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Ghizas

My Views on Classroom Management

One of the biggest challenges that new teachers face as they enter into their first
classroom, is the difficulty of outlining the personality traits that combine together to create a
successful and engaging educator. While so many aspects of education are focused on being
clear and concise, and breaking down rationale or logic to help guide teachers and students to
success, the steps of being a successful and engaging teaching candidate are often described
using ambiguous language. The clearest definition provided to new teachers is that they must
be charismatic or magnanimous, two traits that are, once again, slightly ambiguous as they do
not clearly describe a trait but rather an undefined ability or skill that an individual may have.
While many educators argue that the characteristics of a successful teacher are impossible to
completely outline, in classroom management we have attempted just this, as we examine and
uncover the traits that we believe can be directly connected to successful and engaging
teaching. Through this examination it has become clear that there are three main traits that
when combined create the foundation for a successful teacher; these traits are: the ability to
be prepared, remain flexible and to always show patience. I believe that if a teacher has all
three of these traits, they will be able to not only form relationships with their students, but
will also be able to successfully create an engaging and thriving learning environment.
Throughout this paper I will be examining three different elements of creating a successful
learning environment: the physical classroom set-up, the need to create and maintain
routines and the importance of group work, throughout my examination I will discuss why I
believe these are the most important elements, and how the three traits outlined above play
are directly connected to each of these elements.

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The physical environment of a classroom pays a huge role in how successful the
students and teachers will be in creating a sense of community (Emmer, 1980). While most
classrooms are equipped with their own lighting, wall paint and desks, there are a number of
ways that these elements and the classroom space can be manipulated into feeling like a
warmer and more inviting place. The first manipulation of the classroom environment that I
plan to implement is different lighting. As a student I have always found that the fluorescent
lighting used in schools is extremely distracting and headache inducing, one of the easiest
ways to fix this would be to set-up floor lamps or other lighting fixtures around the room. In
the classroom that I am currently interning at, my co-operating has done just this; instead of
turning on the over head lights, she has set up multiple floor lamps and also relies on natural
light, this small manipulation of the space has a noticeable impact on her students as it
immediately sets a more natural and relaxed tone in her classroom. Another aspect of the
classroom environment that I am interested in manipulating is the use of wall space. In my
own experience as a student I have experienced both extremes of wall decoration; there are
teachers who leave their walls bare, and other teachers who completely overwhelm their
walls with images, quotes, and informational posters. I plan to be somewhere in the middle of
this wall-decorating continuum, as I understand the need to personalize a space but am also
concerned about overwhelming and completely distracting my students. As an English
teacher especially I plan to decorate and fill my classroom with a large bounty of books. I want
my students to enter into my class and feel the warmth and relaxation that I feel when Im
reading, if I build this kind of calm environment for them I honestly believe that a really
patient and understanding community will begin to develop. At the beginning of this paper I
outlined patience as one of the most important characteristics that a teacher can have. I

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believe that patience is directly connected to the way that a teacher sets up their physical
environment. My goal is to create a relaxed and comfortable classroom, because I believe that
when students, or teachers, are able to relax their ability to remain patient with others
immediately grows. In an English classroom, where workshopping and group discussions play
a key role in succeeding in the curriculum outcomes, it is extremely important that they
environment creates a patient and relaxed atmosphere where students are no afraid to make
mistakes.

Another element of creating a successful learning environment is the creation and

implementation of routines. In class we often discuss the need for creating rules and routines
that are directly connected to student behavior, such as: be respectful (Marzano, 2003).
While I agree that these form of rules play an important role in the creation of a classroom
community, I have also begun to see through my time spent observing in a classrooms that
there are a number of other routines that can be created to help a community flourish in the
classroom. One of the best English based routines that I have seen my co-operating teacher
implement in her classroom is to begin class with personal reading time. In each of her
courses, the students know that the first 15 minutes of class is always dedicated to this
personal reading time, this kind of routine has many positive outcomes. The most basic result
is that students enter her class and they immediately know exactly what to do, they all
immediately get their books and begin to read. This routine completely cuts out any transition
time that a teacher might normally need to quiet down a socializing class. As well, this
personal reading time allows students a moment to debrief and get themselves focused on the
class they are about to take part in. In high school and middle school, students are constantly
on the go, and teachers have no way of knowing what happened to a student the period

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before, or if there was a problem in the hallway, all they can know is what they see happen in
the class. This personal reading time/debriefing time allows students a moment to take in
anything that has happened outside and push it out of their minds. Just like the classroom
environment, I believe that this form of routine is directly connected to the second
characteristic of a successful teacher, which is the need to be flexible. In all routines and rules,
a successful teacher shows some form of flexibility. In the example of a reading routine, the
flexibility of a teacher would be shown in their acceptance of students who may use the 15
minutes as a time to just zone out. As a teacher, and even as an observing teacher candidate I
can already tell who is reading and who is not reading, but I believe that even though some
students are just blankly looking at their book they are still taking this time to do what it is
intended for, which is calm themselves down and get ready for a new class. Flexibility in this
sense is simply allowing students to debrief and be quiet in their own way. Each student has a
different technique that they use to calm themselves down, as a teacher I want to be able to
allow each student the time and freedom to use the relaxation technique that works best for
them. This same flexibility will play a key role in the way that I create and implement the
more behavior-focused rules, that we have gone over in class. While I know rules are
important, and structure is necessary to create a successful classroom, I never want to be a
teacher who is unable to take a step back and re-evaluate a rule or routine to see how it is
working for a particular student. All students are different, and they will react to routines and
rules in different ways, being flexible simply reminds you that just because a student reacted
differently, it does not mean that their reaction was wrong.

The final element of the classroom environment that I want to discuss is the ability to

facilitate and create an environment for group work. It is already clear that I have strong

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beliefs when it comes to creating a relaxing, calm, and patient classroom environment. It is my
belief that if I succeed in doing this group work and collaboration will become a natural
phenomenon, as many students will be able to naturally gain a higher comfort level with their
peers. However, I also know that group work does not come easily to all students, and that
every student has different feelings and reactions to having group discussions and projects
assigned. In my class I want group work to play a huge role in facilitating learning and group
discussions. Whether our focus is on reading or writing, I think that group discussions and
group projects do play a key role in an English class, as it allows students to hear and attempt
to understand other interpretation of a story or a piece of writing. In order to help facilitate
group work, I plan to set-up my classroom in a number of groups. If students are already in
groups and facing one another, their transition to group discussion and collaboration will be
far smoother, also if these groups are maintained for an entire school year the community
within the group itself will have time to really grow and strengthen allowing the students
comfort level in the class to grow (Curwin, 1988). While the manipulation of desks into groups
will already help to automatically create some form of group community, I also know that
students, especially in middle school or grade nine, may need more help as they begin to do
group assignments and work. While sitting in a group allows for discussion to grow naturally,
the ability to assign tasks and collaborate effectively is not always a natural outcome, in order
to solve this problem I believe that I will have to take the time to teach students about what
group work means and the different roles that exist in group work. In the younger grades, this
could mean actually assigning group projects with designated roles for each student, and for
the older students this may mean providing them with group evaluations at the end of the
project, so that they remain accountable and engaged with their group members. The

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facilitation and strategies that I have outlined for group work are all connected to the last, of
the three foundation trait of a successful teacher, that I outlined earlier in this paper, which is
being prepared. While I would like to believe that students will naturally be aware of their
roles in a group and take responsibility for their part, I know that facilitating group work is
never this simple. If I over prepare for group work by creating projects that are easily
designated into roles, providing handouts explaining the different roles in-group work, and
even providing group evaluations, I do believe that students will be able to take group work
seriously and become really engaged in it.

While this paper only focused on three elements of creating a successful learning

environment, I believe it is clear that these elements play a vital role in the creation of a
successful classroom. By creating an environment that allows students to feel relaxed and
calm, and by furthering this feeling with routines that continue to focus on community
development and developing openness to other students, I believe that my students and I will
be able to create a strong community environment. My goal as a teacher is to build a
classroom that allows both, myself and my students, to feel comfortable with trying new
things, making mistakes, and learning. In order to do this I believe that I will need to create a
strong group dynamic. I never want to simply tell students what to do, but I want to work
with them in order to create, as a team, a strong learning environment. Through these
manipulations to the classroom environment, as well as the use of patience, preparation and
flexibility, I firmly believe that I will be able to not only succeed as a teaching candidate, but
will also help to foster a learning community that allows students to thrive.

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References
Curwin, R.L., & Mendler, A.N. (1988). Discipline with Dignity. Alexandria, Va: Association for
Supervision and Curriculum Development.
Emmer, Edmunc., Evertson, Carolyn., & Linda M. Anderson. (1980). Effective Classroom
Management at the beginning of the School Year. The Elementary School Journal, 80.5,
219-231.
Marzano, RJ., Marzano, J.S., & Pickering, D. (2003). Classroom Management that works:
Research-based strategies for every teacher. Alexandria, Va: Association for Supervision
and Curriculum Development.