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Assignment 1 – Literature Review

Managing Learning Environments – EDUC 3007

Leah Katavatis (MBET) (ID: 101147356)

What is productive student behaviour and why is it so important? In what ways can
teachers establish and maintain a learning environment to promote productive
student behaviour, that is, to prevent unproductive student behaviour?

The classroom centered practice of student behaviour, student engagement and
academic achievement are all interwoven in achieving manageable learning
environments (Sullivan 2017, Lecture 1). Classroom management and its proficiency
are constitutional parts of teachers everyday working (Williams 2012, p. 5)
Educators, who are successful in managing an effective classroom, engage students
academically and continuously have students working productively (Bohn, Roehrig,
& Pressley 2004, p. 269-270). Engagement in learning directly impacts on student
behaviour outcomes; we use the terms ‘productive’ and ‘unproductive’ to portray
this link between behaviour, and learning and teaching (Sullivan et al. 2014, p.46).

Through the use of relevant literature, this paper will examine the ideas and
importance of productive student behaviour. It will also outline the significance for
educators to establish and maintain productive learning environments, in that to
prevent unproductive student behaviour, which will be conveyed through Williams
(2012) 4S Framework.

Productive student behaviour and its importance

The broad-spectrum of the word productive is defined as the power to produce,
generate and create, ‘a productive effort’ ( 2017). In relation to
education, the word productive correlates to student behaviour and is the term used
to depict the more shared phrase of ‘appropriate’ behaviour (Sullivan et al. 2014, p.
46). Similarly, unproductive student behaviour is utilised in place of ‘inappropriate’
behaviour (Sullivan et al. 2014, p. 46).

‘Behaviour is one of the dominant discourses of schooling’ (Ball et al 2012, p. 98).

Student behaviour is classified into four categories and formed under two groups,
that being productive behaviours and unproductive behaviours (Sullivan 2017,

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Assignment 1 – Literature Review
Managing Learning Environments – EDUC 3007
Leah Katavatis (MBET) (ID: 101147356)
Lecture 1). Productive behaviours are the behaviours that support academic
engagement and progress (Sullivan 2014, p. 46). Additionally, unproductive
behaviours are the student classroom behaviours that impede student academic
progress and consist of the behavioural categories disengaged, uncooperative and
low-level disruptive (Sullivan 2017, Lecture 1).

Students who regularly act in a productive fashion execute on average at a

drastically advanced level in numeracy and reading and students exhibiting
unproductive behaviour did not catch up academically (Angus et al. 2009, p. 16).
Conway’s (2012) ‘Ecological Model’ of the classroom is a methodology used to
manage both productive and unproductive behaviour (Sullivan 2014, p. 46). The
classroom is an ecosystem constructed of physical settings, curriculum and resource
factors, teacher factors and student factors (Sullivan 2014, p. 46). Discussion of
student productive and unproductive behaviour therefore must contemplate the
exchanges of all four components, as student behaviour is influenced by multiple
facets of the ecosystem (Sullivan 2014, p. 47).

Furthermore, external influences, school influences and classroom influences all

interlock and impact on whether student’s behaviour will be productive or
unproductive (Sullivan 2017, Lecture 3). Students need scaffolding, quality
curriculum and pro-social learning environments, in order to feel, think and act
productively (Kohn 2006, p. 2).

The 4S Framework (Williams 2006)

Quality learning does not just occur, nor does successful management of student
behaviour (McDonald 2013, p. 107). It is evident that educators have significant
impact over facilitating effective classrooms. The 4S framework is a conceptual
framework established by Williams (2006), to depict four domains relating to
classroom management. The domains consist of systems, setting, self and student
and provide educators with the important aspects of a classroom dynamic (Williams
2006, p, 11). Educator’s, utilise the framework in order to reduce the risk of

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Assignment 1 – Literature Review
Managing Learning Environments – EDUC 3007
Leah Katavatis (MBET) (ID: 101147356)
unproductive student behaviours and promote academic engagement (Williams
2006, p. 11). Conveyed through the four domains of 4S framework will be notions
and concepts that prevent unproductive student behaviour and promote and view
students as equals to educators.

The domain ‘systems’ is the terminology used to define the routines, which are put
into practice that help a classroom function effectively. This includes the
appropriateness and efficiency of classroom expectations and conducts. Effective
educators do more than create rules or present procedures (Jones 2011, p. 92).
Educators need to work with students to ensure they comprehend and acknowledge
the classroom rules and procedures (Jones 2011, p. 92).

Studies have been conducted illustrating connections between the abilities to

establish safe, well-organised classrooms and what student value within their
teacher (Jones 2011, p. 92). Productive behaviour is socially built and determined by
those who have power in the environment (Jones 2011, p. 93). If students feel that
their teachers don’t value their opinions and beliefs, then the respect to follow or be
guided by classroom expectations, put in place solely by the teacher wont be
followed. Resulting in unproductive classroom behaviours. However, expectations
scaffold in conjunction with student input and consistency of consequences has
proven to enhance active academic behaviours and harvest human dignity and fair
treatment to promote inclusivity and factor cultural differences within the classroom
(Cothran, Hodges Kulinna & Garraphy 2003, p. 438).

Additionally, this social construct or ‘dialogic teaching’ of classroom procedures and

expectations promote the practice of self-regulation and allows students to
understand that they are also accountable for their learning and actions (Bohn,
Roehrig, & Pressley 2004, p. 282).

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Assignment 1 – Literature Review
Managing Learning Environments – EDUC 3007
Leah Katavatis (MBET) (ID: 101147356)
Transitioning between lessons or activities can accumulate to a critical portion of
your lesson being wasted on students getting prepared. Kounin defines the use of
signal continuity and momentum and group alerting as preventative strategies that
minimise classroom unproductivity (Good & Brophy 2008, p. 81). Effective educators
that implement these strategies within their systems will have a lot more lesson time
working towards achieving lesson goals. Keeping momentum and ignoring minor
disruptions if majority of the class is still engaged is far more crucial then breaking
continuity for you and engaged students (Good & Brophy 2008, p. 81). Proximity to
these students may be all it takes to reengage them. Group alerting is also an
effective tool to maintain learning environments, and implementation of agreed
upon alerting allows reestablishment of attention (Good & Brophy 2008, p. 81).
Practice is fundamental in the classroom setting before effectiveness of these occur.

A cohesive classroom is an open space where students feel welcome and
comfortable to work in (Sapon-Shevin 2010, p. 22). The domain ‘setting’ indicates
the layout of the classroom from the positioning of tables and accessibility resources
to creating a learning environment that promotes a sense of community and
collaboration (Sullivan 2017, Lecture 3). There is a strong association between
student experiences in the classroom and the nature of human they will develop
into, due to students learning who they are and how they connect with others
(Sapon-Shevin 2010). Thus, cooperative and cohesive classroom communities are
essential important to preventing unproductive student behaviour.

A secure, protected community allows for progression and exploration (Sapon-

Shevin 2010, p. 22). The use of a cooperative community approach allows students
to share goals and objectives and work together to achieve them. Building this sense
of community allows students to bounce ideas and build upon their own
understandings. It fosters enriching learning environments inclusive of other cultural
understandings and pro-social behaviours (Sapon-Shevin 2010, p. 23). Students

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Assignment 1 – Literature Review
Managing Learning Environments – EDUC 3007
Leah Katavatis (MBET) (ID: 101147356)
working with each other will nurture productive behaviours as they self-regulate
each other to stay focused.

Engaging classroom environments, which include visual aids and student work,
provide students with a sense of accomplish and drive to stay productive and
complete work to place on the walls; or thrive of the atmosphere of the engaging set
up. Spatial and positioning awareness of equipment and tables is necessary to a
productive learning environment (Sapon-Shevin 2010, p. 23). Students facing away
from white boards or positioned where you cannot see them at all times will result
in unproductive behaviours. Spatial awareness accommodates for those with
physical difficulties, as well as being aware of students who may need to be
positioned close to the front at all times (Hyde, Carpenter & Conway 2014).

It is educators who create the climate of their classroom, that control the mood that
generates the classrooms atmosphere, and in turn manufactures the outcomes of
the day (Sullivan 2017, Lecture 2). Although, there are other factors that contribute
to classroom management, the teacher is one of the most important. Williams
(2006) ‘self’ relates to myself, the role of the teacher.

Educators, who exhibit an authoritative approach, are providing students with

essential life long skills and demonstrate the conception of shared power (Sullivan
2017, Lecture 2). We as educators, guide students and scaffold the means to what
the real world feels like. For some students, a classroom is where they will develop
social norms and appropriate communication. Concise expectations regarding the
purpose of the lesson at commencement, guides students to self-direct their
behaviour and learning. This again, promoting self-regulation for students,
demonstrating dialogic teaching and reinforcing the educator’s role as authoritative
(Lyons, Ford & Slee 2014, p. 44). This is where students test boundaries and teachers
need to be ‘with it’.

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Assignment 1 – Literature Review
Managing Learning Environments – EDUC 3007
Leah Katavatis (MBET) (ID: 101147356)
Kounin’s notion of ‘withitness’ is fundamental to maintaining effective learning
environments. It comprises the key responsibilities of effective behavioural
management. It is the notion that educators have constant eyes on the perimeter of
the classroom and all students in it and aware of the dynamics of the mood and feel
of students (Good & Brophy 2008, p. 81). Educators that are ‘with it’ have the ability
to prevent unproductive behaviours, and dismiss these behaviours to increasingly
worsen (Good & Brophy 2008, p. 81).

Another consideration for educators, to prevent unproductive behaviour is the

establishment of effective communication and genuine human relationships.
Effective communication, both verbal and non-verbal is key building positive
relationships and promoting productive behaviours (Lyons, Ford & Slee 2014, p. 44).
Students feel supported and valued in the classroom community where
communication acknowledges their diverse needs (Lyons, Ford & Slee 2014, p. 44).

Verbal communication is a platform for relationships to share power through

reciprocal discussion (Lyons, Ford & Slee 2014, p. 45). Through the use of active
listening and open questions, expectations about academic achievement are
solemnised and gaps within learning can be identified (Lyons, Ford & Slee 2014, p.

Non-verbal communications are effective strategies that successfully promote

productive behaviours with little to know disruption to majority of the classroom
(Lyons, Ford & Slee 2014, p. 49). Mannerisms such as, facial expressions, gestures
and positioning and proximity are all it takes to neutralize unproductive behaviours
(Lyons, Ford & Slee 2014, p. 49). Regularly moving into a student’s zone of proximity
snaps them back into academic engagement. Educators need to strive for ‘equity’
rather then ‘equality’ when communicating and working with students and consider
their cultural and academic differences.

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Assignment 1 – Literature Review
Managing Learning Environments – EDUC 3007
Leah Katavatis (MBET) (ID: 101147356)
There is intersection between ‘self’ and ‘students’, due to the interpersonal
relationship dimension of the two (Williams 2012, p. 12). The domain ‘students’
refers to the way students learn and the differences that make them unique.
Unproductive behavioural displays may be interpreted incorrectly. These
behavioural displays may be deciphered as problematical, but appropriate with the
child’s culture and family (Porter 2007, p. 302).

A students identify is constructed from their ethnicity, language and learning

capabilities and prior knowledge. Educators need to be informed on leaning
capabilities and abilities of their students. Students who don’t understand or can’t
complete a task will result in unproductive behaviours from silent disengagement to
low-level disruption (Hyde, Carpenter & Conway 2014, p. 159). Each student brings
prior knowledge of a whole range of ideas to each class (Hyde, Carpenter & Conway
2014, p. 159). These concepts need to be comprehended and links between
students’ prior knowledge and new knowledge need to be scaffold through the use
of quality curriculum that promote pro-social behaviours (Hyde, Carpenter &
Conway 2014, p. 159).

Although as educators we cannot control everything that occurs in our classroom,
we can however implement and acknowledge valuable strategies that promote
productive student behaviour and academic success, which in turn reduces and
eliminates potential unproductive student behaviour. In addition, through the use of
the four domains of the 4S framework (Williams 2013) educators are able to
establish effective learning environments, which stimulate pro-social behaviours, are
inclusive to students learning needs and cultural differences and are cooperative
communities that support the rights and dignity of each student equitably.

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Assignment 1 – Literature Review
Managing Learning Environments – EDUC 3007
Leah Katavatis (MBET) (ID: 101147356)
Reference List
Angus, M., McDonald, T., Ormond, C., Rybarcyk, R., Taylor, A., & Winterton, A.
(2009). Trajectories of classroom behaviour and academic progress: A study of
student engagement with learning. Mount Lawley. Western Australia: Edith Cowan

Bohn, C. M., Roehrig, A. D., & Pressley, M. (2004). The first days of school in the
classrooms of two more effective and four less effective primary-grades
teachers. The Elementary School Journal, 104(4), 269-287.

Cothran, D.J, Hodges Kulinna, P. & Garrahy, D.A. (2003). This is kind of giving the
secret away…: students’ perspectives on effective class management. Teaching and
Teacher Education, 19 (4), 435-444. 2017, Productive, viewed 8 September 2017,


Good, T. L. and J. E. Brophy (2008). Management 1: Preventing problems, in Looking

in classrooms (10th edn.), Boston, MA: Pearson / Allyn and Bacon Publishers. (pp. 71-

Hyde, M., Carpenter, L.,& Conway, R. (2014). Diversity, Inclusion and Engagement,
(2nd Edition) Oxford University Press, Melbourne. (pp. 159).

Jones, V. (2011). ‘Developing standards for classroom behavior’ in Practical

Classroom Management, Boston, MA: Pearson.(pp. 103-144).

Kohn, A. (2006). The nature of children. Beyond discipline: From compliance to

community. (pp. 1-11) Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum

Lyons, G., Ford, M., & Slee, J. (2014). Chapter 3 Relationships and communication.
Classroom management: Creating positive learning environments (4th ed.). South
Melbourne, Vic: Cengage Learning.

McDonald, T. (2013). Proactive Teacher Behaviours. Classroom management:

Engaging students in learning(pp. 106-154). South Melbourne, VIC: Oxford University

Porter, L. (2007). ‘Collaborating with parents and other experts to resolve school-
based behavioural difficulties’ in Student behaviour: theory and practice for
teachers, (3rd ed), Crows Nest, NSW: Allen & Unwin.

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Assignment 1 – Literature Review
Managing Learning Environments – EDUC 3007
Leah Katavatis (MBET) (ID: 101147356)
Sapon-Shevin, M. (2010). Schools as communities. Because we can change the world:
A practical guide to building cooperative, inclusive classroom communities (2nd ed.,
pp. 21-44). Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.

Sullivan, A. M., Johnson, B., Owens, L., & Conway, R. (2014). Punish Them or Engage
Them? Teachers’ Views of Unproductive Student Behaviours in the
Classroom. Australian Journal of Teacher Education, 39(6), pp 43-56.

Sullivan, A 2017, Lecture 1.

Sullivan, A 2017, Lecture 2.

Sullivan, A 2017, Lecture 3.

Williams, D. (2013). Background Basics. Adelaide, SA: University of South Australia.

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