IntroductionIn this course, I have been made aware of how to create a safe and supportive classroom. The key to a safe and supportive classroom is creating a positive behavioral support system within the school, classrooms, and common areas. I have learned that creating a “school-wide expectation” chart really helps to keep schools cohesive and together.
Strengthening classroom management through expectations and consequences can make classrooms and schools more cohesive as well. Lastly, I have learned about the use of data-based, functional assessment that can be used to identify students with challenging behavior and problem-solving strategies that can be used for early intervention. In this paper, I will reflect on these aspects of creating a safe and supportive classroom.Positive Behavioral Support Systems The key to a safe and supportive classroom is creating a positive behavioral support system within the school, classrooms, and common areas. Classroom discipline and behavior management in an individual classroom is influenced by what happens at the grade and building levels. I have learned that creating a “school-wide expectation” chart really helps to keep schools cohesive and together. When developing a PBSS for elementary students, schools need to make sure that their school-wide expectations are “established and defined clearly, taught to students, acknowledge students for implementing desired behavior, clear consequences for not implementing behavior, and examining the data” (McKevitt, Braaksma, n.
d., p. 740). If students are not taught these expectations or even acknowledged for following them, they will not cooperate. I personally helped create the school-wide expectations for our school and we made sure that we stated our expectations in our common areas of learning clearly and most importantly, positively. We then created posters of the expectations that went in all classrooms, hallways, and other common areas. Another thing our school did because our mascot is a panther, we created an acronym (McKevitt, Braaksma, n.d.
, p. 740) that made a growling noise for our panther. Our acronym was RRS which stands for “be Respectful, be Responsible, be Safe.
This was then used as part of our school-wide expectations for each common area of learning. Elementary School expectations is about constantly modeling good behavior for students to follow.When developing a PBSS for middle school students, schools need to make sure that their “behavioral expectations and target social skills are clearly defined based on school needs” (Caldarella, Shatzer, Gray, Young, & Young, 2011, p. 5). Middle schools should be taught these expectations, then practice it, and lastly, discuss it. Students need a constant reminder of expectations so schools should have posters throughout their buildings. Our school uses the same school-wide expectation chart for both the elementary and middle school buildings.
My middle school students also use what we call “Accountability Cards”. These cards stay with them every quarter, and they will get a certain amount of signatures for different offenses committed. At the end of each week, if they have less than five signatures (they work in increments of five) per week, they get to have an extra recess which we call “Fun Friday”. If students surpassed the signature amount, they must stay inside and serve their “detention”. Lastly, we have a program called Peer Jurors, and with this program, students would have to confront students about their behavior and give them a reasonable punishment.
I believe since this program, our problems have gone down due to students not wanting to confront their peers for their punishment. If school systems at any level want to their PBSS to work, they must make sure they have clearly defined expectations, clearly defined consequences, and acknowledgement to those students who are following what they are supposed to be doing.Classroom Versus Office Managed BehaviorsThroughout this course, I have learned that “Intensity 1” behaviors are annoying behaviors within the classroom. Since they are such minor behaviors, teachers should take care of the misbehavior themselves. For this reason, our principal has a really strict but good guidelines for certain misbehaviors that are classroom and office managed.
Our staff handbook is has three pages worth of behaviors and how to manage them. Whenever we send a child down to the office, she will send them back if they do not have a referral. I completely understand why she sends them back too because without a referral there is no record of what is going on and what the teacher tried to do to solve the problem.
If a teacher kept sending a student for an Intensity 1 offense, our principal would have a meeting with the teacher going over our “classroom vs office managed” procedures, as well as going through our staff handbook or code of conduct. If teachers kept doing it even after the meeting, I am sure my principal would send the teacher to other classrooms to observe or even send them to professional developments.”Developing an effective approach to discipline requires planning, collaboration among staff members, educating students and staff about possible solutions, attention to detail, and ongoing evaluation—all of which require effective leadership by the principal” (Protheroe, 2005, pg43). My school’s administration and climate committee maximized our school’s consistent use of social skills program by buying a special Social Emotional Learning curriculum called Second Step. All grade levels have lessons that students must complete.
Our behavioral matrix is all over the school for staff and students to follow. We have it like that so everyone has a constant reminder of how they need to behave in school and where they are at. In terms of a “time out” process, each classroom has a buddy classroom that students can go too if they need a cool down moment. That way, the student is out of the room where the problem occured and they are not alone.”A schoolwide approach to discipline needs active participation by the entire teaching staff, which may require changes in classroom management procedures in some classrooms. Ideally, a schoolwide approach begins with conversations among teachers about ways to encourage positive behavior rather than punish misbehavior. The emphasis should be on discipline as a preventive measure intended to ensure the safety and sense of security of students and staff, and to create an environment conducive to learning” (Protheroe, 2005, pg42). From this, teacher’s can converse with each other about their misbehavior procedures.
Teachers can learn from each other and then be on the same page. For the school I work at currently, it did take a lot of time for us to focus on using strategic interventions to misbehaviors. At first, we hated the idea of restorative conversations because at the time, we didn’t want to hear out the child for their misbehavior. Our principal talked about it constantly and we had many professional developments for it. It was by the far the best thing that happened to our school. We have better communication now with our students because of it. We don’t have screaming matches or “talk backs” as much anymore.
It truly has been a long road to get where we are today but it was so worth it in the end.Challenging Students and Progress Monitoring “Schools are important environments in which children, families, educators, and community members have opportunities to learn, teach, and grow. For nearly 180 days each year and 6 hours each day, educators strive to provide students with learning environments that are stable, positive, and predictable. These environments have the potential to provide positive adult and peer role models, multiple and regular opportunities to experience academic and social success, and social exchanges that foster enduring peer and adult relationships. (Sugai, Horner, Dunlap, Hieneman, Lewis, Nelson, & Turnbull III, 2000, p133)” It is important to train all of the instructional, related service, and administrative staff in a school the same data-based, functional assessment/problem-solving process because involves determining students’ mastery of material and response to classroom management through effective assessments and progress monitoring. If students are not responding to the material, teachers need to find ways to progress monitor them and get them on the right track.
Through progress monitoring, teachers will be able to figure out what is and is not working with their students. So in this case, it is very important for teachers to be trained on this so they have the information and tools needed to help their students be successful. “Specifically, if we can identify the conditions under which problem behavior is likely to occur (triggering antecedents and maintaining consequences), we can arrange environments in ways that reduce occurrences of problem behavior and teach and encourage positive behaviors that can replace problem behaviors. (Sugai, Horner, Dunlap, Hieneman, Lewis, Nelson, & Turnbull III, 2000, p140)”Conclusion These five weeks have really helped the start of me reshaping how I do things in my classroom. I was taught that there are three major keys to creating a safe and supportive classroom. It starts with creating a positive behavioral support system throughout the school and classrooms.
I must then strengthen my classroom management through expectations and consequences. And how to identify students with challenging behaviors and using problem solving strategies to help with interventions. These tools I will continue to use throughout my entire education career.
ReferencesCaldarella, P., Shatzer, R. H., Gray, K. M.
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McKevitt,McKevitt, B. C., & Braaksma, A. D. (2008). Best practices in developing a positive behavior support system at the school level. Best practices in school psychology V, 3, 735-747.
Protheroe, N. (2005). A schoolwide approach to discipline. Principal, 84(5), 41-44.Sugai, G., & Horner, R. R.
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