Classroom Management Theorists
Education is full of different theories and theorists that support different ideas. Each theory branches from a variety of experiences, observations, concepts, and perspectives. Many education theorists do not focus on the academics but instead on student behaviors. These theorists are naturally called Behavior Theorists. Two theorists in particular stand out as having powerful, intriguing opinions on behavior management. Psychologist Spencer Kagan and Psychologist Fred Jones both have insightful theories on what it takes to have successful behavior management in a classroom.
Spencer Kagan is a psychologist who believes that behavior problems are resolved more efficiently when teachers and students are working together from the same side. Kagan co-authored a book: Win-Win Disciple. His ideas focus on establishing positive environments with help from both teacher and student. The primary goal of Kagan's Win-Win is to enable students to manage themselves, meet their needs through responsible choices, and develop like skills that serve well in the future. Kagan builds all of his ideas off the concept of working together: teacher and student.
There are three pillars of the Win-Win Discipline. The first pillar is named same side. This means that students, teachers, and parents need to all work together, on the same side, to better school experiences for everyone. The second pillar is called collaborative solutions. This pillars calls for students and teachers to cooperate in creating workable solutions to behavior problems. The third pillar is named learned responsibilities. This is where students have the desire to behave appropriately This last pillar is reached when students practice self-management and build skills to get along with others.
Kagan is also a strong advocator in his BIG THREE. This big three includes three factors that are crucial for having a successful classroom. They are (1) establish an interesting and challenging curriculum, (2) provide cooperative activities that allow students to work together meaningfully, and (3) be an interesting and stimulating teaching. Kagan believes that when these three things are combined, Win-Win can be the most effective.
Overall, Kagan focuses on placing the responsibility in the students to work together with his or her teacher to behave appropriately, for then it is a Win-Win situation. The teacher is then able to teach to a group of students who are well-behaved and ready to learn!
For more information on Spencer Kagan:
The video below explains Dr. Kagan's Win-Win Discipline in more detail and provides rationale behind his theory.
Fred Jones is a psychologist who, although never a teacher, has spent thousands of hours observing various classrooms. Therefore, Jones has great input on classroom management styles. Overall, he believes that motivation is the ultimate key to classroom management. Jones would agree that if students are motivated and find purpose at school, they are much more likely to behave and succeed.
Jones believes that there are many different ways teachers cater to poor classroom management. First, teachers can waste a lot of time. Time is often wasted during transitions, lunch cards and attendance, and when taking coats and boots off. However, there are ways to waste less time. For example, Jones would recommend making a game out of coming and going from school/recess. Teachers can also time the students to see how long it takes them to get ready. Teachers could then keep record of the times and it becomes a competition. Routines can also be made for lunch and attendance count. Other classroom management issues may lie in student passivity, aimlessness, helpless hand raising, and ineffective nagging. Jones believes that teachers need to address these issues to help create an environment where students feel more motivated to learn and less distracted with these other factors.
Jones also believes that students need an abundance of hands-on activities. This keeps students engaged and focused on new material. Students need more than paper and pencils, for they need to stay interested and motivated. In addition, Jones is a strong advocator for PAT or preferred activity time. This is when students can earn points to play a fun, academic activity such as an art project, math game, or reading time. These genuine incentives help students learn while still giving the students the power to choose them. PAT does not give students "rewards" but a time of choice. In PAT, students take on responsibility through positive reinforcement.
Finally, Jones states that there are specific characteristics that help create an effective teacher. These characteristics include the ability to conserve time, mean business, define limits on behavior, keep students engaged, and increase motivation through incentives. Jones believes that teachers have the power to motivate students and create successful classroom management. They simply need to keep their students engaged and not waste time in the process.
For more information on Fred Jones:
The following document is the first chapter from Fred Jones' Book: Tools for Teaching. This first chapter discusses how to be a successful teacher using Jones' strategies from this theory.