Mr Whiskers

What type of classroom management do you favor? Why? What will you do if your style is different from your master teacher(s)?

I am a firm believer in non-disciplinary approaches to classroom management in a 5th grade classroom. I believe one core contribution I make to my students is teaching them life skills. I believe (a la Alfie Kohn) that punishments and rewards teach selfishness. This is because in a rewards system, a student’s behavior is linked to a student getting stuff, good stuff and bad stuff. Students learn “If I do this, I get that” with little or no link to intrinsic logic. To teach more effective life skills, discipline needs to be internally motivated. This may appear harder than just using external methods, but my experience is external methods don’t actually change behavior. They just moderate it. Instead, I would start day one with teaching Lawrence Kohlberg’s stages of moral development and apply that as a template to discussions of behavior in the classroom. I also believe that most misconduct stems from boring and/or irrelevant lessons. My goal would be to make my lessons sufficiently relevant and interesting such that inability to participate in lessons is sufficient incentive to act in a socially responsible manner.

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