Not all children will respond to positive reinforcement, but sometimes even drastic negative reinforcement such as corporal punishment does not work on these children. In general, however, positive reinforcement is only one way to teach children discipline very quickly and make sure that the lesson remains with them in the future. In the past, it was thought that corporal punishment was the way to do this, and some schools still appear to hold this opinion while others are changing the way that they handle student discipline.
Review of Literature
Healthy learning environments and positive attitudes are vital to classroom learning, regardless of the age of the students. It is for this reason that appropriate management techniques must be used within the classroom setting. Educators must look at having both healthy environments and safe environments if they want their students to enjoy their learning experience and if they want the programs that they utilize to be effective (Brophy, 1982). By doing this, they must ensure that the classes that they offer are conducive to both the physical and emotional growth of the students that they teach (Brophy, 1982).
The best way to do this is to make sure that communications remain open between school officials and teachers and that there is an atmosphere of trust within a classroom (Brophy, 1982). Another way to help form a positive environment for learning in the classroom is to ensure that students are taught about the responsibilities that they must have for their own actions and the discipline that they must work on to ensure that they act appropriately towards others (Brophy, 1982). By having a working relationship with teachers and principles that is very open and trusting, a relatively safe atmosphere is created in order to help everyone learn. Many teachers run into problems, especially in public schools, because they expect too much of the children that they teach (Brophy, 1982). This does not mean in any way that these children are not intelligent or that they are not able to do the assigned work.
It does, however, mean that many teachers come into the profession with expectations that are so high that no students will be able to meet them. When this occurs it makes the students and the instructors very uncomfortable and often causes them a great deal of difficulty because they find that they cannot get what they need from their students and their students cannot get what they need from the instructor (Brophy, 1982). It has to do with the mindset that many of the students have - and that many of the teachers have as well. There are many teachers that believe they will not have any type of problem with discipline because they are good teachers and they believe that the students will enjoy their class so thoroughly that they would not dream of complaining (Brophy, 1982). While this is a nice thought anyone who has taught school is aware of the fact that it does not matter how much a student likes a particular class. There will still be difficulties, especially with students in the middle school and high school level (Brophy, 1982).
The idea then becomes to figure out exactly how to create management ideas and principles that help these teachers and students get along and foster positive attitudes and a good learning environment within the classroom. One of the problems that these individuals face is that the socioeconomic levels and cultural backgrounds of students throughout the country are so different that it is very difficult to find one method that works with all students (Glasser, 1992). There are some factors, however, that should be considered and can be assumed to be techniques that should be utilized in order to help ensure that the classroom experience will be a positive one.
The first technique is to ensure that a positive working relationship is established (Glasser, 1992). This is true of the relationship between the teacher and the students, and also true of the relationship between the teacher and other teachers and administration throughout the school (Glasser, 1992). By working with various individuals a professional relationship that is deemed non-threatening to everyone involved can be established and when this is done it creates a very positive atmosphere to learn the concepts that the teacher is planning on imparting in his or her students (Glasser, 1992). When many teachers come to the classroom they are somewhat unaware of the specific rules that a certain school has and this can make it difficult for them to realize everything that it is that they need to do.
Students often reflect the attitude of the particular classroom instructor and look at how valuable the class is based on whether or not they enjoy themselves (Glasser, 1992). As they grow older this will be less frequent, but it is important to pay attention to it because it does affect almost any age student to some degree. If the classroom teacher does not enjoy the subject and makes it clear that he or she does not enjoy the subject then it is quite likely that the teacher's students will not enjoy the subject either (Glasser, 1993).
Managing oneself has a great deal to do with managing a classroom appropriately (Glasser, 1993). Although enjoyment is only a byproduct of a particular class and is not the goal of that class, the enjoyment that the teacher has for what is being taught and the enjoyment that the students find in what they are learning can help speed the learning process quite strongly if it is managed correctly (Glasser, 1993).
Teachers and students alike must feel that they are part of a learning experience that is taking place in the classroom if they are to share the ideas that they have and work on various projects that will help to meet the goals of what they need to learn (Glasser, 1993). With luck, teachers who are working with these students will look at various ways that they can help challenge the students in their classrooms, as there will be multiple intelligences throughout the classroom (Glasser, 1993). These teachers that are trying to establish a positive working relationship with their students should help to make connections between the concepts that they are teaching within their classroom and the concepts that the students are being taught in other academic areas (Glasser, 1993). This will help the students to understand the connections that are made between many of the different things that they learned throughout their academic careers.
Having discipline in the classroom is another management technique that must be dealt with (Glasser, 1993). While many teachers often do not like to discipline students very harshly, preferring instead to utilize positive reinforcement when students do things right, discipline is often necessary because students must learn that there are consequences for the things that they do. They must also learn how to be responsible for their own actions and discipline themselves to the point where they learn how to behave appropriately (Glasser, 1993).
They should be guided early on utilizing very clear cut boundaries so that they are able to make choices for their behavior that are positive and helpful not only for them but for their fellow students as well (Glasser, 1993). When they are able to make choices in their behavior that are deemed responsible they will have not only better self-esteem but also more self-control (Glasser, 1993). This will help them to realize the positive atmosphere that has been created by the teacher and will also help them to see how much creativity they actually have and can use (Glasser, 1993).
One of the most important things that teachers want to do in the area of discipline and classroom management is to focus on the collaboration between the teachers and other students (Getty, 1985). By doing this they are able to make the students self-managing and self-sustaining much more so than they would be otherwise (Getty, 1985). This also helps them to have goals for achievement and to see the discovery and excitement in much of what they do (Getty, 1985). When this is acquired, the classroom itself becomes a very healthy learning environment and a very nurturing one which can help the students to regulate themselves and learn more about themselves and others.
Getting students to work as a group is often very difficult because many students have some distrust of other individuals. Even though this seems to be the case for many students a learning environment which promotes healthy goals and ideals and makes students feel comfortable with themselves and others can be created (Getty, 1985). However, a lot of work must be done on the part of the teacher to ensure that this actually comes to pass.
Management techniques are very important in all classrooms, regardless of the age of the student. Utilizing techniques like the two mentioned above will help students a great deal but…