Classroom Behaviour Management: Theory or Practice?

The last week of term at any school is often a challenge for teachers in terms of managing classroom behaviour. Students are tired and ready to play or ‘play up’ at any chance, whilst teachers are at the end of their patience and wanting to refresh and start again on a clean slate with many challenging students. Neither teacher nor students are to be criticised for their lack of patience or attention however, it is at this stage that both are tested in their performance or control of behaviour.

Entering a classroom as an unfamiliar teacher to the students on Wednesday, I looked at Lee & Marlene Canter’s Assertive Discipline Group Management Model (Konza et al. 2004) to attempt to manage the classroom effectively in an active Mathematics group work lesson. The model assumes the teacher to insist on students to behave properly and to emphasise that there will be consequences if students don’t behave in an appropriate manner (Konza et al. 2004), thus the teacher maintains control during a lesson that could potentially get out of control considering the type of lesson and situation.

 Whilst this model should have been effective for a noisy group work activity where by students are very physical (eg passing balls to each other and jumping up and down), I found myself disciplining more than teaching. The circumstances surrounding the time in which the lesson was performed may have lent itself better to employ Fritz Redls Model which focuses on outlining and student modelling acceptable behaviour before the activity whilst being more lenient to unacceptable behaviour due to circumstances (Kona et al. 2004). Redl’s approach on Tolerating would categorise this situation as ‘wrong place wrong time’ (Konza et al. 2004 p82) by considering the situation of the term finishing, an interrupted morning with library and P.E classes, followed by wet weather recess inside classroom which occurred directly before the lesson and also the fact that they had been on a Zoo excursion the day before not to mention the students are only in year 1. Redl’s model would have accepted certain ‘bad’ behaviour and followed up with those students at a later time (Konza et al. 2004). The model extends itself to more of a positive behaviour appraisal method, by ignoring difficult behaviour (Konza et al. 2004) and praising good behaviour to maintain continuity in the lesson and less on discipline.

In Redl’s model his forth concept, Preventative Planning, argues ‘that if children misbehave during certain times and/or in certain places then changes to class procedure might be necessary” (Konza et al. p83). Whilst I recognise that Students have to learn the life skill of behaving appropriately no matter the circumstance and that this approach could be considered as too lenient in most learning situations, I think that the model could have been applied in this teaching situation as both the student and the teacher are always exhausted by the end of term and maybe a different activity should have been undertaken that was less active and noisy.

Behaviour Management is definitely a skill of a teacher that develops over time, through a lot of practical experience. From managing the class as a whole to achieve learning outcomes to learning what discipline techniques students respond to best, each student may be different. This relates to the NSW Institute of Teachers Professional Teaching Standards Element 5: Aspect 5.1.5 Demonstrates knowledge of practical approaches to managing student behaviour and their applications in the classroom, and Element 5: Aspect 5.1.6 Demonstrates knowledge of principles and practices for managing classroom discipline. To be a great teacher you need to be dynamic in your teaching and behaviour management style.        

 

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Bibliography

Bacall, A. (2011). CLS CartoonStock. Retrieved April 13, 2011, from CLS CartoonStock: http://www.cartoonstock.com/fullsearch.asp?ANDkeyword=behaviour+managment&ORkeyword=&TITLEkeyword=&NOTkeyword=&performSearch=TRUE&mainArchive=mainArchive&MA_Artist=&MA_Category=

 Konza, D., Grainger, J. & Bradshaw, K. (2004). Existing Models of Behaviour Management. In Classroom Management: A Survival Guide, (pp79-100). Social Science Press

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