The school has a no hats in the class room policy. You enter the class room and find ten students wearing hats and sitting in the class.
What do you do?
In order to achieve the desired results we need to have a thorough knowledge and understanding of the school rules and regulations for maintaining the standards as well as the necessary skills and confidence in ensuring those rules are implemented in the classroom without disrupting the class. A couple of ways to approach it would be to say "You know the rules, let's just do it." Or one could act to take off the hat, smile and get on with the class with minimal disruption. The idea is to carry on with the task in hand without digressing from it.
What I just did was the basics in behaviour management in the class. In my report I will endeavour to
Identify the characteristics of presentations of diversity in learners and discuss how to manage these and
Create a behaviour management plan derived from theory, policy and good practice.
My behaviour management plan is not only based on the various researched articles that are already in practice but also in tandem with my current school's ( TCC) behaviour management plan.
The Essential Skills for Classroom Management package by Queensland College of Teachers has the brief about the expectations from a State School teacher for ensuring effective management in their respective classrooms. Behaviour management fits within the wider scope of the educational context. In order to have a better understanding of their learners needs, teachers need to understand not only the development of behaviour but the wide spectrum of cognitive and physical differences that will affect the learning capabilities and styles of the of that student. The need to have in-class management conversations is reduced if and when the students are provided tools like a relevant curriculum and set of tasks that sets them on the path of success.
The three core elements as identified by the QCT, in order to have successful learning are:
teachers setting clear expectations
acknowledging appropriate behaviour, and
timely correction of inappropriate behaviour
Before analyzing and developing classroom management techniques, it is very important to dwell on the inappropriate behaviours and the causes of the same.
The Inappropriate Behaviour
Dreikurs (1968) accepts the basic idea that all behaviours -including misbehaviour is orderly and purposeful and directed toward achieving social recognition. This however does not happen so easily in our society. So automatically when the children who crave for attention do not get it they misbehave to get the attention they want. What they are all trying to do is find a place and achieve status.
There were four such goals identified and they all linked together very well:
1. Gaining attention
2. Exercising power
3. Exacting revenge
4. Displaying inadequacy
Children want to get recognition and status by devising techniques to gain attention failing which they then use power followed by revenge, and then lastly use inadequacy as an excuse if the above haven't worked to their advantage.
It is the most the most common reason for nuisance in the class as children looking to gain attention are often disruptive; ask for special favours, lazy, refusing to work if the teacher is not present and often doing things to please the teacher. The teachers in turn give them too much attention, pitying them or coaxing them. Giving them that extra attention does not equate to better behavior. Although these children try to do better that their peers their sensitivity to criticism and failure leads to their downfall. Some of the attentions seeking behaviours like active-constructive, passive-constructive, active-destructive, and passive-destructive (Dreikurs,
Grunwald, & Pepper, 1982) are tabled below
Tell on others
Try to achieve high standards
To get the praise and be consistently seen as the most superior
Want things the way they do it
Continuously disturb or bully others around them
Want attention immediately and for a sustained period of time
Manipulating others to help them by displaying helplessness
Always attach themselves to others, vain and flattering
To get their work done through the efforts of others
Very dependent and untidy in their work
Anything to do is too hard for them
No positive body language
To get help from others by making them concerned
Children begin to get into a power struggle with their parents or teachers when the necessary attention is not given to them. There is no point in a teacher trying to put pressure on these children as it is a no win contest for them. In the way the society is set up the pressure to behave in a responsible and moral way is always on the adult and not on the children. So in the end the children end up arguing, crying, lying or being disobedient and stubborn. In contrast, the teachers are expected to be compassionate, truthful and above all helpful which are often used and put to extreme tests by these children in order to attain their own goals and objectives. The feeling of having successfully defeated an adult adds to their power. A solution to this problem could lie in having a discussion amongst the class where every class member is given an opportunity to speak about these power seeking students and their behaviours.
When children cannot control they usually end up saying that they have been dealt unfairly. The feeling that they have been hurt by others and that they have to get even ends up in them trying to take revenge on people around them. The fact that they are convinced that nobody likes them leads them to provoke others to retaliate so that they have evidence of the same. They end up destroying the property of other students whether it be knocking books and supplies on floor or kicking and tripping others or even scratching them. The teachers might feel their wrath in terms of insults in public, ripped pages off the book or breaking equipment intentionally. These children are extremely difficult to help because they are only hurting others because they feel hurt. So by inflicting more pain on them is only going to inflame their situation and not solve it. The teachers must realize that and be more supportive and understanding of their behavior and offer to help. They need to make sure that other children do not answer back or exact revenge on these students when they are displaying such kind of behaviour.
Children who are unsuccessful in having a sense of self worth through the above three means of attention seeking, exercising power or revenge then give up completely and start displaying inadequacy. They decide that they are not good enough as the others in the class and thus cannot participate in group activities, want to be left alone in order to avoid humiliation. Avoiding any kind of public display is a means of redeeming their self-esteem. The only motive behind displaying such behaviour like other behaviours is to, in some way; get an affirmation of the significance of the student. The fact that, even if they are accepted at the cost of being inadequate is sufficient for them.
Having realized that teachers hold a key role in not only identifying these different inappropriate behaviours but also in finding the solution towards handling the behaviour I would briefly like to touch on the different styles of teachers next.
The way a teacher reacts to a given behaviour can help escalate or reduce the incidences of misbehavior in a scenario and it all boils down to the varying personalities the teachers display in their classrooms. Charles (1992) identified the following three main teaching styles:
As the name suggests, the teachers with this style are very tough in their classrooms and do not take any bending away from rules. They do not encourage the use of humour or warmth and like to show their power and authority on the class. They are not motivating the students to work but forcing them to do so. Students are naturally not very receptive of them and behave in a hostile manner to the whims and fancies (commands/demands) of these teachers.
These teachers are ineffective because they give students too much freedom to do whatever they like. Developing self- discipline is not high on their priority list and as a result there is mayhem in their classrooms and not much learning happens there. The fact that they do not dwell on the consequences of breaking the rules in the class hampers in helping the students adopt a mature and responsible lifestyle.
A democratic teacher provides correct and firm guidance but not promote rebellion. They are making decisions about to study as well as help in setting up the rules so they have the responsibility of following up on it. The sense of ownership not only allows them the freedom but also take responsibility for their actions. In order for the students to learn to be self-governing they need to be given some freedom. The teachers are firm but fair and kind, encourage their students to find their own ways thereby making them assume more personal responsibility. The children not only develop a sense of being a part of the class but also have a feeling of belonging to the class.
In order for a teacher to be successful in curbing the indiscipline in the class there needs to be a good relationship of trust and some of the suggested steps by Dinkmeyer and Dinkmeyer (1976) include
Teachers attempt to find out what are the motives of the students
Then help the student to gain an understanding of those motives
Students to be helped to change their wrong goals for more useful correct goals
Commitment is sought from the students for these new goals
Students are taught to use a logical reasoning for their actions
Class rules and problems are discussed in group discussions.
"Prevention is better than cure" which leads to finding some ways about preventing indiscipline happening before it actually takes place as some children may be convinced that the way they behave is the only way to satisfy their needs. Some of the ways suggested by Dreikurs (1968) not only help in dealing but prevention of the problem.
Encouragement versus Praise
It is a useful technique as it sits well with the goals of children who seek approval and being encouraged gives them that. It focuses more on the effort of the child rather than the result of it as sometimes the hard work of the children might not be successful. Proper encouragement gives them more satisfaction from learning rather than the result. By encouraging we are accepting the child for what he is and so they are able to focus on their strengths rather than contemplating about their weaknesses. More the children are confident about their abilities, less undisciplined they would be.
Praise, on the other hand is reserved for high achieving students who have accomplished something the others can aspire for. Praise gives rise to the idea that only performance in a test is worthy of it, so students do not work for self-satisfaction but for extra rewards. Encouragement increases the sense of cooperation rather than competition, enjoyment instead quality of performance and independence rather than dependence. Teacher's need to give fulsome praise rather than being restrictive by adding butt's and however's.
Inspite of the teacher's best efforts at encouragement there will be misbehavior and that is why they need to identify logical consequences for the behavioural problems as they develop. Logical consequences are contrived and then applied as necessary to influence students' behaviour (Dreikurs & Grey, 1968) The reason they happen because of some reasonable connection to an action that has taken place. They are there to correct the behaviour that is happening at present and not related to the future. It is different from punishment as it promotes revenge and makes the student believe they have a right to retaliate. (Dreikurs & Cassel, 1972). For the consequences to be effective they need to be applied consistently as the students are bound to take advantage of the inconsistency of the teacher. It should not be governed by the mood of the teacher or their good luck. Logical consequences have to be agreed by the students after they have been explained and understood by them for they will more readily accept something they have helped devise. If the consequences are to have an impact and help promote good behaviour they need to have been discussed beforehand otherwise it will act as a punishment and often encourage indiscipline.
Discussions in the Classroom
The positive impact a group can have on the prevention of inappropriate behaviour of a student leads to having classroom discussions. Not only do they help in creating an excellent atmosphere for the students to learn interpersonal skills and good communication, it creates common goals and procedures for students to have a better knowledge of performance of their specific roles. The children learn how to be responsible and the consequences of their actions. They tend to get together closer to each other and learn to work successfully in a group. Teachers need to be leading the group discussions ensuring everybody is free to participate and nobody is intimidated. Active, voluntary participation needs to be encouraged and the teachers need to ensure that productive discussions are taking place, even if they have to do little bit of manipulation. As group discussions are a place for determining class values and expectations as well as a means of enforcing them it is imperative that the details of inappropriate behaviour are discussed without revealing the identity of the students. Teachers need to ensure these discussions do not become a free-for-all. The whole idea is to accustom the students with the rules of society and help them adopt them of their own free will.
Democratic principles were central to Dreikurs (1968) way of thinking and teachers by helping children be more self-governed will be more successful. They can be more effective when they realize that the need to be accepted on a social level is one of the main causes of a child displaying misbehavior. Though Wolfgang (2001) and Kohn (1996) are not supportive of the same it has provided the stepping stone for many of the recent theories by Bill Rogers (1998, pp.14-22).
However some of Do's and Don'ts (Dreikurs, Grunwald & Pepper, 1982) are listed as under
Keep aside your own prestige and authority
Do not nag or scold as it may increase the chances of misbehavior in his search for attention
Children to not promise anything as they will use that to get out of sticky situations
Do not reward for good behaviour as it will set a precedent for times to come
Do not have a different set of standards for yourself and your students
Avoid using threats
Do not be vindictive
Try to understand the reason for misbehaviour
Be precise in your directions for actions from children
Always focus on their present and not past behaviour
In case of misbehavior give the children a choice to either remain in the class without disturbing or leave the room
Build a relationship of trust
Treat children consistently and deal with them unemotionally
Use logical consequences rather than punishment
Use the class to make rules and then put them into practice
Be kind but firm
Children are accepted but not their behaviour
Ensure students understand their limits
In order to create an effective behaviour management plan it is important to look in to the key principles as outlined in the Code of School Behaviour (2006) from Education Queensland.
Some of the key principles that were advocated by Education Queensland (1998) included-
Providing a safe and supportive learning environment
Provision of inclusion and an engaging curriculum and teaching
Initiating and maintaining constructive communication and relationships with students and parents and carers
Promoting the skills of responsible self-management
The Code of Behaviour further explains the consequences of student behaviour not complying with those laid out by the school including suspensions, exclusions and even cancellation of enrollment only as a last resort after all other responses have failed.
The Cathedral College that I am presently undergoing my Embedded Professional Learning has inculcated the above principles as promoted by Education Queensland but being a Catholic School they have their own set of rules to identify and deal with inappropriate behaviour.
Behaviour Management Strategies at The Cathedral College
The school had designed procedures so as to deliver possible consequences for inappropriate behaviour shown by students which apply to all classrooms and Pastoral teachers at Level 1 and progress through Academic and House Deans at Level 2, assistant to Principal- Students at Level 3 and to the Principal (or Deputy Principal) at Level 4. It is important that all the incidents are documented and then filed in the student's pastoral care file. This will help portray a picture of the student through their journey in the school as clearly outlined in the Staff Handbook (p41, 1991)
Pastoral Care teacher
College Leadership Team
Classroom Teachers/ Pastoral Care Teachers
At this level each and every staff member is responsible for the behaviour of the students and they can determine consequences for student's actions. Some of the examples and possible consequences are as below:
Late to class or PC
Homework not completed
Talking in the class continuously
Use of inappropriate language
Eating in the class
Using mobiles during the school hours
Not complying with the uniform, jewellery and hair policy
The consequences could range from
Lunchtime detention to be supervised by the teacher who has given the detention
After school detention for an hour supervised by the teacher who has given the detention
Written apology if needed
Contact with parents by phone or mail
Confiscation of mobile phone and given to the student counter for parent to collect it
Referral to Learning Support coordinator, if required
All the documentation needs to be held on file in the students file held by the Pastoral Care teacher
In case the student's behaviour shows no sign of improvement then he/she is to be referred to their respective House Dean/Academic Dean as deemed fit escalating it to
Level of Inappropriate Behaviour
Failure to comply with consequences set at Level 1
Still refusing to listen even after being faced with consequences
Leaving School grounds without permission
Behaviour card or a uniform card issued as per the situation
Referred to college counsellor
Referred to Indigenous Liasion Officer
Parent contact and interview, if needed
House Dean's detention issued
Withdrawal from all house activities
Again, all these documentations are filed for future use
Inspite of, counseling and help provided at Level 2 if the student continues on the path of misbehavior ,then the matter is escalated to the Assistant to the Principal- Students
Referred from House Dean for repeated offences
Abuse of Teacher
Damage to property
Possession of dangerous material
Serious Workplace Health and Safety Issues
Detention by the administration
Placement in another PC group or House
As before the misbehaviours are to be documented and filed
The Deputy Principal or Principal can intervene at any stage of the above
The Assistant to Principal- Students may also refer the student
All the documentation done in the previous stages needs to be present for appropriate action to be taken
Principal may request removal from the college to the Director
The Staff Handbook of The Cathedral College also goes on to give an Indigenous perspective and ways to handle behaviour management with regards to these groups. As a school, it is very important for them to recognize the presence of indigenous students as well as cater for their individual social and cultural needs. Some of the common behaviour patterns displayed in many of the indigenous homes include:
Being affectionate towards the family
Being assertive to get what they want
Preferring to be questioned in an indirect, private manner
Not demonstrating contrition at being disobedient
(Based on Malin, 1989)
If children brought up with these cultures and values end up having trouble in the class it is very important for the teacher to recognise these behaviours or else they may end up being categorised as deliberately disruptive.
Shame, makes the Indigenous students more susceptible to the demands they face in school and the ways in which it manifests in the individual could vary from being withdrawn and unresponsive, to attacking others physically or verbally and in some cases, looking away or straight ahead. This could be misinterpreted by the teacher as sulkiness or being defiant in the class and if confronted, could lead to further shame or the student resorting to violence. Traditionally they would much rather be ignorant about it, instead of trying and failing and be shamed. The teacher needs to then scaffold the task so as to reduce the risk of failure and shame, so as the student can at least attempt the task. As the indigenous students are brought up with values where they believe relationships are important it is very important for a teacher to have effective relations with them.
Classroom interactions which build relationships:
The teacher talks less and more to their side rather than face to face
Although boundaries are set but the requests are done in a non-threatening manner
As the Indigenous society approves physical contact the same may be supported by oral communications as well
Humour is used often in the class
Confidence and trust are to be maintained at all costs
Any sort of reprimanding is done in private in order to avoid public humiliation
Not to overreact to swearing or take the abuse personally
Classroom atmosphere is designed to reduce the chances of shame happening
"Indigenous students in a school act as a litmus test on the general health of the school. If, at the end of the year, the Indigenous students are still there and have had a hassle-free, enjoyable time and have made marked gains in learning, then the school is most likely a good school for all of its students. On the other hand, if the Indigenous students did not go well, then the school is most likely lacking in important ways for all of its students"-Ted Lovegrove
After having been in the school for almost 3 weeks and attending classes and meetings with my mentor teachers for the core group to discuss behaviour management for specific students who have been ascertained (in some cases) I have listed down some of the most common disruptive behaviours witnessed in the classrooms.
Common Disruptive Behaviours in the Classroom
Dreikurs (1968) and the four goals of showing inappropriate behaviour are clearly seen in the classrooms that I have visited with my mentor teachers.
Talkative: continuously going on, have a comment for everything
Listen to the comment without giving undue importance
Allow time to speak and then carry on without disturbing the pace of the class
"You have a minute to say your piece before I move on"
Rambling: Beating around the bush and not coming to the point
Redirect back to the task on hand
Side Conversations: going on between students sitting next to each other
Give a meaningful pause to draw attention to the conversation
Sharp Shooting: Trying to prove their superiority over you
Ignore and use statement like " If you would like to come up and explain the same"
Arguing: Being disrespectful
Ask your question to a different group
Rude and Revengeful: Sees the teacher an enemy
Do not retaliate
Use a student held in high esteem by the class
Silence: No participation in the class activity
Ask question directly to elicit a response
Encourage them for any contribution and give effective praise
After having gone through the various theories relating to behaviour management as well as my current experiences at the school I am involved with as well as the successful practices seen being employed by my mentor teachers I have come up with my Behaviour Management Plan that encompasses the school policies as well as theoretical practices.
My Behaviour Management Plan
Some of the basic elements that have been considered by me in drawing the plan are based on
What sort of approach I need to have so that I can lead the class more effectively
Can I possibly foresee all the problems I might face and have possible solutions for them in place, so that I am ready when I do get in a sticky situation
Make my expectations very clear by putting up the class rules that have been devised in consultation with the students so that they have a sense of responsibility and ownership towards them
Lead the class by example
Have an atmosphere of positive reinforcement by constantly encouraging the students
Showing respect by being a keen listener and living up to their expectations
Always be consistent about the delivery and practice of my strategy
Have an inclusive plan to cater to all sorts of students. Keep them busy as " Empty minds are devil's workshops"
Ask the students for their suggestions to improve their behaviour.
Persevering with the set of rules for a period of time can go a long way in creating an environment that is not only respectful but also cultivates positive behaviour. From my experience in the school with my mentor teachers as well as the school Handbook I have also noted down some of the strategies that I would like to include in my model like
Beginning of the lesson- Students to line up outside the class to wait for the teacher and then stand behind their seats waiting for the teacher to give instructions. This gives the class time to settle down and get ready for the class in the shortest time.
Seating Plans- Being a new teacher, it is imperative for me to learn the names of my students at the earliest so it is vital to have a seating plan which preferably is alphabetically, atleast for the first few weeks of the term. Then the class can be divided into groups that the teacher is comfortable with depending on their intellectual capabilities.
In Class Strategies- Be consistent with the behaviour management plan of the school and also make the students aware of the consequences of their actions. I should be prepared to follow through on the consequences as it is important for students to see consistency. In order to be aware of what is happening in my classrooms I would be moving around and observing them from the back of the classroom. Follow up the behaviour management plan as outlined before as that is the policy followed by the school and if need be transfer the disruptive student from the class after consulting with the academic Dean.
Students being "creatures of habit" I would like to work with certainty, have a lot of work, give out clear instructions as well as ensure that they are on the given task. It is always good to be ready with more exercises in order to engage the bright students.
The importance of implementing a successful Behaviour Management plan is an integral part of the learning journey of a new teacher.
Implementing the Model
Baker(2005) very clearly on the basis of surveys has indicated that teachers who are not able to learn classroom management skills have moved out of the profession and the more experienced ones have gone on to manage their classes more effectively. Ongoing professional development is really important being a new teacher as they are more prone to being overwhelmed by the diverse needs of the students and may react adversely to inappropriate behaviour. They need to be taught how to cater to the needs of the students who are academically not bright as well as have behavioural issues so that those students are not left behind. As a preservice teacher, I need to have an intellectual understanding of what is involved as well as have enough practice in giving feedback for implementation of preventive as well as corrective management strategies.
As a teacher I need to put into practice teaching strategies that stop academic and behavioural difficulties so as to have a positive outcome on the student's achievement. Students respond better to instructions coming from effective teachers (Espin, & Yell, 1994). When the students are engaged in a lesson where the information being presented is beyond their present level of understanding, they tend to lose interest, become frustrated and start displaying inappropriate behaviours (Wehby, Symons, Canale, & Go, 1995). Similarly, if the lesson is too easy, the students out of boredom and any significant lack of challenge may be disruptive in the classroom.
The class in order to have an effective management needs to be structured as per the school policies and environment, managing the engagement of students, consistent implementations of rules set up in the classroom, having methods to promote appropriate behaviours and flexibility to cater for any changes if needed in the classroom management style.
When we as preservice teachers get into the classes there is already a set pattern established and also a basic classroom control, sometimes which can prove detrimental as the class is not open to changes. Regular feedback about the strategies being used can overcome the initial fear and hesitation in accepting those changes.
In preparing my lessons I tried to engage the different types of learners (visual, kinesthetic and tactile) present in my class by not only having visual graphs, pictures and quizzes but also hands-on activities in groups as well. I made sure that my class was inclusive of both the slow as well as fast learners and the students were all occupied during the lesson. I had enough material in my lesson plan to engage the fast learners and also enough homework to check for their understanding.
As my learners were constantly engaged in their in-class activities they had little or no time to display inappropriate behaviours in the classroom. The class was held in a positive environment where participation from one and all was welcome and it was a mutually engrossing time.
What follows is a conclusion of my report.
In order to have positive outcomes from education it is important to not only organize the classrooms but also correctly manage the behaviour of the students. The teacher needs to be extremely prepared and have adequate professional development so as to deliver results for students in general education. There needs to be a constant reflection and feedback on instructional approaches to managing the behaviour in a classroom. Very effective rules and instructions will definitely reduce inappropriate behaviour as there will be more engagement in the lesson being taught in the class as well as the activities being held. It also ends up making classroom organization and behaviour management a lot easier.
The behavioural frame work followed in a particular school is essential for the prevention as well as the foundation of effective behaviour management plan. When there is a clear cut approach defined which is positive and predictable, the support in classroom behaviour becomes a lot easier and there is more likelihood of these practices being carried on effectively in classrooms (Sugai & Horner, 2006).
With the efforts of everybody involved in education the right policies and incentives can be set up as this approach will make sure that teachers can get to the knowledge and the skill they need to manage the classrooms in a better way. This will lead to not only increasing the chances of everybody learning but also reduced number of cases of disruptive behaviour and adequate and appropriate response to managing inappropriate behaviour.
Improving the general outcomes of education can only come through the development in effective behaviour management in our classes.
"If antisocial behaviour is not changed by the end of Grade 3, it should be treated as a chronic condition much like diabetes. That is, it cannot be cured, but managed with appropriate supports and continuing intervention"
-Walker, Colvin, & Ramsey, 1995, p.6