Only a minority of people connect business and teaching with classroom management, however I get the feeling that even those people think that my management experience will help me control my students into good behavior and grades. It would be a waste of my time if all my work over the past three years amounted to me being a better task-master. But what does a good manager do? I did not want to forget, so organized everything I know about management into the following flowchart.
So how can this help classroom management? I found the following excerpt in a study onGoal Setting and Self-Efficacy on Self-Regulated Learning:
Each week for 4 weeks, junior high students selected spelling words or math problems from a list of moderately difficult words or problems (Tollefson et al., 1984). Following the study, students predicted how many they would answer correctly on a test. The goal and a study plan were stated in a written contract, which was intended to help students take personal responsibility for their actions and highlight that effort enhances achievement. After each test, students charted their scores and made an attribution for the outcome. Compared with no-treatment controls, goal-setting students gave more effort attributions and set more realistic goals as measured by the goal-performance discrepancy.
This goal setting may have had significant short-term results, but I will make the claim that it is not the most effective way to manage a classroom. I will go as far as saying that the practices used in this study are the best way to manage a classroom incorrectly. I don’t think that students get the best out of that environment. It is like they are being pushed through something undesirable. I don’t mean to make a red herring fallacy but if my claim has any meaning then the students will do the bare minimum to get through their education so that it is over with as soon as possible.
The job of a manager is to get the best out of his people and solely being a task master does not cut it. I claimed in an earlier blog post that the purpose of education is to enrich life by fostering passions and preparing individuals for their career. Task-masters don’t foster passion and only prepare for careers of manufacturing. I want professors who will meet with me at the beginning of the semester to set learning goals and gameplans that are specific to my life. I want professors who I can regularly meet with to discuss my performance, understanding and personal goals. I want a professor who can engross me in the scientist lifestyle. I want a professor who is a good role model, for whom even when my intrinsic curiosity dwindles and motivation for grades stops I won’t want to dissapoint. There are so many students that just need to be pushed a little bit. It is ridiculous to think that a normal person can keep up a high level of motivation from kindergarten through grad school and a good manager can do this.
I plan on being the teacher that I always wanted. I will have trouble being the teacher that other types of students always wanted, but I am up for that challenge too. Whiteboarding and standards based grading seem to fit my management style perfectly. Whiteboarding has an emphasis on the process of science which is all about curiosity. With whiteboarding I will be able to foster this curiosity in students. I plan on setting individual learning goals with my students and checking up on them regularly. These goals will be to master different aspects of science. I will have strict guidlines from the administration, however I am hoping that I can allow students to explore their own tangents. I had good high school teachers, but I never saw them learn something. How can someone foster curiosity and passions if they don’t have any themselves? Every one of my students will know that I am a huge Star Wars fan and I will often share my learning projects with them whether it is learning advanced math that I never got to in college or learning how to write the novel that I always wanted to make.
Not all of my management flow chart can be used in education. Teachers can’t fire students as illustrated by this story, but contrary to the article, there are no bad students. Getting people to be the best they can be is an artform that has the same foundation whether it is in business or education.