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Managing Learning Environments

Assignment 2:
Prevention is better than cure

The aim of preventative planning is preventing the disruptive behaviours before they happen, rather than when
they are occurring. This can mean more teaching time and a safer classroom environment. An approach, linking
directly to my teaching philosophy is involving the child’s voice and having shared power in the classroom. This
involves bringing the children’s voice into management and learning, forming relationships and forming a strong
class community, involving students in behaviour management and still having a balance of teacher control. This
is a positive approach to having a preventative plan in place. This has been based on a classroom between the
year levels of foundation-year 2.

Child’s voice & Shared power:


The approach of focus is incorporating the child’s voice and shared power in the classroom. This includes having
a classroom where there is no abuse of power and where the students are equal to the teacher. By giving the
children this say, they are getting a say in how and what they learn and the rules and always then knowing these
guidelines and the consequences that come with them, will eventually prevent these disengaging behaviours. A
main way to bring the child’s voice into the management of the classroom is to involve the students in rule and
procedure making. Some things to remember when undergoing this process are: discuss the value of having
behaviour standards, develop a list of the standards including (3-6) rules, obtain a commitment to the standards
and monitor and review the standards (Jones 2015, p.106). The purposes of having student involvement in
making rules and procedures is for them to understand and establish clear procedures and to let the students
assume responsibility of the rules (Good & Brophy 2008, p.77-79). Whilst this is essential, it is also extremely
important for the students to give feedback to the teacher, which is important for the teacher to reflect on their
teaching and planning (Jones 2015, p.113). The students and teacher should be on an equal level where
everyone can have a say in all areas of the classroom, which can lead to forming a solid classroom community.
With this in mind, ‘in a cohesive community, there is open communication. People share freely what is
happening, what they need and what they worry about (Sapon-Shevin 2010, p.22). Therefore, classroom
communication should look like ‘dialogic teaching’ which is a process which involves the teacher and the
students contributing equally to the learning process (Lyons, Ford & Slee 2014, p.44). This shows how to involve
the child’s voice in multiple different areas of classroom management, by using this approach many classroom
behaviours and disengagement from student’s can be prevented as they are getting a say in all areas. Along
with the suggested strategies, the child’s voice could be supported through running class meetings,
observations of students during their play, getting students input into upcoming units and learning and new
resources and material ideas for the classroom. This is all linked to the shared power in the classroom and the
children feeling comfortable enough to have a say.

Relationships:
It is crucial for having this type of classroom community that the teacher forms strong and positive
relationships. As suggested ‘effective communication is a fundamental component in building healthy
relationships and promoting positive behaviour in classrooms and schools’ (Lyons, Ford & Slee 2014, p.44),
having this communicative circle in your classroom is fundamental for successful classroom management
(Marzano & Marzano 2003; Pronta 2006, cited in Good & Brophy 2008, p.74). This expresses the importance of
getting to know each student personally, not just their history and learning styles but truly who they are. It is
also vital to keep in mind that this may not always be easy for some children who have hard home lives or have
experienced trauma, making it so important to build these strong relationships slowly and knowing the
backgrounds of students. This links to always being there for your students, when students are disruptive often
something is wrong, or something is going on at home, showing the importance of having these relationships
with students. Strong relationships could be promoted through ice breaker activities at the beginning of the
year, activities such as telling someone in the class about yourself, introductory activities in the mornings that
allow you to say hello to one new person or tell them about themselves and changing up the seating
arrangements and group work that allows students to talk to new people. In an early year’s class there would be
a huge focus on relationships and emotional and social development. This also links to having clear expectations
of how we talk, treat and respect each other, leading to a class community. There is a clear emphasis on the
teacher getting to know each individual child and forming relationships and children also having opportunities
to form relationships with each other (Lyons, Ford & Slee 2014, p.43).

Behaviour management:
The students should have a say in behaviour management to lead to less disruptive behaviours over time. The
most important strategy to have in place is having clear expectations and a developed routine with the students
to manage behaviour (Williams 2013, p.4). By having these clear rules and expectations and consequences
formed with the students, disruptions and disengagement should be limited as the students have responsibility,
allowing them to have an opportunity to regulate their own behaviour (Kounin 1970, cited in Hochweber,
Hosenfeld & Klieme 2014, p.291). Praise can be an effective approach for encouraging and motivating students,
but this shouldn’t always be followed with a reward. Rewards lead to many issues when the same children
aren’t getting a reward for example, which can impact on self-esteem and self-regulation, which can lead to
more disengaged behaviours and can promote inequality amongst the students (Mcdonald 2013, pp.124-125).
A shared goal amongst the students to work for, can be used to encourage positive behaviour (Sapon-Shevin
2010, p.23). A restorative approach is a very beneficial way to bring students back together and back into the
learning, the targeted questions focus on finding out what has happened, who has been involved, what can be
done to move forward and what could be done differently next time (Mcdonald 2013, p.130), which is again,
giving the students the responsibility to regulate their own behaviour. It is also important for educators to have
a strategy in place to get the attention of the group quickly, a bell is definitely beneficial for this so is clapping or
a special saying such as ‘hands on top that means stop’, to stop all disruptive behaviours and get students back
on task without targeting the behaviours of off task individuals which relates directly to the term of ‘signal
continuity and momentum’ (Good & Brophy 2008, p.81). This also relates to having a strategy in place for
transitions between lessons or brain breaks where games such as touch blue where students have to touch a
blue item or touch nose where they have to touch another students nose etc (Harrison 1976 cited in (Sapon-
Shevin 2010, p.36) and Simon says or musical statues and songs such as round songs such as row, row, row your
boat (Sapon-Shevin 2010, p.36) and songs related to specific learning areas are a great idea to use to get
students back into their learning and to get ready to transition into a new learning area. These are all very
beneficial for managing behaviour in a classroom setting.

Teacher Control:
There is obviously always still a need for teacher control. As suggested, ‘if the teacher isn’t in control of the
classroom, the most likely result is chaos’ (Kohn 2006, p.2) and it has also been suggested that students actually
want a leader (Hoy & Weinstein 2006, cited in Good & Brophy 2008, p.71). Although, this doesn’t mean that
there can’t be a share in power, linking to be an authoritative approach in comparison to an autocratic approach
(Mcdonald 2013, p.122). With this in mind, it is so important to stick to the consequences that are in place and
enforce them when required. Classroom management can link to four main areas for an educator including
‘establishing rules and procedures, enforcing disciplinary actions, building classroom relationships, and creating
a management mind-set’ (Brophy 1996, Doyle 1986, Duke 1979 & Marzano 2003, cited in Balli 2011, p.246).
With this in mind, the main part of the approach involves communication which is a main part of classroom
management and should always be reflected upon (Lyons, Ford & Slee 2014, p.43). It is so important to set high
expectations and learning goals for your students, as suggested if you see the students as ‘dumb’ you will have
low expectations for them and they will for themselves also (Mcdonald 2013, p.130). It is essential to have
engaging activities where student’s interests and learning is accounted for and to engage and motivate them in
a range of group and challenging individual tasks also (Good & Brophy 2008, p.81) and praise students for their
accomplishments, with a focus on the behaviour itself, through the use of I-messages for example (Good &
Brophy 2008, p.86). This also relates to always being around for students to support them and help them or
noticing when they are off task, relating to the suggested term of ‘withitness’ and the term of ‘overlapping’
suggesting that you always there for students to help them even if you are busy doing something else (Good &
Brophy 2008, p.81). It is also important to have students accountable for not only their own behaviour but also
their learning, this can be done by involving them in whole class learning, giving them jobs and involving them in
questions or challenges without putting them on the spot, linking directly to the term of ‘accountability’ (Good
& Brophy 2008, p.81) and also links to ‘group alerting’ by using these challenges or questions to keep the
students attention in case they are picked next to answer (Good & Brophy 2008, p.81). Some other strategies
that are beneficial from a teacher perspective are introducing and using active listening through using the 5L’s
for example and using assertive communication through I-messages with a focus on the behaviour, for example:
I like the way that you came and sat down quietly without disrupting anyone. Another main strategy is
negotiation (Lyons, Ford & Slee 2014, pp.51-56), giving choices to a student is so important and allows them to
think about the options and regulate what is happening. An example of this could include a child who is being
disruptive and simply asking them if they need to go to the quiet corner or if they are okay to stay and focus,
giving them the opportunity to make a choice. It is clear that teacher control is still a big part of this approach.

4S Model and course principles:


When looking at the William’s 4S model including systems, setting, student and self (Williams 2013, p.11), it is
clear that this approach can fit in multiple ways. When looking at self, this looks like the teacher having good
relationships, still having a sense of control and consequences in place and being approachable to allow children
to feel comfortable in having a say. When looking at student in this environment, you can see everyone getting
along, knowing routines and what is happening, having a good relationship with the teacher and feeling
comfortable to have a say. When looking at the setting of this classroom there would be a classroom culture, a
warm and open classroom and no abuse of power. There would be a lot of room for cooperative learning and
there would be bean bags, couches and desks, with a choice where to learn and there would still be a quiet area
for independent learners and for those that need some time out. The systems in the classroom setting would
be incorporating the children’s voices, through class meetings about classroom management and curriculum
and expectations that are displayed and a predictable routine. This preventative planning approach also fits with
multiple course principles. These include: (see appendix 1) 1, as this approach is giving the children a voice and
therefore is supporting student dignity. 2, as children are encouraged to regulate their actions and behaviours.
5, as there is an emphasis on a class community and relationships. 6, as clear expectations and regular and
predictable routines are in place. 8, as there is a clear share in power and child’s voice is accounted for and 9, as
students are developing these skills through interactive and engaging learning. (Green & Baak 2018).

Preventative planning is essential to preventing disruptive behaviours before they happen, rather than having to
intervene which can take away from teaching and learning. The strategy that has been explored looks at having
shared power and including the child’s voice through rules, management/guidelines and learning, relationships
and a class community, behaviour management and also still having teacher control where necessary, it is a
balancing act, but this is a beneficial preventative plan to have in place.

Word Count: 1997

Appendix 1:
1. Effective teaching practice should respect children’s human dignity.
2. Self-regulation is preferable to external control as it builds learner capacity
5. Human relationships and the effects of those relationships are the building blocks of early development.
6. Learning environments that are predicable, in which expectations are clear and scaffolding is employed best
support students’ pro social behaviour.
8. Learning environments in which power is shared legitimately are those most supportive of student learning of
pro social behaviour.
9. Students are most likely to behave pro socially in learning environments that involve and engage them
through quality curricula.

(Green & Baak 2018).

Reference List:

Balli, SJ 2011, 'Pre-Service Teachers' Episodic Memories of Classroom Management', Teaching and Teacher
Education: An International Journal of Research and Studies, vol. 27, no. 2, pp. 245-251.

Cothran, DJ, Kulinna, PH & Garrahy, DA 2003, 'This is kind of giving a secret away...": students' perspectives on
effective class management', Teaching and teacher education, vol. 19, no. 4, pp. 435-444.

Good, TL & Brophy, JE 2008, 'Management I: preventing problems', Looking in classrooms, Pearson / Allyn and
Bacon Publishers, Boston MA, pp.71-97.

Green, D., Baak, M 2018, Managing Learning Environments, Course outline, University of South Australia, viewed
10 September 2018,
< https://my.unisa.edu.au/public/CourseOutline/ViewOutline.aspx?id=24393>.
Hochweber, J, Hosenfeld, I & Klieme, E 2014, 'Classroom Composition, Classroom Management, and the
Relationship between Student Attributes and Grades', Journal of Educational Psychology, vol. 106, no. 1, pp.
289-300.

Jones, VF 2015, 'Developing standards for classroom behavior and methods for maximizing on-task student
behavior', Practical classroom management, Pearson, Boston, pp. 103-144.

Kohn, A 2006, 'The nature of children', Beyond discipline: from compliance to community, Association for
Supervision and Curriculum Development, Alexandria, Virginia USA, pp.1-11.

Lyons, G, Ford, M & Slee, J 2014, 'Relationships and communication', Classroom management: creating positive
learning environments, Cengage Learning, South Melbourne Victoria, pp. 42-60.

Mcdonald, T 2013, 'Proactive teacher behaviours', Classroom management: engaging students in learning,
Oxford University Press, South Melbourne Victoria, pp.106-154.

Sapon-Shevin, M 2010, 'Schools as communities; References', Because we can change the world: a practical
guide to building cooperative, inclusive classroom communities, Corwin Press, Thousand Oaks California, pp.21-
44.

Sullivan, A. M., Johnson, B., Owens, L., & Conway, R 2014, ‘Punish Them or Engage Them? Teachers’ Views of
Unproductive Student Behaviours in the Classroom’, Australian Journal of Teacher Education, pp. 43-56.

Williams, D 2013, 'Background basics', Constructing a theoretical practical and philosophic approach to
managing learning environments (EDUC 3007), Pearson Australia, Frenchs Forest NSW, pp.1-24.