Managing classroom episodes
To manage classrooms effectively teachers should work with the children to develop a coherent sense of purpose within the classroom; should organise classrooms in ways which are consistent with those purposes; and should manage the children, phases and events so that learning objectives are cumulatively reinforced. If this can be done then energy, interest and enthusiasm for learning is likely to be focused productively. For books which provide a wide ranging review of issues, suggest approaches to classroom management in primary schools and have become classics, see:
- Roberts, T. (1983) Child Management in the Primary School, London: Allen & Unwin.
- Good, T. & Brophy, J. (1978) Looking in Classrooms, New York: Harper Row.
- Docking, J.M. (1980) Control and Discipline in Schools, London: Harper & Row.
For a practical guide focusing on the importance of motivation for learning, see:
- McLean, A. (2003) The Motivated School London: Sage.
This book draws on research evidence to show how successful learning contexts can be created. It also provides suggestions for teachers working with disengaged learners.
For social psychological detail on rules as guides to behaviour, see:
- Collett, P. (ed) (1977) Social Rules and Social Behaviour, Oxford: Blackwell.
- Harré, R. (1974) ‘Rule as a Scientific Concept’, in Mischel, T. (ed.) Understanding Other Persons, Oxford: Blackwell.
Whilst some classroom rules are overt there are many more which are tacit. Understandings and `rules' develop in classrooms about a great many things. These might include, for example, rules about noise levels, standards of work, movement, and interpersonal relationships. On rules in educational contexts, see:
- Hargreaves, D. H., Hestor, S. K. and Mellor, F. J. (1975) Deviance in Classrooms, London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.
By constant monitoring and being `with-it', it is usually possible for teachers to anticipate undesirable behaviours which threaten the working consensus of the classroom. Nevertheless, difficulties are bound to occur from time to time and a prudent teacher is likely to want to think through possible strategies in advance so that they can act confidently in managing such situations. Research evidence worldwide suggests that a major problem for teachers is dealing with constant repetitions of minor misdemeanours. For help to investigate and change these troublesome behaviours through action research, see:
- Corrie, L. (2001) Investigating Troublesome Classroom Behaviour, London: Routledge Falmer.
- McManus, M. (1989) Troublesome Behaviour in the Classroom: A Teacher's Survival Guide, London: Routledge.
On-going problems can also exist in any classroom. These may be associated with an individual child or specific group of children with particular difficulties. In such instances, it is important to record and analyse the behaviour and try to identify the possible causes before any positive action can be taken. In keeping a diary of events one might record the conditions, characteristics and consequences of the behaviour and thus produce an evidence base for action. For help to identify the patterns of difficulty which occur in particular classrooms and thus establish frameworks for devising improvements in behaviour, see:
- Watkins, C. (2000) Managing Classroom Behaviour: From Research to Diagnosis, London: Institute of Education Publications.
For an account of alternative ways of analysing disruptive behaviour, see:
- Tattum, D.P. (Ed.) (1986) The Management of Disruptive Pupil Behaviour in Schools, Chichester: Wiley.
Many children come to school motivated to learn, knowing how to co-operate and able to behave in a way which their teacher thinks is acceptable. However, other children are unable or unwilling to behave appropriately. For strategies which help to minimise disruption and encourage appropriate behaviour from children deemed to have emotional and behavioural difficulties, see:
- Roffey, S. and O’Reirdan, T. (2001) Young Children and Classroom Behaviour, London: David Fulton.
- McNamara, S. and Moreton, G. (2nd ed) (2001) Changing Behaviour: Teaching Children with Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties in Primary and Secondary Classrooms, London: David Fulton.
- Garner, P. (1999) Pupils with Problems: Rational Fears… Radical Solutions, Stoke-on-Trent: Trentham Books Ltd.
- Cole, T., Visser, J. and Upton, G. (1998) Effective Schooling for Pupils with Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties, London: David Fulton.
Although primary schools generally appear to be friendly places, some pupils can still feel socially isolated and believe they cannot be successful on the school’s terms, no matter how hard they try.
For a discussion of the possible causes of alienation and the identification of strategies to encourage all pupils to think positively about themselves and their achievements, see:
- Rogers, B. (1997) Cracking the Hard Class: Strategies for Managing the Harder than Average Class, London: Paul Chapman Publishing.
- Furlong, V. J. (1995) The Deviant Pupil, Milton Keynes: Open University Press.
- Docking, J. (ed) (1990) Education and Alienation in the Junior School, London: Falmer.
- Barrett, G. (ed) (1989) Disaffection from School: The Early Years, London: Falmer.
For a blunt account of problems which teachers face in dealing with angry and potentially violent pupils, with practical strategies and solutions, see:
- Blum, P. (2001) Teacher’s Guide to Anger Management, London: Routledge Falmer.
There is evidence that bullying remains a widespread problem in many schools. For an introduction to perspectives on bullying and strategies to reduce its incidence in schools, see:
- Sharp, S., Thompson, D. and Arora, T. (2002) Bullying: Effective Strategies for Long-term Change, London: Routledge Falmer.
- Tattum, D. and Lane, D. (1989) Bullying in Schools, Stoke-on-Trent: Trentham Books Ltd.
For suggestions of other books on behaviour and classroom discipline, see Chapter 6.