1 Expectations: The teacher communicates high expectations for student learning. Establishing high expectations for student learning means creating a structured environment and limiting distractions and interruptions. This is a key element of successful classroom management and allows teachers to make the most out of their time with their students. Students will stay on task when expectations are understood and can spend more time on learning instead of needing to be redirected.
I decided I needed to clearly communicate expectations during my lesson Measurement of Time. The lesson included multiple activities and transitions so I wanted to make sure they went as smooth as possible to maximize their learning. I demonstrated emerging competence on Standard 1 by going over what I wanted students to do before letting them transition to the next task. For example, before the students went from teacher instruction on the carpet to independent work at their tables, I told students I expected them to be silently working through their workbooks. If they had a question or wanted to share ideas with a peer, that would be okay but only if it was math related. I noticed in a previous lesson that students were having off topic conversations at the table so wanted to make sure they understood my expectations during math time.
I learned through this experience that setting expectations improves performance from students. They worked well during their independent work with few interruptions. During another activity using white boards, I instructed students to only use the white boards for math, not decorations or drawing. Although these expectations were set up, not all students followed them and I missed some opportunities for addressing these concerns. Next steps to increase effectiveness with expectations would be to follow up with certain behaviors and hold students accountable. This is another key aspect of creating a structured environment where students should be reminded if they are not following directions. I will continue to communicate high expectations for student learning before beginning a new task and follow up with students who need it.
“5. Learning Environment – The teacher fosters and manages a safe and inclusive learning environment that takes into account: physical, emotional and intellectual well-being.”
Healthy and safe learning environments are required in order for students feel welcomed and protected at school. A teacher having knowledge of reporting child abuse, youth violence, and neglect will assist in managing a safe space for students. Being observant and alert to student behavior in the classroom and with parents will help schools care and provide for student needs. Having a clear understanding of the reporting process within the school and state is important information for a teacher to have.
The following screenshot from the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services (2010) depicts the importance of reporting Child Abuse and Neglect.
If abuse is happening in the home it is imperative to report and protect students from further harm. Teachers are observing and monitoring students throughout the day and can be the initiators of getting students the help they need. The article points out that making a report can be beneficial to parents, allowing them to learn, better care for and protect their children.
The educator I observed explained that she has never needed to report child abuse or neglect for the students she was working with. She is a relatively new teacher, being in her 2nd year of teaching. She was aware of the process of reporting at her school through detailed training as a new employee. When it comes time for reporting, the staff member notifies the principal and the school counselor who documents and reports the behavior to Child Protective Services. Teachers can create classrooms of trust by fostering relationships with each student. Understanding where a student comes from, their families, personality traits, and interests will portray care and kindness where students feel appreciated and welcomed as an important member of the class. Having this foundational relationship will allow sensitive information to be shared easier if the time comes.
Reporting child abuse, youth violence, and neglect is a critical skill teachers need to foster and manage a safe and inclusive learning environment for all students. Students need to feel protected in their learning spaces. Schools need to have effective procedures and methods of reporting to provide care for students experiencing abuse. If these procedures are not in place, teachers should advocate to have school wide policies so all faculty can work to create a safe environment and prevent any future harm.
Washington State Department of Social & Health Services. (2010). Protecing the Abused & Neglected Child: A Guide for Recognizing & Reporting Child Abuse and Neglect.
Teachers can foster student self-esteem by creating and maintaining positive, trusting relationships with students. According to Rogers (n.d.), teacher empathy, respect, and the frequency with which the teacher gave praise, accepted student ideas, and asked for thinking are methods for students to feel successful at school. Teachers promote the student’s self-concept (general sense of personal value) as well as their self-efficacy (personal beliefs about one’s ability to be a successful learner), when treating their students with respect and valuing their voice in the classroom. When we are positive in our teaching practice, we will receive positive student behaviors. Having strong interpersonal skills benefits all areas of teacher responsibility.
Carl Rogers emphasizing the importance of these interactions with students and the benefits that come along with them. In regards to under-achieving students, teacher empathy dramatically increases their ability to succeed in their work. “The level of person-to-person conditions the teacher offers to under-achieving students more frequently produced significant main effects on school attendance, gain in reading and math achievement, and change in I.Q. scores and self-concept . . .” (Rogers, n.d.). These youth in our classes at times can be difficult to reach and many approaches often do not work. Through Rogers’ research, positive relationships play a huge role with these students and can greatly impact their self-concept in regards to being a learner. As teachers, the more respect, acceptance, and student involvement we can provide, the more successful and effective our students will become.
Rogers, C. (n.d.). Teacher effects research on student self concept. Handout from EDU 6526, Seattle Pacific University, Feb 29, 2016.