Archive for the ‘ Classroom Management ’ Category

Why Cheating Needs to be Addressed

In my own training setting (a software trainer for a private software company), cheating amongst my learners it not something I encountered as students are not given summative assessments. Formative assessments through practice and discussions is key. As well, often, individual learners are assessed together as how they work as a team and how they can collaborate is most important as they need to take that out of the classroom and into the workplace.

However, I did want to give my perspective on cheating for the educators out there that do run into this issue.

From the video in the last post, we saw how demotivating it was for an honest student to witness cheating.  In the video, an honest student receives a lower grade for not cheating and he feels as though he is being punished because cheating students are getting higher grades. However, cheating also impacts high achieving students, if you think about it. An honest student who puts in the effort to learn the course materials can be rewarded with an equally high grade, but he/she can still feel the injustice of having a classmate earn their grade through accademic dishonesty. This can create hostility in the classroom as the honest student may not feel comfortable speaking up against his classmate as you as an educator may have spent the time building a collaborative environment or the student may feel as though he/she is breaking some code amongst his/her peers.

As educators, we cannot be passive. If an honest student approaches us and tells us about an incident they’ve witnessed, we need to address it. We need to go beyond telling the honest student, “Well, their dishonesty will eventually get them out there in the real world.”  Some type of action needs to be taken to correct this behaviour and maintain classroom harmony.More posts about Academic Dishonesty to come. Watch for a post about instructional strategies to prevent and approach the issue.

Cheating in College

Cheating negatively affects honest students…and not only in the way of lower marks but also motivation. How do we as teachers manage the classroom and manage the dishonest behaviour of cheating in students? Is it something you need to manage in your classroom? How would it be different in adult education?

Introverted Students, Positive Learning Environments, and Classroom Management

This journal entry gives insights on introverted students. How do we create a positive learning environment for them? How do we manage the classroom so that they are included and recognized? After completing this entry, I actually found an additional related resource that would be worth visiting: http://www.transformativeclassroom.com/more.php?axi

Objective

“In the Ted Talks video,(http://www.ted.com/talks/susan_cain_the_power_of_introverts.html), Susan Cain shares her insight on introversion. Here’s the summary from the Ted Talks website:

In a culture where being social and outgoing are prized above all else, it can be difficult, even shameful, to be an introvert. But, as Susan Cain argues in this passionate talk, introverts bring extraordinary talents and abilities to the world, and should be encouraged and celebrated.

Cain discusses how school and work environments are geared towards stimulating extroverts, and ignore the low-key stimulation that introverts need.

Here’s the full video:

Reflective

Upon watching the video above, I thought, “Oh, thank goodness! Someone has finally said it!”

Interpretive

Much like Cain, I am more introverted, and have felt the pressures to be more extroverted. For instance, once upon a time, I was once in an impromptu meeting with senior executives to discuss the development of a training program. After the meeting, I emailed them some additional thoughts I had on what was said. Their reply was a professional scolding for not sharing these thoughts during the meeting. The senior executives used negative reinforcement to promote extroversion when I felt that I should have been given positive feedback for further exploring the ideas in a deeper manner– a natural activity for an introvert.

I didn’t always identify myself as an introvert. For a long time, I was in denial about this characteristic. This denial came from my need to be accepted in a society that values extroverts. I did everything I could to be a social and personable individual and ignored the uncomfortable feeling of being in a high-stimulation environment.

Because of the pressures to be extroverted, I chose to study Marketing and Communication in university. I thought that if I were surrounded by extroverts (typical of the Marketing and Communication disciplines) that I would somehow transform into a social butterfly. I also thought that I could become an outgoing individual if I studied these disciplines because the subject matter was about about interacting with the public and strangers.

When I obtained my degree, and started my career, I ended up being an educator (software trainer). The pressure to build rapport with strangers (i.e. my clients/learners) was so great that I had gone as far as Googling, “how to make small talk”. I suppose this search itself demonstrates how much of an introvert I am — engaging in research and deep thought ABOUT socializing versus taking the more extroverted approach and heading into a crowd and thriving from the energy and potential experience.

I believe at this point I realized that I was more of an introvert than an extrovert. The evidence was surmounting:

  • I prefer individual activities in my free time like reading, knitting, running, and yoga.
  • I find that I am mentally exhausted after socializing. Even being around large crowds of people is tiresome.
  • I find high-stimulation environments distracting.
  • I tend not to ask others about themselves as I feel that I would be intruding.

Now that I’ve watched Cain’s talk and have recognized the pressures that society has put on introverts, I feel the need to modify my teaching approach to create a positive learning environment that fosters both extroverts and introverts.

Currently, in my training sessions, introverted students are pressured to be extroverted in order to be considered good performers. All class activities are collaborative in nature. There are no activities where learners are independent (unless you get a session with one student). In the sessions, the trainers are constantly passing mouse control to students and facilitating group discussions.

Decisional

In creating a balanced menu of learning activities, my department will need to adopt and create tasks that stimulate introverts and extroverts. For example, we could pose a discussion question for learners to take with them to think about outside of the training session. In the next session, we would have students communicate their findings. The chance to reflect and think critically outside of class would satisfy the yearning of introverts to engage in deep thought, and the presentation of information in the following session would satisfy the stimulation that extroverts need. This is just one example. I feel my training team will need an arsenal of these activities. I will set up a brainstorming meeting. (By the way, I like how these journals give me so many great ideas for my team. My team members are often excited when I let them know my findings from these entries.)

However, what I should point out is that no individual is completely introverted or completely extroverted. So likely, these activities would not cause severe cases of anxiety in students.

Another action item would be to create a pre-course quiz that would actually let students know if they are more on the introverted or extroverted side. I know that many assume they are more of one over the other, but sometimes these results can be surprising. This information can be revealing because students who are actually more introverted may discover that they are actually behaving like extroverts because of societal pressures (which can be stressful for introverts). This can provide them with insight about how they learn best and give them a sense of ownership in helping the trainers mold the session to their needs. This empowers students to learn the way they want – which is an intrinsic motivator.

Classroom Management & Adult Education

What is Classroom Management?

Classroom Management is “the process of ensuring that classroom lessons run smoothly despite disruptive behavior by students. The term also implies the prevention of disruptive behavior.” (source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Classroom_management)

Disruptive behaviour from one student distracts the focus of other students. It negatively impacts learning.

Examples of Disruptive Behaviour

Here are examples of disruptive behaviour that I’ve seen from students:

  • Being late for class
  • Distracted by their mobile devices
  • Chatting amongst themselves
  • Interrupting the educator or other students

Before you move onto the next section, think about how you would handle these situations.

Strategies & Tactics for Managing Disruptions

The following resource provides an excellent table for handling disruptions.

http://www.4faculty.org/includes/108r2.jsp

To summarize, it looks at disruptions like the undermining of the instructor’s authority, leaving class too frequently, spacing out, cellphone distractions, monopolizing discussions, etc. We’ll be exploring these further in detail (relating it back to my training experience in later posts)

The solutions in the table encourage educators to recognize students as human beings, and to understand the behaviour at a deeper level. Read on for an example. I’ve taken a real life experience and have demonstrated how the solution is applied in such a scenario.

An Real-Life Example of Classroom Management

Here’s a classroom management situation that I’ve been in before. In one of my classes, I had a student who constantly interrupted me, asking about course content that would be discussed in later sessions or interjecting with how his own experiences related to the course content.

In managing this, I took the following steps:

  • Assess the source of this behaviour: For instance, is the student angry, excited, anxious? In my case, I could sense the student’s excitement. I also wasn’t afraid to ask the student questions about the current course materials to assess his feelings. For instance, at the end of the class, I may ask, “How did you feel about the course content we covered today?”
  • Validate the student: Show appreciation for their excitement. Let’s be real here, excited students are a gem. In my case, I told the student, “I’m really loving your energy and enthusiasm! It’s refreshing to see someone so gung-ho about what this software tool can do for them!”
  • Take action to correct the behaviour: This does not necessarily mean that we sit down and have a serious one-on-one talk to the student. There are soft approaches that can prove to be effective. In my case, I took better care to go back to the Course Agenda (where all the topics are laid out) to show what was covered and where we were going. I also devoted some time to explaining why the information was laid out this way. This was enough to correct the behaviour. I also adopted this technique in future classes as a preventative measure. As mentioned earlier, classroom management is about preventing disruptive behaviour as much as it is addressing it during class. I also ensured to incorporate more activities that would be an opportunity for the student to share his experiences and how it relates to the course.

What happens if that wasn’t enough and the student continued to display the disruptive behaviour? I would incorporate more strategies that allowed the student to become the expert on the knowledge. This would provide them with a deeper understanding of why the course content is laid out in the way it is. The Jigsaw Strategy comes to mind. This strategy would also allow the student to incorporate his experiences as example as an approach to teaching it to his jigsaw group. See this post about the Jigsaw Instructional Strategy.

So how did this match up with the table given in the resource in the previous section? In the table, it suggests in handling the student, we should do the following:

Many students are excited and talkative so it might be good to give them a few class periods to settle in. However, if it’s evident right away that this is a trend, it’s best to ask them to stay after class. You might approach them initially by saying that you are pleased with the amount of enthusiasm they have for discussion but were hoping that they have suggestions for getting the other class members equally involved. The student will most likely get your drift with minimal humiliation.

From this resource, it’s evident that I should also wait to see if the behaviour continues before addressing it. However, I feel preventative action can always be taken to ensure the class runs smoothly. Thus, I can still show the agenda more frequently and be more open about how the course I laid out. I also like the idea of asking the disruptive student to help in getting other students involved. This is using a very clever instructional strategy to promote active learning.

Looking for more posts about Classroom Management? Click the category in the sidebar! As well, be sure to check out the Resources menu (specifically, Other Resources) for more Classroom management resources.

Classroom Management – What is it?

Elaborate in the comments section!