You are on page 1of 11

Brenton Hawken 11538282 Due date: Monday 2nd April 2018

Assessment 1: Personal Philosophy and proactive management Value: 50%

EEA202: Managing the Classroom


Environment

Assessment 1

Personal philosophy and proactive


management

Brenton Hawken 11538282

Value: 50%

Word count (+/- 10%): 2738

Lecturer: Diana Ganapathy

Due Date: Monday 2nd April 2018

1
Brenton Hawken 11538282 Due date: Monday 2nd April 2018
Assessment 1: Personal Philosophy and proactive management Value: 50%

Case Study
The student is sixteen years old and attends a small, rural, co-educational school of
approximately 300 students. She is generally well-behaved and compliant of the classroom
rules and expectations. However, this is not the case in her Year 10 food technology class.
She frequently engages in off-task activities; openly defies her teacher’s requests; and uses
inappropriate language in the classroom.

This student’s behaviour has a negative impact on their peers, the teacher and the classroom
environment. Her behaviour disrupts other students learning, often resulting in students not
engaging in learning activities. Her peers feel intimidated and unsafe in their classroom
environment when she uses inappropriate language. Most of the teacher’s attention and effort
is focussed on trying to keep the student on-task, which results in the lesson being stopped,
time wasted and unnecessary conflict between the two parties. This causes the classroom
environment to be unpleasant and stressful for all involved.

Teaching philosophy addressing the five key beliefs noted by McDonald


According to McDonald (2010), a teacher’s philosophy must consider five key beliefs: how
children learn; why students behave the way they do; the outcome and intention of discipline
interventions; the degree of control or coercion that is desirable; and the role of the teacher
and importance of instruction (p. 229). These beliefs will be considered below:

Traditional philosophies focus on the nature vs nurture debate to explain how students learn.
Whilst this debate argues that children either have: “the capacity to self-regulate and have
their own will, or are primarily conditioned by their environment and respond to needs-
satisfying stimuli” (McDonald, 2010, p. 230), it is not as simple as choosing a ‘right’ side.
Students are motivated to learn by what they see and do in the world around them, and hence
environments greatly influence how they learn. This belief is supported by Bronfenbrenner’s
ecological theory, which focuses on the five environmental systems in which students live,
and examines how these influence student learning (Santrock, 2016, p. 30). To effectively
address the behaviour of the student above, the teacher must consider five environmental
systems: microsystem, mesosystem, exosystem, macrosystem, and chronosystem (Santrock,
2016, p. 30). This will ensure that a holistic approach is considered when implementing
strategies to improve student behaviour.

Classroom misbehaviours are inevitable, and learning how to successfully deal with or avoid
these misbehaviours is a vital skill for teachers (McDonald, 2010, p. 232). There are many

2
Brenton Hawken 11538282 Due date: Monday 2nd April 2018
Assessment 1: Personal Philosophy and proactive management Value: 50%

contributing factors to students misbehaving including: lessons that are boring or too difficult
for students to complete, a student’s personal life and learning difficulties, the weather, peers
and conflict with the teacher (Moran, 2015, p. 139). Student behaviour is multilayered and
contextual, and is not solely the problem of the individual. Environments around students will
influence why and how they behave. Teachers must consider ‘out of school’ factors and how
much these factors influence ‘in school’ behaviour (McDonald, 2010, p. 232). To
successfully navigate misbehaviours in the classroom, teachers must know their students and
understand what makes them tick (Moran, 2015, p. 140). This enables a consistent response
to student behaviour that is fair and appropriate, creating a classroom environment that is safe
and respectful of all participants.

The most appropriate approach to classroom management is based around a democratic


model, whereby schools teach students the fundamental skills they need in life to become
active citizens (McDonald, 2010, p. 234). Teachers who teach discipline to students rather
than imposing it onto them, allow students to self-manage their own behaviour (McDonald,
2010, p. 234). The desired outcome of this approach is students taking responsibility for their
own actions with little assistance from the teacher. This prepares students to become active
citizens of their community through decision making. Classrooms should be characterised by
shared rights and responsibilities for all (Rogers, 2015, p. 40). This is achieved by setting
clear classroom rules and expectations together with both teacher and student input, to give
students a sense of ownership over their behaviour.

Students have the ability to behave responsibly and self-regulate their own behaviour
(McDonald, 2010, p. 235). They must be given an opportunity to independently address their
misbehaviours before teacher intervention. This gives students time to self-reflect on their
behaviour and take responsibility for their actions, before working towards a solution. The
teacher’s role here is to work with their students to develop strategies to enhance student
responsibility. This allows students to respond to situations more positively, build up
resilience, and to grow to become more capable to deal with situations within society
(McDonald, 2010, p. 236). If students provide input into creating a set of class rules and
expectations, this will allow them to take ownership of their learning, resulting in minimal
behavioural issues and a supportive classroom environment.

The role of the teacher is to create and maintain a positive learning environment that is safe
and supportive of all students (McDonald, 2010, p. 238). In this environment, the teacher

3
Brenton Hawken 11538282 Due date: Monday 2nd April 2018
Assessment 1: Personal Philosophy and proactive management Value: 50%

guides and facilitates learning rather than directing it, by offering additional support to
students with learning difficulties and behavioural issues. This is achieved through the use of
student-centred teaching pedagogies such as problem and inquiry based learning. During
problem based learning, students work to solve real problems driven by clear personal needs
(Killen, 2016, p. 240). Inquiry based learning consists of research whereby students develop
the skills necessary to acquire and reflect on their new knowledge and understanding (Killen,
2016, p. 273). This type of learning allows students the freedom to facilitate their own
learning, whilst the teacher’s role is to monitor and guide. If students are challenged and in
control of their own learning, this reduces the risk of misbehaviours (Rogers, 2015, p. 235).

Main preventative areas and how they will be used to address misbehaviours
The Lydford model identifies four key components to preventing inappropriate behaviours
and building classrooms as positive learning environments (De Nobile, Lyons, & Arthur-
Kelly, 2017, p. 12). The components and how they will be used to address the misbehaviours
noted in the case study, will be discussed in the following section:

The classroom climate is comprised of: “students’ and teachers’ perceptions of the learning
environment, based on the combined effects of the levels of support, respect, academic focus,
classroom culture, organisation and quality of teaching” (De Nobile, Lyons, & Arthur-Kelly,
2017, p. 38). A positive classroom climate exists when all these dimensions are experienced
majority of the time. In classrooms with positive climates: “rules and consequences are clear,
respectfulness is present, relationships are strong and students are more likely to feel safe and
accepted” (De Nobile, Lyons, & Arthur-Kelly, 2017, p. 39).

Relationship building is key to developing positive learning environments, as many


relationships form in and around the classroom that are: “significant and influential when it
comes to both students learning and wellbeing, and your own professional and personal
wellbeing” (De Nobile, Lyons, & Arthur-Kelly, 2017, p. 42). The relationship between the
teacher and student in the case study is non-existent, leading to the student openly defying
teachers’ orders. Strategies that could be implemented to develop this relationship include:
getting to know you activities; asking the student about their interests, hobbies and family life
outside of school; forming a relationship with the students’ parents/carers through letters sent
home; and reflection activities. Building a positive relationship with the student will result in
less conflict between the two parties, and limit the opportunity for the student to openly defy
the teachers orders.

4
Brenton Hawken 11538282 Due date: Monday 2nd April 2018
Assessment 1: Personal Philosophy and proactive management Value: 50%

Effective communication is fundamental to building valued relationships and promoting


positive behaviour in classrooms. Verbal and non-verbal communication can be used to
address off-task behaviours and the use of inappropriate language. A simple verbal reminder
of the classroom rules and expectations when broken, or a non-verbal communication such as
facial expression, eye contact, gesture, and proximity; sends a clear message to the student
that their behaviour is unacceptable, and gives them the opportunity to self-correct before
teacher intervention (Clarke & Pittaway, 2014, p. 212). If the student fails to correct their
behaviour, I-messages can be used. By describing the problem observed, how it made you
feel and why you feel this way; you re-assert your position as the teacher and regain control
(De Nobile, Lyons, & Arthur-Kelly, 2017, p. 58). As communication is a complex, two-way
process that involves multi-channelled messages and feedback, it is imperative that the
teacher continues to build on their communicative practices.

The classroom culture refers to how: “a class operates as evidenced through teacher’ and
students’ shared understandings about the way things should be done, and established rules
and procedures” (De Nobile, Lyons, & Arthur-Kelly, 2017, p. 71). This manifests itself at
three levels. Elements at the theoretic level become the base of interactions about behavioural
standards, rules and routines, as they are what teachers and students bring to the classroom; at
the praxis level teachers and students negotiate the classroom ethos and rules which guide
rituals; and elements at the operational level are behaviours and other overt signs that occur
naturally (De Nobile, Lyons, & Arthur-Kelly, 2017, p. 70). A well-established classroom
culture reduces: “off-task behaviours and promotes student productivity; minimises
disruption and interruption; and reduces confusion and uncertainty” (De Nobile, Lyons, &
Arthur-Kelly, 2017, p. 71), resulting in students feeling a sense of predictability and safety.

Developing behaviour standards/expectations is essential to addressing the misbehaviours


identified in the case study. The student does not know what kind of behaviour is expected of
them, and hence they feel insecure because they do not know where they stand. Setting clear
boundaries will reduce: “anxiety associated with confusion about behavioural expectations
and therefore students are more likely to behave appropriately” (De Nobile, Lyons, & Arthur-
Kelly, 2017, p. 72). The early establishment of behaviour standards is imperative, as this will
help the student become familiar and comfortable with the standards and to know what is
expected of them in the classroom.

5
Brenton Hawken 11538282 Due date: Monday 2nd April 2018
Assessment 1: Personal Philosophy and proactive management Value: 50%

Building an ‘agreement’ following the seven-step procedure tailored to the student’s


inappropriate behaviours will significantly improve the classroom climate. The code of
conduct perspective will support the agreement, whereby a values statement provides a set of
principles and corresponding behavioural descriptors to achieve appropriate outcomes (De
Nobile, Lyons, & Arthur-Kelly, 2017, p. 75). For example, if the value statement is ‘we
respect each other and help each other to learn’, the principle is ‘using appropriate language
in the classroom’ and the behavioural descriptor is ‘avoid use of offensive words when
speaking to others’. Decision making (step 1) will involve the student and the teacher, and a
deductive approach (step 2) will be used to brainstorm principles with the student that targets
the three inappropriate behaviours. Step 3 will develop a values statement as outlined
previously and step 4 will involve developing the consequences for breaking the rules i.e. no
participation in a practical cooking lesson. Step 5 will teach the agreement to the student by
explaining and discussing all elements. When this is achieved, the agreement will be
implemented in the classroom (step 6) and as time progresses the agreement will be
monitored and reviewed accordingly (step 7).

The physical environment is fundamental to the development and maintenance of positive


learning environments, asserting a powerful influence on the expectations, attitudes and
behaviours expected in the classroom (De Nobile, Lyons, & Arthur-Kelly, 2017, p. 93). It is
essential that the physical environment provides students with a sense of security, social
contact, teacher-student interaction, pleasure and growth; as: “productive learning can only
occur when students are able to satisfy their basic needs” (De Nobile, Lyons, & Arthur-Kelly,
2017, p. 93). As identified by Evertson and Emmer (2009) and noted by De Nobile, Lyons, &
Arthur-Kelly (2017), key considerations when planning the physical arrangement of
classrooms include: keeping areas of high student traffic clear; ensuring the visibility of all
students and essential information; and appropriately storing resources (p. 94).

The floorspace is how the physical room is arranged and includes work areas, central
working spaces and special spaces. The student is frequently engaged in off-task behaviours
in both theoretical and practical lessons. A strategy to address this is to implement a seating
plan where consideration is given to where each student should sit and work (De Nobile,
Lyons, & Arthur-Kelly, 2017, p. 96). As the classroom seating is set up in rows, the student
will be placed at the front of the classroom in close proximity to the teachers desk, so the
teacher can prompt and motivate the student to remain on-task.

6
Brenton Hawken 11538282 Due date: Monday 2nd April 2018
Assessment 1: Personal Philosophy and proactive management Value: 50%

Ambience is how the classroom feels, smells, looks and sounds. If the classroom environment
is an uninteresting or uninspiring place, students are likely to experience discomfort which
will result in behavioural issues. Strategies to address this include adding colour to display
spaces to brighten up the classroom; use of natural light and blinds to control excessive light
or glare; use of heating and cooling to control classroom temperature and climate; effective
use of ventilation and a neutral fragrance emitting deodoriser; and controlling noise
appropriately (De Nobile, Lyons, & Arthur-Kelly, 2017, pp. 106-108).

Safety is paramount in the kitchen as tools and equipment can cause severe injury. When
involved in off-task behaviours, the student puts themselves and their peers at risk of injury.
A strategy to address this could be to pair the student up with another highly motivated
student to role model the correct procedures and rules during practical lessons. This will
ensure the student remains on task and acts appropriately.

Instructional practice incorporates three dimensions: curriculum, pedagogy and assessment,


which have a significant impact on student learning and promoting positive behaviour in the
classroom (De Nobile, Lyons, & Arthur-Kelly, 2017, p. 115). All three dimensions intertwine
to create a trifecta of processes which depend on each other to work effectively. Curriculum
is what is taught and learned; pedagogy is how it is taught and learned; and assessment is
why you know or do not know what is taught and why you know it is learned (De Nobile,
Lyons, & Arthur-Kelly, 2017, p. 116).

Curriculum is what students are taught including the content of lessons, units of work and
courses. If students deem the curriculum irrelevant to their learning, this results in off-task
behaviours and defying teachers orders, as evident in the case study. The level of difficulty of
work also impacts student learning. If concepts are too difficult to complete, students will
become frustrated which eventually leads to off-task behaviour (De Nobile, Lyons, & Arthur-
Kelly, 2017, p. 120). Strategies to address this includes planning activities to teach the
curriculum that incorporate real world processes and problem solving, and differentiating
student work to suit the cognitive ability of students (Killen, 2016, p. 220).

Pedagogy refers to how students are taught and encapsulates: “the strategies used, approaches
taken and the teaching philosophies about the way in which students learn and how best to
teach them” (De Nobile, Lyons, & Arthur-Kelly, 2017, p. 122). As identified in the case
study, the student frequently engages in off-task activities and openly defies the teacher’s
requests. Cooperative learning strategies that involve students: “working together to help one

7
Brenton Hawken 11538282 Due date: Monday 2nd April 2018
Assessment 1: Personal Philosophy and proactive management Value: 50%

another achieve a common goal” (Killen, 2016, p. 209), can be used to correct this type of
behaviour. This can include pairing the student up during practical lessons with a student who
models appropriate behaviour; allowing the student to assist the teacher during demonstration
lessons to give the student more responsibility over their learning; and think-pair-share
activities where the student has accountability for both their own and their peers learning.

Assessment provides important information about: “how well students are achieving or have
achieved, and how effective the curriculum and pedagogies used have been to teach students
(De Nobile, Lyons, & Arthur-Kelly, 2017, p. 133). If assessment tasks are too difficult for
students to complete, this will result in incorrect assessment results. Differentiation can
address this issue by using: “teaching, learning and assessment strategies that are fair and
flexible, providing students with an appropriate level of challenge, and engaging students in
learning in meaningful ways” (NSW Education Standards Authority, 2017).

The opening case-study identified a student who frequently engages in off-task activities;
openly defies the teacher’s requests; and uses inappropriate language in the classroom. These
misbehaviours have guided the creation of a personal philosophy which addresses the key
beliefs noted by McDonald (2010). The four main preventative areas of classroom climate,
classroom culture, physical environments and instructional practice have been discussed, and
a further explanation given to how these preventative areas can be used to address the noted
misbehaviours.

8
Brenton Hawken 11538282 Due date: Monday 2nd April 2018
Assessment 1: Personal Philosophy and proactive management Value: 50%

References
Clarke, M., & Pittaway, S. (2014). Marsh's becoming a teacher. Frenchs Forest: Pearson
Australia.
De Nobile, J., Lyons, G., & Arthur-Kelly, M. (2017). Positive learning environments:
Creating and maintaining productive classrooms. China: China Translation &
Printing Services.
Killen, R. (2016). Effective Teaching Strategies: Lessons from research and practice (7 ed.).
China: China Translation and Printing Service.
McDonald, T. (2010). The effective teacher's learning journey. In Classroom management:
engaging students in learning (pp. 227-257). South Melbourne: Oxford University
Press.
Moran, W. (2015). Managing student behaviour: Individual and group contexts. In N.
Weatherby-Fell, Learning to teach in the secondary school (pp. 132-153). Port
Melbourne: Cambridge University Press.
NSW Education Standards Authority. (2017, November 25). What is differentiation?
Retrieved from Differentiated programming: https://syllabus.nesa.nsw.edu.au/support-
materials/differentiated-programming/
Rogers, B. (2015). Classroom behaviour: A practical guide to effective teaching, behavioural
management and colleague support. London: SAGE Publications Inc. Retrieved
March 23, 2018, from
https://books.google.com.au/books?hl=en&lr=&id=ScWICwAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=
PP1&dq=bill+rogers&ots=Y7JPUEBrdG&sig=YL0uCxWIf5E6JLcAsa0Vr6OtpzE#v
=onepage&q&f=false
Santrock, J. (2016). Adolescence (16th ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill Education.

9
Brenton Hawken 11538282 Due date: Monday 2nd April 2018
Assessment 1: Personal Philosophy and proactive management Value: 50%

10
Brenton Hawken 11538282 Due date: Monday 2nd April 2018
Assessment 1: Personal Philosophy and proactive management Value: 50%

11