5. Learning Environment – The teacher fosters and manages a safe and inclusive learning environment that takes into account: physical, emotional and intellectual well-being.
5.3 Managing Classroom Procedures through Performance of Noninstructional Duties
Efficient systems for performing noninstructional duties are in place, resulting in minimal loss of instructional time.
A well-managed classroom is one where students have an understanding of classroom/school routines, rules and procedures, and their teacher’s expectations. The first days (and weeks) of school should be utilized to teach students about classroom rules, procedures, expectations, available learning tools and resources, transitions, and other classroom protocols. Furthermore, rules and procedures should be reinforced, retaught, and adjusted as needed throughout the school year to facilitate a consistent and well-managed learning environment (Marzano, 2007). Intervention strategies should also be preplanned to prepare for behavioral problems in advance, utilizing a proactive approach to these scenarios rather than a reactive one (Fay & Funk, 1995).
Teachers should therefore organize a classroom management plan each school year, outlining processes and procedures that “…maintain an environment in which instruction and learning can occur” (Wong & Wong, 2009). Teachers must be prepared to contend with the many dispositions of students, parents, and colleagues. They should therefore outline a classroom management plan that includes a syllabus, classroom layout, organizational checklists, a plan for the first day of school, and intervention strategies to handle a variety of situations. As shown in Figure 1, Wong & Wong (2009) highlight the characteristics of a well-managed classroom; without a management plan in place, these characteristics would be difficult to achieve. In order for the classroom to meet these four characteristics, students need to be aware of what’s expected of them and be comfortable in the classroom, having an understanding of how to meet expectations.
To prepare such a plan, there are several resources available to new teachers so they are not obligated to design something from scratch. Several websites such as 4teachers.org, teachingchannel.org, and educationworld.com provide free resources for managing the classroom. Sites such as these provide teachers with computer applications, videos, research, and other tools that can be utilized in a classroom management plan. For example, a sample syllabus can be easily found and utilized, such as the example shown at this website http://www.atlanta.k12.ga.us/page/20072. A classroom layout can also be organized by utilizing an online application such as Classroom Architect, as shown in the screen shot provided in Figure 2.
Several organizational checklists are also outlined online and can be edited to suit an individual teacher’s needs such as the sample provided at http://www.educationworld.com/a_curr/profdev/profdev081.shtml. Intervention strategies are also useful. Fay & Funk (1995) provide many intervention strategies and classroom management tips that may help first year teachers effectively manage behavioral problems, such as implementing discipline with empathy.
Moreover, students need a learning environment that they feel safe and secure in. A safe learning environment can be provided with an effective management plan in place. Students need to understand what is expected of them; one should never assume that they have been previously taught the rules, procedures, and resources that are used in their classroom. When each new school year approaches, teachers should utilize the overabundance of free resources available to them to implement management strategies that work. These strategies should be adjusted as needed throughout the school year. As shown in figure 3, I agree with Wong & Wong (2009), that classroom management is the key factor governing student learning.
ALTEC. (2008). [Illustrative classroom floor plan online web application]. Classroom architect powered by 4teachers.org. Retrieved from http://classroom.4teachers.org
Fay, J. & Funk, D. (1995). Teaching with love and logic; Taking control of the classroom. Golden, CO: The Love and Logic Press.
Marzano, R. J. (2007). The art and science of teaching: A comprehensive framework for effective instruction. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.
Wong, H. K. & Wong R. T. (2009). The first days of school: How to be an effective teacher. Malaysia: Harry K. Wong Publications, Inc.