Classroom Management and Diversity
Samantha Formato Classroom management and diversity are two very important concepts to consider because classroom management in diverse environments can be a lot different than in less diverse environments. There is so much diversity going on now that everyone should be aware of the importance of classroom management inside the diverse environments. When I talk about diversity in this paper I am referring to ethnic and cultural diversity.
There are many different strategies that can help students in more diverse classrooms feel more comfortable and be in a better learning environment.
In my paper, I will be touching on five major strategies that help classroom management in more diverse classrooms. These strategies are building trust, engaging personal culture, confronting social dominance and social justice, transforming instructional practices, and engaging the entire school community. I will be talking about all of the advantages to these strategies. Another thing I will be touching on is the importance of classroom management in these diverse classrooms.
I will also look at the differences between classroom management in less diverse environments and classroom management in more diverse environments. I will talk about my experiences observing classrooms and the differences between the classroom management strategies each teacher uses. Classroom management is a very critical part of teaching and having good classroom management in a more diverse classroom is a challenging task, but also a very important one. In more diverse environments especially, it is sometimes harder for teachers to have good classroom management.
Mainly because the students in more diverse settings tend to act out more or disobey the rules. If students feel like they are in an open and trusting community at school they are more likely to succeed and listen to the teacher’s directions. Building trust, engaging personal culture, confronting social dominance and social justice, transforming instructional practices, and engaging the entire school community is five very important strategies that make classroom management easier. Building trust is one of the most important strategies that help classroom management in more diverse environments.
Building trust entails being honest with students and having discussions about race and ethnicity with the entire class. Talking about students different cultures instead of just simply acting like they are not there. One teacher from the Apple Valley School District says, “I need to move beyond being color-blind. ” The main idea of this strategy is to establish positive leaning communities in each classroom. If the students feel like their cultures and ethnicity are accepted they will feel more comfortable. Trust is such an important thing to have in a classroom in order to be able to have good classroom management.
If the students feel like they can trust the teacher they will be more open and the teacher will have better control over his or her management (Howard, 2007). The second strategy is engaging in personal culture. This strategy is very important because it can be the difference between high school students dropping out of school or continuing on. The main reasoning of engaging in personal culture is to form authentic and effective relationships across differences. These relationships are very important to students who are going through school.
If students feel that their teachers do not care about them they are more likely to drop out of school. Forming relationships with your students is important in order to maintain good classroom management. If the students feel like you enjoy getting to know them and that you respect them then they are more likely to listen and follow directions. If students feel like you do not respect them and could care less about them they are more likely to disobey and possibly even drop out of school all together (Howard, 2007). Confronting social dominance and social justice is the third strategy to better classroom management.
This strategy is about making teachers aware of their surroundings and the issues that surround race and class. It forces teachers to think about race and class in a different way and causes them to better understand their students and what their students are going through. During this strategy teachers will come together and have discussions about race, class, gender, immigration, and other forms of diversity. They will open up and get a better consciousness about social dominance and diversity. This will help teachers teach their students better and make them more aware of what is going on around them (Howard, 2007). The fourth strategy is ransforming instructional practices. This strategy is crucial to having good classroom management. The main focus of this strategy is for teachers to shift their teachings to meet the diverse learning needs of students. Also, to use curriculum that honors each student’s culture. For example, if a teacher was working in a school district that was mainly a Spanish speaking area if the teacher had to send something home to the parents they could send one paper home in English and on the back have the same paper written in Spanish. This would make it a lot easier on parents and students of mainly Spanish speaking families.
This would also help classroom management because it is very important that your student’s parents understand you (Howard, 2007). The fifth and last strategy is engaging the entire school community. This strategy talks about how if you want to have good classroom management in diverse environments you not only have to involve the students, but also their parents. If the students are not getting any support from their parents it is hard for them to succeed. Teachers can help parents get more involved by sending home news letters and letting them know about any activates going on around the school.
Even though this might not always get the students parents involved it still good to try. It is a lot easier to have classroom management when the students feel supported by not only the teacher, but also by their parents (Howard 21). Also students in schools with a strong sense of community are more likely to be academically motivated (Schaps, 2003). I recently observed two different classrooms, one in a diverse environment and one in a less diverse environment. The classroom I observed that was diverse is in the Northeast school district in Reading and the less diverse classroom is in the Pleasant Valley school district in Brodheadsville.
The way the teachers in each of these schools manage their classrooms is completely different because of the diversity differences. The biggest difference I came across while observing these two classrooms was how serious each of the teachers has to be. From observing I realized how much harder it is to have good classroom management in more diverse classrooms. For example, in the more diverse classroom the teacher had to be very serious and the teacher in the less diverse classroom joked around a lot.
The teacher in the more diverse classroom had to be serious because the students were constantly acting up. The teacher did not have time to joke around because at every moment she had to keep her students on track of what they were supposed to be doing. They constantly needed guidance. When I was observing the less diverse classroom I saw that the teacher joked around a lot. He made funny references and was all around less serious and strict. This was because his students were better behaved. They did act up at certain times, but they were always quick to get back on topic.
Another thing that I realized was that the teacher in the diverse environment used all of the strategies that help classroom management and the teacher in the less diverse environment only used two of the strategies. There were a few kids in the less diverse environment that were diverse but the teacher did not recognize them. He did not confront social dominance and justice, transform practices, or engage school community. He just acted as if everyone was the same ethnicity and ignored all differences. Which, is not always the best way to act. When a teacher acts this way even though they are teaching all of the students the same.
Sometimes the students that are ethnically different can fall behind or feel as if they are not cared about. Where as the teacher in the diverse environment took advantage of her student’s differences and did all of the strategies, which helped her classroom management become better. By enforcing the strategies the classroom management becomes better because the students respect the teachers more and also usually listen better. The students and teacher benefit from using the five strategies. Keeping control of diverse classrooms is much more challenging than keeping control of less diverse classrooms.
There is a big difference between diverse and less diverse classrooms, that is why classroom management is so important. If the teacher in the diverse environment did not use the five strategies I think it would have been very hard for her to have good classroom management in her classroom. The teacher in the less diverse environment however was able to get away with not using the five strategies because his classroom was less diverse so the students were not as hard to handle. Achieving classroom management in diverse classrooms is a very important and challenging task.
Classroom management continues to be a serious concern for teachers and especially in urban and diverse learning environments (Milner 2010). Classroom management is so important in order to have a successful running class. It is easier to obtain classroom management in less diverse classrooms but there are five major strategies that help teachers achieve classroom management in diverse classrooms. I mentioned these strategies earlier, they are again building trust, engaging in personal culture, confronting social dominance and social justice, transforming instructional practices, and engaging the entire school community.
Without these five strategies it would be almost impossible to gain good classroom management in diverse environments. If a teacher did not use the five strategies it is possible that his or her classroom would not have very good classroom management, depending upon if the classroom was in a diverse environment or not. Like I mentioned earlier in my paper, classrooms in less diverse environments can often get away with not using the five strategies. This is because the students are easier to manage.
It is crucial however, for the teachers in the diverse environments to use the strategies. If in the future teachers decided not to use the strategies and instead decided to just ignore the differences between diverse and non-diverse environments it would cause major problems with classroom management. If a classroom had bad classroom management the students would suffer terribly. Some students would not care about their work, some would not listen, and some would just simply drop out.
If teachers did not have control over their classrooms the students would not have anyone to listen to or pay attention to. That is why classroom management is so important. There is a way however, to help classrooms in diverse environments have good classroom management and it is to use the five strategies. If teachers in diverse settings continue to use the strategies it will help not only the teachers, by making good classroom management easier to achieve, but it will also help the students because they will learn more if they are listening and paying attention to the teacher.
H. Richard Milner IV, B. T. (2010). Classroom management in diverse classrooms. Retrieved from http://uex. sagepub. com. ezaccess. libraries. psu. edu/content/45/5/560. full. pdf html Herbert Elizabeth, A. (1998). Design matters: How school environment affects children. Realizing a Positive School Climate, 56(1), 69-70. Howard Gary, R. (2007). As diversity grows, so must we. Responding to Changing Demographics, 64(6), 16-22. Schaps Eric. (2003). Creating a school community. Creating Caring Schools, 60(6), 31-33.