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Theory to Practice and Knowledge Base

The theories behind my practice is both Positive Classroom Management and the Choice

Theory. Both theories are vastly different but I have taken components from both, in order to

develop the practices that I implement at my current placement and in my future classroom.

Additionally, my methods and ways of teaching have been shaped by my peers, previous

educators, and my cooperating teacher. All of these factors have developed my teaching methods

and strategies, making me the educator that I am today.

As previously mentioned, my classroom management technique takes components from

both the Positive Classroom Management and the Choice Theory. For example, my classroom

has a set of expectations already in place, Be Safe. Be Responsible. Be Respectful, and the

students helped develop a social contract which gives them choice of the learning environment

they will be in. Students will be responsible for their own behavior and actions, but the Positive

Classroom Management strategies will be implemented if a student is hindering the learning of

others.

I am a big believer in proximity control and using space to stop undesired behaviors.

These non-verbal methods are used in response to both acute and chronic behavior. If this

method is unsuccessful, the students will receive a verbal warning and then there will be a

discussion between the student and myself. The idea behind having a verbal warning is to make

the undesired behavior known and to stop it, so it will no longer hinder other students learning.

Now, this is where the Choice Theory comes into play.

If I am going to verbally warn a student over undesirable behavior, a discussion will

follow between at least the student and myself. If undesired behaviors become a chronic issue,
the reasoning behind it needs to be identified instead of just consistently reprimanding them for

it. Therefore, it is important to investigate further by speaking to the students other teachers,

mentors, coaches, and most importantly the parents! Depending on the outcome, the behavior

may seize, make accommodations, and/or develop an individual reward system for that student.

I have a set routine that I use to begin every class period; attendance, good news, pass

back graded work, what the agenda for that day is, and then start the hook/get engagement. At

the end of class, with five minutes left, the students return any materials, return to their seats, and

then check for understanding by asking questions about the concepts from that lesson, something

they learned, and what they liked or disliked about the lesson. A routine is important so the

students can know the expectations at the beginning of class and know how each class will end

in order to recap the lesson and get prepared to leave for the following class.

My classroom will have structure but it will be structured choice. Students preferences

on strategies used to teach will be taken into consideration. This is done by designing lessons or

portions of lessons for group work, individual activities, collaboration activities, peer-teaching,

debating, and etc. Every student learns in different ways, so it is important that the learning

environment is tailored to the different learning styles. Lastly, the last thing students need is to be

in a seated position for 8 hours each day. My classroom will encourage students to move around

the room, hold class in different areas, and host class outside both weather permitting and the

students choice.

In my classroom, there is an emphasis on collaboration. Often the students are presented

information and then complete activities together or complete activities while learning the

information together. The level of engagement is incredible in comparison to individual

activities, lecturing, or only reading from the textbook on a frequent basis. This gives students
the ability to develop the communication and teamwork skills necessary to be successful either in

the workforce or in their post-secondary education.

All of this is a component of my knowledge base. The College of Educations course,

EDF 310, has expanded my knowledge base significantly with the introduction of theories,

strategies, applied behavioral analysis, and the practical experiences presented by a guest speaker

from Detroit Public Schools alternative high school. Prior to that course, I had my own style of

teaching but now I was able to see what theories connect to my style and identify the theories I

may choose to focus on more during student teaching in the Fall.

I have had some excellent teachers and some bad ones, but I learned just as much from

both. In high school, I had two different teachers that lectured briefly and then would just pass

out a thick packet of worksheets for us to complete over the upcoming week(s). As a student, I

was disengaged and did not enjoy attending either of those classes. Now looking back, I know I

need to stay on top of new technologies and strategies, so I do not fall into the same routine of

constantly teaching everything consistently the same way. Also, I had a teacher that had his class

view a segment from the Today Show, which covered current events and he would often find a

way to link them to the content. This taught me how important it is to get the students engaged

and to relate the content to current events or locally when possible.

There is one college professor that I can contribute much of my teaching style to, and he

is Dr. Matthew Daley. He is a history professor at Grand Valley State University and I had him as

my instructor for Michigan History and Research Methods in History. Dr. Daley is enthusiastic

about the content and in his presentation of the material. In both classes, he had a high level of

student engagement and he demonstrated concern over the quality of the students work. From
the experiences in his classroom, I have become more outgoing and interactive with the students

since I have first-hand seen how it positively impacts the students.

There are many experiences, teachers, courses, and events that have contributed to my

growth as an educator and formed the theories to my practice. Using the Positive Classroom

Management and Choice theories, I have developed a more structured classroom pedagogy.

Based on my previous experiences and personal teaching style, I cannot identify with one

singular theory but rather pull the parts that best fit my style to improve my instructional and

classroom strategies.