Weeks 9 & 10: Discipline Theories

Topic: Discipline Theories

For the past few weeks our class has been analyzing discipline methods and considering when and where application may be most effective. I find myself reflecting back to my own experience as a student and what methods most encouraged productive behaviors and ultimately allowing more time for learning experiences. I can pinpoint certain teacher behaviors that I was naturally more receptive and responsive towards. As a result of my own personal schooling experiences I came into this program confident that I would model the behaviors my ‘favorite’ teachers showed me. However, more then half way through this semester I find myself realizing what worked for me will NOT work for all and this means I will have to consider strategies and behaviors I never would have thought twice about. Now, you may be thinking wait a minute..I thought we were going to hear about discipline theories?! Don’t worry you will but the biggest takeaway or “light bulb” moment was what I realized during the strategically designed lesson of the discipline methods.

During a two day analysis of Canter’s Assertive Discipline method and Albert’s Cooperative Discipline method our professor strategically planned an activity that taught me more then just the methods. On the first day we broke down Lee and Marlene Canter’s theory of Assertive Discipline. We were given two graphic organizers to choose from and then in a pair-and-share we filled in the blanks. I was unfamiliar with both of these organizers but one appealed to me more then the other and I selected it and finished applying the information into it. (See below)

Fish Design - Canter's Discipline Theory

Fish Design – Canter’s Discipline Theory

Then, on day two we were thrown a curve ball. On the back side of our initial graphic organizer we were instructed to do the same thing for Albert’s Cooperative Discipline Theory (see below) only we had to use the organizer that we had not selected the prior week. While I can’t speak for everyone I did hear plenty of groans and moans about why we had to use the second organizer.

Albert's Cooperative Discipline - Graphic Organizer

Albert’s Cooperative Discipline – Graphic Organizer

Once time was up for the assignment our professor explained her intentions of the assignment. By forcing us to use the graphic organizer we had likely not preferred, we were reminded of how important it is for teachers not to stifle their students learning and creativity by forcing upon them one method that works well for some but NOT all. Another irony was in hearing the class discuss why they choose one method or another. It seems to have all boiled down to how they visualized the information and processed it in one graphic organizer over the other. Some felt option one was too confusing and the others thought the same of the second. Bottom line this is one of those lessons that I felt the weight of personally and therefore I’ll remember it and be more cautious of the tools I supply my students in the future.

Earlier this semester I read a principle of classroom management by Levin & Nolan (2014) that states, “For effective teaching to take place, teachers must be competent in influencing appropriate student behavior…” (P.  19). When I first read this I felt very much competent I would easily achieve this level of student respect and subsequent appropriate behavior. Today, I still feel competent I will achieve this but now I’m learning so many more views and approaches that I almost want to laugh at how confident I was in the beginning.

This ties back in to my realization that I may have a classroom of students who won’t be responsive to the same methods and strategies that I felt so strongly about. Of course I’ve known as human beings we are all different and have unique needs but I still had not flipped the switch in my head that allowed me to really apply the concept. Luckily, I do now!

It is my understanding that we will be tying in another discipline method next week so I will wait until then until I share which method or mixture of methods I will attempt in my classroom. I will also include a bullet point comparison of these theories as bullet points have always helped me cognitively organize ideas. I wonder..what kind of disciplinarian I will be in the classroom? I look forward to getting this question answered over the next few weeks. Of course…no matter what stance I take in this pre-service level I know it will all boil down to the school I’m in and the students I have but I’m still looking forward to building a strong foundation of what kind of teacher I’ll be!

Until next week,

Erica

Charles, C. M. (2002). Linda Albert’s ‘Cooperative Discipline’. In Building classroom discipline. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.

Levin, J. & Nolan, J. F. (2014). Principles of classroom management: A professional decision-making model, (7th ed.). Boston: Pearson.

Wolfgang, C. H. (1995). Solving discipline problems: Methods and models for today’s teachers, (3rd ed.). Boston: Allyn & Bacon.

Week 7: Reflection Paper on Ethical Dilemma

Week 7: Reflection Paper on Ethical Dilemma

For this I will be sharing a paper I wrote describing an ethical dilemma that many teachers will inevitably face. My presentation was done with the same team who I also held our Morning Meeting with and the conversation on appropriate teacher behaviors was further discussed. The paper will inform you of what the dilemma is, how FEAPS plays a role in my rationale and how challenging defining ethics can be. While you may be typing in the term “ethics” to Google to prove me otherwise; I will explain. Defining ethics broadly is one thing but applying it circumstantially in an environment with multiple ages, genders, religions, nationalities, beliefs, etc. is completely different. Please review my paper below which provides a scenario in which proves this troubling and challenging dilemma.

Educators are prone to ethical dilemmas in the classroom. One likely cause contributing to these ethical binds would be the nature of diverse classroom populations. Political, religious, cultural and gender-based differences (among numerous others) can lead to much debate about appropriate teacher behaviors. Typically, because with each group and individual comes a unique view and attitude towards everything and I use the word everything in the most literal sense. As a result of these differences having systems in place such as FEAPS can protect teachers and students.

The Florida Educator Accomplished Practices, commonly referred to as FEAPs, provides a set of guidelines and standards that identify and promote instructional practices which promote effective teaching in the classroom (fldoe.com). This paper will review and discuss one of the  Principles of Professional Conduct for the Education Profession in Florida. Per the fldoe.org (2014) number 3e states, “Obligation to the student requires that the individual: Shall not intentionally expose a student to unnecessary embarrassment or disparagement”. Whether the result of punishment or regular teacher behavior FEAPS is in place to encourage emotional and physical safety to encourage environments to be a secure place for learning and participation.

An article from the National Education Association, Shut-up and Other No-No’s (Jehlen, 2008) was presented and provided short tips from teachers on how to practice ethical behaviors.  During the discussion several differences were made by the audience with varying degrees of what constitutes appropriate teacher behaviors. While no one voiced that unnecessary embarrassment of students was acceptable a few suggestions were made in which fell in to a grey area of appropriateness. For example, one suggestion was made regarding a hypothetical situation in which one student was distracted and not engaged in a class reading out of a literature book. Knowing he was not following the material, a preservice teacher thought it would be a good idea to call on the student to read next. A few interjections were made discussing how that might embarrass the student. On one hand, it could make the student aware that they were not paying attention. On the other hand, it could embarrass him and possibly result in prolonging the time learning is not taking place by other laughing and the teacher reestablishing order.

It is important to note that the suggestion made by the preservice teacher did not come from a malicious intent to embarrass the student. FEAPS number 3e includes the term intentionally in its wording to differentiate the source of harm. Of course, another debate includes how to determine if the action(s) were taken with intent or not but we will save that for another paper. The proposed solution of “calling the student out” has been practiced in classrooms and can come across as a logical approach to refocus attention to the material. This is how easily an educator can find themselves in an ethical bind. A violation of ethics does not always have to come with an intent to harm or to embarrass a student. A violation of ethics can easily occur as a result of differences in interpreting actions and results. In the above scenario, one might interpret the suggested action as an effective punishment and another as potentially harmful choice. The challenge for every teacher will be in deciphering how their behaviors and actions will be decoded and interpreted by the students, parents and administrators.

With so many differences in opinion, how can a teacher ensure that he/she does not violate ethical practices as required in FEAPS? A few suggestions would be to practice reflective behaviors, understand varying dispositions and use proactive thinking over reactive actions. Understanding that one approach might be right for some students or classes but not right for all can also make a difference. As educators it is important to realize that every action taken can be modeled by students and therefore should be conduct in a manner one would like to see in students.

References

Code of Ethics and Principles of Professional Conduct for the Education Profession in Florida. Retrieved from http://www.fldoe.org/edstandards/code_of_ethics.asp

Jehlen, A. (2008). ‘Shut up!’ and other no-nos. Retrieved from

http://www.nea.org/home/10996.htm

Thank you for reviewing my paper. As I stated above what is important is to be reflective of ones own beliefs and respectful to others. If you live your life or in this case practice your profession in such a manner you will surely be able to work through dilemmas dealing with ethics.

Well until next week,

Erica

Week 6: Morning Meeting: A New Perspective

Week 6 was the day my group led our first Morning Meeting. All of the information I shared during my first post was finally put into practice! The majority of the preparation time was spent determining who would lead which portion and how we could fit all of the material into a 15 minute timeframe. To ensure that each of us stuck to our allotted amount of time we decided to have two timers. The first began as soon as we called students to the circle and the second timer was to make sure that each student only spoke for 30 (or less) seconds during the sharing sessions. In total we spent about two hours preplanning for our Morning Meeting. For the most part our planning was effective but in the end we did run Morning Meeting five minutes beyond the preferred 15 minutes.

We wrote out our agenda for Morning Meeting and made sure each of us had a copy to help keep us running on time and on the same page. Throughout the three Morning Meetings led by our professor(s) and the two student/peer led meetings it became very apparent how easily time can exceed the budget. In every Morning Meeting the number one time killer was not a lack of structure but because of the in-depth and rich conversations our class of almost 25 students engaged in. Of course, the first couple meetings time was consumed in teaching practices and introducing us to what we should expect as participants of Morning Meeting but as our lessons and activities get more involved in class we do not have the same time flexibility.

Our detailed, step-by-step plan can be seen in the picture below:

Morning Meeting Plan Week 6

My co-leaders and I selected a theme of student punishment that caused unnecessary shame and/or embarrassment by the teacher. We decided to move forward with this idea because it is addressed in Florida’s Code of Ethics and Principles of Professional Conduct for the Education Profession in Florida (http://www.fldoe.org/edstandards/code_of_ethics.asp)

We began our meeting with one leader sharing a time in which she felt personally shamed by a teacher. She then informed the students that we would each have 30 seconds to share a time when they either personally experienced shaming and/or observed it in a classroom. I followed by informing them of the topic we would be addressing so they could connect the experiences they shared and more easily understand the potential emotional/psychological effects of these poor teacher behaviors. I then introduced an article from listverse.com that complied 10 instances where educators practiced harsh and emotionally disturbing punishments on students to bring to light what a serious concern this can be. The article can be viewed here: http://listverse.com/2014/02/04/10-insanely-bizarre-school-punishments/ . With time constraints we briefly provided a summary of numbers 9, 7, and 3. As the timer went off at fifteen minutes I acknowledged we had exceeded our limit and wrapped up the conversation allowing only three student responses from the article. With that my first co-led Morning Meeting came to an end.

This was immediately followed by our professor leading an open class discussion on what our group did well and what we could improve on.

What we did well

  • Tie in one theme to all sections
  • Called order to the meeting by gradually calling all students to the floor by birth month and then returned them to their seats by favorite color to avoid any unnecessary disruptions during transition
  • Addressed and updated time limits so no one was surprised on felt as if they had been cut off
  • Recognized and acknowledge that we were grateful the students felt safe and comfortable to open open to the class about their experiences

Where we could improve

  • Time management – a good practice may be to have neighbors pair and share their stories instead of going around the circle individually to save time
  • Information overload – maybe next time only discuss one of the three mentioned stories from the article
  • Non-verbal signal – Our non-verbal signal (hand and arm raised up) to indicate their 30 seconds had passed was not accessible to all students
  • Missing component (news and announcement) – again a result of time management

More on time: In my observations of three different grade level elementary classrooms the idea that there is almost never enough time to do everything a teacher desires has also been made clear. As a result of these understandings I did find myself with a main focus of time. Not to imply that time management is a “bad” concept but it did leave me feeling slightly unfulfilled of the bonding and learning experience Morning Meeting has been suggested to incorporate to the unit. According to Kriete, “Teachers and administrators must model the social and academic skills that they wish to teach their students,” (2002). Given the value society places on timeliness in terms of social and professional settings as well as in academic fields (testing, reports, due dates, etc.) my concerns are probably very similar to what students experience and therefore it is important I model how to appropriately juggle tight schedules. So while my first run did not live up to some expectations it certainly opened my eyes to unexpected results.

Overall, I was proud of our Morning Meeting but like all things, practice and experience are needed 🙂 I wish I would have recorded it to review myself. I know I need to work on time management and think about different ways I can incorporate the improvements listed above.

More to come next week when I dig deeper into our Florida Standards and acceptable forms of “punishment”!

Erica

Reference List

(2013) Principles of Professional Conduct for the Education Profession in Florida, §6A-10.081.

Retrieved from http://www.fldoe.org/edstandards/code_of_ethics.asp

Hoebee, Shelby (2014, February 4). 10 Insanely Bizarre School Punishments. Listverse.

Retrieved from http://listverse.com/2014/02/04/10-insanely-bizarre-school-punishments/

Kriete, R. (2002). The morning meeting book. Thunder Falls, MA: Northeast Foundation, Inc.

Week 5: Rules & Procedures

Week 5: Rules & Procedures

Why do classrooms have rules? What about procedures? Who creates, implements and enforces these? These are some questions I came across during class and throughout our assigned readings. Below, I will tackle a few answers and provide what/how they will impact my future teaching styles.

Week after week I’m recognizing how important security and safety is to effective classroom management so it comes as no surprise that the foundation for rules and procedures rest on these two concepts. Rules and procedures establish classroom norms that regulate behaviors, lessening the opportunities for misconduct, while also creating stability by providing explicit expectations for students.

In order to establish rules it is imperative that the leader of the classroom, the teacher, determine which rules and procedures must be included to avoid hindering learning and that abide the school/district rules. Once those are identified it is up to the teacher to decide how to come up with the rest of the rules. According to DeVries & Zan (2003), “Rules in schools have traditionally been made by teachers and given to children. Today, many teachers see the benefits of allowing children to have a voice in developing classroom rules” (pp. 64).  As with the shift from an individual to a more collaborative approach to education has occurred there is also research that reflects the value of allowing students to participate in making the rules. “We define rules as a formal agreements among teachers and children” (DeVries & Zan, 2003, pp. 65). From my own personal experience I firmly believe that when two parties contribute to forming an idea or concept to agree upon it becomes something to take pride and ownership in versus an obligatory act. While rules tend to refer to behavioral norms procedures involve more of the daily tasks or activities. Like rules, procedures can be invented as a group.

In Class Activity: Our class constructed a t-chart of rules and procedures; those that the teacher must establish and those that could be established in a collaborative effort with the teachers and students. It was agreed upon that most rules could be established collaboratively except for those that involved safety such as fire drill procedures.

I look forward to giving this collaboration of rules/procedures a chance in my future classroom. I do not expect it to be flawless but I know with practice there lies potential to reach an effective level of classroom management. I do wonder what events or incidents will occur and cause on the spot mandated rules to be established but for now not knowing (due to lack of experience) will help me relate to the students more in the sense that I can explain why some rules are nonnegotiable.

Once established, rules and procedures must be observed and enforced in order to maintain levels of safety in the classroom essentially producing more time for learning to take place. According to Weinstein & Romano (2011), Effective classroom managers constantly monitored students’ behavior…so that there was little opportunity for students to become inattentive and disruptive“ (pp.89). When behaviors that deviate these norms go undetected by the teacher there is a greater potential for negative consequences such as physical injury and/or learning interruptions. This leads me to wonder what types of consequences will I implement in my class? I also have to take in to consideration why the rules are being broken. Are there too many? Are they there for safety and learning or just to let the children know who is the boss? Prior to these readings and class I had no clue what went into the formation of rules and procedures but I know now they have there place in the classroom and must be given devoted thought.

In Class Activity: I want to briefly touch on the second activity we did in class. We were provided scenarios that involved “opportunities for behavior to interfere with learning time”. What I learned from this exercise is that it is imperative that I establish clear expectations of my students and that I provide them with clear directions not only for an assignment but for after completion or “incase of” situations.

As a result of all of the above I want to test myself in observing multiple behaviors in the classroom while trying to teach, read or hold a one on one meeting with a student. In my weekly observation I will make a greater effort to try an monitor all students behavior at once. This is especially important when they rotate in groups and are spread out across the classroom. (I reflect back to my classroom arrangement/organization post and realize just how important placement is.) Things are really falling into place. Classroom management is a 1,000+ piece puzzle and I’m starting to connect the corners 🙂

DeVries, R. & Zan, B. (2003). When children make rules. Educational Leadership, 61(1), 64-67.

Weinstein, C. & Romano, M. (2011). Managing classrooms to nurture students, build self-discipline, and promote learning.  Elementary classroom management: Lessons from research and practice (6th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Education.