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.