It was Chesterton, an English essayist, who once said that “the most practical thing about a man is his view of the universe – his philosophy” (Hocking 4). Man’s philosophy is generally referred to as the sum of all his beliefs and views about the world which guide his actions. His beliefs comprise all those judgments, whether they are based on convictions or impressions, which he habitually lives by.
During the pre-service education and throughout the teaching career, teachers will have to face up to what it means to live and to teach in a society that gives the individual freedom to hold different beliefs and values.
In this society there seems to be no single “right” way of thinking about and doing things in education. How teachers deal with school matters – objectives, contents, and methods – depend very much on their own individual beliefs and values. They should be willing to take responsibility for giving their own answers to many problems they will meet in their classrooms regarding goals and values, and ways of teaching their students.
1. Organizing your classroom & materials.
The teacher in the classroom is a veritable manager. The success of the activities in the classroom depends on the ability of the teacher as classroom manager. He is at the helm of all activities, and these activities will succeed depending on how well he can steer and guide them properly. One of the most difficult problems that confront a beginning teacher is classroom management. Unfortunately, he does not learn techniques of proper classroom management from books. He merely gets suggestions on how to mange a class, but there is nothing like teaching experience that will really teach him all the tricks of classroom management.
Hence, classroom management is one of the main concerns of teachers, administrators, and parents. If the school is to live up to the community’s expectation that it is a learning-producing enterprise, the individual classrooms which comprise the school must contribute to the school’s educational productivity. Learning is the central goal of the total school operation, and teaching is the school’s basic production technique. Effective teaching and effective learning take place in well-managed classrooms. When class time is consumed by management problems, students are the losers, for little real learning takes place. As every teacher knows, good classroom management is one of the strongest influences on academic learning.
2. Choosing rules & procedures.
A well managed classroom is hardly possible without laws, regulations, and conventions. The classroom in itself is a society and needs its own rules and regulations to keep peace and harmony within it. Certain classroom activities can be made automatic in the sense that they can be performed without much thought, especially when they have become habitual. Such activities, we say, have become routinized. It is apparent that routinizing classroom rules and procedures can help the teacher a lot in classroom management. There are no hard-and-fast rules as to which activities can be reduced to routine. Routinizing would depend on such factors as size of the class, the nature of students, materials available, arrangement of equipment, and the like.
There are certain advantages in routinizing classroom rules and procedures and these are economy in time and effort, prevent confusion, and promote learning activity. Much time is wasted on administrative activities that are not handled in a well-organized manner. Activities that are repeatedly done may well be routinized so that pupils will know exactly what should be done.
Some disadvantages should, however, be mentioned if routine factors are overmechanized. If every little activity in the classroom is mechanized, no room for initiative is left to the pupils. They may behave like automatons and certainly creativity is destroyed. The teacher is reduced to an autocratic general and the pupils are regimented soldiers who merely wait for the chief’s signal or command. Such a situation leads to blind obedience and acceptance of rules and procedures. This type of atmosphere must be avoided by the teacher.
Certain classroom rules and procedure, though, can be routinized so that more time can be devoted or allotted to more significant activities. Among these activities are the roll calls, seating, handling materials and devices, classroom courtesies, and responses to the bell signals. The main goal here is to save time and effort. Pupils should be made to understand and learn the value of time. The old saying that time is gold should be clearly impressed on the minds of children.
3. Managing student work.
One aspect of classroom management deals with managing student work. The teacher takes full charge of the learning situation should manipulate the learner and the situation to produce the desired learning. Managing implies arranging the learning situation so that the learner comes face to face with the stimulating problem. While it is true that most teaching tends to foster teacher domination, manipulation, an intervention rather than the development of a genuine helping relationship, teachers can learn to dominate less and get students to participate more. It is good practice for teachers not to repeat their questions, answer their own questions, or repeat answers of students.
Some teachers tend to be autocratic or authoritarian. Experience and research findings show that democratic teachers produce better learning results than those who dominate, control, or manipulate learning situations. Teachers should determine the psychological needs of their students and adapt their teaching styles accordingly. The teacher who encourages a two-way communication in the classroom insures a favorable teaching-learning climate. To understand better the complexities of learning and classroom behavior, classrooms must be pupil centered rather than teacher centered.
4. Getting off to a good start.
Getting off a good start requires careful attention to how teacher’s teach rules and procedures to their classes. The tone of the class is set by the personal disposition that a teacher displays. A teacher should bring a cheerful, pleasant and confident disposition to the classroom. Once inside the room, a teacher’s face must be lit with joy to brighten the atmosphere. Then, a teacher should take the necessary time during the first day of class to describe carefully your expectations for behavior and work. Teachers should not be in a hurry to get started on content activities that teaching good behavior is neglected. Rather, combine learning about procedures, rules, and course requirements with your initial content activities in order to build the foundation for the whole year program.
5. Planning & conducting instruction.
Just as good classroom management enhances instruction by helping to create a good environment for learning, so too does effective instruction contribute to well-managed classroom. With the change of emphasis on educational objectives, with the inclusion of more outcomes learning, with the focus on the child as the most important factor in the educational process, the concept of conducting instruction has likewise diversified and broadened. In recent years, newer and more informal methods of instruction have come about. Current practices have gradually replaced the undesirable features of so-called lesson hearing instruction. This is due in part to the gradual acceptance of the newer philosophy of education, i.e. education is not merely a process of learning facts and storing knowledge, but it is concerned with the many sided development of the individual – social, emotional, and mental- including he ability to meet social needs.
6. Managing cooperative learning groups.
Cooperative learning in mathematics is essential if math teachers are to promote the goals of problem-solving competency, ability to communicate mathematically, ability to reason mathematically, valuing of mathematics, and self-confidence in one’s ability to apply mathematics, and self-confidence in one’s ability to apply mathematical knowledge to new problem situations in one’s world. Although competitive and individualistic assignments should at times be given (even though they place students in the role of being passive recipients of information), the dominant goal structure in math should be cooperative.
There are a number of fairly simple ways teachers may begin to use cooperative learning in mathematics classes, including having students turn to their partners to decide on an answer to a question or having students work in pairs to check each other’s homework, involves far more than simply assigning students to groups and telling them to work together.
The teacher’s role in structuring learning situations cooperatively involves clearly specifying the objectives for the lesson, placing students in learning groups and providing appropriate materials, clearly explaining the cooperative goal structure and learning task, monitoring students as they work, and evaluating students` performance. Teaching students the required interpersonal and small-group skills can be done simultaneously with teaching academic material. In order to sustain the long-term implementation and in-classroom help and assistance needed to gain expertise in cooperative learning, teachers need support groups made up of colleagues who are also committed to mastering cooperative learning.
7. Maintaining appropriate student behavior.
A number of educators have formulated some suggestions on ways to maintain good classroom student behavior. The suggestions range from how to encourage students to behave and how to develop and maintain a positive approach to classroom management. Some of these suggestions commonly used in the classrooms are: (1) Act as if you expect students to be orderly from the first day on; (2) Expect everyone’s attention before starting to teach. Stop when there is noise. Don’t teach over individual or group chatter ;(3) don’t talk too much as after a while, you lose the students` attention. Involve the students in activities, ask questions, pose problems, etc. ;(4) Hold students accountable for abiding by rules.
8. Communication skills for teachers.
Making a lesson presentation basically requires mastery and understanding of goals, skills and criteria for effective communication. Communication skills is also at the very core of effective teaching. As most teacher would agree that to communicate well is to teach well. In the skillful use of the question more than anything else lies the fine art of teaching; for in it we have the guide to clear and vivid ideas, and the quick spur to imagination, the stimulus to thought, the incentive to action.
9. Managing problem behavior.
It has been stressed time and again that good classroom discipline is indispensable to an effective learning situation. All teachers, old or young, old or new in the service, are faced with problems of discipline. It is true that some teachers can maintain better discipline than can others. It is suggested that the best approach should be positive rather than negative. The best measure should be preventive rather than remedial. “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” so the saying goes. This adage is exactly what should guide the teacher. Knowing the possible causes of disciplinary problems, the teacher should strive to eliminate them.
10. Managing special groups.
One of the special challenges a teacher should face is managing special groups successfully. Of course, these groups have an impact on the management of student behavior as well as on instruction. Experience have proven that attempting to cope with these special groups by using many different assignments, providing an individualized, self-paced program, or using small group instruction extensively in secondary school increases the complexity of classroom management, requires a great deal of planning and preparation, and require instructional materials that are not readily available. So, rather than altering the instructional approach, experienced teachers provide for different levels of student ability by supplementing their whole-class instruction with limited use of special materials, activities , assignments, and small group work. So, to the question of which administrative procedure is most effective in managing special groups, only one answer can be given. All can be effective if used with discretion and with the right children.
The teacher’s total philosophy of life cannot be separated from his philosophy of education, his learning theory, and his methods of teaching. In other words, how he thinks about his work and the way he performs his functions as a teacher are derived from what he believes about the nature of the world, knowledge, and values. In philosophical terms, his world-view lies in the realm of the metaphysical, his knowledge-view in the epistemological, and his values in the axiological. These are the philosophies which teachers consciously or unconsciously deal with in the teaching world.
Every committed teacher tries to work out his own philosophy of education, clarifies his beliefs and ideals to make his teaching meaningful to himself and to his students. Without a philosophy of education, the teacher will be easily swayed by fads in education. Because his life and work involve making choices and decisions, the teacher cannot avoid having a philosophy. Even when courses of study are dictated, he always has the freedom to decide how he will teach and to select the contents and methods of teaching.