Theories and How They Inform Classroom Practice Term Paper

Pages: 6 (1548 words)  ·  Style: APA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 6  ·  File: .docx  ·  Topic: Teaching

Ed Theorists

Glasser espouses fourteen habits that people display in dealing with other individuals. Seven of these habits are positive in nature, seven of the habits are negative in nature. The seven negative habits include; criticizing, complaining, threatening, blaming, nagging, punishing and rewarding to control/bribing. The seven positive habits are; caring, trusting, listening, supporting, befriending, encouraging and negotiating. (Glasser 2002)

Applying Glasser's theory of choice and practicing his touted 'fourteen habits' while in a classroom setting should be a relatively simple matter. (Glasser 2002) Most of the positive aspects as presented by Glasser are habits that I already practice in my daily life, while at the same time I tend to avoid the negative habits as much as possible. In applying Glasser's habits in the classroom, I can imagine listening carefully to each student, encouraging those students with positive language (both verbal and physical) while supporting each student's efforts to learn and excel in my classroom. When (and I am assuming they will) negative habits are being displayed in the classroom by my students, I will attempt to change the student's attitudes by teaching Glasser's basic habits, so that the students will also attempt to become more positive in all their deeds and actions.

Understanding Glasser's conception that each individual has his/her own perception can be very important in the classroom. Glasser "writes of a person's quality world - the pictures in our head - to which we turn to satisfy our needs." (Zeeman 2006-page 47)

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Understanding that each student will have a unique perception will allow me, as a teacher, to assign the responsibility for individual choices to the individual making the choice. Additionally if the students choose to learn, choose to practice positive attitudes and choose to make correct choices, then my choice will be to reward them with good grades, if they choose to do otherwise, then their grades will suffer.

Term Paper on Theories and How They Inform Classroom Practice Assignment

Jacob Kounin's theory is one that focuses on classroom management and one that I will also be implementing as a new teacher. "Kounin identified four dimensions as correlating with a teacher's management success: (1) with-it-ness; (2) smoothness (of presentation); (3) momentum; and (4) group focus." (Kounin 1983) Including these four standards into my efforts to control the focus of the classroom will allow the opportunity to become a more proficient and efficient teacher.

Kounin states that with-it-ness means empathy from the teacher for the students, an empathy that cannot be faked, but must be genuine and sincere in nature. Secondly he states that smoothness of presentation can only come from knowledge of the material being presented, and practicing the presentation. It is my plan to continue my studying in a commitment to gain additional knowledge so that I might present it in a cohesive and understandable manner. Momentum in a classroom is also important, and whenever the classroom starts to drag it is hoped that I will have a special activity to refocus the student's direction. Lastly, but certainly not least, is a group focus.

Having and sharing a common goal or objective is one way of focusing the group's attention, whether that group is small or large. It is hoped that the classroom management style that I plan to implement will have at its core a common goal that will assist in guiding the student's attentions.

Sir Thomas More was beheaded for his silent stand of principle but not before his most famous literary work, Utopia, was published in 1513. If B.F. Skinner was as Joshua Stein states in referring to More's work; "inspiring social thinkers as diverse as Rousseau and B.F. Skinner," (Stein 2006-page 317) then a teacher such as myself can be inspired as well by keeping in mind Skinner's thoughts. Skinner founded the science of Applied Behavior Analysis and much of his science was based, or at least influenced by, his idea of a Utopian society. Skinner even wrote a book titled; Walden Two which was published in 1948.

"Skinner, a longtime professor of psychology at Harvard University, developed his theory of behaviorism - the teaching and conditioning of human behavior through positive reinforcement - starting in the late 1930's, while at Indiana University." (James 2006)

Positive reinforcement is almost always conducive to a good learning environment, and I am a strong believer in using positive reinforcement in the classroom. There are times when it does not work, and it is imperative for a good teacher to know when to use it, and when not to. I am normally a very upbeat individual and plan to use Skinner's behavior modification theory in an effective manner.

Skinner did say that behavior was 'genetically endowed' but that a good behaviorist would be able to analyze that behavior and through positive reinforcement change or modify the behavior into acceptable status. That part of Skinner's philosophy will be more difficult to accomplish in a one/two hour class period, but over time should be incorporated into a teacher's psyche.

Other theorists who believed in altering behavior, or at least attitudes include Richard Curwin and Allen Mendler. Curwin states; Character is not determined by what happens to us, but rather by how we deal with what happens to us." (Curwin 2002) Both theorists believe that teachers should be as tough as necessary in a classroom and that discipline complemented with understanding should be paramount in understanding students, especially in times of stress or crisis. "One effective way to deal with loss and overcome a feeling of helplessness is to surmount smaller, related obstacles. Little victories are important to the healing process. We cannot stop international terrorism or erase the fear that terrorism engenders -- but we can teach students how to stop a bully from terrorizing their school." (Curwin 2002)

It is imperative, therefore, as a teacher to breakdown circumstances into the most basic components. This is done in order to assist teachers and students in their attempts to understand events.

Curwin and Mendler believe that students can benefit greatly from learning to find common ground with others in resolving conflict. Teachers can help in this regard by seeking to bring any antagonists together in a non-threatening environment.

One method of accomplishing such an environment is for the teacher to maintain a calm, cool composure. This can be done even under the most stressful of events, and as a teacher should be done because students will immediately turn to the authority figure for guidance at those times.

L. And M. Canter are also behaviorists who specialize in working with adolescents. They believe that being passive, using ineffectual statements or unrealistic threats and hostility are all negative aspects of teaching and should be avoided in the classrooms. That is easy enough for teachers such as myself, since I tend to be a very easygoing and accepting type of individual anyway, and I look forward to continuing with this disposition while teaching. Instead of focusing on the negative aspects of a student's behavior, my classroom demeanor will be to focus on the positive events and behaviors. Accomplishing that in the classroom will ensure that my classroom is a more conducive environment for learning, which is a key to Canter's theory. The Canters believe that communicating both verbally and with non-verbal signals is of equal importance, and such distinctions are to be kept in mind when speaking or interacting with students. Both Canters believe in developing an overall discipline plan, and in explaining to the students in detail the consequences of not adhering to that plan. The responsibility then falls on the teacher to adhere to the consequences or the students will know that the plan is ineffectual, and consequently will take immediate advantage of the breakdown.

Linda Albert believes in a responsibility approach to discipline similar to that of the Canters. The difference is that she believes in a shared… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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