You are on page 1of 17

Comprehensive Classroom Management Plan

TEDV 520
Spring 2008

Andrea K. Gaines
Dear Interview Committee;

Thank you for taking the time to review my portfolio. I welcome the
opportunity to share my beleifs on classroom management and the
procedures I will implement in my first classroom to ensure a safe,
stimulating and productive learning experience for all of my future students.
While studying the behaviral research theories of educational theorists I
have collected ideas that I believe will best fit in my classroom. The ideas I
have chosen reflect my needs as a teacher as well as my view of student
needs and the goals of education in today’s schools.

The behavioral management plans I have distilled my own personal plan


from emphasize the creation of learning communities, require an organized
and planned approach and raise students’ responsibility for their own
behavior in a positive, systematic way. I have attached for your
consideration my example Unit Plan on heredity.

In addition I bring to teaching my years of experience as a public speaker


and environmental educator. I already know that I am energized by sharing
ideas I love and can transmit this energy to students. Importantly, I have
already developed the ability to think on my feet and am flexibile enough to
draw on a variety of teaching methods to present to this most important of
audiences.
Lest it seem to seasoned educators that I am wearing the pinkest of rose-
colored glasses, I am aware of the challenges teachers face in high schools.
However, I have also seen examples of successful teachers and highly
successful classrooms that demonstrate how a well-planned approach to
classroom management can be implemented in a way that benefits everyone.

Thank you for your time and consideration,

Andrea K. Gaines, teaching candidate

2
Student Needs:

The first step in piecing together any kind of activity in the classroom is an

understanding of the goal. For a lesson plan it is a clear picture of what students need to

know and understand at the end of the unit. For a comprehensive management plan, a

clear picture of this goal is even more imperitive and that neccessitates an understanding

of much more than the knowledge and subjects students need to master. Students needs in

today’s classrooms extend far beyond reading, writing and arithmatic. The needs I want

to address in my classroom fall in two broad categories. The first are choices I have made

with an understanding of the psychological needs of adolescents and the life skills they

must aquire to succeed. The second is to present science and all of learning in a way that

grabs and holds their interest with the ultimate goal of creating lifelong learners who take

into adulthood the ability to analyze critically and organize the information we are often

bombarded with in a way that is meanigful to their lives.

I will address the first set of student needs under the umbrella of creating safe

space for students in the classroom. Alfie Kohn introduced this idea as a, “ learning

community” where teachers and students work together to create caring, supporting

classrooms (Charles, 2008). Kohn proposes creating this community to address several

student needs at once. In a community classroom students will feel cared about,

connected, valued, respected, and listened to. Importantly, students also feel physically

and emotionally safe (Charles, 2008). Specific ideas from Kohn that I will implement to

involve students are regular classroom meetings devoted explicitly to eliminating

putdowns and helping reticent students to feel comfortable about speaking up (Knohn,

3
2004). He also recommends activities that, “promote perspective taking, in which

students try to see situations from another persons’ point of view (Charles, 2008).” An

example of perspective taking I will employ is assigning roles from preacher to pregnant

parents for a debate on the positives and negatives of genetic engineering. I especially

like that Kohn’s ideas are closely tied to academic instruction saying. He specifically

states that quest for community is not separate from academic learning. I plan to use

classroom meetings, as he suggests, to discuss thoughts on recently completed lessons

and possible approaches to the next (Charles, 2008).

Almost all students have a primary and compelling desire to feel they are a

valued member of the class and that they belong (Charles, 2008). Rudolf Dreikurs

addressed this need in his behavioral research. He attributed actions often labeled

misbehavior as students acting on, “mistaken goals” like attention-seeking, power

seeking, revenge seeking and inadequacy. Dreikurs was the first to name belonging as an

motivator for student behavior (Charles, 2008). Based on my experience teaching

children as young as three and adults, I beleive this is to be true for people of all ages. I

want to address this need for belonging by including all students and bringing a

knowledge of their different backgrounds, abilities, learning styles and goals.

As a teacher I will avoid assumptions and seek instead to ask for information from

each student and incorporate that into lessons. I have learned how to adjust lesson plans

to meet the needs of each a variety of students and will aproach this as an ongoing

process with the constant goal of adding more hands-on and visual activities, for

example. This desire to include every student will influence every aspect of my teaching,

4
for example I plan to incorporate into my lesson introductions examples of the value and

relevence of science to everyone no matter what their future goals whether it following

cooking recipies or repairing motorcycles. Dreikurs points out that the support and

acceptance of an adult can be communicated very simply, with something as subtle as a

nod or as aknowledgement of a student’s strengths (Charles, 2008). All of these signals to

students of acceptance and support as well as the strict requirements that this respect be

shown to eachother in my class will be built in as a part of every lesson and procedure to

increase students’ sense of belonging.

These researcher emphasize the emotional needs of students but not to the

detriment of academic goals. I agree with these researchers that by successfully

addressing the emotional needs of students, they will be free to particiapte fully in class

matters and pursue their topics of interest in depth.

The second set of student needs I will conciously address in my classroom

management plan are needs I felt were often ignored during my high school education.

Students need to be challenged and inspired. I believe students naturally want to learn

new things about the world. Teachers owe it to students to organize their lessons to

present truly thought-provoking questions to students that require them to question and

analyze the information they are given. Too often textbooks state subjects, even subjects

as inherently dynamic as science, as a series of facts (Bruce, Weil and Calhoun, 2004). I

will address my students’ academic needs by employing a varity of methods and by

thoroughly planning and organizing my lessons to by fast-paced, interesting, challenging

at many levels and fun. There is no way to disguise my love of science and its ability to

5
cross borders, bring the world together and understand ourselves, so I know my students,

exposed to the exciting possibilities of examining the world around them, will be

inspired.

6
My Needs as a Teacher

For my own happiness and sense of purpose, I want to create a place that reflects

my values, my intrests, my desire for both structure and variety and a career that

challenges me. I am a very science-minded person. I approach challenges with in a

logical way and enjoy finding creative solutions. This helps me as a biologist but I now

see it is equally valuable to a high school teacher. I already feel the excitement of

learning and choosing from such a wide body of educational research. I can not wait to

perfect my implementation of these teaching methods and record their success over the

years.

I have only realized this experimental nature of teaching in the last five years I

have spent as an environmental educator working closely with hundreds of tour groups. It

has come as a surprise, how much the science of education appeals to me, the trial and

error of small changes in presentation, approaches and methods to best reach students

will occupy my mind as much as the science that I teach. I am competitive by nature and

am already eager to have students that are noticed for their interest, participation,

excellent behavior, and of course, their high test scores. I will accomplish this through a

systematic approach to teaching. I plan to keep clear, thorough records, create checklists

for students and for myself, train myself methodically to follow the research proven

7
techniques and make the best use of students’ time I can, and still plan for individual

interaction. In short I will push myself to be the type of teacher I wanted in high school.

Ironically I want to challenge myself in a decidedly cooperative classroom and

pride myself that I have chosen methods that do not necessarily match my learning styles

or strongest personality traits. Instead I have chosen to pursue teaching methods that are

proven to be the most inclusive and effective while teaching skills beyonfd the subject of

biology and science.

Another desire I think everyone feels to some degree is the desire to make a

difference in the lives of others. I have strong feelings about the importance of

conserving our natural resources and I want to inspire students to make conservation a

part of their lives. The place where I want to make the biggest difference is in

empowering young people. To this end I plan to follow Alfie Kohn’s advice on creating

a classroom that is conducive to challenge. He states that creating such a classroom is,

“a matter of what teachers do, but also of what they refrain from doing (Kohn, 2004).”

Instead of demanding that students conform I want to aknowledge the hidden

curriculum that exists in some classrooms of learning how to please authority. Instead I

want to train students to thoughtfully question everything. I want to take the suggestions

of educators like Kohn who says we can teach a more valuable lesson, which is how to,

“develop convictions and stand up for them (Kohn 2004).”

Based on the beleifs I have outlined above it probably comes as no surprise that I

think the term misbehavior is too subjective to be useful in the classroom. I prefer Diane

Gossen’s suggestion to look behind the behavior to the root cause (Charles, 2004). Many

8
twenty-first century behavior theorists shy away from the word discipline, I am incline to

do the same as it brings to mind a reactionary approach to classroom management that

looks to control students. But for some theorists discipline means a proactive behavior

management plan set in place as a clear communication tool so that everyone knows what

is expected, this is the approach I plan to take. My plan will treat adolescents as young

adults able to control their behavior given procedures to follow, an understanding of the

choices they are making minute to minute and the knowledge that they control their own

behavior and their own end result.

9
My Class Rules

“Although an adult can temporarily control a young person, no one can change how

another person feels, thinks, or wants to be. External discipline and control are only

temporary, as are external rewards and punishments. It is a fact of life that no one can

actually change another person; people change themselves, and the least effective

approach to discipline and influencing another person to change is through coercion

(Marshall, 2001)”

The above quote is from the webpage of Marvin Marshall whose method of

discipline is accomplished through the use of specific steps designed to raise student

responsibility (Charles, 2004). Marshall’s theory meets my needs as a teacher for a well

structured plan based on research proven methods and knowledge of human behavior. A

classic list of classroom rules many of us remember from our own school days does not

fit into Marshall’s system because students choose the consequences of their actions

themselves.

Marshall’s system dovetails nicely with many of my needs as well as the

emotional needs of students I want to address. His fundamental hypothesis is, “Desirable

classroom behevior is best achieved by promoting responsibility-rather than obediance-

and by articulating expectations and then empowering students to reach those

expectations (Marshall, 1998).” Rather than a list of responsibilities or rules accompanied

by a resulting punishments or rewards, Marshall provides steps to follow in order to

10
remind students of the behavior choices they are making and raising their level of

responsibility by encouraging them to choose to act on a higher, acceptable level.

Marshall has developed a simple, if not always easy, way to implement his

Discipline without Stress teaching model. After learning to recognize his desribed levels

of behaior (levels are described as:Anarchy, Bullying , Cooperation, and Democracy)

Marshall suggests practicing three priciples when teaching and when dealing with

situations that require the use of discipline: positivity, choice and reflection. In

implementing this step, Marshall teachers to verbalize all they say in a positive way, even

when the situation itself might be perceived as negative as, “student cooperation is

encouraged when the tone of the classroom/school is one of positivity (Marshall 2001).”

Marshall’s system next requires that teachers communicate to students that they always

always have a choice in how they respond. By using this approach, Marshall has

demonstrated that we can teach students that it is possible to learn to consciously and to

choose their responses. It is important to remember that students are not given the choice

to misbehave, students are taught from the outset that not all choices are acceptable.

Instead their choice is something like where to complete an assignment. Continuing to

misbehave or the not completing the assignment itself, are not choices.

Another very important part of this discipline approach involves asking young

people to reflect on their own behavior. Marshall aks teachers to train themselves to ask

questions that will encourage students to think honestly to themselves about the results of

their actions and choices. He states, “By prompting students to think about the results of

their choices, an adult is much more likely to be successful in helping them to make

11
positive and productive choices in the future (Marshall 2001).” Dr, Marshall’s plan is

clearly spelled out and demonsrtated in his 2001 book, Discipline Without Stress,

Punishments or Rewards. Part of this behavior management systems’ appeal to me is how

highly structured and prescribed the steps and goals are. I have attatched graphic

examples of Marshall’s discipline strategy and his behavioral hierachy for review. In

addition there are prepared letters explaining the system to parents and administrators,

and I welcome the opportunity to discuss questions or concerns. I will have an extremely

specific outline of how I plan to implement this method before the first day of school.

Training myself and gaining confidence in using this approach will determine its success

so practice and increasing familiarity with Marshall’s method will be ongoing.

Following the example of C. M. Charles, I have also borrowed the goals and

suggestions of other behavior plans that match my own personal goals in the classroom. I

especially plan to include ideas from the pragmatic approach to discipline strategies

developed by Harry and Rosemary Wong (Charles, 2008). They contend that, “Discipline

problems largely dissapear when students are carefully taught to follow procedures for all

classroom activiites (Charles, 2008)”. I want to develop predictable routines in my

classroom with well defined procedures that are explicitly taught, like the Wong’s

suggest, in order to eliminate confusion. Within these routines I plan to introduce variety

in learning methods but want students to know what I expect for activities like pair work,

group work, inquiry-based observations, and classroom meetings and discussions. With

specific plans and instructions I hope to incorporate some new ways of learning and

maximize working time without stress. Specific tips I plan to employ include starting

class immediately and giving shorter student assignments, assessed more often to

12
increase student acheivement (Charles, 2008). I will plan the first week of school down to

the minute including a survey of student interests and learning styles, personal

introductions and a personal introduction quiz, the introduction and practice of routine

procedures, the first class meeting, and the introduction and discussion of our Marshall’s

method especially conceptualizing the hierarchy of behavior.

My response to students twho choose not to comply with class rules will fall under

the categories of preventative, supportive and corrective. They will not be in any way

coercive or punishing, instead they will offer students a chance for self-reflection and

give them a voice as we work together to choose an appropriate consequence of their

behavior choice. I will train myself to look on these events as an opportunity to teach

responsibility. This choice is based on research that dates as far back as 1972 when

Rudolf Dreikurs stated that, “Punishment should never be used in the classroom…It

ususally humiliates the student and has additional undesirable effects (Charles, 2008).”

Numerous studies have shown that punishment in the classroom does not produce the

desired result. For this reason my methods, while not permissive, will definitely not be

punishing.

My Plans for Building Positive Relationships

My education into the science and art of education has taught me the importance of

positive relationships with parents and colleaguesas well as students. My specific plans to

accomplish this goal mainly rests on maintaining an effort to interact positivly with

everyone in the school environment.

13
I would like to reach out to parents with an initial parent survey asking for contact

information, suppliying contact information, and expressing my desire to be available to

them for anything they might need to discuss. I will also make it a point to ask for

suggestions and really listen to their concerns, trying to implement their ideas would

make a big positive impression. I also plan to focus on the positive behavior and

accomplishments of their children

With colleagues, I want to learn as much as I can. By demonstrating with my willingness

to actively listen my genuine interest in their experience and opinions, I hope to develop

positive working relationships that are open to sharing ideas and collaboration. One basic

tenent I have learned well and always employ in the workplace is to remember that

people are seeing the world from an entirely different perspective from myself and

reacting in ways that make sense to them. I will remember if difficult situations arise that

is doing their best and we share common interests and concerns for our students that

connect us in a positive way. An important aspect of my classroom management plan is in

creating positive teacher-student and student-student relationships. Specific elements of

communication I will eliminate include sarcasm, condescension, and impatience. I plan to

review the positive tactics I want to exemplify often as a reminder. Meeting my goal to

tutor each student individually at least once a week will be my biggest tool in achieving

this goal.

Instructional Strategies I will Use

14
The main instructional strategies I have chosen to use include the student driven model of

inquiry based learning and cooperative learning through student pair and group work.

Other models I plan to use in future lesson plans are those designed to sharpen basic

thinking skills like thinking inductively and attaining concepts (Joyce, Weil and Calhoun,

2004). Equally important to presenting these teaching models effectively is my ability to

design fair and varied assessments effectively to evaluate which methods best aid

students in achieving our instructional goals (XXX). I expect the refined use of these and

other models to be a constantly evolving process. The example unit plan on heredity that

I have included demonstates some of these models. I hope to work inquiry based science

methods into at least the beginning of every class with regular activities like observation

journal writing and final questions designed to promote critical thinking and eliminate

any fear of incorrect answers. This plan also demonstrates a small window of how I hope

to use frequent partner and group work in every class. I have developed the idea of

partner work to allow some socialization and the freedom for students to actively seek

answers to questions and help from their work partners throughout a lesson. My hope is

that this way of pairing studnets up will tap into some students’ strengths as peer tutors

and specifically help students with disabilities and English language learners. In

accordance with the management strategies of the Wongs, I plan to teach the procedures

for carrying out all of these activities very precisely (Charles, 2008). This unit plan would

be occuring well into the school year so it assumes that these procedures are understood

and used correctly by students.

15
I believe students best that students will be able to learn to learn, listen, and think
critically in my classroom because they will be safe in the experience of a supportive
learning community that frees them to focus on academics and because my teaching
strategies draw from strategies that specifically teach these skills.

Students in this environment will quickly learn that accomplishing tasks and
completing assignments in this risk free space brings satisfaction. My philosophy of
discipline is in agreement with a theory on how to manage others that was proposed in
1960 by Douglas Mcgregor. His Theory Y holds that, “People will work gladly if their
tasks bring satisfaction and they will exercise self-direction, self-control and personal
responsibility in doing so (Charles, 2008).”

I see myself as a coach and co-learner in this process of teaching students to


derive satisfaction from learning. My overall goal is to present problems and questions
designed to spark and draw out the natural curiosity that exists in all students. I will
facilitate the process by encouraging them to learn together and work cooperatively and
providing time to process new information.

As I see it, my task as allow for creative thinking by welcoming new ideas and
questioning the finality of science presented as fact. This goal can not be met in a class
conducted with a regimented style of discipline that requires unquestioning obedience to
an unquestioned authority. Instead this basic idea of scientifically forming questions and
testing them methodically fits perfectly with a sytem of discipline designed to turn this
same process inward to examine one’s own behavior.

Alfie Kohn states my idea succinctly, “Cooperative conflict offers the best of
both worlds: the passion of disagreement nested in a caring community.” I will take up
his challenge to teachers to create lessons can be structured with this blend in mind,
because, “its very existence in the classroom serves to remind students of the possibility
of civil discord, or noncompetitive argument (Kohn, 2004).” Luckily, challenging
students in this way in a predictable but varied fashion is not a contradictory idea
because there are such a wide variety of models and methods available to teachers to get
ideas across to students in new and thought-provoking ways. My responsibility is to
present engaging lessons. If I do not offer well organized, varied and challenging
lessons to my students, I believe that I am the one misbehaving in the classroom.

The purpose of discipline is to aid in this exciting process by explaining


expectations to a group with differeing ideas of what learning, school, science and good
behavior are. By explicitely stating the responsibilities and consequences of actions in the
classroom teachers can smooth these differences enough to focus on teaching students the
excitement of discovering new ideas. Discipline is a part of the learning process rather
than separate from it. Students’ brains are busy organizing and processing information all
the time. There are layer upon layer of lessons to be taught, a whole world of examples to
be set and ideas to be sparked and I am thrilled with challenged and the opportunity to
teach students so much.

16
References

Bruce, J., Weil, M. and Calhoun, E. (2004). Models of Teaching. Boston, MA.: Pearson
Education, Inc

Charles, C. M. (2008). Building Classroom Discipline. Boston, MA.: Pearson Education,


Inc.

Kohn, A. (2004). Challenging Students…and How to Have More of Them. Phi Delta

Kappan, 86 (3), 184-194.

Marshall, M. (1998). Rethinking our thinking on Discipline: Empower Rather Than

Overpower. Education Week, 17 (37), 32&36.

Websites of interest:

http://www.marvinmarshall.com/

17