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Thursday, December 15, 2011

San Rafael Infantil Group: Classroom Management

I have the privilege of being placed in two different classrooms during my international practicum- the 4-year-old classroom and the 5-year-old-classroom. It doesn't seem like a big difference, but it really is. When I walk into the 4-year-old classroom, there is order. I can feel like Ruth, the CT, and I have some control. The students are polite and their smocks are clean. The room itself is very organized and the students respect its contents. However, on days when I am with the 5-year-olds, all hell breaks loose. Students are running, pushing, shoving, shouting, and dancing all around the classroom. They grab the class monkey puppet and stretch its poor body when fighting over who gets to hold it. They have never been taught what the classroom rules were or what was expected of them by the teacher so they don't understand me when I say, "Yous shouldn't be doing that". Speaking to my CT, Ruth, she says that the atmosphere of her class during English is largely dependent on how the regular classroom teacher runs the class and how much control they have. Because the students are so young, they don't have a background or foundation of how school should be so they look to the teachers. The students need very clear expectations and instructions of classroom behavior and in this case, the 4-year-old classroom teacher delivered hers effectively, and the 5-year-old classroom teacher failed to gain control of his classroom from the beginning. Ruth says no matter how hard she tries, it is impossible to have the same kind of control in both classrooms if the regular classroom teachers don't partake in it.
However, Ruth has some classroom management strategies that I noticed that she brings to both classrooms, whether or not they react or not. I noticed that she is constantly keeping them busy and intrigued so that the students don't have time to misbehave. She has every minute occupied with something whether it is planned or not. I have also noticed that with such young students, she does a lot of physical activities with the kids. It excites them and also releases a lot of their pent up energy that could be going towards misbehaving behavior. She also uses the abilities and "personality" of the class to manage. The 4-year-olds love positive encouragement and praises so she has the students line up with their completed work so that she can individually look at each one and say "Good work!" She doesn't usually use any punishment or discipline in this classroom because they are so effective with the positive reinforcements. The 5-year-olds get very excited by 'performing' in front of their other peers so Ruth will reward good behavior with allowing the students to help with the lesson or come to the front and be with the class puppet. Those who misbehave are not allowed to participate and are separated from the group and forced to sit alone at their desks.
These varying forms of classroom management in the two different classrooms have been so interesting to observe. When Ruth tells me her frustrations or praises at how the regular classroom teacher manages the classroom, I see how important it is to be in control, and how it can effect other teachers as well.

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