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Executive Summary

The main subject of the research paper is the so-called classroom management. The goal of the paper is to characterize the role of classroom management in the modern educational system. We will define the term "classroom management", provide its classification, characterize its functions, consider its advantages and outline its possible limitations. Also, particular attention is going to be paid to the stages of classroom management. Taking into account the goals of the paper, it was designed to follow the following structure: introduction, where the role of education and classroom management is described; the main body with characteristics of different systems of classroom management, descriptions of functions and stages of classroom management, and discussion of the most effective system of classroom management; and, finally, conclusions and recommendations.

The main purpose of the research paper is to define classroom management and its role in the modern educational system. Basing on this explanation, we will provide recommendations on how the most effective classroom management should be organized.

Classroom Management

Introduction

The modern society can be called a post-industrial and informational society. It means that knowledge and information have become the main factors of production and competitive advantage of a person. Success of a person mainly depends on his/her knowledge and experience. Of course, we study during the whole life. However, the biggest educational background is acquired during studies at school and university. That is why the role of education just cannot be overestimated in the modern society.

We can say that the degree of development of a particular society can be defined via the degree of development of its educational system. For example, all developed and leading countries of the world have adequate educational systems. Thus, seeking for a higher economic and social development, a country should improve its education, since economic development is provided by people and their skills.

In the United States, despite the increasing number of students, the overall level of their knowledge is falling. It is caused not only by the rising of number of students (including increasing numbers of immigrants with poor English) and, as a result, the fall of average index, but also by the poor services in American high schools.

On a higher level, American universities have always been among the best in the whole world. They often head different educational ratings. But the percentage of successful graduates among the Americans has decreased whereas the percentage of lagging students has increased. The main reason is a changing attitude of the society to education. The society are worried about education in American high schools, especially public high schools, since is quite poor. In other words, high schools are not good enough to prepare students for further education. This becomes evident especially if to compare it with European schools. Namely, the European schools provide better services than American ones. As a result, a lot of competitive graduates come from Europe and other countries to study in the U.S. universities.

Not surprisingly, American students are less competitive than their European, Indian, and Chinese peers in a lot of spheres of social life. As evidence we can put forward the fact that American companies have been forced to hire a lot of foreign employees in recent years. In order to stop such situation, a few American companies also try to boost the development of American education and stimulate Americans to become teachers etc.

Among the explanations of why American schools are worse than European ones is that fact that American public schools are government monopolies. Thus, there are no incentives for them to compete and, as a result, to enhance services. In our opinion, high schools should function as commercial institutions. Then, through the competition, only professional and successful ones, who can provide good services, will survive. Of course, available public education also should exist. But the principles of its financing should be reviewed.

It is quite an interesting situation, taking into account the development of different phenomena that should have increased the efficiency of education (the Internet, international communications, on-line universities etc.). According to the statistics,

In 2005, the average public school contained 154 instructional computers, compared with 90 in 1998. One important technological advance that has come to classrooms following the introduction of computers has been connections to the Internet. The percentage of instructional rooms with access to the Internet increased from 51 percent in 1998 to 94 percent in 2005. ("Digest of education statistics," 2008)

But the distracting factors are developing too, and they affect education. Among them we should differentiate the following: modern crazy life, consumer society, and drugs etc. A lot of young people find it easier to work and earn good money without good education. Thus, there is no clear connection between education and the level of revenue of a person.

To conclude, the level of education in the U.S. has decreased in recent years. The current educational system is not good enough to realize the full educational potential of the American society. The main problems are in the sphere of high schools, especially public high schools.

We tend to believe that such situation is caused by the change in attitude of Americans to education. Nowadays young people sometimes find it not the most important fact of success in the modern consumer society. There is no deterministic connection between the level of education and the level of revenue. People tend to exert fewer efforts to study.

On the other hand, the number of qualified teachers is decreasing. The modern inventions such as the Internet and computers let people execute their social functions without necessary academic education.

Discussion

Now it is time to move on to the particular subject of our research paper - classroom management. There have been a lot of changes in the educational system in the recent decades. First of all, education has become more available for the different countries and different classes of society. Education was a real privilege a hundred years ago. Nowadays it is considered an integral element of life of any person. Secondly, education has become more specific. It is aimed at practical knowledge nowadays. It is not reasonable to teach some skills that are not going to be required by society. Finally, the instruments of education have improved significantly. For example, online education is a typical phenomenon nowadays. It provides a lot of additional advantages and opportunities for teachers and students.

Despite the degree of development of education and a lot of innovations, there are some stable principles and values that have not changed for years. One of such values is relationship between a teacher and students, his/her ability to influence a class and unite them around some goals. Such relations can be described with the term "classroom management", which is going to be the main subject of this research paper. First of all, we have to define the term "classroom management". In our opinion, one of the best definitions of this term is the following.

According to specialists in the field of education, school and classroom management aims at encouraging and establishing student self-control through a process of promoting positive student achievement and behavior. Thus academic achievement, teacher efficacy, and teacher and student behavior are directly linked with the concept of school and classroom management. ("Classroom management summary," n. d.)

Simply speaking, classroom management can be defined as a set of methods and instruments used by a teacher in order to create safe, disciplinary, and supportive environment for students in a class. The main task of the classroom management is to establish such relations and environment to boost students to learn and open their full potential. The other essential goal of classroom management is to boost students' social and moral growth. Thus, classroom management is, first of all, aimed at students. However, it is also much needed for teachers as a professional instrument. This opinion can be proved by the following words.

In a2006 survey of Pre-K through 12th grade teachersconducted by the American Psychological Association (APA), teachers identified help with classroom management and instructional skills as their top need. Results from over 2300 responses showed that teachers wanted assistance with classroom management because of their concerns about student safety and their desire for strategies to deal effectively with students' negative and/or disruptive behaviors. ("Classroom management," n.d.)

Creation of a supportive educational environment is the main goal of classroom management. There are a lot of tactical objectives and small tasks in the scope of this goal. Among them the following ones may be pointed out:

  • To develop supportive and cooperative relations between students;
  • To organize and implement instructions and mechanisms that boost students' desire to study;
  • To stimulate students to high morality and social responsibility and promote self-regulation of students;
  • To develop personal and professional skills of students.

Of course, every teacher in every class demonstrates some skills of classroom management. The reason for it is that any relations between a teacher and students and a teacher's influence on a class can be considered a reflection of a classroom management. However, only an organized approach can be called as a system of classroom management. There are several approaches and systems of classroom management. The first approach is the so-called positive behavior support (PBS). This approach has been developed by such authors as Crone, Horner, and Hawken. PBS is a multi-level model that begins with school-wide system and ends with individual cooperation between a teacher and a particular student. The school-wide system is for the whole school while individual intervention is for those students that require such approach. Thus, we are talking about some organized and standardized system that is implemented in a school. Usually, such systems are officially adopted by schools and presented in a set of rules, which must be followed by every teacher.

The other approach is called social and emotional learning. This model has been developed by such researchers as Devaney, O'Brien, Resnik, Keister, etc. As it can be noticed from the name of the approach, it is targeted on development of social and emotional knowledge and experience in students. The model's main goal is to create emotionally and socially developed people from students. That is why students are boosted to share their opinion, express feelings and respect surrounding environment.

As a system and an approach, classroom management consists of some components. These components are as follows: content management, covenant management, and conduct management. Simply speaking, content management is an ability of teacher to create and maintain content of a class. Such ability should not be limited only with educational program. A teacher also should maintain discussions in a class, boost cooperation, and create supportive emotional environment.

Content management is not concerned with skills relating to teaching a certain subject. It refers to those skills that are relevant for different activities and subjects. Student interaction and cooperation in activities of learning is the essence of instructional management ("Classroom management summary," n. d.).

Covenant management is based on a theory that a classroom group is a social system. A teacher and students play some social roles. The teacher should manage a class like a small social group. In fact, the same principles as in the management of a society should be used, since a class is a small model of society.

Finally, conduct management is based on the principle that knowledge about human nature and values can help a teacher to develop an effective instructional philosophy and manage a class in a more effective way. This approach claims that a student should be treated, first of all, as a human being, but not as a unit that requires knowledge.

Management in business is regulation of business relations and performance of a company. In fact, the same thing is with the management in a class. First of all, classroom management can be considered as relations between a teacher and students. These relations can be formal or informal. In fact, the best is optimal combination between formal and informal relations. A teacher should not be a manager only, but also a leader and a friend for his/her students. Generally, these relations are targeted on a common goal - getting required knowledge and development of a student as a good social and moral person. Of course, a teacher is the main person in these relations.

That is why classroom management is first of all relations between a teacher and students. We can consider it as some moral category. On the other hand, classroom management also has some physical side. We are talking about a class. Class is a room where educational process is performed. Everyone knows that our mood and desire to study depends on surrounding environment. That is why it is very important to have well equipped class. In order to manage relations between students a teacher first of all has to manage the surrounding environment. That is why the role of a class just cannot be overestimated.

It has become very popular in the recent years to run lessons not only in a class as a room, but, for example, in natural environment, etc. Professionals believe that natural environment may stimulate students to study better. The reason for it is that they are relaxed and not limited with walls. The problem is that the degree of relaxation should not be too high, since students will not be ready to study. The role of a teacher is tremendous in this context. It is an opportunity for him/her to show all the abilities of effective classroom management.

Finally, we must say that online education has become really popular in the recent years. As a result, the essence of a class has changed a lot. Teachers are forced to manage thousands of students, not having an opportunity to see them and feel their feedback. The main task of classroom management in this context is to convince students that they have to learn this subject and be honest. He/she should convince students that it is up to them to decide whether to study or not.

At this stage of our research we must say that classroom management can be considered on two levels. On the one hand, we may talk about some informal relations between a teacher and students. Students and a teacher are human beings with their positive and negative sides, interests, etc. As a result they will always have an opportunity to find a common language. Since a teacher is an elder and more experienced colleague, it is his/her task to be an initiator of this process. He/she should be a leader for students and their mentor. Students will follow a leader and a charismatic person, but not a formal interpreter of academic disciplines and rules.

Further, education is a very important social phenomenon. That is why relations between a teacher and students should be organized and regulated. Usually, principles of classroom management are presented in the rules of a school. These rules are adopted by schools' and universities' councils and approved by parents and regulative bodies. As a result, a teacher should follow these rules in the process of classroom management.

Rules should be followed by not only teachers, but also by students. There are also a lot of rules for a student. In fact, these rules should be, since education is a very important and necessary thing. However, there is an opinion that a lot of rules limit students' creativity and freedom. Rules are implemented to boost discipline in a class. However, discipline is not the only goal of classroom management. a teacher should not forget about stimulation of creativity of students. Students should be convinced that every person in a class, including a teacher, follows the same goal - getting knowledge. That is why students should be boosted to show creativity and to share thoughts. In fact, a lot of researches have shown that sharing thoughts between students and their communication is one of the most effective instruments of learning. Thus, classroom management should not limit creativity and initiative of students.

It has been already mentioned that classroom management is a system and a process. Like any other process, this one consists of some particular stages. Among the stages of classroom management the following ones may be pointed out: the power stage, the reward/punishment stage, the mutual interpersonal stage, and the social order stage. We would like to pay attention to each of these stages separately.

The power stage is applied to the so-called difficult students. Usually such students are characterized with a wrong and complicated behavior. They do not want to follow some other rules, since they have their own. Practice has shown that such students may follow stated rules, because of their fear of authority of a teacher. It does not mean that a teacher should apply some physical abuse, etc. Authority can be reached via a lot of instruments. First of all, a teacher must be a moral authority for students. Generally, he/she should be a leader that students would like to follow.

The reward/punishment stage is for students that demonstrate a slightly better behavior. They may be stimulated to work through the use of instrument of punishment and reward. On the one had, good work and good behavior must be rewarded. On the other hand, bad conduct should be punished. Mercantile interests of such students will force them to perform better and listen to the teacher.

The mutual interpersonal stage is applied to majority of students. These students desire to study, and they will listen to a teacher and his/her instructions. This opinion can be proved by the following words.

Students functioning at Stage 3 make up most of the youngsters in our middle and junior high schools. These kids have started to develop a sense of discipline. They behave because you ask them. This is the mutual interpersonal stage. They care what others think about them, and they want you to like them. ("Stages of discipline," n. d.)

Finally, the social order stage is applied to students with a high degree of self-discipline. They like to study, so there is even no need to tell them what is wrong and what is right. They are ready to distinguish between actions that are positive and negative. They study and listen to the teacher because they like to do it.

Therefore, we can say that there are a lot of stages of classroom management. These stages are caused by the differences in students' behavior and character. The task of any classroom management is to convince a student to learn information and open his mind. Thus, every person is like a closed box with its won features. One of the tasks of classroom management is to open this box and free hidden possibilities. In this context classroom management is related to the concept of the so-called cognitivism. In our opinion one of the most appropriate definitions of this term is the following.

"The cognitivist revolution replaced behaviorism in 1960s as the dominant paradigm. Cognitivism focuses on the inner mental activities - opening the "black box" of the human mind is valuable and necessary for understanding how people learn. Mental processes such as thinking, memory, knowing, and problem-solving need to be explored. Knowledge can be seen as schema or symbolic mental constructions. Learning is defined as change in a learner's schemata" (Cognitivism).

According to the concept of cognitivism, the main role of classroom management should be not only to help to learn some particular information, but to boost motivation and learning processes in every particular student. Also, the concept claims that every student is a different personality. That is why every one requires special approach and methods. Thus, a teacher must be something more than a simple instructor. he/she has to be a friend, a leader and even a psychologist.

As a summary of our discussion, we are able to formulate the functions of classroom management. Among these functions the following ones may be pointed out:

  • Helping a teacher to organize required discipline and supportive educational environment in a class;
  • Helping a teacher to realize stated goals and functions;
  • Making it possible to realize the school's rules and principles;
  • Creation of the most effective environment that will lead to the overall growth of education in the country.

Description of the features of effective classroom management

As it has been mentioned at the beginning, one of the main tasks of this research paper is to define the features of the most effective classroom management. We have provided the classification of systems of classroom management, described its functions and discussed its stages. Now we are able to characterize the most effective classroom management.

First of all, classroom management should be an effective combination of formal procedures and informal relations between a teacher and students. The teacher should follow formal rules that are adopted by his/her school. However, it is important to remain a friend and a leader for students. The teacher should be a charismatic person that will be able to unite people around a common goal, which is getting knowledge in the case under consideration.

Secondly, formal disciplines and knowledge should not be an ultimate goal for the teacher and for the educational system, in general. We mean that the teacher should not only give information to students and then get some formal feedback. A teacher must stimulate creative initiative of a student. He must try to develop socially and emotionally healthy people. Therefore, a professional accountant or some other clerk is not a final goal. A final goal of education is healthy citizens that are able to increase the overall degree of well-being in society.

Third of all, a feature of an effective classroom management is ability of a teacher to maintain balance between required degree of creativity and discipline. Discipline is one of the main goals of classroom management. Also, it is very difficult task for a teacher to maintain the required degree of discipline. Paying a lot of attention to discipline may limit opportunities for student to demonstrate their creativity and share thoughts. That is why a successful teacher must maintain balance between discipline and creativity.

Finally, the role and the essence of a class as physical object has changed a lot in the recent years. For example, we may talk about development of online education. A class may now reach thousands of students from the whole world. The role of a teacher and classroom management has even grown in such conditions. He/she must stimulate students and convince them to study not seeing them and feeling their feedback.

Conclusions and recommendations

To conclude, the modern society can be called post-industrial and informational. It means that knowledge and information have become the main factors of production and competitive advantage for everyone. Success of any person mainly depends on his/her knowledge and experience. Of course, we study during the whole life. However, the biggest educational background is acquired during studies at school and university. That is why the role of education just cannot be overestimated in the modern society.

We can say that the degree of development of a particular society can be defined via the degree of development of its educational system. Thus, seeking for a higher economic and social development, a country should improve its education, since economic development is provided by people and their skills.

Simply speaking, classroom management can be defined as a set of methods and instruments used by a teacher in order to create safe, disciplinary, and supportive environment for students in his class. The main task of classroom management is to establish such relations and environment that would boost students' desire to learn and open their full potential. The other essential goal of classroom management is to boost students' social and moral growth. Thus, classroom management is, first of all, aimed at students. However, it is also greatly needed by teachers as a professional instrument. This opinion can be proved by the following words.

There are a lot of tactical objectives and small tasks in the scope of this goal. Among them the following ones may be pointed out:

  • To develop supportive and cooperative relations between students;
  • To organize and implement instructions and mechanisms that boost students for studying;
  • To stimulate students to high morality and social responsibility, to promote self-regulation of students;
  • To develop personal and professional skills of students.

As a system and an approach classroom management consists of some components. These components are the following: content management, conduct management, and covenant management.

Like any other process this one consists of some particular stages. Among the stages of classroom management the following ones may be pointed out: the power stage, the reward/punishment stage, the mutual interpersonal stage, and the social order stage.

Among the functions of classroom management the following ones may be pointed out:

  • Helping a teacher to organize required discipline and supportive educational environment in a class;
  • Helping a teacher to realize his/her goals and functions;
  • Making it possible to realize the school's rules and principles;
  • Creation of the most effective environment that will lead to the overall growth of education in the country.

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