Artifact 7:  TE 803 Capstone Project for Classroom Management

Standards: 1, 3, 4,6
Goals: 1, 2, 3

Classroom Management Project

     This project originated with my frustration as a beginning teacher at not having the students' attention while I was trying to give directions, do guided reading, or direct a discussion.  I have to say that, of all the countless things I could work on as a “teacher in the making,” I most wanted to further refine my skills in classroom management (in terms of attaining a desired behavior from my eighth graders during class).

     With research, observation, and advice from other master teachers, colleagues, my mentor, and field instructor, my aim was to figure out what I could do to hone my classroom management skills in a social studies setting. 
I want to continue keeping my classroom student-centered, with an atmosphere of respect, self-control, and responsibility, not based on fear, threats, or dire consequences for every infraction. I also want to continue facilitating shared control as opposed to daily power struggles, and the opportunity to work WITH my students to foster their independence, instead of AGAINST them in a punitive atmosphere. We also use classroom rules as an opportunity to discuss local laws, which are merely rules for society.  I want students to understand that these rules and laws are meant to promote all of our learning, safety, and development as citizens.

    I learned that being consistent with my expectations and my consequences has really encouraged and rewarded my students’ good behavior. I learned that getting students to listen when they need to, and remain seated during class, eliminates many other behavioral and academic problems that can occur when kids are walking around or talking nonstop, and enables them to focus on doing their assignments. There is no threat, intimidation, or fear in my 6th hour class, and yet their behavior has made a significant turn-around, and the amount of learning has increased dramatically.  Are they perfect?  Of course not, but they are manageable, enthusiastic, and good-natured in this improved classroom atmosphere.  Even though the rewards were extrinsic, students were simultaneously learning intrinsic motivation as well in seeing their grades improve, gaining satisfaction and self-confidence, and feeling a sense of belonging in a non-threatening atmosphere by doing what was expected in the class.  I’m also quickly realizing that each class’s dynamic is different, and I have a feeling that this type of professional development is going to be a lifelong process.