Classroom Management for an Elementary Teacher
Effective classroom management remains a vital proponent to any elementary education environment. Poorly and ineffectively managed classrooms usually have no capacity to run normally, this results in unfavorable learning environments for students. This hinders learners from harnessing the learning opportunity maximally. Usually, an elementary learning environment should provide a positive and conducive atmosphere, in addition to being the active learning environment. As will be observed in this study, there exist core reasons why classroom management should be a mandatory tool for effective elementary school classroom. The practice of classroom management not only develops and sustains an orderly learning environment that facilitates engaging and meaningful academic excellence, but also aims at facilitating the students’ moral and social development.
Reviewing classroom philosophies will anchor upon expectations that I will consider within my future classroom. This will entail ways that will effectively focus on educational principles and theories, linked to learning theories and core educational principles. To commence with, the study lays attention on the Second Grade classroom in an elementary school. As will be expected, the education opportunity will offer me to take responsibility over the management of the entire classroom.
As described by Evertson and Weinstein, effective teachers will manage their classrooms; ineffective teachers discipline their classrooms. With this regard the teacher thereby assumes the duty of organizing a well-managed classroom with students being in a position of learning and achieving educational goals in a task-oriented environment. Of the essentialities of classroom management, being in control of the classroom remains the indispensable practice component of effective classroom management.
Houston establishes that, in a disorderly elementary learning environment, students usually have no learning opportunity that will enhance the realization their fullest potentials. Typically, as a teacher ne may get so concerned with being controlled, they often develop approaches based upon a chart or list of rules that may result to either positive or negative repercussions. As will remain an essentiality, teaching the Second Grade students the importance underlying appropriate behaviour. Classically, a set of rules may not necessarily instill the need for the students take control of their actions as it is in the best interest of the learners to learn and practice ethical and moral attributes in and of the classroom.
Classroom management ensures the safety of students. It may take the form of dictatorship, democratic and undirected aspects of management. In the case where there is complete chaos in the classroom, then the students’ safety could be seemingly at jeopardy. A learning environment is characterized by various and numerous resources in the form of material or teaching aids. These resources need to be handled with utmost care and safety.
Wong and Wong have posited that classroom management is the most common fear among teachers at the commencement of their careers. Evidently, a teacher who does not avail effective classroom management, usually is not in capacity of producing effective teaching process. Teaching will require the teacher’s time and effort investment as well as appropriate use of tools and equipment. Good classroom management also entails strong planning anchored upon suitable approaches in order to achieve the discipline level necessary. Too, the coordination between the teacher’s role and the students’ interest and needs. This helps these two entities cope with varying elementary school situations.
Over time, the contested nature of the concepts regarding management in the elementary school classroom, have led to the adoption of the various approaches and styles. A portion of teachers perceives management philosophy that is anchored upon authority, issuing orders, consequences and compliance, while a varying portion is characterized by the perception of offering students a space to participate actively in the education process.
As will be observed in this study, upholding the essence of classroom management in realizing a full potential teaching process is apparent. Usually, if it is difficult and entirely impossible to separate the essentiality of effective classroom management and an effective teaching process. Teaching success is established upon classroom pillars of organization, planning, guidance, follow up, time management and evaluation.
This forms the most vital component in classroom management, delivering an essential role in facilitating all other elements in the classroom to function appropriately. The degree of efficacy with regard to classroom management is highly dependent on the teacher’s status, abilities and capacity to deliver responsibilities and tasks. They may as well be sources of problems in the classroom owing to certain practices and behaviors, e.g. discrimination & aggression, dictatorial management in the absence of planning & perfection and unjustifiable group retributions.
The 2nd Grade Learner
A pupil/student is faced with varying and numerous potential reasons that induce them to have in a characteristic manner in the classroom. Their behavior and reaction to any classroom situation could bring about negative or positive indications of management. Such behavior may be as a result of poor selection of classroom activity, classroom atmosphere, special needs, frustration and ignorance of classroom etiquette and attention concerns. In designing effective classroom management will involve considering the learners’ level of academic capability, the learning stage, the teaching method and the diversity amongst the learners.
Teacher efficacy is vividly indicated through a teacher’s enthusiasm. If the students realize the teacher’s enthusiasm, they tend to build and establish their own sense of efficacy. It serves a positive factor from any theoretical approach. With behaviorism, the teacher’s enthusiasm is perceived as a positive reinforcement by the learner.
- Social Learning Theory
Usually, students will imitate the teacher’s model. If the teacher is enthusiastic then the students will certainly follow suit.
- Cognitive Learning Theory
In teaching, emotions are an indispensable aspect in the creation and development of new mental schemes. This facilitates sharing enthusiasm and enhancing an exciting learning environment.
- Information Processing Theory
This theory advances that new information finds its place in a student’s educational life when pleasure is integrated at the hands of an enthusiastic teacher.
- Humanistic Learning Theory
It says that a teacher’s enthusiasm helps merge the students’ needs and preferences for belonging, safety and self-esteem. In any learning theory the teacher’s enthusiasm will occupy an exalted component in the teaching practice.
Principles Guiding a Productive Learning Environment
The educational principles relevant to classroom management may be summarized under scientific, practical, education-for-all, lifelong learning, free-education, individual respect, traditionalism as well as modernization.
- Scientific Principle
This principle is usually emanating from the awareness of the necessity to support and spread science owing to the positive attributes on the Second Grade student. By so doing, the learner is rendered an active and productive society member.
- Practical Principle
Teaching perceives practicability as a social and economic essentiality. Management in the classroom will entail calling for approaches that help gear effort towards application of the various aspects learnt in class.
- Principle of Education-For-All
Sound approaches to effective classroom management allow for the appreciation of the significance of science and knowledge in an effort of facilitating education to be a right for all with exempt of any distinction, contradiction or favor.
- Principle of Life-Learning
This principle is vital in ensuring that the young learners are equipped with mechanism to cope with the various situations and life-changing circumstances.
- Principle of Free-Education
While as various States will cater for the entire lower grade education system.
- Individual Respect Principle
Effective classroom management will call for the acknowledgement of the individual’s rights and freedoms as granted by ethical and responsible teaching practice.
- Traditionalism vs. Modernization
As is the current situation, numerous State Education Departments have integrated both the traditional and modern education systems. The traditional aspects form base for efficacy and cannot be ignored while the modern aspects bring in chances that facilitate use of modern achievements in a beneficial way to the society.
Defining Classroom Management within My Future Classroom
While Second Grade students are stereotypically reinforced or coerced into following and going by the rules, these learners will usually possess little or no commitment with regard to compliance. They not only fail to understand compliance and its rationale, but also lack a sense of themselves as the kind of learners who willingly and knowingly want to comply now and in the future. In effort of achieving an effective classroom management, then conceptualizing that just disciplining the young learners for any wrongdoing, will necessarily not develop the sense of understanding amongst themselves rather it will distance these learners from reasoning and appreciating behind the expectations that they are inclined to. Furthermore, Kohn postulates that learners are usually far less probable to act aggressively, obnoxiously or intrusively in circumstances or environments where the teacher may not be so concerned with being in control that indeed the teacher is not concerned with classroom management approaches.
In establishing the most prolific course of action or approach to effective management, then I will firstly develop rules and procedures that will be accessible and known to all class members. However, I will not entirely refer to them, as they are intended to guide and act whatsoever. Dealing with issues in the classroom will entail discussion with the student in addition to dialogue the way out. Additionally, I would not reward who comply with the set rules or uphold responsible conduct. It will be a sad situation to see students complete their homework, uphold ethical and moral conduct just for them to receive awards, favors or exempts. Effective classroom management will involve encouraging the young learners to do what is right so they can be responsible and best persons as well as realize their highest potential.
Involvement in classroom management practice is not determined by the set rules, guidelines or consequences. With involvement and contribution from both the students and the teacher, the classroom will run much smoother. When the students are involved, then, I will feel much in control because the students will embrace what is expected of them, and why and act in an ethical and moral manner. This practice also enhances hands on experience on learning activities facilitating meaningfulness of lessons. With this achieved, students will let the learners to fully exploit their potential. Usually, laying focus on teaching the essence of responsibility in the classroom is not only vital for maximum learning but also enhancing life lessons.
In their book The First Days of School, (Wong & Wong), have argued that as a teacher, providing consistency will enhance the students’ feel of security resulting from maintaining a well-managed classroom. The learners need this more than the teacher does. Usually no surprises or yelling occurs in a classroom that is consistent. Amazingly, nothing sends the young learners into orbit faster than when they have just discovered that they have a disorganized teacher. I as a teacher, I expect to entice and engage my students by my lessons and learning activities, then I must be enticed and engaged by the content I will teach as well. Typically, young learners will be impressionable and the teacher’s organization and attitude will carry over to them.
Developing Effective Routines and Procedures
The concept of classroom management encompasses all activity in the classroom not limited to classroom control. Additionally, this entails, the good planning with the aim of achieving a suitable and appropriate learning environment. It intermingles the actions and events practiced by any individual in the classroom in to achieve educational achievements. Normally, all activity that a teacher does in the classroom, verbal or non-verbal, that seeks to create an educational atmosphere for the teacher and the learners. Routines and practices by the teacher and learners through what the gain with regard to knowledge, skills and new concepts that are a vital component in the practical life. Additionally, such practices equip the young learners with positive values and trends that seek to develop and accommodate their abilities and skills.
Routines and procedures designate the teaching and organizational tasks/ responsibilities carried out by the teacher while teaching in the classroom, it will entail discipline and control mechanisms that ensure the learners are comfortable, safe, calm, without fear of retribution, thus helps the learners and the teacher to achieve the desired educational goals. In the classroom, the teacher serves as the educational leader, their core responsibility of enriching the school’s curriculum as performed by the learners besides enhancing the use of human and material resources that are available in the pursuit of the educational process. Routines and procedures will fall under the following metrics:
a. Preparing and Organizing
This metric will entail:
- Arranging Learners’ Desks for Learning in the Classroom
- Preparing the Teaching Materials and Apparatus
- Preparing teaching aids prior to class
- Preparing lesson plan. (Aims, objectives)
- Prepare the time allocation of the lesson
- Putting the teaching aids in the proper place in class
- Preparing alternative material for contingency
b. Group Work
This approach encompasses:
- Organizing classroom discussion among students
- Coordinating students’ work among themselves and their teacher
- Discussion of class rules
c. Classroom Management (Designing Developmentally Appropriate Routines and Procedures that Enhance Student Learning)
An effective approach will comprise of:
- Considering individual differences when assigning class activities to students
- Making sure that I am visible to all students
- Using a democratic way of dealing with students in class
- Respecting students' ideas in class - Consolidating the positive behavior of students directly
- Ensuring Full attention of the teacher to all that happens in class
- Anticipating class problems before they happen in class
d. Classroom Management Implementation & Evaluation
There will be need to establish comprehensive assessment mechanisms to help monitor the progress in attaining an effective classroom management. It will entail:
- Evaluating the learning environment in class regularly
- Determining points of weakness and strength of the students
- Determining behavioral problems accurately through class observation
- Treating behavioral problems educationally
- Treating weakness resulting from class evaluation
Teacher Practices & Good Teaching
Classroom practices are a vital component to learning as they facilitate students to succeed in their educational endeavors. Though getting teachers whose routines and procedures befit learners may seem difficult, it is important to consider that teachers have a core role of using classroom practices that will promote learning in addition to upholding the value of learning. Effective identification and implementation of routines and practices is essential and is also associated with the learner outcomes. It will be anchored upon:
- Opportunities to learn Learners are exposed more when most of the school time is allocated to curriculum-related activities and a classroom management system that fosters learners’ engagement
- Curricular alignment The alignment of all curriculum elements creates a cohesive program aimed at achieving instructional purposes
- Strategic Teaching Teaching models are intended for students to guide learning and self-regulation strategies
- Practice and Implementation Efficient time should be allocated towards learning and receiving improvement-oriented feedback
- Achievement expectations The teacher is required to establish and follow up through on appropriate learning outcomes
Communicating with Parents
Communication is a vital tool for an effectively-managed elementary school classroom. Effective communication occurs between the teacher-student-parents. Typically, every classroom has a unique environment as every individual has their own unique space. As a teacher, you may teach in a similar room for twenty years, but each year will entail an entirely different experience. Engaging a regular communication with the parents and caregivers through calling, e-mail, notes, mail or communication brochures where parents and teachers have a platform to share messages and relevant information. Actually, tuning the parents into the student behavior as well as developing a system of consequences to be directed at home will foster signs of an active communication with the parents thus achieving effective classroom management.
Additionally, the parent - teacher relationship will also need one to be sure to not only call home when an issue has occurred at school concerning the student, but also engage positive conversations regarding the learner’s strengths and educational achievements, improvements etc.
This refers to the environment/ atmosphere in which the interaction between the teacher-learner-caregiver is adhered to. It may also entail the learners’ safety as well as the organization of the classroom. The environment takes into account the physical factors such as infrastructure, design of the school, classroom location, learner and teacher space, material & non-material aspects, suitability of the teaching content, seating arrangements and so on.
Schools and classrooms in particular require to be places of ambience, safety and a welcoming environment that avails the necessary academic, social and emotional support that is a perquisite to the achievement of educational goals. In the Progressive Education Theory, Kohn describes that progressive education cannot be defined in a single sentence rather on a continuous and sequential manner.
Figure 1 Environment-Learning Interaction
The learning environment has been ever changing. Environment elements are complex, ranging from the level of interactions to the physical aspects of the individual learners and teachers. There is no single factor that can determine the physical environment, but the interactions of the various factors provide a fabric of support that influences learning at optimum levels. Classroom design, layout and physical adjustments are perceived to have a significant influence on the physical learning environment.
Figure 2 Sample Classroom Layout
The environment is considered to comprise of interrelated aspects of geography, built, social and cultural components. These components are linked in certain behaviors and consistent ways. Typically, the set of affordances of a particular environment constitutes the potential environment for learners’ behavior at that location. Keying in the physical environment in classroom management is accommodating and not deterministic entirely. As Lang put it, ‘if the built environment does not afford a behavior, the behavior cannot occur.’ In brief, the classroom may be used by the teacher and learners- used as a tool to socially and self-construct identity as well as a tool to enhance educational outcomes.
Figure 3 Sketch Map of the Physical Environment of a 2nd Grade Classroom
The figure above illustrates the floor plan of one 2nd Grade classroom showing the typical guided reading areas, e.g. the library, rug, individual and group work areas, computer stations, locations of marker board, technology equipment, windows, classroom entry and exit.
The rug was strategically created to serve as the primary location for the introduction of lessons, a group lesson area. It also serves as the hub of the classroom. The rug functions to bring the entire classroom together in order to harness information dissemination and flow from the teacher to the young learners and offering chances for the teacher to closely observe the students.
Each teacher has a responsibility of designing and arranging the resources in the classrooms, including furniture in alignment with the educational approach. It will be vital to establish an environment that will foster an atmosphere to support cooperative teaching and cooperative learning. The classroom design and arrangement should be congruent with the educational paradigm of their curriculum. Hysterically, a teacher finds that in order to achieve a constructivist concept characterized by independent learning integral to guided learning, the classroom belonged to the young learners.
The learner takes a large part of their time sitting in a classroom. The room offers a space where they learn and acquire new skills that are vital for the achievement of success in a global society. If underrated, classroom organization can stifle creativity or even promote a negative learning environment. Wall arts will clearly indicate that to the student that the teacher is mindful; about their work enough to show it off. As well the students gain an understanding of the social expectations of the teacher. Discipline, attentiveness, calmness, debating and engagement can be enhanced by classroom organization.
The following considerations draw from my experience during the coursework and other researches that are already done. I realized that there was a need to acquire and harness the classroom management skills. Albeit, find myself at a disadvantage of not entirely managing classroom teaching process and issues, I comprehend the importance and essentiality of certain routines and procedures in enhancing an effective classroom management approach. Failure to reflect on the behavioral aspects of learners hampers effective classroom management. It is, however, vital to carry over the practice procedures learned throughout the course to intuitively foster a conducive learning environment in the classroom.
The integration of approaches in dealing with classroom management calls for effective use of strategies in dealing with issues that arise in the classroom. It is also vital to eliminate the stereotype that learners will continually misbehave or engage in irresponsible conduct no matter what the effort the teacher exerts. Learners will always embrace ethical, moral and responsible conduct if at all a sober and conducive environment is created.
In order to establish a positive classroom environment/ climate, as a teacher, I will have to avail cohesiveness to students by engaging a sense of classroom community. With this regard, my classroom will have a sense of connection, a feeling that my learners will value and that will have an influence on the young learners and the teacher. This characteristic approach instills aspect of belonging, personal recognition, and respect. Additionally, learners acknowledge and appreciate that they are involved in decision making and issue resolution.
The study immensely found that there is a need for the teachers to acquire and enhance the classroom management skills so that they are in opposition of handling and managing the classrooms thereby creating an ample environment for the realization of educational goals. Additionally, they should be encouraged to execute their task in a professional way, education curricula should incorporate classroom management modules in the syllabus. The study thus offers recommendations that serve as a springboard in attaining effective classroom management.
Classroom management remains a vital component in the Elementary School classroom. Usually, the students will require an orderly, conducive, comfortable and a favorable environment for learning as well as utilizing their best potentials. For the teacher to effectively enhance classroom management, there will be needed to create the mentioned environment, respect and uphold communication with students and parents too. From the tactics discussed here in the study, the teacher has a capacity to achieve the respect, honor and relationship all along as well as establish a place where students and their parents/ caregivers feel at ease, welcome and free thus allowing them to harness the educational opportunities maximally.