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Teacher Rights in the Classroom

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“Play fighting” or fighting with tools and material in a classroom setting is very dangerous which could harm pupil. Fighting or pretend fight is unacceptable for any reason anywhere and will not be tolerated in learning environment and the capacity to efficiently manage pupils behavior in classroom is an essential teaching skill for creating a helpful learning atmosphere for teachers and students (Ormrod, 2003). Behavior management related issues are one of the most important causes of worry for student and teachers relationship (Chaplain, 2008) with discipline difficulties being one of the aim cause for teacher stress and burnout in secondary teachers (Kyriacou, 2001). “The well-managed classroom provides pupils with the sense of security of purpose which enables them to take progress. Classrooms without teacher-managed behavior tend to be chaotic places where little academic learning take place, where teachers’ stress levels are high and pupils’ insecurities give rise to inappropriate behaviors.” (Visser, 2000, p. 5)

There are numerous explanations for pupils to misbehave in class. Occasionally, children’s misbehaviors are related and affected by the school environment, and sometimes it is related to factors outside the classroom (Muijs & Reynolds, 2005, p. 85). More specific, on one hand the quality and content of the lesson can make pupils either become bored of the lesson or not be interested in it. Thus, pupils in this situation may provoke misbehavior and disturb the class. On the other hand literature suggests that there is a direct relationship between the achievement and the behavior of a pupil in the classroom (ibid, p. 86). This relationship says that low achievement often leads to misbehaving pupils since they do not care about their achievement they are not interested in paying attention to the lesson.

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However, there are external reasons causing pupils to misbehave in class. Such reasons can be family and home situations. For example parental divorce, unstable background or even lack of authority and caring at home can result in challenging behavior in class (ibid, p.85). In addition, the values promoted at home can be different from one home to another; so a pupil since is not told off at home for misbehaving is probably going to repeat it in class. Nevertheless, there is always a number of pupils who seek attention and try to achieve it by misbehaving especially between teens. (ibid, pp. 85-86)

External factors that may cause inappropriate behavior of students, who are required to be identified in order to help the student are cultural, linguistic and poverty factors (Visser, 2000, p. 20). Every culture has different norms that would be good and useful for the teacher to know, in order to be able to recognize and justify the behavior of the student. Classes today are comprised of students from different countries with different cultures and language. We can justifiably characterize these as multicultural classrooms. As a result for many students the language used at school may be different than the one used at home. Therefore the student because of the limited vocabulary might not be able to understand what he is being asked to do. This can be seen as a reason for pupils’ misbehavior. Finally, poverty can affect students; this problem can cause lack of motivation and incentives to use the appropriate behavior in the classroom (Visser, 2000, pp. 20-21).

In addition to all the other factors that cause the unwanted behavior, the largest barrier to the successful administration of class, is the negative impression of the teacher; that he/she is not able to manage the disruptive behavior of students. Teachers feel unable to manage difficult students and consider that they need in most cases the help of a professional that is an expert in each case; In other words, “teachers simply feel powerless” (Canter, 1992, p. 18).

Preventing misbehavior

Since a teacher is the one to manage the class, he/she needs to find effective ways to prevent misbehavior from taking place. Prevention is always more effective than confrontation. Consequently in the case of unwanted behavior, is the best way to make efforts to stop it before it even occurs. Even the best lessons with the most experienced and talented teachers present misbehavior.

Usually undesirable behavior occurs because the lesson and the methods used by teachers do not meet the needs, interests and abilities of children. If teachers try to make lessons more attractive for their students, then surely it is an effective way to prevent misbehavior.

Many teachers use in their teaching limited learning styles, especially visual and auditory. This certainly is not attractive for their students who prefer to learn in a different way such as by listening to sounds or movements. Students who do not have the opportunity to be taught in the manner they prefer are more likely to misbehave (Muijs & Reynolds, 2005, p. 86). Different learning styles should be used in teaching in order to cover all the pupils way of learning. Moreover, a teacher should adjust the curriculum to the pupils’ needs and interest and make it more attractive and suitable for them. The best solution is to teach school subject by including the interests of children (ibid, p.87).

Most importantly a teacher should listen to the pupil’s voice. It is very important to involve the pupils in school operation because in this way they believe that the teachers take into account their problems. “Rudduck and Flutter (2003, cited in Muijis & Reynolds, 2005, p.88 ) suggest that pupils can become “pupils leaders”, who, as well as taking responsibility for their own learning, are actively playing a role in the running of their school.” The pupil council is an effective way to involve children in the work of the school.

From the beginning of the school year it is very important and necessary to establish between the teacher and students a good and positive relationship based on respect. Once children feel comfortable and trust their teacher, it is easier to create a climate conducive to effective classroom management.

A good relationship in the classroom is essential in order to say that classroom management is success. If children do not respect and do not like their teacher, then they can not trust him and learn from him. A good tactic to create good relationship between student and teacher is that the teacher has the ability to fall into place with the students and see things from their own perspective. One way to develop good relationships with students is to show interest in the things they love or care about. Children will be thrilled if they see that the course includes things that move their interest. The teacher should also be able to listen to students anytime and help them when they need it. “Essentially, both pupils and teachers often say that what they want in the classroom is mutual respect.”

Humor is an essential element to create good interpersonal relationships. “Cole et al., (1998), Viser (2000), and Porter (2000) point out; having a sense of humor is seen as a vital component in achieving good classroom management.” () It plays a particularly important role in the effective management of the classroom. Humor can make the student to entertain, relax or feel better and gives a pleasant note during the course. Students need and seek the use of humor both by themselves and by their teacher. The teacher who uses jokes or he is expressive in class is always more attractive to children. Everyone, especially children want a course that is more enjoyable and pleasant. (Rogers, 2007, pp. 68-69).

Contracts are one way to engage students in classroom management. Through contracts students gain a voice and they know from the beginning what is expected of them, because they know their rights and responsibilities in the classroom. If a student in the classroom presents problematic behavior that impedes learning, the teacher could sit together and create one behavioral contract. The teacher can explain to students why it is necessary to create such a contract and how it will help him. “Contracts encourage pupils to be active and not passive”. (p.32) (Newell & Jeffery, 2002, pp. 30-34)

A traditional way of preventing misbehavior in class is setting specific rules and routines to be followed in class. “Rules establish the boundaries of behavior (Nakamura,2000,) and consistency in their implementation is essential for effective classroom management.” Rules should be few in number and be fully understood by the students so that they can follow them. It is very important for them to be clearly stated and for teachers to clarify exactly what is required of their students. In addition rules must be reasonable in order students follow it.

It is essential to include students in creating the rules, the rewards and the consequences. By involving students in the creation of the rules they feel that they are their own and that is why they try to support them. (Canter, 1992, p. 54). That means that you take into account their thoughts regarding classroom management. It is very helpful to be reminded at rules at regular intervals and to clarify the expectations to the pupils. Rules should be positioned in a place that is easily seen by children in the classroom.

Rules make students more responsible and protect the rights of those who are in the classroom. The rules should be written in a positive way, not negatively. (Rogers, 2002, pp. 30-31). The rules of the classroom must agree with school-wide rules so that children will not confuse them with their observance. (Rogers, 2007, p. 93). When a rule is broken an effective teacher is prepared to address the problem.

In order to prevent misbehavior in the classroom it is essential and helpful to create range of daily activities. Routines make children feel safe because they know what is expected of them to do. (quick, easy and effective behavior management ideas for the classroom)

“Classrooms typically require many routines to operate efficiently and effectively”(McLeod et al., 2003). Routines reinforce the behavior of students and make them more responsible for their actions. Examples of routines that can be used in a classroom are how children can enter and exit the classroom, how to sit in their seats or how to share materials. It is very important to teach children from the first days of school routines to create a good learning environment. (handbook of qualities of effective teachers 67-68). Routines regulate the order in which operations will be conducted. (effective classroom management). By using routine during lessons, It leaves more time for learning because time is not wasted on the management class. (Relf, et al., 1998, p. 35)

Dealing

In the case that prevention is not successful a teacher should be able to deal any kind of misbehavior in class by managing the whole class effectively. Firstly the teacher should spot misbehavior at the time and deal with it immediately to prevent maximum disruption of the class and lesson.

The most important thing in dealing with incorrect behavior is not giving it more importance than is required. Teachers should address the issue with as little interruption as possible to the flow of the lesson. One way to do this is to use the technique of overlappingness in which the teacher approaches the student who misbehaved and touches him gently in order to stop the inappropriate behavior, while continuing to teach. Sometimes it is better to ignore some incorrect behavior in order not to cause more consternation in the classroom by interrupting with a reprimand (Muijs & Reynolds, 2005, pp. 88-90).

Students should be aware that if present, improper behavior must bear the consequences of their actions. They know the consequences from the beginning of the school year since these are directly connected with behavioral rules of the class. (Rogers, 2002, p. 31)

The teacher should make clear to students which behavior is unacceptable in the classroom and will be punished. To be effective the consequences must be something that children do not like. For example remain 5 minutes in classroom during the break, or getting time -out of the classroom for a specified period. In any case consequences should not humiliate the student or hurt him physically or psychologically. Consequences have to be differentiated by the misconduct. To be effective the teacher needs to create a discipline hierarchy that represents the order of the consequences applicable to student. The first consequence should be a warning which then gradually becomes more severe when pupils continue disrupt the lesson.

Some consequences that proved effective by teachers are time out and one minute wait after class. The time out tactic is to move the student who is bothered by his position and go in a specially designated area in the classroom in order to continue his work. The time that he will stay there should be fixed from the beginning and in no case he/she should be isolated from the rest of the class. Another tactic is when the student remains in the classroom for even one minute while the others can go out for break, lunch or game. This approach sounds simple but is very effective because the student feels discomfort because he/she is late leaving the classroom. The teacher has the opportunity to take advantage of this minute and has a discussion with the student for his improper behavior. (Canter, 1992, pp. 79-92)

The behaviorists emphasize that it is particularly important to use rewards and punishment if you want to effectively administer your classroom. Awards strengthen the reappearance of the desirable behavior and punishment weakens undesirable behaviors reappearance.

Rewards and punishment is again a traditional and widely used method to deal with misbehavior. There are many different kinds of rewards. Praise is the most overused behavior management tactic in the classroom (Muijs & Reynolds, 2005, pp. 91-92). Teachers also use a lot of different rewards in order to strengthen desirable behavior. Rewards can be stickers, happy faces that children wear or stick in a specially designed table of prizes. It can also be a letter to the parents of the child who showed the right attitude or even sweets.

Apart from the use of rewards it is sometimes necessary to use punishment as behavior management tool in the classroom. Howsoever punishment should be the last option of the teacher. (Newell & Jeffery, 2002, p. 120).” Punishment is designed to create an avoidance response, in that pupils should avoid behaviors which result in punishment in future.” (Muijs & Reynolds, 2005, p. 93)

Punishment can take many forms as the deduction of points from the table of good behavior, students staying in the classroom for longer or a verbal warning for misconduct. One point that all teachers should be aware of is that the student can associate the punishment with the punisher and not with his delinquent behavior. Consequently the teachers who use punishment often notice that the punishment is associated with their own and not with the behavior that they want to correct. (Muijs & Reynolds, 2005, p. 93).To be effective a punishment should be given immediately after the offending behavior without sentimentality and fairly (Ayers & Gray, 1998, p. 33).

“No one teacher, no matter how skilled he is or how much experience or training she has had, is capable of working successfully with each and every student without support”. (Canter, 1992, p. 239)

Teacher must notify the plan of discipline of the classroom, both to parents of students and to the director of the school. If the parents and director do not know the requirements and rules set by the teacher in the classroom, they will not be able to help in the effective management of the classroom. From the beginning of the school year it is important to give parents and the director a copy of the discipline plan. Since the teacher is primarily responsible for the administration of the class, he must react first and take action when a misbehavior observed. However, parents should be informed about the behavior of their children, thus if something is judged by the teacher that parents need to know, he must inform them. The help of administrator at the school is very important and effective. Administrators can have a discussion with the student or/and his parents and discuss the problem. Having the principal spend time for you in order to help you with your behavior, make the situation more seriously and try to be behave better (Canter, 1992, pp. 239-250).

Children who present behavioral problems react more smoothly to the acceptance or rejection from their peers than from their teachers. Ask peers to redirect problem-students attention when they are off-task or to ignore them when they purposely disrupt the class or engage in attention-getting behavior. (Darrow, n.d.) 

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