0136: On #ClassroomManagement, General Mayhem, and Evil Sundries Pt. 1 #education #behavior #SOSchat
I’m reluctant to discuss classroom management as I don’t like the terminology or many of the reasons behind it. Nonetheless, it can be a problem for all of us from time to time. It can be especially daunting for new teachers. Additionally, classroom management, if we must refer to it in such a way, is presented as a formula with little discussion as to how or why some things work and others do not. Running a classroom takes experience, skill, patience, and reflection. Allowing learners to learn to run the class takes even more. But, for now we’ll touch on the concept of classroom management with little criticism for the purpose of keeping me focus (I’m sure we’ll discover this statement to be a falsehood).
The broad and brighter idea behind classroom management is if behavior is “under control” or a non-issue, then instruction/learning can more easily take place. In other words, if you’re not having to deal with behavior problems, more saliently, general confusion, then teaching becomes the focus of the class.
Of course, the active definition of classroom management is usually determined by administration and can range from the pragmatic orderly classroom where learning can take place, to a judgment based simply on number of office discipline referrals, to demanding a silent class. But, for the purpose of our discussion let’s try to stick with classroom management for the purpose of learning. However, I don’t think it will be possible to avoid drifting into some of the darker reasons and necessities for classroom management.
Back to the thesis, if a classroom is orderly then learning is more probable. By orderly, I do not mean silent, automatic, dead, etc.; rather, I mean safe and fairly predictable in terms of the behavior of the teacher and the learners. Order can provide an environment conducive to learning. The ways by which order is achieved and maintain also weigh heavily on this discussion. Order can be maintained through fear or love. Fear is punitive and generally authoritative, overt or covert. Love involves a more democratic and humanistic process. The more humanistic approach functions to allow students to work within a given framework with great freedom. Their ideas, goals, and curiosity direct the class. This is difficult to pull off in our current environment where the test dictates all, but it’s still possible to allow students a level of freedom and still work within the prescribed curriculum. Parameters still will be drawn, and the test will still be the final punitive dictator of action.
Theory aside, let’s look at some specific components of classroom management and why they work or fail. We’ll take rules, procedures, and directives. We’ll count the rules and procedures in the category of more permanent classroom governance, and directives will be the day to day, moment to moment communication between teacher and student. I used the word “directive” to reflect the punitive nature of the testing environment. We are positioned in a system that requires a level of punitive action. We will also look at ways to lessen the punitive effects, if they can be lessened. Maybe they can only be disguised. I’ll attempt to unravel that, too.
Tune in tomorrow for more mayhem.