The classrooms of today look and operate drastically different from those that were used twenty years ago. An increasingly larger emphasis seems to be placed on classroom management and its ability to make or break the learning environment. Students who are currently enrolled in teacher preparation programs are expected to know as much, if not more, management material as content. An expert in a field could go into a classroom to present a lesson, but unless they have an idea of how to manage a classroom, it could appear like the next-door novice was delivering the content.
New Importance of Management
With the rising sizes of classes in today’s schools, it is pivotal that we as educators are well-versed in how to effectively manage and best utilize the time that we have with our students. Since behavioral needs have been becoming an obstacle for teachers, an increasingly growing emphasis has been put into classroom management systems and how to create the best learning environment possible for all students. In fact, many resources can be found online to help manage the classroom.
Positive Behavior Support
Positive Behavior Support (PBS) appears to be the hottest topic among teachers right now. The theory behind PBS is that students are not born with negative behaviors instilled in them, nor do they learn from aversive consequences. Rather, students learn best when given feedback on their actions and the chance to learn from them. Teachers are required to administer some sort of intervention for any behavior that is not ideal. The intervention planning process can be quite tedious and involves a group of teachers, support personnel, and parents to work together to think of a way to better meet the needs of the student being discussed. The issue can be related to social issues or learning challenges, but the goal for all interventions is to instill a long lasting behavior change.
When utilizing PBS, it is imperative that those enforcing the changes have data to support their reasoning and that they track the changes that occur in order to know if the interventions are being effective. The main goal behind a PBS system is to prevent unwanted behaviors of any kind throughout the learning community. Teachers want students to be aware of challenges and bad decisions that can be made, but also be able to understand and demonstrate how to make better decisions. For more information on Positive Behavior Support and reasons why it works, click here.
Anyone can explain the difference between a classroom “rule” and “procedure,” just look them up through an online dictionary. Yet only a highly-effective teacher can demonstrate the differences through his/her work in the classroom. With our ever changing role from teacher to facilitator, it is important that we use the resources that have been created to operate a classroom in as smooth of a way as possible.
In 1998, the first book about “CHAMPS” learning became available. CHAMPS learning is a management system where each letter stands for a different word and aspect of classroom management. The meanings are as follows:
By having student behavior broken down so explicitly, students have to analyze each choice that they make, along with their rationale for doing so, again relating back to those classroom procedures and rules. The students know that they can’t just get up and get something if they need it, so they are taught the way in which they are expected to get that need met. Having these norms in place helps keep that student, as well as everyone else in the room, on task. For an example of how a school district has implemented CHAMPS into its schools, look at what Gaston County, North Carolina has provided for their teachers.
Management and Sexuality
So how does this shift from classroom rules to procedures effect a sexuality classroom? As sexuality educators we are addressing a group of students who are of the proper age to be learning said material. That idea itself creates enough controversy and debate. But in order to be effective as a sexuality educator, we cannot just preach a set of rules to a group of learners. Rather, we need to help learners understand the importance of their decisions and how those decisions will help them reach their long-term goals. So while establishing a set procedure for how to get a tissue might seem irrelevant to sexuality education, that same methodology can be transferred to help students plan their lives and the choices that they will have to make along the way, sex included, in an appropriate manner.