Sunday, November 13, 2011

Managing Student Behavior

          How a teacher handles the environment and the students in it while teaching is an important part of teaching. You need to know how to be able to handle students who are misbehaving or acting out before class in the locker room, during class, as well as after class in the locker room and any other time that is needed during the school day. It is a given that you will have students act out and misbehave to some extent during your teaching career. And more than likely, you will get rebuttal from the students when you attempt to confront the misbehavior. Discipline is a skill that teachers need to be able to effective. You need to know how much to discipline a student for a particular instance and most importantly, when you discipline a student or talk to a student about their misbehavior, you need to attack the behavior instead of the student. In no way do you need to tell the student that they are bad, instead you need to tell the student that what they did was defiant.     
Having a daily routine can help cut down on student misbehavior. If you give the students a series of tasks to do, then they will spend less time doing nothing which, more than likely, leads to students misbehaving because it is something to do. At both school levels that I observed last year, there were routines in place for before and after class while the students were in the locker rooms and for during class. The students knew the routines and knew the consequences of what would happen if they did not follow the routines. The routine was common in that the students would get changed in the locker room, the teacher would take attendance, and then the class would begin a warm-up. After class, the students would get changed in the locker room and then wait for the bell to ring to go to the next class.
 This is one of the important parts of managing behavior: Having rules set in place and make sure that all of the students know the rules and consequences of breaking those rules. This will help cut down on misbehaving students as well. Posted on all four walls of the pool area are the Pool Rules that must be followed by all of the students or else they must face the consequences that come with breaking the rules. There are also sheets of paper located near the teacher’s office that give a list of all of the pool rules that the students must observe.
When I was observing at a middle school last year, there was no instant of an extreme misbehavior by the students. There was the regular talking back and not listening that will occur in almost every classroom. There was one instance when there was a student who was being disruptive and not listening during class. This student did not listen to the teacher’s instructions and they were also trying to tell other students what to do as if he was the teacher. The teacher then talked to him sternly and the disruptive student was then told to sit out of the pool for the rest of the class period while the other students were able to enjoy some free swim time for the rest of class.
There were also no major instances of excessive misbehavior at the High School Level that I observed either. One instance where the teacher had to step in to manage some behavior of some students was during game-play of the basketball unit that the students were in. There were a couple of students who were fooling around while playing the basketball game. They were shooting ridiculous shots from half-court and fooling around in general. The teacher stepped in and told the students that they needed to take the game more seriously and to play the game right. If they couldn’t do that, then they would have to sit and their effort grade would be affected. As a result of the teacher’s actions, the students began to take the game seriously and the fooling around stopped. The game was much more enjoyable for everyone who was playing.
In both of these instances, I would not have done anything differently. I believe that the actions taken by the teachers were the right ones since they were effective and they had an immediate positive impact on the class lesson. The behavior diminished quickly the class was more enjoyable and fun for everyone.
Having more than one strategy for various misbehaviors that may occur in your class is essential. The saying that comes to mind when disciplining students is that “The punishment must fit the crime.” They way that you handle misbehavior should be different depending on the situation. Another appropriate strategy that could have been used for the disruptive student in the pool would be to have the student come and help you demonstrate the skill that is being taught. This way, the student would not be able to be disruptive because you would be right there watching him and the student would have something to do instead of being disruptive. For the misbehaving students in the gym, another way that situation could have been handled would to stop the game and have the students run skill drills that center around what the students were doing by fooling around instead of play a game. For example, you could say that because there are some students who seem not to know how to pass the ball correctly, we are going to work on our passing by doing this drill instead of playing a game.
From my observations, I have learned that establishing a routine in essential to a smooth running class. If you have a series of tasks for students to perform then they spend less time doing nothing which, in turn, will lessen the chance of students misbehaving and having to handle disciplining them instead of teaching your class.

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