30 Apr 2012

Essay Topic: Personal System of Classroom Management

Philosophy of class room management

Students must believe the fact that school supports learning. Thus, the expectations students hold challenges them in an equitable way. In assessing the effectiveness of the class, the confidence of the teacher in teaching and classroom management abilities form the basis of my classroom management philosophy. If a teacher isn’t confident, then her students wouldn’t be either (Zauss). As far as my philosophy of classroom management is concerned, I will model the learning around the five principles of discipline and a love for learning, curiosity and respect. In order to develop and manage my students, I will make sure that the class is carried out in a professional way, and rules and regulations are present while misbehavior is discouraged. Where the environment of the class would be well organized, it would also act as a sound tool for stirring creativity in my students, engaging them to further in the development arena.

I believe that every child in the class must be involved so that the learning is jointly attained. Evidently the needs might vary, but having discussions with the students about their feelings and experiences within and outside the boundaries of the school as well as the problems they face, would help a lot in creating a classroom community. This way, the students would feel that they are meaningful and will thus make them feel significant and belonged that will reduce the unacceptable behavior. There are also many intervention strategies that I will follow, such as enabling students to identify topics directly related to their culture and background, and helping them, using work samples in the classroom in order to make the students resourceful, along with ensuring that a supportive learning environment is developed having clear expectations from both sides and providing opportunities for all students to be a part of the community.

Basis of the philosophy:

The basis of my philosophy of classroom management lies upon three basic theories of Canter, Glasser and Rudolph Derikurs. This is so, because the system of classroom managementdoes not tolerate any sort of misbehavior which is consistent with the Canter model. This model states that the teacher remains consistent with the treatment of discipline and the students who behave well are recognized. The model also states that misbehavior should not be tolerated at all and must be dealt with accordingly (Sturt). However, the model also states a rather negative approach to begin the year with the students as it states the use of warnings, letters, and detentions. The way misbehavior is being dealt with thus brings in the second theory that my philosophy follows.

Till now, it has been established that if misbehavior is detected in the class, it must be discouraged. However, it must also be understood that in order to reduce misbehavior, the assumptions that the child holds regarding the achievement of the goals must be understood in my philosophy. This statement brings in the model of logical consequences embedded in my philosophy, which states that there are 4 mistaken goals of misbehavior that are:attention seeking,  power seeking, revenge seeking, and appearing inadequate behavior that can be dealt with, provided the student identifies a sense of belonging and significance (Sturt). My philosophy also revolves around the fact that the management system must hold the values of love, respect, and achievement. The theory by Glasser backs up this idea and further states that schools can be developed without failure (Sturt).

The Five Principles

According to the 5 principles of discipline, strict standards of professionalism and ethical considerations will be set when I will interact with my students. The kinds of behavior that I wish to inculcate in my students now and would like to see in the future are a positive attitude, consideration, and taking initiatives. Other than that, personal responsibility and an effort to learn will also be inculcated in the students through establishing strong rules and regulations. As for the moral qualities, I will make sure that the students understand the importance of this through established environment learning, a strong compatibility with their fellow classmates, and their involvement in planning the program. It will be made sure that the environment generated in the class remains compatible with needs, interests, and preferences of the students along with the presence of continual helpfulness, preservation of dignity, and teachers’ charisma to highlight a sense of community.

It also required that my students should conduct themselves in a responsible manner (Roach). Therefore, the provisions included for such contain the likes of:

Managing to reduce the causes of misbehavior.

Establishing a sense of community through collaboration and joint decision making.

Keeping the students informed through open communication that is clear and effective.

Building dignity through speaking and collaborating with them to teach them the art of decision making.

Establishing group spirit.

Bringing in parents so that meaningful participation can be achieved.

Establishing fair and bias free relationships that will aid towards resolving class problems.

There is also a need for intervention when disruptions, neurological-based behaviors or other actions like these are identified. In such situations, the strategies I will use will revolve around interventions that are suitable to both me and my students. I will use the appropriate words and helpful things to say when misbehavior is identified, other than that; I will also make sure to not use words that should not be used and will develop a sound procedure that will be followed when misbehavior is identified that the students will be aware of. In this way, the students will learn the consequences of their behavior and will understand to accept responsibility that will help them avoid any disruptive behavior in future.

My classroom and its practices:

Through my experiences in the field, I came to realize that system that is central to the assertive discipline model is a classroom discipline plan created by the teacher and implemented at the beginning of the school year or academic term. The plan includes three major components: a set of classroom rules, types of positive recognition for students who obey the rules, and a hierarchy of consequences for students who disobey the rules (Wiley). However, in my own classroom, I use the assertive discipline towards the end of the school year only.

Nevertheless, when this approach is most needed, I give them each a “driver’s license”. I first explain that I came up with the idea by reflecting on how I am held accountable in the “real world”. Together, we list all of the things an adult is responsible for and typically agree that being able to drive is one of the biggest responsibilities a person can have. Even though they aren’t old enough to drive, kids understand the basic rules of the road and what it means when a cop pulls up behind you with his or her siren on. I then explain how a driver’s license works in the classroom. First, like good drivers, they can behave appropriately and be left in peace. It is likely, though, that if a rule is broken, I’ll see it and “pull them over”. We list all of their responsibilities and decide what they can get “pulled over” for. The list is limited to common issues during the last couple months of school – arriving late to class, forgetting supplies, interrupting, being loud or disrespectful, and not following directions. I demonstrate “pulling them over” by putting a single punch in their driver’s license. I am at liberty to decide whether the offense deserves a warning or a citation. The citation is a small sheet of paper with reflection questions and room for a parent signature. The fun part for the kids comes at the end of the week when they receive points for good behavior. Every day they go without getting “pulled over” earns them one point. At the beginning of the following week they can trade in their points for small prizes. Although it is a bit complex, this technique has worked well because the rules are clearly defined and awards are attainable. They end up monitoring and reporting themselves most of the time.

I used Assertive Discipline my first year of teaching but over the years I have found an eclectic approach to work best for my classroom. We establish our expectations as a community of learners from the start of the year. We may change rules during the year if we think it is necessary. We have class meetings where discipline is discussed and suggestions are given. We praise those among us who work hard and deserve a pat on the back. We encourage those who may need encouraging. We focus on the positive. This seems to create a manageable classroom atmosphere that is conducive to the learning environment. For two years now I have been implementing The Nurtured Heart Approach for the more extreme behavior problems. This approach has phenomenal results and benefits the whole class.

In order to create a tone of warmth and safety in the class room, I will make sure to greet students as they enter the classroom, which is both professional and warm; according to Wong (1998),shaking each student’s hand as he or she walks through the door is a great way to achieve this. I will also make sure that I have a sense of humor that will help create a warm, inviting atmosphere. Other than that, my focus would also be on group-building activities during the first few weeks of school, which will help create the trust and safety essential for active, collaborative learning.

During my experience in the field, I have realized that professionalism directly impacts the effectiveness of teaching and also impacts the quality of students’ education. Some examples I have observed of professional behavior by teachers during my internships have been the following which will also be inculcated in my class.

Being prepared with a schedule and lesson plans for the entire day and not having to “ad-lib” or pull something out of a hat.

Teachers who do not become flustered or frustrated in the classroom due to student behavior.  They are able to maintain control of the class without being a “dictator”.

Teachers who maintain their own education by participating in education seminars and classes in order to keep up with changes and ideas in teaching.

Teachers who not only expect respect but who earn it by respecting their own students and peers. They treat their students with the same kindness and respect that they themselves want to receive.

References:

Roach, J. Class management, [Available online] on 6th April, 2012 at:    http://jamesroach.net/education/PETE/classmanagement.html

Sturt, G. Classroom Management, [Available online] on 6th April, 2012 at:    http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:SXZuI7iQVjcJ:homepage.ntlworld.com/gary.sturt/classman.htm+http://homepage.ntlworld.com/gary.sturt/classman.htm&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=pk

Wiley, Manage diversity in your class room, [Available online] on 6th April, 2012 at:    http://media.wiley.com/product_data/excerp.

Wong, H. (1998) The First Days of School: How to be an Effective Teacher,Wong publications.

Zauss, E. A., Educational Philosophy of Classroom Management, Educational Resources for Teachers [Available online] on 6th April, 2012 at:  https://sites.google.com/site/amandazauss/educational-philosophy-of-classroom-management

18 Dec 2010

Sample Essay: Plato

Plato is one of the great creators of philosophy, writing, the arts, and mathematics. His entire life has been to contributing change in the way we think and communicate. Even though his time has passed the theories he created lives on in legacy. Plato wrote over thirty dialogues expressing the way of life with the teachings of his successor Socrates. With the historical records that have been collected, I will summarize his life and analysis of what I believe to be his key contributions to the way we view the world around us today.

Historical records suggest that the real name of Plato is Aristocles, named after his grandfather. But his wrestling coach gave him the name “Platon” which is famous even till today. According to the historical data, dating from the Alexandrian period, Plato was given the name “Platon”, which means “breadth” due to his vigorous physical appearance. Plato had been instructed in gymnastics, music and grammar by the most distinguished teachers of that time (Platthy). Even before Plato met Socrates he had attended several courses in philosophy. In his philosophy courses he first became acquainted with Cratylus, who was a disciple of Heraclitus a prominent pre-Socratic Greek philosopher, and the Heraclitean doctrines (Kraut).

Plato’s definite birth time and place cannot be determined by the available historical data. But it can be said with certainty that he belonged to an influential and aristocratic family. Based on the historical data, many modern scholars suggest that Plato was either born in Aegina or Athens between the years 429 BC to 423 BC. Plato’s father name was Ariston and his mother’s name was Perictione. A few historical records suggest that Ariston traced his ancestors from Codrus, the king of Athens, and Melanthus, the king of Messenia. On the other hand Plato’s maternal family was famous for their relationship with Solon, the Athenian lawmaker and poet. Ariston and Perictione had two sons; Adeimantus and Glaucon, and a daughter; Potone, other than himself. Potone was the mother of Speusippus who became the successor of Plato as the head of the philosophical Academy (Dillon).

Historical records suggest that the biological father of Plato, Ariston, died in Plato’s childhood but the precise dating of his date cannot be determined. After Ariston’s death Perictione remarried Pyrilampes who was her mother’s brother. Pyrilampes was in himself a very influential man; on numerous occasions he served as an ambassador to the Persian court and he was a personal friend of Pericles; the leader of the Athenian democratic fraction. Although in the Platonic dialogues Plato is silence about himself but he introduced many of his relatives in his dialogues (Clay). As a matter of fact these dialogues are one of the sources from where the family tree of Plato is constructed. The family tree of Plato suggests a considerable amount of family pride. In the opening scenes of the dialogue Charmides, Plato glorifies his family and their deep rooted connections with the most influential personalities of their time (Hare). These dialogues are a memorial to the happier days of his family and Socrates.

Plato traveled in Cyrene, Egypt, Italy and Sicily and returned to Athens when he was forty years old. When he returned to the city of Athens he founded of the earliest known organized schools in Western Civilization. The school was known as Academy and it was a large enclosure of ground which was at one point in time the property of a citizen named Academus. The Academy remained operational until 529 AD when it was closed down by Justinian I of Byzantium. Justinian closed the Academy in an attempt to protect himself because he viewed the Academy as a threat; that it would be used for the propagation of Christian religions. Many intellectuals and numerous great minds of the era were schooled in the Academy. The most prominent of all the students was Aristotle.

Historical records suggest that Plato initially visited Syracuse while it was under the rule of Dionysus. During Plato’s first trip he accepted Dion of Syracuse the brother-in-law of Dionysus, as one of his disciples. But certain events changed all this, Dion turned against Plato; he was sold into slavery and almost died in Cyrene. After sometime an admirer of Plato bought for him his freedom and sent him back to Athens.

Years later Dion himself requested Plato to tutor Dionysus II to become a philosopher king. Plato accepted the offer and started teaching Dionysus II. Dionysus II started to accept Plato’s teaching but he started to detest his uncle, Dionysus. At some point in time he expelled Dion and retained Plato against his will. Eventually Plato managed to leave the Syracuse. In later years Dion returned to Syracuse and deposed Dionysus and usurped his position, shortly after a fellow disciple of Plato usurped the ruling position of Syracuse. Thus Plato was entangled in the political circus of Syracuse throughout the later years of his life (Brumbaugh).

A few central themes can be found in Plato’s work. These central themes serve as the central ideologies which Plato constantly revisits. Almost every work of Plato is, in one way or another, dependent upon his distinction. A majority of which investigate into the ethical and practical consequences of considering of reality in a bifurcated way. Plato’s work compels its readers to transform the values by understanding the reality of Forms and incompetence of the real world. Plato considers, the soul and the object, two completely different things, Plato’s views suggest that the soul does not even depend on the existence of the object itself and its functioning. As a matter of fact a soul can grasp the nature of the Forms when it is unhindered by any of its attachments (Lodge). Furthermore, in a few of his works, he suggests that soul is always able to recollect what it grasped of the Forms once it is disembodies and the lives of the body are either rewards or punishments for the choices which the soul made in the previous existence.

Plato has contributed greatly to the theory of art; particularly in architecture, dance, drama, poetry and music. He also discussed a wide range of philosophical topics encompassing politics, ethics, metaphysics where the topics of focus were man, mind, Realism and immortality. Furthermore he also discussed the philosophies of mathematics and philosophies of religion. According to Plato’s Theory of Forms, he rejected the deceptive and ever changing world which we know of through the use of our sensory proposing. Instead his world of ideas was true. In addition to all of these works Plato talks about geometrical diagrams that they are flawed replication of perfect mathematical objects. Moreover Plato also contributed to the fields of legal philosophy, logic and rhetoric.

Even though Plato did not make any mathematical discoveries himself, he held a strong conviction that mathematics enables us the mind to indulge in the finest training. Plato’s contribution to the philosophies of education can be seen by observing how he ran the Academy. Plato is always determined to work on the idea of “proof”, thus he insisted upon clear and precise definitions and hypotheses. This Platonic approach laid down the fundamentals of Euclid’s systematic approach to mathematics. The historical records suggest that these mathematical guidelines provided by Plato served as a beacon of light for many others. And since almost all of the important mathematical work was completed by either the friends or pupils of Plato this suggests the effectiveness of Plato’s contribution to mathematics.

Plato was able to create a structure or subject matter for philosophy by formulating and arguing over a wide range of metaphysical and ethical questions. To explain the symmetry amongst many objects, he developed metaphysics of Forms. Platonic view regarding the ethical questions is rooted in this metaphysics of Forms via the study of the Form of “good”. Therefore Plato is responsible for finding a linkage between metaphysics and ethics. In his greatest work, the Republic, Plato developed a perceptive analogy between an individual and the state. In his dialogues Plato argues upon the nature of virtues and he also ponders upon several epistemological questions.

Plato is, by any standards of measurement, one of the most recognized writers in the Western literature. He is also undoubtedly the most influential and penetrating authors in the field of philosophy. He was an Athenian citizen of high social status. His prime focus was on the political events and the intellectual engagements of his time but he has raised very profound questions from these events. Furthermore he has also provided richly suggestive answers to such problems, these questions and answer of Plato are so provocative that almost every educated reader in every time period can’t help but to be influenced by Plato and more importantly his philosophies. In almost every age there were many philosophers who called themselves Platonists; this point alone attests to the greatness of Plato’s work.

Although he was not the first scholar who formulated innovative theories but he definitely was the first philosopher whose work and philosophies are based on rigorous and systematic examinations of his surroundings. His philosophies encompasses numerous and diversified field of interest; some of these fields include ethics, politics, metaphysics and epistemological issues, yet his work has proved to be valuable addition to such fields of study. Plato, with his extraordinary work, had created such a place in history which only a few handful other philosophers can contend to.

Work Cited Page

Brumbaugh, Robert Sherrick. Plato for the modern age. University Press of America, 1991.

Clay, Diskin. Platonic questions: dialogues with the silent philosopher. Penn State Press, 2000.

Dillon, John. The Heirs of Plato: A Study of the Old Academy (347-274 BC). Oxford University Press, 2005.

Hare, Richard Mervyn. Plato. Oxford University Press, 1982.

Kraut, Richard. The Cambridge companion to Plato. Cambridge University Press, 1992.

Lodge, Rupert Clendon. The Philosophy of Plato. Routledge, 2000.

Platthy, Jenő. Plato: a critical biography . Federation of International Poetry Associations of UNESCO, 1990.

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