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Classroom Management - Creating a Learning Environment

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1 Classroom Management - Creating a Learning Environment
This module is “presenter-ready”. Please feel free to modify it’s contents to meet the needs of your faculty. This is meant to serve as a framework for activities and resources. Suggested times are given but is meant only as a guide as some slides may evoke further discussion. Begin by asking for a show of hands of people who have previous teaching experience. Take a quick verbal sample of the kinds of things these folks have taught. Time: 1 – 2 minutes Slide #8 – Day One – suggests an icebreaker activity - autograph sheet. You may want to use this activity as an icebreaker to begin this professional development (Time: 3 – 5 minutes) for purposes of modeling the behavior. If used here, be sure to debrief…asking questions about the purpose of icebreakers (get to know your students, students get to know each other). Effective Teaching and Learning Department

2 Activity Answer the following questions:
What does creating a learning environment mean to you and what do you hope to learn about creating a learning environment? How does the learning environment relate to classroom management? Give participants 1-2 minutes to develop an individual answer first before partnering then allow additional time to share with a partner. Time: 3 – 4 minutes

3 Discussion What would you like to learn about classroom management during this session? Use summary of the activity as lead in Check periodically to see how many are impacted by a given topic (i.e. tardiness) You may want to create a list of responses on whiteboard or flip chart Time: 2 – 3 minutes

4 Seven things students want to know on the first day…
Am I in the right room? Where am I supposed to sit? What are the rules of the classroom? What will we be doing this term? How will I be graded? Who are you as a person? Will I be treated as a human being? “There Is Only One First Day of School” Harry Wong, August 2000 This slide is from the module – “What to do on the First Day”. It is included in this presentation because… According to Harry Wong, the first day of school is the most important day of the school year. There is only one first day of school and what you do can determine your success or failure for the entire year (or quarter). On this day the students form their first impression of you. People in marketing know that you have seven seconds to create a positive impression, you will want to ‘set the tone’ and create a positive learning environment on the first day. Although the pictures in the slide are of young children, it is not different from what your adult students want to know on the first day (or first class meeting)…they want to know seven things on the first day of school. If new faculty have not participated in this module, you may want to consider having it presented on your campus. It is one hour and presenter ready. For open discussion purposes, ask participants to think about how they felt the first time they attended a class or began a new job. The idea is to get them to put themselves in the shoes of their students. Time: minutes

5 Instructor Responsibilities
Ensure an appropriate pace and effective use of classroom time through course planning Keep discussion and activities focused on learning objectives Maintain a positive learning environment Proper lesson planning is important in avoiding classroom management issues. A good plan that includes a variety of activities and provides opportunities for students to experience learning for themselves goes a long way toward preventing problems that may arise from students becoming bored or talking in class at inappropriate times. Don’t be so tied to your plan that you miss the “teachable moments”, remember it is important to be flexible enough to seize the moments as they come. Ask participants to come up an example of what might constitute a “teachable moment”. Time: minutes

6 Classroom Environment
All students are unsure of what to expect when they enter a classroom for the first time—every time Instructors must create a personable, professional environment at all times Students feel welcome when: Called by name Greeted by the instructor What else can we do? All students, no matter what the class, want to feel welcomed by their instructor and fellow students. It is important that the instructor set the tone from the first day as to how the class will be structured, including how the instructor will be addressed (first name, last name and title, etc.) and how the students will be addressed. Some students will be reluctant to ask questions if they do not know how to address the instructor. One way to help you get to know your students ahead of time is to greet all students at the door, which would necessitate the instructor arriving to class minutes early. Printing the students pictures (not to share with the students, but only for the instructor) to help you learn names is another excellent way to make the students feel like you care about them. It is very important that students feel as if they are cared about and one of the easiest ways it to learn their names. Creating a professional environment is done by the way that instructors dress, but also by the way that we conduct ourselves. You may want to spend time discussing what constitutes professional behavior and “what else can we do” –monitor so that participants do not get off track. Time: 3- 5 minutes

7 Elements of a positive learning environment…
Respect diverse backgrounds and learning styles Consistent and fair treatment of all students Maintain confidentiality and privacy in student records and issues Ensure that the classroom is a safe, welcoming place for students Model appropriate classroom behavior Anecdote/example to illustrate each point. Ask faculty for these examples. If they can’t come up with one, consider the following: Illustration: Respect for diversity—don’t make the “only” student (only man, only woman, only African-American, etc) responsible for the minority point of view. Teach with various examples that everyone can relate to and in a variety of methods that are discussed in the Learning Styles module. Consistency is key…if you accept late homework for one, regardless of excuse, you must accept it for all Confidentiality – don’t hand back papers where students can see the grades of other students, have private discussions via or out of range of other students Comforting – ask faculty what this means; no ridicule, no rolling of eyes when question is asked Modeling appropriate behavior when a student makes a comment or voices a complaint since students will often take behavior cues from instructor. Time: 3 – 5 minutes

8 Breaking the Ice Why Icebreakers?
To begin developing an environment that is comfortable and conducive to learning Welcome and warm-up exercises Remove obstacles to communication Bring people together Create a sense of community The information on this slide is from 147 Practical Tips for using Icebreakers with College Students by Robert Magnan (Atwood Publishing, 2005) Spending a little time to help students feel comfortable is a wise investment in the course. In theory, the college classroom is strictly an intellectual and rational setting. College classrooms are complex interpersonal arenas in which a variety of emotional reactions can influence how much is learned and how the participants feel about it (Lowman, Mastering the Techniques of Teaching, Jossey-Bass ,2000). Time: minutes

9 Day One Some examples of activities you could do with your class are:
Autograph sheet – sample provided Syllabus bingo Student interviews To model the desired behavior, you may want to use the autograph sheet as an opening ice breaker for this PD. If you did not use it as an opener, you may choose to use it here or provide as an example. Students can be motivated by a warm, welcoming environment where they are free to share information of their choosing. A sample autograph sheet is being shared in this class. A bingo sheet, where relevant information about either a lecture (which encourages students to pay attention to the lecture—use sparingly) or the syllabus, can also be used to acquaint students with one another. Student interviews, where they ask each other pre-determined questions or even questions determined by the class at the beginning of the session, and then introduce each other to the class can also be used. These are particularly helpful if there will be class discussions and small group activities because the students will feel as if they already had a chance to get to know one another as well as the instructor in some small way. Time: 1 – 2 minutes (unless autograph sheet is used as an illustration)

10 From Breaking the Ice to ‘Warming’ the Climate for Learning
The climate is the atmosphere between the teacher and the students Research suggests that few other factors produce a more lasting impact on learning than the professor’s approval or disapproval of the student’s work, and their in-class interactions Sandra Allen, Columbia College Chicago Effective Strategies for Improving College Teaching and Learning When educators talk about climate, they don’t mean global warming. In academic circles, climate refers to the atmosphere of warmth existing between the teacher and the students. Have participants do a think, share, and pair activity to discuss how to go about warming the climate in their own classroom. Allow approximately 3-5 minutes then ask for a few to share their thoughts. The next slide provides some ideas as well.

11 Key Aspects for Creating a “Warm” Climate for Learning
1. The teacher’s praise or approval 2. Enthusiasm for and use of students’ own ideas 3. Teacher-student interaction Also from Sandra Allen – Recent studies show that students want specifics about their performance—not bland, ambiguous feedback, which can actually disrupt student learning. When the teacher gives concrete evidence of valuing a student’s diverse approaches—to say, problem solving—that creates an energy that makes all students more attentive and cooperative. Characteristics of successful student-teacher interaction include both verbal techniques that hold student interest and the teacher’s physical gestures or movement in the classroom. In other words, get out from behind the desk. Remember: body language is part of a professor’s message. Moving among students has the added benefit of identifying those who are busy text messaging and/or using their laptop to refine their lists of friends on My Space. You may want to solicit some examples for the first two. Time: 3 – 4 minutes

12 Developing Strong Relationships
Establish trust within the classroom Handle discipline issues individually Use discipline sparingly to support classroom needs Manage and attend to the needs of all the students in the class Reinforce positive behavior Learn and use student names Several factors can contribute to the feeling of trust between you and the students and between the students themselves. If you establish a classroom culture that is respectful and courteous from the beginning you can help students learn to direct their own learning. One of the most important management tools in your toolbox is the ability to handle a classroom disruption without disruption to the entire class. You need to be able to separate the individual from the rest of the class and resolve the issue quickly, without letting it interfere with the learning of the other students. Time: 1 – 2 minutes

13 Using Students to Create Rules
One of the best ways to create a positive environment is to create ground rules WITH students, not for them This can be done as a team-building exercise on the first day, after you go through the syllabus It is important to ensure that the students know that you have the first right of refusal for certain things, but this can help create a positive environment for all You may want to add a statement to your syllabus that explains any material or topic you plan to introduce that is sensitive or controversial Having students participate in creating ground rules helps them feel empowered and that their ideas about how class should operate are important to the instructor. The resulting ‘buy-in’ helps create a positive learning environment. This activity can be done in small groups with the students and can result in students enforcing many of the rules that they created at the beginning of the class session. The last bullet is the one that many new instructors are hesitant to enforce with this exercise, so it is important to stress that this is key—they need to make sure that they say no to any rules that they are personally uncomfortable to them or that they feel unable to enforce or are just plain silly (“no tests!”) but some rules are common sense and will help with making class run more smoothly for everyone (one person talks at a time, everyone arrives back from break on time, etc.). A statement added to your syllabus about sensitive or controversial material, should state the classroom norms for communication and dialogue and provide students with a specific understanding about how to frame their opinions. Some instructors go so far as to type these up and then distribute these and have everyone sign them as a contract. Time: 3 – 5 minutes

14 Activity Two volunteers needed Provided by Carol Dowsett/Owosso
Do a role play involving loss of class focus. Ask for volunteers and give out the appropriate sheets to the volunteers. Let them go out into the hall for a moment to read their roles and discuss how to perform the role play. Set the stage for the role play with the rest of the group by explaining that they are about to see a role play involving an instructor/student interaction and give them the three questions (listed below) that they should be thinking about as they watch the interaction. Don’t go into detail about what they are about to see. The role descriptors for the participants can be found in the activity sheets. Scenario #1 It is Week 3 and you are reviewing materials with your students for the first exam. To facilitate the review process, you break the students up into groups and have given each group a list of questions to answer. Jennifer, a student who has been cooperative and participatory up until this point in the class raises her hand and states that she not participate in group work and is, in fact, paying to learn from you and not other students. She wants to know exactly which topics to study for the test. You explain to her that the small group approach will be a way for you to assess the knowledge of the groups and that you will fill in any gaps in that knowledge. She becomes angry and refuses to participate. What do you do now? Be sure to debrief the activity with the following questions: What did the participants do correctly? What could be improved? What are other solutions not demonstrated here? Provided by Carol Dowsett/Owosso Time: minutes

15 Activity Two volunteers needed
Do a role play involving a non-academic issue. Ask for volunteers and give out the appropriate sheets to the volunteers. Let them go out in the hall for a moment to read their roles and discuss how to perform the role play. Set the stage for the role play with the rest of the group by explaining that they are about to see a role play involving an instructor/student interaction and give them the three questions (listed below) that they should be thinking about as they watch the interaction. Don’t go into detail about what they are about to see. The role descriptors for participants can be found in the activity sheets handout. Scenario: It is week seven. Betsy comes to class early to request an extension to get assignments done and take make-up tests. She has not turned in any homework assignments, missed two quizzes and one test. Your syllabus clearly states there is no make-up for tests and homework receives a grade reduction for every week it is late. She tells you that she has not been able to do the work because her husband was arrested for dealing drugs and she has been in court getting a restraining order. Remember to debrief with the following questions: What did the participants do correctly? What could be improved? What are other solutions not demonstrated here? Contributed by the Muskegon campus Time: 5 – 10 minutes

16 Muddiest Point On the last page of your handout, write your answer to both of the following questions: What still confuses you about classroom management? What do you plan to do as a result of this session? Round robin report out or call for volunteers on the second questions. Time: 3 – 7 minutes

17 Resource This resource provides more detailed information about classroom management. To access this resource from the ET&L website…. You also have the option of printing this out in advance and providing copies at the end of the PD session.

18 Questions?

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