Class Management &Ndash; An Analysis of Behaviour Management Strategies Used in The Learning Environment
There are many conflicting and interlocking theories on effective behaviour and classroom management from psychologists and educators within the academic system. Some of these classroom and behaviour management theories are being used and have been used in learning establishments for many years all over the world. This paper will attempt to cover several of these theories and methods relevant to managing the behaviour of learners, and describe and explain how such approaches may be utilised in many learning environments and discuss the potential issues that may arise from using such approaches. In addition, the underlying principles for these theories will be examined in detail. The use of “positive discipline” is an effective classroom management technique and hence these approaches will be discussed with reference to this approach.
Before discussing the approaches towards effective classroom and behaviour management, the principle of positive discipline needs to be outlined. This attitude of discipline is often adopted by schools and is usually an integral part of their behavioural policy.
“Positive discipline is, of course, more than one’s use of language; it is about creating the best environment and social climate for teaching and learning, so that correction is given in a way that minimises unnecessary stress, and considers the self-esteem of those being corrected.” (Rogers, 2007: 52)
Positive discipline is utilised to create a welcoming, friendly and comfortable environment for the learners: an environment where they feel they have rights and know they are in a setting in which they can learn. It draws the focus away from disciplining poor behaviour and redirects it towards rewarding excellent behaviour. Employing this sets the standard of behaviour expected by the teacher. Furthermore, it helps to avoid impairment of learner motivation in the classroom as negative comments tend to be evaded.
“Rewards change behaviour, sanctions do not.” (Williams, 2008)This diverts the concept of disciplining misbehaviour and draws a focus towards rewarding the correct behaviour. Fundamentally, the strategy of positive discipline is catching the learner being good. By rewarding that good behaviour, which may be a simple comment to the whole class acknowledging good behaviour. Essentially, the learners are setting examples for their peers.
Strategies that are engaged in the classroom to produce this positive working environment rely on catering for mixed ability and special educational needs. A thoroughly planned lesson flow, with the goals and objectives to that lesson clearly outlined, helps prevent diversity and distraction from the lesson tasks. It is naïve to suggest that corrective management won’t be enforced in this environment. However, corrective management doesn’t have to be negative.
“We can rephrase many uses of ‘Don’t’ with ‘Do’.”
“‘Walking quietly, thanks’ rather than, ‘Don’t run.’”
“‘Hands up without calling out thanks’ rather than, ‘Why can’t you share?’” (Rogers, 2007: 55)
On occasion, negative discipline can be favourable to positive discipline.
“I would be a hypocrite if I said I didn’t shout at pupils. I do, but I try to limit these instances to the times when I really need to make a point quickly.” (Dixie, 2007: 62)