Good Classroom Management: Effective Teachers And Instructional Practices In Public Schools Dissertation Example
Graduate Faculty of the School of Education
Requirements for the Degree of
Chapter 1: Introduction1
Statement of the Problem3
Purpose of the Study5
Definition of Key Terms6
Chapter 2: Literature Review7
Chapter 1: Introduction
Effective instructional methods are difficult to implement into a classroom environment, yet have the ability to improve discipline and student learning. It can often be difficult for teachers to meet the school's academic priorities in a "chaotic, dangerous, or unproductive environment" (Boyd, 2012, p. 63). Additionally, the shift of classroom practices affects the implementation of management, curriculum and care that extends beyond teacher practices. (Kennedy, 2011). At this phase of learning, middle-school level children are beginning early stages of transformation of learning in a classroom setting. Effective instructional strategies will potentially lead to improve learning experiences for students and ultimately improve their learning. The performance of teachers developing instructional methods to motivate student learning is critical.
The reduced effects of instructional methods by teachers in a middle school is often viewed as a similar learning technique associated with junior high schools. Furthermore, classroom management strives to link classroom environment and student motivation, with many challenges remaining for effective classroom management. One-dimensional classrooms (i.e. classrooms without proper classroom management) increased proportion of students reporting below average ability levels and higher peer consensus on ability judged by students, their teachers, and peers (Kelly, 2007). The formula for connecting a student-teacher relationship is to explore the effective approach to initiate new ideas and programs to engage student learning. The central goal of the study will investigate the barriers teachers experience (e.g. unproductive classroom attitudes and effective instructional strategies) affects classroom management.
Teaching as a practice is constantly undergoing improvements, changes and alterations determine the proper strategies and behaviors required of educators to best handle their classrooms and provide appropriate education outcomes for their students. According to research, the actions of teachers in their classrooms are twice as important and impactful on student academic achievement than the involvement of the community, assessments, curriculum development, and education of teachers and staff (Marzano, 2003a). Effective management of the classroom has been shown to be one of the most important duties of a teacher.
Management has long been associated with a strong learning support. The ideal classroom environment involving everything from a minimum of class disruptions to the preferred scenario of students being actively engaged in learning activities will help to fulfill learning goals (Brophy, 2013). The pre-empirical era of the early 20th century saw management principles as a general practice being developed from the work of William Changler Bagley, who observed the practices of successful and efficient teachers. He added his own experience and basic psychological principles to his work in order to establish the first classroom management strategies (Brophy, 2013). Bagley advocated for teachers to give conscious attention to their classroom environment in order to limit routine and judgment factors that would limit student engagement in classrooms (Brophy, 2013).
Bagley’s principles in the early 1900s continued into the 1950s, as Brown’s work on classroom management “emphasized Christian values, school as preparation for democratic citizenship, and child-centered, progressive educational methods” (Brophy 2013, p. 22). As more educational research focused explicitly on classroom management, behavioral research was performed in order to further study the proper principles for regulating student behavior and managing the classroom; focusing in “reinforcing packages of behaviors” rather than keeping track of each individual student (p. 26). Ecological studies were performed in individual classrooms to see how different classroom settings worked and functioned; revealing the efficacy of teaching strategies such as ‘withitness,’ overlapping, group alerting and accountability, and others (p. 28).
These kinds of studies have persisted since the 1970s, offering a rich body of findings to support behavioral techniques in a number of management systems (Brophy, 2013). Among the consensus achieved by this large body of work involves the need to match management systems to instructional systems; teachers must determine exactly how to teach their students by catering their management strategies to more accurately fit these principles (Brophy, 2013). Grade levels are another important factor in matching management systems. Different priorities and expected personalities can be found in classroom populations depending on grade level. Ultimately, strategies should follow instructional goals that will mold the learning activities to bring about ideal student behaviors, academic achievement and engagement. These existing principles and the body of work that created them maintain a persistent role in the creation of classroom management strategies by instructors and researchers alike.
Statement of the Problem
The inability of teachers to manage classroom behaviors contributes to poor student development (Funnell, 2009). In response to this limitation, the ineffective manner of any adopted strategies utilized will affect the socialization of students and stunt any true learning or participation on the part of the student in the classroom (Shook, 2012). The lack of effort by teachers to conduct and maintain effective classroom management translates to a lack of responsiveness on the part of the students (Nizielski, Hallum, & Lopes, 2012). A teacher's accomplishments consist of students learning and teacher efficiency, and can be traced to the ability of the teacher, the strength of their lesson plans, and their ability to manage their classrooms (Reyes et al., 2012). Difficulties in successfully managing classrooms can lead to a rise in frustration on the part of both student and teacher and create emotional distress within the classroom that is counterproductive to learning (Poduska & Kurki, 2014; Meirovich, 2012; Hoy, 2012). The lack of teacher's management skills can result in the alteration of a student’s attitude towards the given material and result in teachers being unable to find a suitable solution that will benefit their class and themselves and create a positive learning environment (Oliver, Wehby, & Reschly, 2011).
Despite the efficacy of classroom management, there are many potential barriers faced by instructors in classrooms that are not efficiently managed, including the teacher’s ability to sufficiently engage their students (Reyes et al., 2012). This can create a very unproductive and very limited environment for students and a very challenging struggle for a teacher (Webster-Stratton, Reinke, Herman, & Newcomer, 2011). These challenges result in economic ramifications for the students, especially after they exit the school. To that end, greater exploration as to what barriers prevent instructors from performing adequate classroom management in their respective environments must be provided in order to address what specific problems (whether administrative, behavioral or personal) are most prevalent in classroom management scenarios.
The purpose of this qualitative study is to perform a qualitative assessment to determine barriers to implementation of effective classroom management strategies necessary to facilitate student learning in active classroom environments. The goal of the study to investigate the ways in which instructors experience difficulty implementing needed classroom management strategies used to go beyond the typical resources available in the classroom. The research questions will be used to investigate these issues, honing in on specific barriers to implementation such as student resistance, problems in school infrastructure, and more. The participants will answer a variety of open-ended questions concerning the methods used to encourage student learning outcome. After receiving permission from the school to conduct the research, 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th grade teachers in a Middle School District of Virginia will complete a written document with a series of questions. The information will be recorded from the documents by utilizing a Word file to code each response. Possibly, file folders, computer files or index cards will be used to organize the data to properly develop a matrix or table that can be used to help organize the material. An SPSS software will store responses to easily compile and analyze data properly.
The research questions in the qualitative study will guide the purpose statement to explore the concept of the research. The research questions will identify the most appropriate methods for collecting data for the purpose and the questions. The type of data collected will determine the methodology and design.
Q1. What barriers exist for public middle-school teachers in implementing classroom management strategies to facilitate student learning in their classroom environment?
Barriers preventing teacher implementation of effective instructional strategies in a public school classroom context include a lack of student engagement, inadequate financial and educational resources from faculty and staff, and a lack of education on classroom management strategies.
Definition of Key Terms
Classroom management can be defined as a series of strategies used by teachers in practical classroom environments to facilitate better student engagement and participation in classroom activities (Marzano, 2003a). Classroom management strategies can take a number of forms; from systematic punitive action against misbehaving students, to cognitive and behavioral approaches to make students more inclined to engage in and be interested in classroom activities. Classroom management can also be considered the ultimate status of fully and efficiently managing one’s classroom, offering high engagement and participation; as well as, more positive academic outcomes for students within the classroom (Marzano, 2003a).
Constructive feedback is an incredibly important component to classroom management, as it provides teachers with the ability to change their methods in order to become more effective in their duties. Constructive feedback can be rare when coming from students given many students’ predilections toward delinquent and inappropriate behavior (Dudek et al., 2013). Teachers who hope to facilitate effective classroom management must be able to negotiate methods of receiving constructive feedback from students, faculty and staff.
Chapter 2: Literature Review
The relationship established between the teachers and the students is of paramount importance in the success of any learning institution (Mujis & Reynold, 2010). The teacher plays a significant role in the establishment of a productive working environment that will make the students perform in the best way. Mujis and Reynold say that efficient management of a classroom entails proper discipline, sufficient motivation of students and class preparedness among others. They say that the success of any teacher is dependent on classroom training, organization, management and planning; hence preventing potential problems. Strategies for arranging the physical space, using good communication skills, planning and conducting instruction, choosing rules and procedures, dealing with problem behavior, maintaining appropriate behavior and managing individual groups is necessary for the success of a teacher.
Broome (2013) emphasizes further on the importance of the student-teacher relationship. He says that the general public and the teachers continue to report that the most arduous task for the teachers is the management of student behavior. In his work, Broome aims for designing a new art room that can provide all the components required for effective classroom management. Broome further suggests three elements that are critical for effective management of a class. They include new classroom rules, student routines, and prompt classroom environments. He also says that an inviting and comforting environment is important for both psychological and physical security of the learners. The result of these will be the creation of a reasonable environment that will encourage social contact and interaction in the classroom.
Dreikurs et al. (2013), starts by acknowledging that the strategies that can be employed for successful classroom management are not the same for every teacher. It is crucial the teachers recognize the difference; because a problem exists when teachers apply principles that are not unique to them and then end up not being as efficient as they intended. They go further to say that an effective learning environment should foster creativity, scholarly attainment, joy in learning, respectful social relationship and development of responsible citizens. Most of the education policies are concerned at permissiveness and strictness, which can be termed as ineffective strategies. Permissiveness can lead to anarchy; while strictness, on the other hand, can result in rebellion. These prove that teachers may prevent this by creating a better environment.
Curtin (2005) conducted a study in an economically disadvantaged urban area which had more than thirty percent immigrant students. The study was aimed at investigating how regular teachers are often ill equipped when teaching students who are learning English not as their first language and are mainstreamed into regular classes. The didactic and interactive teachers had varied opinions on the way to deal with students who are learning English as their second language. Curtin ends by suggesting that for teachers to achieve reasonable results, they need to use multiple intelligences in attacking the major domains of the learners. He also highlights the stakeholders as being important since they play a significant role in providing effective teaching to students learning English as their second language until they achieve proficiency levels.
Anne et al. (2008), did research on the use of differentiated instructions in the context of students learning English as their second language. They aimed at giving practical, differentiated instructional strategies that can be used for teaching students who are learning English as their second language and are mainstreamed into regular classes. They suggest the first step entails the ensurance of a high-quality curriculum that has meaningful learning outcomes in both language and content. Without the first step, differentiation is impossible. The second step involves the understanding of the needs of the students; their interests, readiness and learning profiles. The second step should be based on a careful assessment of the learners. The last step involves the implementation of differentiated instructional strategies that are effective in maximizing the learning of all students.
In another article, Norma (2014) examines the effectiveness of multiple intelligences in vocabulary acquisition amongst students learning English as their second language. The study took place in the K-12 school in Lebanon. He noticed that the students learned new vocabulary faster when traditional teaching methods were used, but they hardly retained what they had learned. On the contrary, students retained much of the knowledge gained from sessions that employed multiple intelligence strategy. The teachers who applied the various intelligence techniques had little usage of high order thinking skills. In the end, Norma recommends that multiple intelligences should be the teaching method of choice when it comes to students who are learning English as their second language. The ordinary intelligences aim at efficiency in dealing with real life problems and in making a positive contribution to society.
Legislative changes, such as the No Child Left Behind Act and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act led to an increase in the inclusion of students with behavioral and emotional disorders in general classrooms (Carolynne, 2008). Carolynne says that such students need intervention in order to survive this setting. In a study, she identified five primary methods of intervention. They include discovery, teaching, writing instructions, teacher modeling, guided notes and cross-age tutoring. In another study, Keel et al. (1999), suggests that teachers have to be equipped with relevant knowledge and skills that are potent in dealing with students with mild disabilities. They claim that there has to be interplay between diagnostic methods and handling strategies in order for the learners with mild inabilities to get the most out of learning.
Effective Curriculum Utilization
The curriculum is an important contributor to the success of any learning institution, and the management is usually responsible for the management and implementation of the curriculum. The person in charge of the curriculum is supposed to focus on control issues, review of materials, which encourage a predictable routine and solve the problems that are encountered daily (Marzano et al., 2005). Marzano et al., continues by saying that an essential function of any school leadership is curriculum development. It involves choosing from many possibilities a set of values that should be promoted in the classroom. It’s then the work of the leadership to ensure that the curriculum is translated into classroom activities that produce the outcomes of the curriculum. Monitoring of the actualization of the curriculum is crucial, and the process should be reviewed and validated. Using the results as a guideline also helps in motivating all the involved parties.
Marzano et al. also says that the maintenance of the curriculum at the school level is not an easy task. For the school-based curriculum leaders, serving as a medium for information about classroom instructions is the most important maintenance function. Another important maintenance work is the ensurance of compliance with the changing laws that control education. Also ensuring that the school is supplied with the necessary materials for instructions is a maintenance function. Marzano and his co-authors believe that the leadership in schools should go beyond management or maintenance functions to address reforms for now and the future. Tasks overlap in both dynamic and maintenance; administration and maintenance serves to support a more future-oriented and dynamic leadership role. The local conditions of every school will determine the ratio of the dynamic and maintenance forms of curriculum leadership.
In a case study in Hong Kong, Lee and Dimmock (1999) examine the role of management in the monitoring and innovation of the curriculum. Their study reveals that neither the principals nor the senior teachers played a significant role in innovation and monitoring of the curriculum. They suggest that the government should restructure the school system in order to involve the school administration, organizations and government stakeholders in developing the curriculum. They say that managing and leading curriculum are more content and subject based than a generic principle based activity. Curriculum management and leadership tend to be easily disjointed because they are fragmented. Leadership and management are supposed to be done in a whole school perspective.
Mensah et al. (2009), in their study, they introduce a method that is important in the evaluation of cost effectiveness of tools of management in public institutions. They say that in the recent decades there has been a shift towards outcome measures and performance budgeting for the institutions of the public sector. The change creates a need for formal linking of inputs consumed and the results achieved. There is an inherent problem in accounting of costs in the public sector and Mensah and her co-writers propose a statistical method for the identification of the most cost-effective tool. It involves the estimation of both cost function and outcome function and relating the two to determine the best choice of management tools. However, the underutilized variables need to be addressed for improvement in the performance of school management.
It is of paramount importance that secondary school teachers who are just beginning their career be provided with prompt instructions before they continue (Palumbo & Sanacore, 2007). The experienced secondary school teachers provide relevant suggestions that focus on classroom management. In their work, Palumbo and Sanacore suggest that the newly recruited teachers need to help the learners become academically engaged, organize instruction that accommodates the students' strengths and weaknesses, and motivate all the pupils during the instructional activities. Since classroom management is an important factor in learning, the teachers need thorough training on the issue in order for the students to gain the most from it. They conclude by saying that effective teachers and classroom management are the most crucial elements of effective teaching.
Integration of Special Learners
Julie et al. (2014) says that keeping the students in the class engaged is a common challenge for most teachers. Some very brilliantly structured classes can fall on deaf ears or be upended by disruption from pupils. They say that studies recognize that effective learning depends on both a well-managed class and engaging instructions. Before any misbehavior comes about, it is critical for the teachers to have plans and implement daily routines. The right kind of association with the students is also crucial, as it helps maintain a focus on instruction. Juliet and her co-writers suggest that programs should be set up to prepare the teachers on class management strategies. The program should begin with the foundational course and proceed to the final experience as teachers.
The teachers, service providers, and paraprofessionals are crucial to the success of emotionally disabled students (Mary et al., 2000). Mary and her fellow writers say that each and every teacher believes that each and every student is capable of learning, and each one of them requires the best education. The teachers also believe that no student, no matter the state, should interrupt with the learning process of other students. The students with emotional and behavioral problems pose great challenges for the teachers. The teachers that are not equipped to deal with these emotionally disturbed and disruptive students always end up being perplexed. Most of them end up giving much attention to that one child and end up neglecting the rest of the pupils. Others get overwhelmed by the situation and get defeated by trying to stop the troubled student from interfering with the attention of others.
Mary and her co-writers continue saying that since the troubled students cannot be banished from the class, the teachers should employ tactics that will help deal with the situation. Also, since the goal of every teacher should be to impart a positive impact on the students, banishing the challenged would not be the best option. There are instances where the efforts of the teacher fail to deal with the problem and the disruptive student affects the attention of others continuously. Such situations deserve stern actions that might involve the placing of the disruptive student in an alternate educational setting. To avoid these situations, the teachers should be adequately prepared to deal with the emotionally disabled. They should be given thorough training on how to balance controlling the disruptive child and keeping the class going.
Sawka et al. (2002), acknowledges that the knowledge of staff on efficient management of behavior and strategies of instruction increase the engagement of students. Together with those two, successful implementation of skills in the classroom and follow-up consultative support enhances the participation of pupils, and it also increases the satisfaction of the teachers. Sawka et al. believes that training alone is not enough in equipping teachers to deal with students with emotional and behavioral disorders. The study included sixty-four school staff members in one urban area. The results showed that combined consultation and active training are necessary in order to build the required capacity for these learners. The two are equally important; such that, one without the other cannot give the desired outcomes.
Among many other important skills, Simonsen and the co-writer say that classroom management is one of the most critical skills that each educator needs to possess. Teachers need proper training and adequate support in implementing the practices that are to be successful. They identified twenty practices as having enough evidence to be considered for adoption in the classroom. The classroom practices were grouped into five; depending on their ability to maximize structure, actively engage the students in a way that is observable teach post, review, monitor and reinforce expectations, use a range of strategies for responding to appropriate behavior and use a variety of strategies to respond to inappropriate behavior. Each and every feature has an evidence-based description that makes it valuable in learning.
Guidance and Counseling in Classroom
Christopher (2004) says that most of the urban schools are nowadays comprised of children that can be described as disaffected, disenchanted, disturbed, disaffiliated and disruptive. These children live in conditions that have vastly affected their readiness to accept the school. The conditions include infestation of illegal drugs, loss of meaningful employment by family and the increase in households with single parents. These children that face such adverse conditions always have a greater propensity for engaging in inappropriate behaviors that prove disruptive to the learning process. These practices act as a form of communication and to the affected child they seem logical and reasonable. This affects individual’s learning process, social acceptance,and inclusion opportunities. Such challenges can be dangerous and life threatening. Anti-social behavior among the youth leads to academic and social issues.
Christopher, in his book, names some of the educational and social problems that affect young students. They include membership in deviant groups, low self-esteem, substance abuse, delinquency and truancy. In addressing these issues, physical arrangement and management strategies are of a critical importance. A proper seating arrangement in class is the cheapest form of classroom management. Assigned seating positions for students is effective in facilitating discipline and instructions. If allowed to choose their seating place, students always tend to choose a location that puts the teacher at the greatest disadvantage. Students are supposed to be seated in a position where their attention is directed towards the teacher. They should be able to see the chalkboard clearly, and they should be facing the front and away from the window. Lastly, the class arrangement should accommodate all the possible teaching activities.
Trussell (2008) says that the intent of positive behavior support is to have an environment that is efficient in promoting social and learning outcomes. The result is to prevent the occurrence of problem behavior. One essential feature of providing positive behavior support is implementing classroom universal practices that are designed for all students. The universal practices are the organizational and instructional practices that are important in the prevention of the occurrence of problem behavior. The positive behavior support focuses on all the aspects of the school environment and has been of value in early intervention and prevention of problems. A positive behavior support system has three elements that include classroom universal interventions, target group interventions, and individually designed interventions. The first aspect of classroom universals practice deals with the general environment and it focuses on classroom setup procedures and evaluation. The second aspect deals with instructional and interactional behavior of the teacher.
Wilhite et al. (2007) says that teachers need new tools to help them deal with students who exhibit problem behaviors. The behavioral objective sequence is an instrument that gives a developmental perspective in addressing the problem behaviors within an instructional model. The behavior objective sequence can be used to assess the student functioning level, the various special eligibility for appropriate referrals and to provide an adequate environment for Individualized Education Programs. The behavior objective system can also lead to the determination of essential classroom environment components. These help the teachers to implement more efficient strategies for dealing with problem behaviors.
Complexity of classroom management
Complexity of classroom management stretches to eight factors in total, which must be carefully noted. Most student-teacher relationships are the third most significant contributor to classroom behaviors and academic success (Baker & Baker, 2012). In addition, research shows that most of the student-teacher relations are based on teacher experience. Careful examination of the intricacies of classroom management is required.
The framework of classroom management is tailored by a point system to launch interventions which encourage guiding principles to improve student learning. In addition; similar issues resulting in promoting academic achievement, establishing effective classroom management through constant monitoring and constant feedback allows students to demonstrate effort and improve motivation (Xenos, 2012).
Various styles of management and teaching process that address certain characteristics of leadership style were studied . Classroom learning greatly depends on this; however, there is a lack of research as to exactly what styles are better suited to foster learning environments. Another that requires study is the relation between management styles and student reactions; i.e., what type of students reacts in what way to which management styles. There is a brief literature present on the matter. This is an important factor, as each individual person has a different disposition; especially in learning environments. These things are of the utmost importance as it is most crucial for development and learning and can leave everlasting effects on the students .
Poor student development has been determined to stem from the inability of teachers to effectively manage classroom behavior,which stems from ineffective instructional strategies. As teachers show a diminished capacity to support and respond to students’ needs, rates of misbehaviour and poor academic performance will continue. The unproductive, unengaged environment of classrooms run by teachers without adequate classroom management skills results in a need to examine the efficacy of classroom management as a practice in addressing these problems. The following literature review examines the existing literature related to classroom management, providing a definition of classroom management, determining its effectiveness, and finding innovative methods and classroom management skills to help address the existing problems in education.
Defining Classroom Management
Classroom management is a system of behaviours and teaching strategies meant to address student behavioural and academic problems in the classroom (Giallo & Hayes, 2007). While varied, classroom management essentially hopes to address the issues of bad behaviour and unmotivated students in the classroom, motivating them into good behaviour, greater fellowship between teachers and students, and better academic outcomes by incentivizing them to become more involved in the classroom. These strategies are not uniform in nature, and are not endemic to every classroom management environment. However, many recurring trends occur in terms of management goals (such as behaviour management, academic management, and more) (Monteil & Heuguet, 2001). Professional development programs can be used to help instill classroom management strategies and change behaviors of students by allowing teachers to develop their own behavior management plans (Giallo & Hayes, 2007).
The social context of academic performance necessitates the creation of an environment that is conducive to classroom management (Monteil & Huguet, 2001). According to social psychology, human beings function most directly as social creatures; making it necessary to examine students in their social context in order to learn how best to manage them in the classroom (Monteil & Huguet, 2001). Cognition almost always occurs in a social context, making it necessary to understand the way students process experiences through memory and behavior to best manage them. The effectiveness of classroom management lies within the concept of social comparison feedback, which Monteil & Huguet (2001) define as “the involvement of an outside agency who evaluates the individual’s performance, competence, or status, thus placing the individual in a situation of comparison to others” (p. 368). Social comparison is one effective method of classroom management, as it forces students to compare their behavior with that of the teacher and their own peers to determine if their behavior is appropriate.
One potential method of applying classroom management in a student learning setting is a whole-school approach, where diversity is recognized and the goal is to cater to the needs of all students comprehensively, regardless of disability or special needs (Rogers, 1995). There are typically three layers to this approach: first, all students must receive effective differentiated teaching. This is done by applying a basic to learning that is customized for all students, even those who require additional assistance. Next, students should receive focused teaching to allow expectations of academic performance to be met with each level of scaffolded instruction (Rogers, 1995). Finally, the most intensive layer involves direct instruction for the remainder of students who perform outside the average expectations for learning areas, whether above or below. By providing this whole-world approach, a comprehensive method of classroom management can be achieved.
For a more specified and targeted approach to students who are not performing up to expectations, the umbrella approach can also be used in a classroom management platform (Stevens & Lingo, 2013). The umbrella approach provides a systematic method of determining how students respond to classroom management routines, which allow the teacher to easily determine who responds to those procedures and who does not. This method is useful, as it functions well as a metric for determining the extent to which these initiatives are successful; thus allowing teachers to adjust their practices as needed (Stevens & Lingo, 2013).
Person-centered classroom management is another facet of the discipline that provides an alternative to the traditional model of classroom management. It primarily involves person-directed discipline instead of the responsibility being solely focused on the teacher (Jerome & Lamb, 2009). This style of classroom management places a large emphasis on social-emotional interactions and a deep connectedness with school culture; as well as, a focus on student self-discipline and positive classroom environment (Jerome & Lamb, 2009). With the cultivation of a person-centered classroom, there is a greater focus on high achievement and a more positive learning environment is found than in traditional teacher-centered classrooms. As opposed to traditional classroom management environments, in which the teacher is the main focus of discipline and control, the teacher facilitates a more social environment that may make students more comfortable and willing to learn.
Data-based decision making (DBDM) is a more empirical approach to classroom management. Institutional practices and data monitoring are used to determine the effectiveness of classroom management; essentially becoming a more objectively-minded form of the umbrella approach to classroom management (Gage & McDaniel, 2012). The use of DBDM is indicated to be incredibly effective at objectively determining the nature of classroom behavioural problems, thus making it easier to find management solutions and test their effectiveness (Gage & McDaniel, 2012). DBDM can be used in conjunction with the aforementioned methods of classroom management, essentially offer a more data-based approach to determining the efficacy of selected initiatives.
Need for Classroom Management
The need for classroom management is great when considering the negative effects of poor classroom management on both students and teachers. Poor student behavior can lead to a reduction in student learning opportunities and lesson delivery to students. It can also cause greater teacher burnout and low morale within the classroom environment (Giallo & Hayes, 2007). Of crucial importance are evidence-based practices for classroom behavior management, as they provide some of the most effective measures for affecting positive changes in classroom environments (Poduska & Kurki, 2014). Currently, many students suffer from deficits in behavior and academic outcomes due to a variety of factors; including gender-divided reading preferences and attitudes; as well as, poor incentive for citizenship education due to social factors (Griva, Alevriadou & Semoglou, 2012). These students particularly suffer from a challenge to authenticity in classroom environments; not relating to teachers as authentic human beings, but as strict taskmasters dedicated to following curricula and not adequately considering student preferences and barriers to entry (Griva, Alevriadou & Semoglou, 2012). To that end, the need for proper classroom management is great.
There are even greater sociopolitical ramifications to an unengaged student body outside the classroom. Democratic citizenship is another vital component of education that can only come from a properly engaged classroom. Classroom management can provide students with the ability to learn about civic engagement, politics and democratic education that they may not receive otherwise (Harriger & McMillan, 2008). This occurs through two major methods: moderator training; in which the importance and benefits of mental and cognitive deliberation are instilled in students by instructors, and framing; in which issues are placed in proper sociopolitical contexts making them more relatable for the students as a whole (Harriger & McMillan, 2008). Cultivation of these two skills occurs largely in the classroom for many students of college age, as it provides an avenue to practice deliberation skills in a safe space before taking them into the public sphere. Therefore; it is of central importance to teachers that they use classroom management skills to cultivate this sense of democratic citizenship, as they carry a vital role in instilling these values in their students.
Behavior management is one of the fundamental aspects of classroom management; itself being a psychological method to use techniques of ‘rational choice’ to lessen instances of classroom conflict (Funnell, 2009). Order and discipline in school classrooms are a high priority for teachers, as students with behavioral problems can significantly interfere with the proper operation of a classroom setting (Giallo & Hayes, 2007). Poor behavior in students is specifically identified with several symptoms; including (but not limited to) an inability to concentrate, calling out, noncompliance, poor listening, being inattentive in class, providing disruption of class activities and responding negatively to reprimanding (Giallo & Hayes, 2007).
Teaching and Implementation of Classroom Management
In order to provide classroom management skills for teachers, a number of methods can be reliably used and have been tested in the field of education. One of the most intriguing and common is peer coaching; in which two or more teachers collaborate and discuss their current practices, provide instruction and mentoring for each other, and work together to solve classroom behavioral problems and develop new skills in the workplace (Arslan & Ilin, 2013). This provides a concrete, systematic approach to allow colleagues to help each other with their professional development; particularly in terms of developing the skills, techniques and strategies needed to better manage their classrooms. Peer coaching offers feedback that comes from a person of equal importance within the school environment; making teachers more receptive to these teachings as they are allowed to mentor and critique their fellow teachers as well (Arslan & Ilin, 2013). Skills referenced in peer coaching often involve lesson design, cultivating positive atmospheres in the classroom, time management and improving student participation in class activities (Arslan & Ilin, 2013).
Peer coaching and teaching, and the use of self-study, has been proven to be a common method of classroom management education (Garbett & Ovens, 2012). Self-study involves the shifting of the researcher’s perspective from the external study of practice to investigation of one’s own practice with the goal of offering “a means to consider the tacit and personal practical knowledge that is central to an individual’s knowledge and understanding of teaching” (Garbett & Ovens 2012, p. 44). Self-study and peer-teaching provide effective avenues for discussing issues of authenticity and safety, as teachers learn to treat their students with a greater sense of equality and honesty (which then makes them more receptive to classroom activities and less likely to commit bad behavior) (Garbett & Ovens, 2012).
Implementing specific strategies to classroom management has been found to have tremendous positive outcomes in academic and behavioral categories. Poduska & Kurki (2014) demonstrated the efficacy of a training/support model for the Good Behavior Game (GBG), which provided a more controlled classroom environment. Implementing the GBG in an elementary school setting proved to have substantial positive outcomes for these students up to young adulthood. Improvements included lower drug and alcohol use, less reliance on school-based mental health services, and fewer attempts and ideation of suicide (Poduska & Kurki, 2014). Teacher evaluation of progress in classrooms is equally important as studying student behavior. Finding observational assessments and metrics by which the classroom instructional and behavioral management practices of teachers are evaluated is decidedly crucial to determine whether or not instructors are utilizing sound classroom management strategies to influence their students’ behavior (Reddy et al., 2013).
One particular challenge to teaching proper classroom management involves the common misconceptions many teachers have about the practice, which can negatively affect classroom outcomes. First, while management is an important part of teaching, it is not more important. Effective teaching requires effective management skills, used in tandem to reinforce each other (Englehart, 2012). Furthermore, there is not an entirely subjective assessment of what works for each individual teacher. Effective teachers and managers all have some basic common traits, such as, healthy emotional intelligence and a general sense of stable self-image. Just reinforcing boundaries and clearly communicating is not enough, as students often lack the social skills to fully recognize the consequences of their actions. Relationships are important to successful teacher-student interactions; but they are not the sole, ultimate requirement for effective classroom management (Englehart, 2012). Furthermore, it is always possible to change a student’s behavior despite many teacher protestations that students’ poor home lives irrevocably damage student behavioral norms (Englehart, 2012). Dispelling these many myths about classroom management is necessary in successfully teaching instructors how best to use these skills in a positive way in the classroom.
Effectiveness of Classroom Management
The effectiveness of classroom management varies by degrees based on many factors; including the audience, student body, and education/capabilities of the teacher in question (Hochweber, Hosenfeld & Kleime, 2014). Classroom management strategies have been shown to be largely effective in managing behavior and increasing academic outcomes, though much more for teachers than students (Giallo & Hayes, 2007). Research indicates that the application of behavior management strategies based on professional development leads to a perceived increase in teacher understanding of child behavior and behavior management; as well as, provides a greater self-reflection to let the teachers more concretely examine their own behaviors. However; while teacher confidence and morale may improve with the application of behavior management skills, these changes may not lead to equivalent improvements with students (Giallo & Hayes, 2007). To that end, teacher satisfaction may be an inadequate indicator of successful classroom change. However, the improvement in teacher skills is still admirable; particularly when professional development and classroom management skills are provided with a component to permit teachers to self-reflect.
Some research argues that the implementation of behavior management can be ineffective, and actually lead to exacerbated instances of misbehavior; according to Funnell (2009). Behavior management on its own results in a further lack of respect for teachers by students, as poor educational outcomes and high emphasis on behavior control leads to a culture in which students are encouraged to misbehave. In order to best facilitate proper classroom management, Funnell (2009) notes the need for the consideration of three factors; the vehicle of classroom interaction, how learning disengagement affects the institution, and the way this leads to the conflicting expressions of order from the official rule of the school and the student. This can be actualized in either proactive (positive) or reactive (negative) strategies. Classrooms in which reactive strategies were used for problem behavior resulted in the teachers having a lesser disposition to change their classroom management strategies to stave off problematic behavior in the classroom (Shook, 2012).
In order to address the ongoing problems of lack of motivation and discipline within classroom environments, several solutions have been shown to be effective in the realm of classroom management. Improvement in teacher qualification has been shown to be incredibly important. By improving teachers’ qualifications and training in classroom management, they are thought to be more helpful and effective in implementing management within their classroom settings (Ergodan et al., 2010). The structure and place of the course in the curriculum are also incredibly important, as is organizing motivational activities for students to increase their investment in the learning process (Ergodan et al., 2010). Implementing software that controls, computer usage in lab and computer settings permits greater management of student behavior and focus on tasks, and classroom seating plans can help to maximize student attention and limit the possibility of inter-student interference during lessons (Ergodan et al., 2010).
One significant factor that is difficult to control is parental education, which has been shown to have a large degree of significance in determining student grades outside the classroom. Classroom management itself, then becomes a moderating factor between those students with high and low levels of parental involvement in their education (Hochweber, Hosenfeld & Kleime, 2014). Furthermore, coordinating with parents and collaborating on effective study skills and behavior management has been shown to have a more effective outcome of student engagement than teacher-only classroom management strategies (Ergodan et al, 2010). Therefore,ways to incorporate parental involvement whenever possible in the classroom management process is stressed as a way to maximize its effectiveness.
Effective Teachers and Instructional Practices in Public Schools
Public schools, as a specific environment, are particularly in need of classroom management. Teacher effectiveness and more efficient instructional practices must be provided to these environments in order to facilitate greater academic outcomes and address behavioral shortcomings. Particularly, in public school environments, ‘burnout’ can occur . This is a condition evidenced by emotional exhaustion, a reduced sense of personal accomplishment, and depersonalization of co-workers and subjects (Brouwers & Tomic, 2000). Secondary school teachers experience a great deal of burnout in the course of their duties due to the stressful demands placed on them; including “a substantial extent of emotionally charged relationships with students” (Brouwers & Tomic 2000, p. 239). Sixty three percent of public school teachers in America and Canada report their most stressful work factors are being student discipline problems (Brouwers & Tomic, 2000). This directly links the implementation of classroom management to the possible decreased burnout (and, implicitly, increased efficacy) of public school teachers.
Some of the major problems experienced in public schools are psychological – teachers who suffer burnout are said to “distrust their classroom management abilities under standard job conditions and understand the importance of that competence,” “cannot avoid the management tasks if they are to reach the educational goals,” and “are informed that colleagues routinely obtain a comfortable learning environment” (Brouwers & Tomic 2000, p. 242). All of these factors are related heavily to self-efficacy; good classroom management practices cannot work if public school teachers are not armed with high self-efficacy, and the best management practices help to facilitate said high self-efficacy. This, in turn, can reduce burnout and improve outcomes.
Institutional practices for teachers in public schools, particularly as they relate to classroom management can be heavily determined not just by teaching method, but by their teaching style (Kolak, 2010). The most effective teachers in classroom management showcase a tremendous number of leadership qualities, which allow them to successfully influence students into fulfilling tasks readily and willingly (Kolak, 2010). The teaching process for instructors is defined by a number of contributing factors; including application of teaching media, didactic principles, the atmosphere of the classroom, fluency in the subject, and much more (Kolak, 2010). While there are many different factors and theories regarding the definition and allotment of leadership as a teaching style, from stricter, more authoritarian styles to laissez-faire classrooms, it is clear that the application of at least some consistent leadership style is central to determining a strong sense of classroom management (Kolak, 2010).
Effective teachers can also be made through the use of teacher assessments to investigate teacher practices and determine their effectiveness (Reddy et al., 2013). The Classroom Strategies Scale (CSS) is one such evaluative metric; factoring age, years of teaching experience, and educational degree, among other demographics, against internal consistency, freedom from item bias, test-retest reliability and interrater reliability in order to determine how effective their behavioural management practices are in their classroom environments (Reddy et al., 2013). Teacher observational assessments such as these have the effect of accurately determining how successful classroom management practices are as performed by the instructor, and offer a baseline from which to improve.
Social and Economic Factors to Classroom Management
Social and economic factors are also more prevalent in public schools, as there are a statistically higher population of diverse students with a variety of ethnicities and socioeconomic backgrounds (Weinstein, Tomlinson-Clarke, & Curran, 2004). Potential issues include student fluency in (or preference for) other languages, difference in behavioral upbringing, potential lack of resources or home care due to low-income households, and so on (Weinstein, Tomlinson-Clarke, & Curran, 2004). Classroom environments are indelibly shaped by the social environment their students live in.Schools in South Africa, for instance, are heavily influenced by the social legacy of apartheid and colonial rule, which strongly affects non-European citizens of South Africa (Napier, 2011). Some students may even come from former homeschooling environments, in which parents have been the primary instructors for their children, and they are not used to an institutionalized setting (Ray, 2001).
Other social and economic factors are commonly found in many classrooms, particularly in urban and impoverished areas (Brown, 2004). Urban classrooms, in particular, present a number of challenges for teachers attempting to perform classroom management; due to cultural differences between white, black and Latino, the systemic poverty that occurs in minority-heavy urban areas, and more. To that end, it is doubly important that teachers work carefully to gain student cooperation through an acknowledgement of the specific cultural and ethnic needs of their students; in addition to social, cognitive and emotional needs (Brown, 2004). Teachers must be able to take these factors into account when developing classroom management strategies and cater to the personal development of the specific audience with which they are working.
Public school teachers must be able to include a sense of multicultural competence into their classroom management practices. Novice teachers can experience difficulty in this regard, particularly if they have not been heretofore exposed to a wide variety of people from other income brackets and ethnicities prior to their teaching experience (Weinstein, Tomlinson-Clarke, & Curran, 2004). Often, these cultural differences can lead to unnecessary disciplinary interventions, a lack of sensitivity, and an increase in disruptive behavior between student and teacher. Social differences between student and teacher can create different expectations related to how students should behave in the classroom, which leads to unproductive conflict and can contribute to burnout.
In order to address these issues, institutional practices of culturally responsive classroom management (CRCM) are thought to be effective. There are five central components to CRCM; including recognizing the cultural biases one holds, understanding the cultural backgrounds of students, placing these differences in the socio-political and economic context of the education system, being willing to undertake CRCM strategies, and a willingness to build a community of caring within the classroom (Weinstein, Tomlinson-Clarke, & Curran, 2004). With these components, teachers can find it easier to find classroom management strategies that are tailored to the cultural and economic makeup of their classroom .
Central to the implementation of CRCM is a sense of critical reflection on the part of teachers, allowing them to be more understanding and cognizant of the social and economic backgrounds of their students (Weinstein, Tomlinson-Clarke, & Curran, 2004). Critical reflection is key to changing teaching styles from a dominant functionalist perspective, which can be counterproductive to teaching students from a wide variety of backgrounds, to a post-colonial approach that is much more accommodating of these cultural differences (Joy & Poonamallee, 2013). When examining one’s own behavior as a teacher; in context of how that student has been treated by other teachers, by society, by their family and more, teachers can become more aware of the effect they have on their students, and subsequently can provide a greater sense of tolerance and accommodation for students. Monitoring behavior in terms of equitable treatment is a central component of CRCM and institutional practices in general; which includes examining the possibility of stereotyping students based on skin color, their dress or economic background, and the differences in the ways teachers treat students based on these factors (Weinstein, Tomlinson-Clarke, & Curran, 2004). It is also necessary to examine the ways in which “current practices and policies may reinforce institutional discrimination,” and find ways to avoid that however possible (Weinstein, Tomlinson-Clarke, & Curran 2004, p. 31). Institutional practices that incorporate these values and factors can result in a more well-rounded, tolerant and effective sense of classroom management.
Based on the existing research, classroom management is an extremely flexible system of instructional and behavioral management strategies, which help to address problems with student engagement and behavior based on a variety of techniques. Umbrella, person-centered and whole-school approaches have been shown to be particularly effective as they respectively provide quality control for teachers engaging in classroom management, offer individual assistance to struggling students and offer a systematic approach to apply management principles to an entire school. The need for classroom management is great, as public opinion and research indicates that a lack of discipline and misbehavior tend to be the greatest obstacles to learning that many educational environments face (Jerome & Lamb, 2009).
Learning and utilizing classroom management strategies must take top priority for instructors and educators, as properly trained teachers find greater effectiveness in managing their students and having a better command of their curriculum in general. The effectiveness of classroom management is largely supported by the research, as studies indicate greater teacher confidence and student academic and behavioral outcomes. However, more research is necessary to determine the true efficacy of classroom management, particularly when major strategies for classroom management are compared in comparable settings.
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