The classroom is a small community. Within this community are students with differing personalities, communication styles, and life experiences. In order for our community to operate successfully, I must: provide an engaging, participatory curriculum; help establish a positive classroom environment; and respond to students and their behaviors with consistent, natural, and understandable consequences, both positive and negative. A proactive approach which combines the expectation of positive behavior, educating the students as to what such behavior looks and sounds like, and the establishment of an environment where students have input, yet know the likely consequences of their behavioral choices, will result in a classroom where active learning takes place.
My personal classroom management philosophy is embodied by the following principles:
- Establishing clear expectations – Classroom rules and expectations are discussed (and created with student input) with each new group of students the first week of school. They are based upon the “Six Pillars of Good Character”: Trustworthiness, Respect, Responsibility, Fairness, Caring, & Citizenship.
- Teaching/modeling expected behaviors – Helping students to clearly understand the behaviors which are expected and to make appropriate decisions on their own.
- Getting to know the students – Uncovering what makes each child unique; learning about both their strengths and weaknesses. This information is essential when designing activities and devising management strategies.
- Planning an engaging curriculum – Misbehavior in a classroom is sometimes a result of boredom or lack of encouragement during a particular activity. On the other hand, when students are challenged, interested, and involved in the activity, misbehavior is much less likely to occur.
- Good pacing/smooth transitions – Knowing when to monitor and adjust lessons and when to move on to the next activity.
- Offering extensions – Being prepared for those students who can complete a task faster than others. More open-ended and differentiated activities allow students to self-adjust to their own level of challenge.
- Clear communication - Using both verbal and non-verbal cues to reinforce positive behaviors and redirect negative ones.
- A variety of activities – Allowing students a chance to work in groups, with a partner, and individually throughout the day. Planning activities which incorporate a variety of learning styles.