Emily Chant's Reflective Analysis of Classroom Management

Classroom Management, A Reflective Analysis

When we as educators are able to go out into the world and face experiences that change our view of education, it opens our eyes and exposes all the unending possibilities. It’s what we strive to do at Renton Prep and will continue to offer to those we come in contact with. Education affects students directly and it is our responsibility to equip them for the life ahead of them. One way to achieve that is through classroom management. How does the way we as teachers manage our classroom affect the education students receive? Simply put, it has everything to do with the how. How are we teaching, how are we helping, and how are we proving that each student life matters? It doesn’t just alter the now. It influences the future. What educators do now will determine what our future leaders will do. Education has the power to eradicate poverty, change communities, and increase sustainability. It is highly important for teachers to construct and refine their practice.

A Powerful Transformative Force

I recently wrote a paper for the University of Washington where I discuss the significance of classroom management. I believe that education can be one of the most powerful tools in the world through classroom management that honors culture and diversity, as well as honoring each student holistically. The world is changing everyday and so are our students. Thus, educators need to assist students in those changes through a personal and constructive approach.

“There is no more powerful transformative force than education – to promote human rights and dignity, to eradicate poverty and deepen sustainability, to build a better future for all, founded on equal rights and social justice, respect for cultural diversity, and international solidarity and shared responsibility, all of which are fundamental aspects of our common humanity.” – Irina Bokova, former Director- General of UNESCO

Diversity & Cultural Responsiveness

In his article titled, “Urban Schools: Forced to Fail”, Emeral A. Crosby shares about the increase in diversity of students in schools. He states, “the new wave of immigrants of the past 25 years from Hispanic countries, from the Middle East, and from Asian countries has washed over the urban schools like a tidal wave.” This wave of immigration has brought along challenges. Specifically, not just cultural challenges but behavioral challenges too. This change requires educators to be aware of not just behavior and academic needs, but also ethnic and cultural needs. Teachers will have to understand that their students each have different wishes. This shift in immigration and in urban school systems demands changes in the delivery of education. Also, educators have to prepare to teach in culturally responsive ways that allow education to be a powerful force, as it should be.

Respect & Consideration

It is an educator’s duty to earn the respect of their students by responding to their needs and caring for each of them individually. This can be more of a challenge especially in urban schools. How so? There is a high diversity, so culturally responsive classroom management is vital.
“Culturally responsive teaching involves purposely responding to the needs of the many culturally and ethically diverse learners in classrooms”.
– Dave F. Brown in, “Urban Teachers’ Professed Classroom Management Strategies”

Safety & Behavior

At Renton Prep Christian School, we have formulated a “Safety and Behavior Protocol.” The “Self-Determination Theory” (SDT) by Edward L. Deci and Richard M. Ryan heavily influences it. As an educator, I and many others hope to combine Culturally Responsive Classroom Management (CRCM) with SDT to create an environment for all students. It is a proven fact that humans like to feel in control of their own lives. And according to studies by psychologists, self-determination is a vital piece of psychological well-being.

Self-Determination Theory and Culturally Responsive Classroom Management

SDT combines the desire to be in control, with being successful and belonging to significant relationships. Combining these human needs success with CRCM, will create further belonging in a classroom that is for the students. When students feel in control, they obtain empowerment. Ackerman states that [students] who act through the SDT demonstrate the following characteristics: belief that he or she is in control of his or her life, takes responsibility for his or her behavior, is self-motivated and determines actions based on his or her goals.

Exercising Empathy

The models of SDT and CRCM are appealing to a system of classroom management because I believe that when using these strategies effectively, empathy is a central component to the classroom atmosphere. Empathy is essential to a thriving classroom. It has the capacity to focus on the whole child. Empathy is defined as “the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.” When students can understand the feelings of another, the overall classroom becomes a safe place where students can thrive. By developing an empathetic atmosphere, students can experiment, succeed and fail all while in a safe environment.

Renton Prep on a Journey

If education is as Irina Bokova says it is; if it is the most powerful and transformative force – a force that can eradicate poverty, change communities and increase sustainability, then it is something we need to always pay attention to. A safe, transformative, life-changing classroom is only possible if classroom management is executed effectively. Much like Irina Bokova, I do believe in the impact of education. It can indeed transform individuals, families, communities and therefore, the greater common good. The only way to achieve this is to make effective classroom management a priority. Let’s make changes now, so we can be proud later. Contact Renton Prep to learn more.