El Colegio Menor
My first grade class at Colegio Menor (the private english immersion school) has very few classroom management issues and my teacher handles any smoothly generally, with love and little confrontation. The students know her expectations: they must sit on the rug during the lesson, listen and pay attention, and not talk while she or their other classmates are talking. This routine and constant expectations everyday makes classroom management easier. Everyday after lunch and recess, the students come into the classroom and do a “Gold Noodle,” which is a youtube video that they sing and dance to in the in their spots on the rug to get their energy out and to refocus their energy to prepare for the lesson. After this, they sit quietly on the rug, ready to begin. This strategy doesn’t make the kids repress their energy but instead gives them outlet and a time to use it before they start the lesson. If a student is not sitting properly or is talking to their friend during the lesson, my teacher asks them to sit in their chair at their table. If they are standing up or can’t sit properly, she jokingly asks if this means that they want to dance, which leads to a horrified “no” by the student and a better sitting position. She casually calls attention to those who lose focus during the lesson by incorporating their names in her examples. If she notices that Jose Maria is not paying attention, she might say, “So if JoseMaría has 5 books and his dad gives him 3 more, how many does he have now?”. This non-confrontational manner of attention redirection brings the student back to the lesson without feeling as though his teacher doesn’t like him. I interviewed my teacher about her teaching philosophy and she said that love is the best philosophy, as obvious as that might sound. Children need to know that you have their best intentions at heart and that you love and care for them for them to follow the rules and listen to you. This means that she hugs the kids a lot, rarely yells, and is very patient in helping the child pay attention instead of scolding him for his short attention span. She also has a job list and each week she changes who does what job, such as teacher helper, line leader, etc. The kids all know their roles and what to do. To manage clean-up and table behavior, she has a star system for each table. Every once in awhile, she will give a star to certain tables for doing a good job working quietly, cleaning up, or other things. This random positive reinforcement increases the likelihood of the students displaying good behavior all the time and rewarding them when they do do well.
Escuela Carlos Aguilar
The teacher at Carlos Aguilar struggles more with classroom management and almost every two minutes says “Callense!” (like shut up) to get the kids to be quiet, which is not very effective. She often physically moves children to their spots or to a spot where they will pay attention better. She does expect the students to sit up properly and quietly in their chairs, with their arms crossed so they are not distracting their neighbors. To get their attention, she sings a song, asks them to cross their arms or put their heads down on their desks as if they were sleeping, or just starts talking. The teacher in this classroom has a different style of classroom management and often struggles talking over the students, but she has them sit down in their chairs at their tables, which helps them pay attention better.