My philosophy of classroom management
Emma Jones 1090025
My classroom management philosophy this far is a product of 7 weeks practicum experience, one
and a half semesters of this teaching course and 5 years of high-school experience. Articulating what
I feel is implicit knowledge is incredibly difficult, and has caused me to evaluate how I see my own
teaching and what I should be doing to get the best out of my students. My philosophy is by no
means complete, but a stepping stone on my way to being the best science teacher possible!
An effective teacher must be able to make each student feel like they can succeed in their particular
subject and provide them with every possible opportunity to do so. An effective teacher needs to be
adaptable in preparing and organizing lesson content so it connects with all types of students at all
types of levels. Through the portrayal of personal values and attitudes (as well as enthusiasm for the
subject), an effective teacher will positively influence students throughout their lives. Such a teacher
seeks to cater lessons to their students’ interests and strengths yet also strives to make every
student feel important and valued on a personal level. In my opinion this can only be done through
the creation of a warm and engaging teaching environment. After completing my first practicum, I
have become aware of my own strengths and limitations so to compare myself against my
philosophy will help me on my journey.
In regards to classroom management, I believe an effective teacher cannot connect with their
students nor connect their students with information unless the learning environment is carefully
managed. This means that to be an effective classroom manager, I need to be able to organise the
successful transmission of content, ensure engagement of the learners and determine the method
of assessing whether the content has been correctly received. What a challenge!
The following report aims to show you, the reader, what a well-managed classroom environment
looks like through my eyes, as well as strategies I plan to use in order to achieve this vision during my
second practicum as an emerging science teacher.
I find myself seeing students in three different lights:
First of all I see students as teenagers who are still discovering who they are and who they want to
be. They are all struggling to juggle the pressures of school, family, friends, self-worth and personal
values, their social lives, and maybe extra-cultural activities, jobs, etc. Being a teenager is manic, and
I have been one for most of the past ten years so can remember it quite well.
With a science degree and major in animal behaviour, I find myself seeing students as, like all
animals, responsive to environmental stimuli and interactions with each-other. Teachers can’t blame
students for being responsive to their surroundings; they need to take all this into account when
creating those surroundings.
In line with our most recent tutorial activity, I feel students are like an unworked piece of clay (what
a cliché). With the right support they can become their own masterpiece; students can go from
lacking public speaking skills to being school captain and making speeches during assemblies, or
from knowing nothing about DNA replication to getting an excellence at the end-of-year external
exam. As a teacher, my aim is to aid the development of skills and knowledge.
A well-managed classroom environment looks like:
Malmgren, Trezek & Paul (2005) state that, “teachers have a right to teach in a well-managed
classroom,” but I disagree. Yes, it would be nice to have that right but I believe that teachers cannot
be given a well-managed classroom because they have a right to it; they have to develop the skill in
order to create and maintain such an environment. This skill comes from acknowledging what I
believe are the five most important components to any well-managed classroom:
1. Positive and fulfilling student-teacher relationships
2. Accepted and embraced student diversity
3. Production of well-organised lessons
4. Effective management of student behaviour
5. Provision of a ‘warm’ physical learning environment
The way I view these components is described below along with ways of enforcing the underlying
Positive and fulfilling student-teacher relationships:
Getting to know my students is crucial to becoming an effective classroom manager. How else will I
know how they learn? How to engage them? How to reward them? Students’ getting to know me as
their teacher is just as important; how else will they trust me? What motivation is there to learn
from me? Why should they listen to me? Palumbo & Sanacore (2007) state that students learn more
effectively when the lessons “are well matched with the students’ strengths and needs, ”and getting
to know the students as individuals is the only way I’ll find these needs out.
During my first practicum I tried hard to get to know my students – the outcomes of this was making
content more enjoyable, for example, using pop-culture as a vehicle for improving the application of
physics knowledge. Not only this, but by realising I shared common interests with some of my
students, myself and another student teacher were able to set up an equestrian team for the school.
I believe an effective teacher goes beyond the student-teacher relationship and reaches out to
students’ families. Getting the family on board shows you are serious about wanting to help and in
doing so, trust and respect is gained as well as an (ideally) strong support system for your student.
By incorporating whanaungatanga into my teaching approach, I feel students will respond positively.
A warm, family environment is what I have always thrived in and I feel that all students would
benefit from this approach.
Strategy 1 helps illustrate different ways of developing positive relationships with students, as well
as preventing misbehaviour, handling discipline and providing classroom leadership which will be
discussed later on.
Accepted and embraced student diversity:
It is important that I embrace each of my students as “whole people” (Palumbo & Sanacore, 2007)
and get to know their whole world as much as I can – home, school, friends, etc. in order to (a) make
our lessons best suited to them (b) build a relationship with them and (c) show support and interest
in them. By getting to know my students (as mentioned above), I can learn about their values,
traditions and language. These things, I feel, should be embraced in all classroom environments.
Greeting the students in their own language, popping in an “E tū” to get students standing and
having different music playing for particular activities can create a positive learning environment
that is inclusive of all students.
Production of well-organised lessons:
Lessons are more effective when they encourage student interaction with one another, with
relevant resources, and give students the opportunity to summarize what they have learned.
(Malmgren Trezek & Paul, 2005; Pedota 2007; Palumbo & Sanacore, 2007; Freiberg & Lamb, 2009;).
The journey from where students began at the start of the lesson to where they ended up at the
finish is more important than everyone being able to answer an excellence-grade question at the
end of the lesson, in my opinion. Work by Cassidy & Cassidy’s work (2012) support this idea, and
explains teaching in terms of a metaphor that I have illustrated in Strategy 2.
I believe the best way to encourage student achievement is to have them learn through a student-
centred approach where students exhibit self-discipline leadership and co-operative skills on a daily
basis (Kearsley & Shneiderman, 1999; Freiberg & Lamb, 2009).
I believe time management also plays a key factor in lesson effectiveness. Effective teachers make
the most out of each period in the day to teach their students; they don’t, for example, waste time
waiting for students to be silent before marking the roll, they do it during the lesson while the
students are working (Pedota, 2007). Effective time management is something I struggled with last
Effective management of student behaviour:
Ideally, a well-planned lesson should diminish the likelihood of students misbehaving however
sometimes this is not the case. By investigating the literature surrounding student behaviour, I have
found two approaches I believe will help me in the future.
Assertive discipline (Canter, 1989), or having a “systematic discipline plan,” (Malmgren, Trezek &
Paul, 2005) gives students consistency and fair treatment when dealing with misbehaviours. The
plan is made up of expectations and consequences which are communicated to the students. Canter
(1989) emphasises the importance of also “catching students being good” and reinforcing that
My own personal approach, although similar to this, would include co-constructing a list of
expectations and consequences, as well as a list of rewards, with my students. Although student-
centred lessons would ideally encourage self-discipline and intrinsic motivation on the students’
behalf this is not always the case, hence the rewards.
Logical consequences (Malmgren, Trezek & Paul, 2005) is an approach based on the idea that that
student misbehaviour is “an outgrowth of their unmet needs” or “mistaken goals” and emphasises
the prevention of misbehaviour in the first place. By detecting the reason for the student’s
behaviour, effective teachers can find ways to re-focus that behaviour (e.g. swinging on chairs for
attention) on a positive task (such as giving them a leadership role for that lesson).
Strategy 3 is a compilation of student behaviours and consequences based on the above approaches
that I would use in the classroom.
As a teacher I feel it is important to look for cues to signify student disengagement. This was
something I was regretfully made aware of very late during my first practicum. It is important to be
able to tell when the students are disengaged, then the activity can be altered/changed to regain the
Provision a ‘warm’ physical learning environment:
As mentioned earlier in this report, I see students as responsive to their surrounding environment.
An effective teacher would make sure this environment is optimised for successful learning. Desks
should be arranged appropriately (depending on tasks) and should be clean and tidy. Having dirty or
broken resources just illustrates to the students that no-one else cares for the resources so why
I am a sucker for inspirational quotes, so I feel by having walls of colour and inspiration in my
classroom, students can work on improving their attitudes not only towards work but other aspects
of their life. A display of student work is also important and I would have them be dominant in
regards to overall classroom displays.
This is a brief overview of my philosophy and I found it very hard to be concise. The embedded files
aim to show more of my attitude and philosophy regarding effective classroom management.
Behaviour Needs. (2011). Needs-focused interventions. Retrieved from www.behaviourneeds.com
Brainard, E. (2001). Classroom management: seventy-three suggestions for secondary school
teachers. The Clearing House. 74(4):207-209.
Canter, L. (1989). Assertive discipline: more than names on the board and marbles in a jar. Phi Delta
Canter, L. & Canter, M. (2001). Assertive discipline: positive behaviour management for today’s
ed. Sal Beach, CA: Canter.
Cassidy, T. & Cassidy, C. (2012). Mastering the basics of great teaching: using the ‘9x4’ framework. A
Freiberg H. J. & Lamb, S. M. (2009). Dimensions of person-centred classroom management. Theory
Into Practice. 48:99-105.
Kearsley, G. & Shneiderman, B. (1999). Engagement Theory: a framework for technology-based
teaching and learning. Retrieved from http://home.sprynet.com/~gkearsley/engage.htm on
Malmgren, K. W., Trezek, B. J. & Paul, P, V. (2005). Models of classroom management as applied to
the secondary classroom. The Clearing House. 79(1):36-39.
Palumbo, A. & Sanacore, J. (2007). Classroom management: help for the beginning secondary school
teacher. The Clearing House. (81)2: 67-70.
Pedota, P. (2007). Strategies for effective classroom management in the secondary setting. The
Clearing House. 80(4):163-166.