View the movie below and then proceed to the Initial Thoughts section (time: 2:28).
Before this school year began, Ms. Rollison, a beginning teacher, was feeling overwhelmed at the thought of dealing with behavior problems in her classroom. Now that school is well underway, she’s figuring out ways to maintain control. Much of this is thanks to the opportunity she had to learn and apply her new knowledge about classroom management. First, she designed a clear, positive statement about key aspects of her management plan. Then, before the kids even arrived for their first day, she began to develop classroom rules, expectations, procedures, and carefully constructed consequences. These components have all been consistently implemented and reinforced, week after week. Most of her students have responded really well to her new classroom management plan. Nevertheless, there are two students about whom she still has concerns. Patrick is like two different kids. Some days he’s a model student: helpful, polite, focused on his work. But on others, watch out! He becomes rude, refuses to work, and wanders around the classroom trying to provoke other students. At times, he’s so disruptive that Ms. Rollison’s teaching is interrupted and everyone’s learning suffers. Then there’s Tameka. She flat out refuses to do any written work. In fact, she protests that she “hates writing” because it’s just “too hard” and her words always look “messy.” Instead, Tameka retreats to drawing, reading, or trying to visit with her friends.
Needless to say, Ms. Rollison is concerned and frustrated. While she’s gained a measure of confidence in her ability to manage her classroom, she’s really not sure how to help Patrick and Tameka or how to maintain a good learning environment in the classroom in spite of their disruptive behavior.
Of course, she has received lots of advice: things like, “Just reward those students who are doing the right things,” or, “Call their parents and let them handle it,” or, “Ignore them and eventually they’ll come around,” or even, “Forget about them. After all, you can’t save everyone.” And all of these well-meaning words have only made Ms. Rollison more confused.
Here is your Challenge:
Ms. Rollison has a comprehensive behavior management plan in place. Why isn’t it working for all of her students?
How can Ms. Rollison determine what behaviors she should address and when she should address them?