and what didnt, it
will help to improve your lesson and alter them to make them work better; this will work well
when there is a positive learning environment which will be explored further below.

ACADMIC ESSAY 2012

3. CREATING A POSITIVE ENVIRONMENT FOR LEARNING

A positive learning environment will not only impact the students learning abilities and keep bad
behaviour at bay but will also have a major impact on them as a whole. In Maslows theory the
Hierarchy of needs he describes how there are various levels in life that we need complete before
we can move up in levels, at the bottom we have the basic needs which are our physiological
needs, air, food, water, etc. We need to have the basic needs in place before we can move onto
the next level, therefore if the students are not getting the basic needs met at home they will not
self actualize within the classroom as their physiological needs are not being met. Therefore if
we put into place a healthy eating scheme in the school, whereby having a breakfast and lunch
club the students would get part of their psychological needs met with a healthy diet enabling
them to focus more throughout the day and also have more interaction with other students in a
relaxed atmosphere that will equip them for the challenges of the day ahead.
To set a positive class room environment a humanistic approach is vital as the students need to
feel that they are cared for and not just a random number in your class.

The increasing

awareness of the importance of fostering pupils self-esteem has been a major development over
the years. It stems in part from the emphasis on self-esteem within humanistic psychology and
its applications to education, notably through the work of Maslow and Rogers. (Kyriacou, 2007,
p. 72). If we praise more rather than giving out negative comments this will boost the students
self esteem and this can be done verbally, and complemented by our use of body language to
convey this, the students will feel that we care for their learning and respect them. Respect plays
a large part in having a positive environment in the classroom as long as the respect is mutual.
Good rapport stems from conveying to pupils that you understand, share and value their
perspective, as individuals, on a whole range of matters and experiences, academic, social and
personal. (Kyriacou, 2007, p. 70). An example of this would be giving praise when it is due, if a
student is not feeling well taking an interest to see how they are feeling, by taking an interest in
the local sporting teams when they are playing little things that keep you connected to the
students on a personal, and not purely an academic level.
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Humor is another aspect of a teachers demeanor that can positively affect attention. When
teachers use humor, students feel better about the content, the teacher, and perhaps even
themselves. (Marzano, 2010). Humour can also defuse an argument and certain situations when
used correctly.
The physical layout of a classroom also plays a role in a positive learning environment. If we
have desks in the traditional line format it gives off a different vibe as if we were to have the
desks in a semi circle. The latter promotes a more relaxed atmosphere whereby the students can
all see each other as opposed to the back of their heads. This allows topics to be discussed and
explored via controlled conversations. Should the classroom be laid out or set up in groups of
four it would promote group work and collaborative learning, which in turn will set a positive
learning environment. Once we have great lesson plans with a positive learning environment we
should have very little misbehaviour, but that is not guaranteed this will be explored in greater
detail below.

4. Behavioural Management and Discipline

Misbehaviour in classrooms can happen even in the best of teachers classes, and as many would
think punishment straight away, but we have to step back and look at the whole situation as to
why, when, and how the student is acting up, there are many different behavioural disorders that
we need to be aware of and how to manage them such as ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity
disorder); downs syndrome and autism. Such students make up about 5% of a total school
population. (Rogers B. 2., 2007, p. 47). It is crucial to note that many conditions are in fact
syndromes. (Bentham S. 1., 2002, p. 65).
The key to establishing good discipline in the classroom lies in pupils accepting your authority to
manage their behaviour and their progress in learning. (Kyriacou, 2007, p. 86). The year should
be started off as you mean to go on, rules need to be firmly in place. Your whole school
behaviour policy: If your school has policies it is best to stick to these, as the students will see
you as a teacher who is aware of school rules and routines. (Cowley, 2005, p. 32). The teachers
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expectations from the students, in the case of rules being broke whatever sanction you have put
in place needs to be followed through in every case, as the students all want to be treated fair and
equal.
If, whenever we had to correct a student, the situation was calm; and if they responded to
our correction straightaway without sulking, pouting or answering back; and if we
werent tired and thinking about the next curriculum meeting or having to rush off to do
duty (and make sure we got a cuppa on the way); and if . . . well, discipline would be
easy . . . but that is not reality. (Rogers B. 2., 2007, p. 53).
In reality I am sure it is a whole different ball game. The most favoured strategy used by teachers
to improve behaviour seems to be to pay positive attention to pupils when they are behaving well
(Daniels et al.1999), that is, catching then being good. (Bentham S. 1., 2002, p. 146).
Psychologists Watson, Pavlov and Skinner have a substantial impact in this field as they are
Behaviourists. Some would disagree with this approach. In particular with skinner, Skinners
theory of conditioning was built upon laboratory experiments with animals such as pigeons and
rats. One criticism involves the extent to which research based on animals can be applied to
people. (Bentham S. 1., 2002, p. 25). This system is based on operant conditioning where we
need to pay positive attention to good behaviour to condition our students into modelling in the
correct manner.
The basic idea behind operant conditioning is really quite simple: All behaviours are
accompanied by certain consequences, and these consequences strongly influence (some
might say determine) whether or not these behaviours are repeated at what level of
intensity. (Snowman, 1993, p. 328).
Once we have our students modelling the correct behaviour, there is still behaviour disorders
which will have to be addressed and managed, as mentioned above ADHD, downs syndrome
and autism to name a few. If we have a student in the class with either of these disorders a
collegial support plan will need to be in place within the school as a whole.
While students with behaviour disorders have the right to education in mainstream
schools, that right has to be balanced with the rights of their peers to learn without
persistent (sometimes bizarre) interruptions and displays of unsafe and aggressive
behaviour. (Rogers B. 2., 2007, p. 192).
It is up to a teacher to keep an eye out for patterns in the students individuals progress. The
concern could be of academic, social, or emotional nature. (Bentham S. 1., 2002, p. 62). With
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society the way it is today, our young students have a very hard and though road ahead of them.
Once we have a collegial support plan in place careful attention must be set to allow the student
to achieve with achievable goals set in place for the individual.
Although no magic cure has been discovered for this disorder, many treatments are
effective in its management. Barkley (2000) suggests that the education of the school
staff, the family, and the individuals with ADHD is one the most important treatments.
(Smith, 2008, p. 252).

5. CONCLUSION
Classroom management is not something that can be mastered over night and implemented in
class, it is but a skill acquired over a vast amount of time, from my teaching practice experience I
gained before coming to GMIT and my learning in class here in GMIT led me to the topics that I
focused on in this essay, in the early stages I talked about lesson planning and preparation which
I believe is of the upmost importance for any teacher to create an interesting lesson. A teacher
will know and use a variety of methods to support learning. (Bentham S. , 2010, p. 42). In other
words plan lesson to suit each students needs. I went on to discuss setting a positive learning
environment which I feel needs to be set in place, being a humanist myself I am of the opinion
that if the students feel cared for they will work best to their ability, where I have talked about
humanist theories. I then went on to talk about behavior in the classroom and discussed some
behavior issues which the schools address.

ACADMIC ESSAY 2012

6. BIBLIOGRAPHY

Bentham, S. (2010). A Teaching Assistant's Guide To Child Development And Psychology In The
Classroom . Cornwall, UK: TJ Internatinal Ltd.
Bentham, S. (2002). Psychology and Education. East Sussex: Routledge.
Butt, G. (2008). Lesson Planning. New York, and London.: Continuum International.
Cowley, D. (2005). How To Survive Your First Year In Teaching. Norfolk, UK: Biddles Ltd.
Dreikurs, R. G. (1982). Maintaining Sanity in the Classroom. New York: Harper & Row.
Keating, J. (2002.). What New Teachers Should Know About Disipline. Retreived November, 21st, 2012 .
Kyriacou, C. (2007). Essential Teaching Skills. Cheltenham: Nelson Thornes.
Marzano, R. &. (2010). The Highly Engagued Classroom . Bloomington: Marzano Research Laboratory.
Richards, J. &. (2011). Creating Effective Langauge Lessons. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Rogers, B. (2007). Behaviour Management A Whole-School Approach. London: Sage Publications.
Rogers, B. (2003). Behaviour Recovery: A whole School Programme fdor Mailstream Schools. London:
Paul Chapman.
Smith, T. E. (2008). Teaching Students with Special Needs In Inclusive Setting. . United States of America:
Pearson Education Ltd.
Snowman, B. (1993). Psychology Applied to Teaching. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.