- Learning Environment – The teacher fosters and manages a safe and inclusive learning environment that takes into account: physical, emotional and intellectual well-being.
5.4 Managing Student Behavior by Establishing Expectations. Standards of conduct are clear to all students.
Clear expectations and standards of conduct are essential for managing student behavior. Once expectations are in place, learning can most effectively occur. Without management, learning time is lost. Students feel safe and can achieve their greatest potential, both academically and behaviorally, when expectations and routines are in place.
In order to make the standards of conduct meaningful to our students, my mentor teacher and I facilitated a class discussion and brainstorm activity that led to the creation of our classroom standards of conduct. We asked our students how they want to feel at school and what they will actively do to make sure that their classmates feel this way every day. The class decided to title our standards of conduct, “Classroom Charter” and chose to hang the charter on our classroom wall. This ensures that students can look to the charter if they forget how they are expected to behave. Before hanging it up, each student signed their name at the bottom of the charter.
As part of the morning routine, students stand to say the pledge of allegiance and then immediately turn their bodies to face the classroom charter.” As a class we recite the classroom charter. This daily morning routine reminds the students how their classmates what to feel at school and what they need to do in order for them to feel that way. Each student trusts that every student is looking out for the well-being of each individual student.
There are many benefits when student voice is incorporated into creating the classroom standards of conduct. Students are more motivated to follow the classroom standards when they were invited to participate in creating them, student engagement in classroom activities is enhanced, and students are able to deeply understand are articulate the standards because they are written in student language (Toshalis & Nakkula, 2006). Student language is important because it allows the teachers to keep students accountable for their actions because we are confident that students are aware of what they will do in order to make sure their classmates are feeling happy and safe. In the event that a student acts out, we take the student to the charter and remind them of the expectations he/she created and agreed upon with the class. We ask the student if they are upholding the classroom charter and ask them to list what they need to do in order to make their classmates feel happy and safe.
I have found it very effective to invite students into establishing behavior expectations, routines, awards, and consequences. Students feel valued and respected when they are invited into decision making in the classroom and in turn, perform and produce more positive results in all areas, academically, behaviorally, and socially.