Classroom management pioneers


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  • The word “discipline” is often confused with the word “punishment”, however they are not one in the same. Discipline, rather, is a method or set of rules which govern a classroom. As Plato expresses in the quote above, force and harshness are not effective in supporting student learning. Instead, teachers should actively engage their students in class so as to discover the talents within each. This quote directly expresses the importance of classroom management and discipline as it relates to behavior. Both classroom management and discipline are key elements to running an effective classroom; therefore it is important to understand the different discipline and management theories which collectively shape the discipline and management models of today’s classrooms. In this presentation we will examine six pioneers with regard to classroom management and discipline and how their theories play out in today’s classroom.
  • There are several theorists that have made contributions to classroom discipline and management; however B.F. Skinner, William Glasser, Jacob Kounin, Rudolph Dreikurs, Lee and Marlene Canter, and Alfie Kohn have made notable contributions that will be recognized in the following presentation.
  • B.F. Skinner is a psychologist well known for his study of and theories regarding operant conditioning; a study proving that ones voluntary behavior can be directly influenced by what happens immediately after the performed action (Charles 2011). Skinner’s work was never directed towards classroom discipline, though in 1954 he did publish an article “The Science of Learning and the Art of Teaching,” which make his theories quite applicable to the classroom (Charles 2011). Skinner firmly believed that behavior can be shaped or modified through systematic reinforcement, which in the classroom environment is known as reward. Because Skinner felt that positive reinforcement was such a powerful tool in shaping desired behavior, he too felt that the act of punishment had limited effects, and was a less desirable way to shape behavior. Skinner did not personally apply his theory to the classroom; however in the 1960’s it was widely used by teachers in the primary grades as complete discipline system. Teachers would rely completely on rewards as a way to control student behavior, and it did not take long before Skinner’s theory mirrored bribery (Charles 2011). Today, Skinner’s behavior modification theory is not one that dominates discipline models in the classroom, however elements are still widely used and accepted (Charles 2011).
  • In today’s classroom, Skinner’s behavior modification theory can be seen in rewards, such as certificates, pizza parties, extra recess time, or golden tickets. It is also reflected in verbal praise, when a student excels or complies with the rules, and in verbal, non-verbal, or written approval by the teacher. All three methods are used quite often in today’s classrooms as a way to motivate and support student learning (Charles 2011).
  • William Glasser, a major contributor to and pioneer of modern discipline, became well known for his theories on discipline after his book, Schools Without Failure , was published in 1969. Glasser asserts that human behavior is purposeful, meaning there are reasons for the way we act and respond to different situations. He also stresses that behavior is a choice. Teachers cannot make their students behave a certain way, nor are they responsible for their student’s behavior; however teachers do have influence over the choices students make and should guide their students to make positive behavior choices so that they are successful (Charles 2011). In addition to Glasser’s choice theory, he made another major contribution to classroom discipline, which is his assertion that students basic needs must be met. A student whose basic needs are not being met will act out in a number of ways (Charles 2011). Glasser focuses his theories on quality teaching, learning, and classroom environment; theories which are widely accepted and frequently used in today’s classrooms (Charles 2011).
  • In the classroom, Glasser’s choice theory advocates for a positive and supportive classroom so as to foster relationships built on trust and respect. Glasser also suggests that teachers work with their students to create classroom expectations. Once created, it is critical to the discipline process that each rule or expectation is understood, that it can be related to student success, and that students are involved in determining the actions taken when a rule is broken (Charles 2011). Glasser also stresses preventative discipline by meeting the basic needs of all students. Glasser notes that all students need security, belonging, power, fun and freedom, and that choices a person makes are a direct result of trying to meet one or more of these needs (Charles 2011). According to Glasser, it is the teacher’s role to try to meet the needs of all of his or her students and lead students into the right choices (Charles 2011).
  • Glasser’s theory also places high value on quality learning, teaching and curriculum. Holding classroom meetings supports both quality learning and teaching and will encourage student input in lessons, encourage self-reflection, allow for discussion about classroom concerns or issues, and encourage comradery among the students and teacher. Being a leader instead of being a boss also promotes quality teaching. Being a leader means using engaging lessons which will motivate and encourage student learning rather than forcing facts and information onto them. Useful work is also critical to quality teaching and learning. When students find purpose in their learning, intrinsic motivation is fostered and students will have greater success. Expecting 100% from every student and encouraging quality work will lead to greater learning, however it is important that the teacher discuss what it means to “do your best” and outline what quality work looks like and sounds like. Finally, self-reflection is an important part of student learning and teaching. Students should be encouraged to assess their own work, and reflect on their performance on and feelings about a particular lesson or assignment. Teachers should model this behavior by taking time to reflect on their own teaching methods, and allow students to give them feedback as well. A shared environment that fosters choice, community, and belonging and focuses on quality instruction and learning encompasses Glasser’s choice theory, which has made a lasting mark on modern education.
  • Jacob Kounin, author of Discipline and Group Management in Classrooms developed a theory focused on preventing unwanted behavior by implementing effective lesson management. Kounin found that teaching style directly affects student behavior, and that teachers who are organized, have well planned lessons, and are constantly aware of all students and happenings in their classroom will have success in preventing unwanted and off task behavior (Charles 2011).
  • Kounin outlined specific ways to prevent misbehavior, manage the lesson and maintain focus in the classroom. In order to prevent unwanted behavior, Kounin asserts that teachers should maintain high levels of withitness, referring to a constant awareness of all students and situations in the classroom. Overlapping is another term used by Kounin, which refers to a teacher’s ability to manage and attend to two or more classroom activities at a given time. According to Kounin, overlapping and withitness are critical to preventing off task and unwanted behavior in the classroom. Effectively managing a lesson is also critical to Kounin’s theory. He asserts that momentum and smoothness are key to keeping students engaged and on task. Momentum refers to the speed and consistency of lesson. An effective lesson with proper momentum will continuously move in a forward direction and be free of dead spots (Charles 2011). A lesson with smoothness will transition between activities effortlessly, without confusion or abruptness (Charles 2011). Finally, maintaining focus with group alerting and student accountability will ensure understanding and participation (Charles 2011). Group alerting refers to the process of gaining attention from all students prior to explaining a concept or giving directions, whereas student accountability refers to notifying the students about participation expectations and frequently calling on students to demonstrate their knowledge through explanation and questioning (Charles 2011).
  • Rudolph Dreikurs was a psychiatrist who contributed two major ideas in classroom discipline. The first being the belief that all students have a need for belonging and that when that need is not met, students will turn to mistaken goals. His second contribution was the assertion that democratic classrooms support effective learning. Next we will examine mistaken goals, and the qualities of a democratic classroom.
  • Dreikurs believed that when the need for belonging is not met, students will default to attention seeking, power seeking, revenge seeking and displaying inadequacy. Attention seeking may be in the form of shouting out answers, interrupting instruction, or showing off; power seeking may be in the form of non-compliant comments or overtly refusing to follow directions; revenge seeking may be seen in the form of lying or cheating; and inadequacy may be seen in withdraw and lackluster behavior (Charles 2011). All of these behaviors are common to modern classrooms, though Dreikurs asserts that when student needs are met, misbehavior will be prevented. In order to encourage belonging, Dreikurs suggests making effort to involve all students in classroom activities, giving all students adequate attention, recognizing success, and showing respect to all students (Charles 2011). By encouraging belonging, teachers will prevent many common behaviors that interfere with learning. He adds, however, that when misbehaviors do occur, the best remedy is to identify the need that is not being met, talk with the student about their need, and in a positive manner, find a solution to the problem (Charles 2011).
  • In addition to the need for belonging, Dreikurs stresses the importance of a democratic classroom (Charles 2011). To foster a democratic classroom, Dreikurs contends that a teacher must; speak in positive terms, encourage improvement not perfection, emphasize strengths while minimizing weaknesses, teach students to learn from their mistakes, encourage students to help each other, be optimistic, use praise, and always show faith in your students abilities and potential (Charles 2011).
  • Lee and Marlene Canter published the book, Assertive Discipline: A Take Charge Approach for Today’s Educator, in 1976. They wanted to help teachers “take charge” of their classroom, as they believed that teachers deserved a classroom free of interruption and misbehavior, and that students deserved a classroom that was calm and organized (Charles 2011). Lee and Marlene Canter’s theory is known as assertive discipline, and it outlines a simple, clear, confident and consistent approach to handling discipline (Charles 2011).
  • The assertive discipline approach dictates that a clear set of classroom rules are created and that students are made aware of why the rules are important, and what each rule entails (Charles 2011). It is also of great importance that rewards and consequences are discussed and understood by all students, and that positive and negative consequences are utilized consistently and fairly (Charles 2011). Some have argued that the Canter’s approach to classroom discipline is overly controlling and leaves little room for student input, though when used in conjunction with Glasser’s choice theory, or Dreikurs’ democratic classroom model, assertive discipline can be highly effective in promoting positive behavior. Students appreciate knowing what is expected of them, and the assertive discipline model does just that.
  • Alfie Kohn, former teacher and author of Punished by Rewards: The Trouble with Gold Stars, Incentive Plans, A’s, Praise, and Other Bribes , is the final contributor to classroom discipline and management that will be discussed in this presentation. Kohn’s views differ greatly from those of Canter or Skinner, as he asserts that traditional instruction and classroom management is ineffective. Kohn believes that meaningful learning takes place with students have choice, feel respected, feel a part of something and can construct their own learning. He believes that grades, assessments, and controlled behavior fail the students, and that exploratory learning, critical thinking, and independent knowledge construction should dominate classroom learning and instruction (Charles 2011). Kohn asserts that in order to achieve these goals, classrooms must be converted to learning communities where students are respected, cared about, and feel connected to one another (Charles 2011).
  • Kohn suggests numerous ways to promote a successful learning community, such as; show respect for students in order to meet there emotional needs; help students connect through cooperative learning activities, get-to-know you tasks, and reciprocal teaching; use classroom meetings to discuss feelings, reflect on lessons, and to stay connected; provide opportunities for whole class activities, such as a newspaper or art project and school wide activities, such as a food drive or performance; and finally, reflect on instruction and learning during and after a lesson, during class meetings, and at the end of a term (Charles 2011). Kohn believes that creating a sense of community in the classroom will give purpose to learning, increase motivation, and foster pride in learning. He finds that meeting the emotional needs of students and engaging them in meaningful work will lead students to make positive choices with regard to their education, however this model alone may not be assertive enough to combat unwanted behavior that may arise in the classroom. It is important to understand each discipline theory individually, however working in isolation no one theory may be completely effective. In order to promote a classroom that fosters communication, respect, quality learning, engagement, and community, teachers must draw from all discipline theories and models to create their own model that best suits their students and classroom.
  • Classroom management pioneers

    1. 1. Pioneers in Classroom Management Lindsay Elliott July 24, 2011 EDU450
    2. 2. Classroom Discipline and Management <ul><li>“ Do not train children to learning by force and harshness, but direct them to it by what amuses their mind, so that you may be better able to discover with accuracy the peculiar bent of the genius of each.” </li></ul><ul><li>-Plato </li></ul>
    3. 3. Contributors &Theories <ul><li>B.F. Skinner </li></ul><ul><li>Behavior Modification </li></ul><ul><li>William Glasser Choice Theory </li></ul><ul><li>Jacob Kounin </li></ul><ul><li>Lesson Management </li></ul><ul><li>Rudolph Dreikurs Democratic Classroom </li></ul><ul><li>Lee & Marlene Canter </li></ul><ul><li>Assertive Discipline </li></ul><ul><li>Alfie Kohn </li></ul><ul><li>Learning Communities </li></ul>
    4. 4. B.F. Skinner <ul><li>Author of “The Science of Learning and the Art of Teaching”(1954). </li></ul><ul><li>Believed that behavior is shaped through systematic reinforcement. </li></ul><ul><li>Believed that punishment has limited effects. </li></ul>Behavior Modification 1904-1990
    5. 5. Behavior Modification: In the Classroom Rewards Praise Approval
    6. 6. William Glasser <ul><li>Pioneer and contributor to modern discipline. </li></ul><ul><li>Author of Schools Without Failure (1969). </li></ul><ul><li>Human behavior is purposeful (Charles 2011). </li></ul><ul><li>Students are responsible for their own behavior. </li></ul><ul><li>The basic needs of students must be met. </li></ul>Choice Theory 1925-present
    7. 7. Choice Theory: In the Classroom <ul><li>Create a positive, supportive classroom. </li></ul><ul><li>Work with students to create classroom expectations. </li></ul><ul><li>Meet the basic needs of all students. </li></ul>
    8. 8. Choice Theory: In the Classroom <ul><li>Hold classroom meetings. </li></ul><ul><li>Be a leader, not a boss. </li></ul><ul><li>Assign useful work. </li></ul><ul><li>Expect 100% from every student. </li></ul><ul><li>Encourage self-reflection. </li></ul>
    9. 9. Jacob Kounin <ul><li>Author of Discipline and Group Management in Classrooms. </li></ul><ul><li>Teaching style affects student behavior. </li></ul><ul><li>Organization and planning are keys to engagement. </li></ul><ul><li>Focuses on preventative discipline. </li></ul><ul><li>Teachers must be constantly aware of all students in their classroom. </li></ul>Lesson Management
    10. 10. Lesson Management: In the Classroom <ul><li>Prevent misbehavior </li></ul><ul><ul><li>With-it-ness and overlapping </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Manage the Lesson </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Momentum and smoothness </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Maintain Focus </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Group alerting and student accountability </li></ul></ul>
    11. 11. Rudolph Dreikurs <ul><li>Professor of Psychiatry </li></ul><ul><li>Believed that students have a need for belonging. </li></ul><ul><li>Believed that misbehavior occurs when needs are not met. </li></ul><ul><li>Believed that democratic classrooms support effective learning. </li></ul>Human Needs & Democratic Classrooms
    12. 12. The Need for Belonging <ul><li>When need is not met, students will default to: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Attention seeking </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Power seeking </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Revenge seeking </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Displaying inadequacy </li></ul></ul><ul><li>When the need is met, misbehavior will be prevented . </li></ul><ul><li>Encourage belonging by: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Involving all students in classroom activities. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Giving all students adequate attention. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Recognizing success. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Showing respect to all students. </li></ul></ul>
    13. 13. The Democratic Classroom <ul><li>Speak in positive terms. </li></ul><ul><li>Encourage improvement, not perfection. </li></ul><ul><li>Emphasize strengths while minimizing weakness. </li></ul><ul><li>Teach students to learn from their mistakes. </li></ul><ul><li>Encourage students to help each other. </li></ul><ul><li>Be optimistic, use encouraging words, and show faith in students. </li></ul>
    14. 14. Lee & Marlene Canter <ul><li>Published book Assertive Discipline: A Take Charge Approach for Today’s Educator (1976). </li></ul><ul><li>Students have the right to learn in a calm, organized classroom. </li></ul><ul><li>Teachers have the right to teach in a classroom free of interruption and misbehavior. </li></ul><ul><li>Assertive teachers model classroom expectations clearly, confidently and consistently. </li></ul>Assertive Discipline
    15. 15. Assertive Discipline: In the Classroom <ul><li>Provide a clear set of rules. </li></ul><ul><li>Explain why rules are needed. </li></ul><ul><li>Make sure rules are understood by all. </li></ul><ul><li>Explain rewards and consequences. </li></ul><ul><li>Utilize positive consequences consistently. </li></ul><ul><li>Utilize negative consequences consistently. </li></ul>
    16. 16. Alfie Kohn <ul><li>Former teacher and author of Punished by Rewards: The Trouble with Gold Stars, Incentive Plans, A’s, Praise, and Other Bribes. </li></ul><ul><li>Believes that traditional instruction is ineffective. </li></ul><ul><li>Believes meaningful learning takes place when students have choice, feel respected, feel like a part of something, and can construct their own learning. </li></ul>Learning Communities
    17. 17. The Classroom: As a Learning Community <ul><li>Show respect for students. </li></ul><ul><li>Help students connect. </li></ul><ul><li>Utilize classroom meetings. </li></ul><ul><li>Provide whole class and school wide activities. </li></ul><ul><li>Reflect on instruction and learning. </li></ul>
    18. 18. References <ul><li>Charles, C.M.(2011). Building Classroom Discipline, 10 th Ed. Boston: Pearson Publishing. </li></ul>