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Organisation - How can the Classroom be Managed?

The ability of teachers to organise classrooms and manage the behaviour of the students is critical to achieving positive educational outcomes. Student learning is the primary goal of effective classroom management and thus the inability of teachers to effectively manage classroom behaviour according to Harrell et al., (2004) contributes to the low achievement of at risk students.  Instruction that is effective in encouraging higher rates of academic engagement and on-task behaviour is characterised instruction which has significant to the students, is planned, sequential and logically ordered to develop skills, offers frequent opportunities for students to respond and guides practice through immediate feedback (Carnine, 1976).

The use of rules and routines is a powerful preventative component of classroom organisation and management plans. Rules establish the behavioural context of the classroom by specifying what behaviours are expected and the consequences of inappropriate behaviour. The rules are stated to describe the expected behaviour. Routines allow the teacher to effectively organise their classroom allowing them to run efficiently with fewer disruptions enabling the teacher to attend to other aspects of teaching (Brophy, 2006). Rules should have a strong preventive role. An example of this was during my professional experience I observed a myself constantly reprimanding a student for putting down other students. I was aware that this action was taking time away from active learning of the class, on guidance of my mentor teacher; we put into place a simple preventive option, a set of rules stating expected behaviour to guide the effective language towards others in school and at home.

Research has revealed that creating a collaborative learning environment presents as an additional method for classrooms to be managed (Slavin, et al., 2003). Activating students as learning resources for one another produces some of the largest gains seen in any educational interventions, provided two conditions are met. Principles which I experienced regarding collaborative learning environments were that the learning environment must provide for group goals, so that students are working as a group, rather than just working in a group. The second is individual accountability, so that each student is responsible for their contribution to the whole, so there can be no ‘passengers’. When students worked within these principles group work was very productive on the other hand though when they wanted to do their own thing group work became very counterproductive and disruptive.

Carnine, D. (1976) Effects of two teacher-presentation rates on off-task behaviour, answering correctly and participation. Journal of Applied Behaviour Analysis, 9(2), 199-206.
Brophy, J. (2006) History of research on classroom management. In C.M. Evertson & C.S Weinstien (Eds.) Handbook of classroom management: Research, practice and contemporary issues (pp. 17-43). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Harrell, P., Leavell, A., Van Tassell, F. and McKee, K. (2004) No teacher left behind: Results of a five-year study on teacher attrition. Action in Teacher Education, 26, 47-59.
Slavin, R. E., Hurley, E. A., & Chamberlain, A. M. (2003). Cooperative learning and achievement. In W. M. Reynolds & G. J. Miller (Eds.), Handbook of psychology volume 7: educational psychology (pp. 177-198). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

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