Over the past few months that I’ve been at South Coogee Public School, I have observed many different teachers and teaching styles. My teacher is very soft-spoken and in the nine days I have been in her classroom, I have yet to see her raise her voice. Her class can get noisy, but she quiets them down with hand motions and techniques such as getting the children to follow her clapping pattern. Matters of discipline are handled on an individual basis based on each child’s needs. For example, there is a student in this classroom that has a behavioral disorder that causes him to act out when he gets a little bit frustrated with his work. My teacher handles his behavior by calmly pulling him aside and talking to him instead of yelling at him in front of the class. This strategy seems to work best for him whereas other students require a firmer “no” from my teacher when they are doing something wrong.
Another teacher I have observed here has a very different classroom management style. She is much louder by nature, but she is also much quicker to raise her voice with this classroom. When students act out, she usually addresses the behavior in front of the class and does not calmly address matters privately with each student. This only serves to escalate the noise level of the classroom, causing other students to act out or become upset.
Classroom management is a very hard thing to master, and I think different strategies work better with certain classes than with others. For this class, in particular, I think the first strategy seems to be the most effective. My cooperating teacher does not use any real forms of time-out or punishment; instead, she modifies students’ behavior by changing their seats, pairing them strategically with other students, etc. Her students, and I would venture to guess most students in general, seem to respond much better to these strategies than to the louder forms of discipline.