Reflective Journal about Personal Philosophy of Behavior Management Essay (Critical Writing)

Introduction

Learning is a complicated process that requires professional and proper management. In addition to quality management, learning requires cooperation of all stakeholders including general school managers, teachers, students, parents, top education officials as well as the wider society where learning institutions are located.

Being a complex process, effective learning can only take place within favorable environments in classroom, within school surroundings and the general societal environments. There are many factors which contribute to conduciveness of the learning environments most of which are controllable by school educators and others which are beyond school officials’ control.

Individual and overall students’ behaviour within classroom and school compound is one of the main factors that impact deeply upon the learning process. The purpose of this task is to provide a philosophical paper about personal philosophy of behavior management as a professional teacher or educator.

Behaviour management

Even though man is apparently the leading living thing in animals’ kingdom in terms of behaviour, different people attach different meanings to the concept of human behavior (Mishra, 2008). Consequently, there is no one particular universal definition of the term human behaviour. The difficulty of providing a universal definition of behaviour largely lies in the fact that the nature of human behaviour is multifaceted and complicated (Mishra, 2008).

In addition to complexity, behaviour is dynamic so much so that an individual’s behaviour in one occasion is likely to be completely different in another occasion thus making it difficult to provide a standard description. Behaviour is a human feature that is ever-changing in line with varying physical and social contexts, order, place and time (Mishra, 2008).

Generally, our behaviour is what we learn from our early days of growing as children. As we grow up, we consciously and subconsciously observe what our parents or guardians, other adults and relatives as well as our age mates and friends do or behave and we emulate them.

In the education circles school managers and teachers focus on students behaviour which is a sum total of the things that learners have acquired from their parents, guardians, relatives, teachers, classmates, schoolmates and other adults and sources like media personalities and music and film celebrities. As children we normally have no idea on whether doing something is right or wrong until someone whom we respect or fear tells us (Boden, 1999).

We also learn on our own what is right or wrong without being told verbally by a close person through the influence that their values, virtues and beliefs have up on us (Boden, 1999). As we move from infancy and childhood in to teenage and young adulthood and finally adulthood, our power of choice which is inborn becomes well grounded.

Therefore, as teenagers and young adults our good or bad upbringing, behavioural molding and programming at school and elsewhere not withstanding we find our selves at liberty to choose to do what is right or wrong. However, it is important to note whatever our choice we are always answerable for our behaviour and responsible for their outcomes (Boden, 1999).

Human beings are inherently social beings. In other words, we live with others from birth until we die. In reality, we can not experience life in isolation from other fellow human beings largely because however intelligent, strong or rich we may be we are not absolutely self reliant. The good old adage says it all that there is no man who is an Island.

That is, there is no man whatsoever who can live on his own in separation from others because we are naturally meant to be interdependent and we can therefore only realize life and satisfaction in unity and community with others. Therefore, we should always be conscious of the fact that how we choose to behave affects other people (Boden, 1999).

Unfortunately, even though many people both young and old are aware of this fact we may intentionally choose to behave in manners that annoy and frustrate others. We can also be driven by power of our habits acquired over duration of time to behave in a manner that is annoying to others.

However, it is noteworthy that we do not all time recognize the impact that our behaviour is bound to have on others. Also by virtue of having the power of choice as human beings we may opt to block out effects of our behaviour up other people (Boden, 1999).

Behavioural Theories

Various sets of ideas, opinions and facts or simply theories about human behaviour have been put forward by education, psychology and sociology scholars from which teachers and school managers can derive helpful insights and skills on how to manage students’ behaviour in order to promote effective learning in classroom and elsewhere within the school or outside.

One such theory has been put forward by the renowned scholar Burrhus Frederic Skinner who believed that behaviour is influenced by external conditions as opposed to internal states of an individual’s mind (Skinner, 1965). Skinner asserts that human behaviour is determined by outcomes which follow it, rather than by emotions, feelings and thoughts (Taylor & MacKenney, 2008).

Skinner’s theory is self explanatory in the sense that for him human actions are always followed by certain results, outcomes or consequences. Now if the resultant consequences of a given action are positive and pleasing in nature to us we are likely to repeat that behaviour more often in future. In opposite if the outcomes of our actions are not attractive we tend not to repeat that behaviour.

Therefore, Skinner held that it is possible to influence human behaviour by controlling the consequences of that behaviour (Taylor & MacKenney, 2008). In real life positive and negative reinforces can be used to manage desirable and unpleasant behaviors. Positive reinforcers are used to increase the frequency of actions that are regarded desirable while negative reinforcers are used to decrease and extinguish behaviors considered by managers to be undesirable (Taylor & MacKenney, 2008).

According to (Taylor & MacKenney, 2008), Skinner’s theory of human behaviour is a fundamental basis of the processes that are used in bringing up children and shaping their behaviour and in law enforcement. For example, vehicles belonging to motorists who park them in a reserved parking space get towed with a view to discourage that behaviour.However,according to Hergenhahn,Olson and Ormrod cited in (Taylor & MacKenney, 2008) Skinner’s theory is widely known for its use in education.

(Taylor & MacKenney, 2008) further observe that benefits of the processes founded upon Skinner’s behavioural theory are felt more greatly in special education classroom where behavioural problems are rampant. Use of skinner’s positive and negative reinforcement process is used to change inappropriate behaviors or to educate right behaviors.

Skinner notes that behavioural reinforcements should be both timely and consistent (Taylor & MacKenney, 2008). Therefore, good behaviors should be rewarded immediately in order to encourage their repetition by students or learners while bad behaviors should be punished with immediate effect so as to minimize their occurrence in future and where possible put them out all together.

In simple terms the delay between response and the reinforcement should be as short as possible (Taylor & MacKenney, 2008). At the beginning of the teaching process, the reinforcer should be given after every response however after some learning has occurred it cease to be always necessary or even in some cases pleasant to support each response (Taylor & MacKenney, 2008).

According Skinner’s theory, reinforcements must be viewed by the learner as a reward. Otherwise if students’ good behaviors are reinforced by something that the student dislikes then little learning will occur. Therefore, educators should try out different alternatives for different students. It is noteworthy that not all reinforcers are manmade and that natural consequences of our actions can be equal to or more effective than programmed (Taylor & MacKenney, 2008).

Glasser is another great scholar of reputation in educational psychology who advanced a number of behavioural theories which are key to student behaviour management.He put forward reality therapy theory and choice or control theories (Zastrow, 2009). According to Glasser, bad behaviours among students take place when they are fed up with or frustrated by school expectations.

Glasser contends that learners whose basic needs are fulfilled show considerably little misbehaviour (Zastrow, 2009). In fact, fulfillment of basic needs is the main idea behind the reality therapy theory in student behaviour management (Zastrow, 2009). Glasser argues that inherently people need to meet the basic need of love that is, giving and receiving as well as the need to realize their self-worth (Zastrow, 2009).

In schools Glasser emphasized that teachers and school managers should highlight student’s involvement, thinking and realization of finding self relevance in shaping their behaviours and teaching those with bad behaviours. Glasser also came up with the famous choice theory also known as control theory. This theory opposes the contention that behaviour is caused by reaction to an outside motivation.

Choice theory or control theory states that behaviouir is basically a continuous attempt to meet one or more of our basic needs which are inborn. According to Glasser, we inherently possess the power to choose what to do, when and how to do it and that we are accountable for the choices that we make (Holt and Kysilka, 2005). According to (Holt and Kysilka, 2005), choice theory best applies to the behaviour management of elementary, middle or high school students.

According to Glasser all of our behaviors and choices are motivated by our desire to meet six basic needs including survival, belonging, love, power, freedom and fun (Holt and Kysilka, 2005). Glasser notes that more than ninety percent of all bad behaviors in students are a result of misguided efforts of the students to achieve power (Holt and Kysilka, 2005).

Glasser proposes that accommodating learning strategies, class meetings and a quality school and curriculum are the best ways to satisfy the six basic needs of students (Holt and Kysilka, 2005). He suggests that students should be empowered intellequally and other wise and be given reasonable freedom in order to minimize instances of bad behaviours.

Ginott put forward what has been termed to as theories of congruent or harmonious communication between teachers, parents, administrators and students (Taylor & Nixon, 2004). His theory known simply as the Ginott Model is founded up on interpersonal relations and communication between students and teachers.

His model recommends that teachers should embrace an approach that makes students feel recognized, respected and accepted (Taylor & Nixon, 2004). His theory provides strategies for teachers to build and develop self-confidence, self-esteem and deemphasize frustration and fear in classroom. He supports the concept that teachers should always attack the problem and not the student (Taylor & Nixon, 2004).

Therefore, teachers should avoid at all costs labeling and negative criticism because labeled students tend to exhibit what they have been labeled a trend which can encourage bad behaviours.Ginnot proposed that teachers should shun too much criticism and instead they should provide recommendations and advise and make succinct statements to students geared towards improving their academic and co-curricular performances and seek their input and to correct behaviour (Taylor & Nixon, 2004).

The main idea behind his theory is functional and supportive relationships between teachers and students. Kounin Model sums up the impacts of teachers’ warnings on students’ behaviours (Taylor & Nixon, 2004). His theory identifies ripple effects that teachers’ efforts to reprimand bad behaviours in class may have upon other students by positively or negatively influencing them.

In turn the ripple effect may adversely affect teachers’ efforts to maintain discipline in classroom (Taylor & Nixon, 2004). His model proposes that teacher should always be aware of what is taking place in class. According to Kuonin’s Model, a teacher’s efforts to persuade a student to desist or stop bad behaviour in class room can either be clear, firm or rough (Taylor & Nixon, 2004).

He suggests that teachers’ reprimands should be clear and firm and that teachers should avoid roughness in their warnings because it tends to upset and make children anxious. Instead Kounin recommends clarity strategies because when teachers make clear their orders for a student to desist from bad behaviours other students in classroom tend to exhibit the bad behaviours less (Taylor & Nixon, 2004).

Dreikurs advanced what has come to be known as Dreikurs Conceptual Model based up on the premise that most students’ bad behaviour is a result of the need to belong or not feeling worthy (Taylor & Nixon, 2004). His model classifies misbehaviour into displays of inadequacy, power seeking, and revenge seeking and attention getting (Taylor & Nixon, 2004).

Dreikurs model recommends that a teacher should not get involved in incidences of some of these behaviours. In some cases once a teacher has understood his or her student’s behaviour patterns they should appeal to logical reasoning for students to self-correct their bad behaviours (Taylor & Nixon, 2004). According to Dreikurs, all human behaviour is purposeful and therefore even destructive behaviour is purposeful because it is self-determined ands self-directed (Taylor & Nixon, 2004).

Carl Rogers is recognized as one of the greatest psychologists of our age (Lloyd, Dunn & hammer, 2008). His theory revolves around what he calls self-concept which he argues can be consistent with your real life experiences or inconsistent. According to Rogers, every one including students has a strong need for love, affection and acceptance Lloyd, Dunn & hammer, 2008).

Early in life parents provide for most of these needs. However, as a child grows and intensifies interactions with others he or she starts seeking and expecting recognition, respect, love and acceptance from his friends, colleagues and teachers. According to Rogers’s theory teachers and school administrators should create environments in which students feel accepted and loved in order to minimize incongruence among students which makes them prone to anxiety in turn triggering defensive behaviour Lloyd, Dunn & hammer, 2008).

Canter’s model of student behaviour management emphasizes clarity and firmness in dealing with student misbehaviours.He suggests that when a teacher encounter a bad behaviour from a student while in classroom he or she should stay calm; state clearly and firmly what he or she wants the student to do; preface his or her statement of want with understanding for the child to understand; repeat his statement of want a maximum of three times (Wearmouth & Berryman, 2005).

If the student fails to comply let him or her know he or she may be choosing to receive a consequence. In short his, model suggests ensuring that reprimanding bad behaviour does not affect other students negatively just like Kuonin’s model. Redl & Wattenberg theories provide teachers with invaluable insights on how to manage group and individual behaviours in classroom and elsewhere.

Their theories are based upon the premise that students behave differently in groups and individually (Charles & Senter, 2005). Their model instructs teachers on the need to master how to foster self-control of students in classroom. Their theories have devised problem-solving thinking to help teachers deal with misbehaviour properly.

Like Gasser’s theories their theories advocate for students’ involvement in discipline matters and a humane discipline approach that shuns punishment and maintains positive feelings (Charles & Senter, 2005). According to Redl & Wattenberg teachers should be aware of group dynamics and understand group behaviour in classroom is influenced by how students perceive the teacher.

The Barrier Model is another important behavioural theory that teachers can use to manage and shape behaviours of their students. It is premised up on embracing a positive or you-can- do- it out look. Through this model teachers should be aware of negative mind habits which can easily contribute to bad behaviours in student as well as positive mind habits which encourage appropriate behaviours among students.

These calls for creation of a learning environment that fosters social-emotional development and well being of students in order to make sure that their self-esteem, self-confidence and self-worthiness develop alongside intellectual development. Such kind of environment promotes positive habits of the mind among students which in turn enables them to put on personalities of well –behaved and focused students.

My Personal philosophy of behaviour management as a professional teacher

I personally appreciate the vital role that a student’s behaviour plays in the process of learning both in the presence and absence of the teacher. I am a professional teacher and my ten years teaching career has offered me an opportunity to teach in three schools where I have experienced firsthand the impacts of good and bad behaviors of students some of whom passed through my guidance and came under my influence and others who were students of other classes I was not teaching.

During my career I have practically witnessed students reap whatever each sowed during their school life. I went to schools where doing what is right and behaving well towards teachers and your fellow students had no substitute whatsoever. As long as I can remember there was no omission in terms of keeping school rules and regulations that went unpunished however slight it appeared to a student.

Discipline levels in my senior school was considerably high thanks to our no nonsense principal teacher who strongly believed that disciplined and well behaved students are naturally destined to excel in their studies and whatever they set out to do later in life after their formative years in school. Most of my class teachers as well as subject teachers shared these convictions and expected nothing short of impeccable discipline and good behaviour.

As a matter of fact, it is my class teacher’s-who was also my History teacher- personality and intellectual calibre which inspired my passion for teaching career. She was soft spoken, eloquent and a peoples person but all students including those that she was not teaching were conversant with her expectations regarding students behaviour and discipline inside classroom and outside.

Even though she was always smiling and genuinely appreciated good deeds by students her punishments were dreaded. She was an avid believer of the scriptural teachings that putting aside the cane spoils a child and that if you teach your children good ways and behaviour in their tender age and formative years they can hardly depart from them later in their lives.

Today I owe much of my personality as a teacher and professional tendencies to her. From her I learnt the golden rule of appreciating and rewarding accordingly good behaviors of students and punishing appropriately bad behaviors in love. She also believed that recognizing students and calling them fondly by their names made them feel good about themselves and minimized tendency by students to seek attention through bad behaviour as I later learnt from her while we were teaching together in a similar school when I graduated.

This I have practically confirmed, in class where I found out that students who consider themselves outsiders seek attention by behaving weirdly but positively change when they start getting more attention from the teacher in a positive way. However, my training has also significantly shaped my personal philosophy of student behaviour management in classroom and generally in school.

Students’ behaviour should be closely, strictly and professionally managed in order to promote conducive learning atmosphere in classroom and anywhere else where learning is taking place like in the field within the school compound and outside the school premises.

I prefer managing my classes as a system whereby classroom instruction and management are mutually dependent. In this model a teacher systematically plans learning activities in an orderly manner, keeps students engaged and builds and maintains good interpersonal relationships between him or her and students and puts in place measures to prevent problems.

I like this classroom management approach because it is effective in building what can be termed as learning communities which share common desirable goals and objectives including academic or intellectual excellence and a holistic student growth and development.

Classroom management as a system is diverse in nature and allows the teacher to accept and apply theories, methods and convictions of other classroom management models. It has always been flexible and liberal in nature to me throughout my teaching career since I graduated from college.

Systems approach allows a teacher to comprehend personality, good behavior and bad behavior of the students as function of the relations and interdependence between people and all factors within the classroom environments. It presents the classroom as an educational system with complex components that are mutually interdependent and whose interplay provides the matrix within which students’ behaviour is shaped.

The complexity of classroom as a learning place puts the responsibility of controlling students’ thoughts and actions and learning activities up on the teacher. The main strength of this approach is that it does not make a teacher absolutely committed to it alone as a method of managing students’ behaviour and general classroom activities.

In other words, this method is always open to other models when need be. Generally, even though teachers are different personalities we should professionally agree that varying environments, students and endless combinations require distinct methods to manage them.

Therefore, irrespective of our preferred methods of managing students behaviour and classroom activities as teachers we should be ready, able and willing to use the most suitable approaches to solve unique problems that we encounter in our teaching profession. Since teaching as a profession involves dealing with people who are inherently dynamic it is important to always remember that individual student actions and reactions will keep on changing in accordance with the environmental system they are operating under.

Conclusion

Teaching and learning are two processes which go hand in hand and which are equally complicated. Learning is supposed to enhance a holistic growth and development of a student. It should foster intellectual, social, emotional, spiritual and physical growth and development of students with diverse needs in all of the above mentioned aspects.

Teaching on the other hand is the deliberate and systematic guidance and direction of the learning process. It is the complexity of these two processes that necessitates proper and professional management of students’ behaviour and classroom activities. Every person who befits the title of a teacher should therefore acquire and master necessary knowledge and skills of managing students’ behaviour and classroom activities.

Reference List

Boden, A. (1999). The Problem Behaviour Pocketbook. New York, NY: Pocketbooks.

Charles, C. M. & Senter, Gail W. (2005). Building classroom discipline. London: Pearson/Allyn & Bacon.

Holt, Larry C. and Kysilka, M. (2005). Instructional patterns: strategies for maximizing student learning. New York, NY: SAGE.

Lloyd, Margret A., Dunn, Dana S. & Hammer, E.Y. (2008). Psychology Applied to Modern Life: Adjustment in the 21st Century. New York, NY: Cengage Learning.

Mishra, B. K. (2008). Psychology: A Study of Human Behaviour. New Delhi: PHI Learning Pvt. Ltd.

Skinner, B. F. (1965). Science and human behavior. London: Free Press.

Taylor, G. R., & MacKenney, L. (2008). Improving human learning in the classroom: theories and teaching practices. Lanham, MD: R&L Education.

Taylor, George R. & Nixon. (2004). Practical application of classroom management theories into strategies. Lanham, MD: University Press of America.

Wearmouth, J., Glynn, T., & Berryman, M. (2005). Perspectives on student behaviour in schools: exploring theory and developing practice. New York, NY: Routledge.

Zastrow, C. (2009). The Practice of Social Work: A Comprehensive Work. New York, NY: Cengage Learning.

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