Being a new teacher with a new classroom management system, I will be constantly alert for data which will allow me to improve my classroom management philosophy and practice. The two major areas where successes or issues will become objectively apparent are in academic results and classroom behavior. A third critical area to assess is subjective, classroom atmosphere.
In some ways, the easiest area to track is classroom atmosphere. If my system is working correctly, students should be energized and moving quickly from task to task. There should be a minimum of disciplinary issues. What issues do occur should be evolutionary, in the sense of not repeating in the same way for the same students. Behavioral growth should be apparent. Students should be eager to take their roles in the classroom, whether leading a student-led center, acting as peer mediator, or being a messenger.
The biggest clue of problems in my system would be a general or specific lack of enthusiasm amongst the students. There are a number of subjective ways to track this including observing the speed at which students transition from one activity to another, the participation level in lessons (intensity and durastion of on-task discsusions, numbner of raised hands, etc.), and the comparitive excitement demonstrated when beginning a new lesson versus ending that same lesson.
Likewise, behaviorally, after an initial learning period of a few weeks, the class routine should flow smoothly and free from frequent or reoccurant disruptions. Behavioral issues should not be repeating in nature or in participants. They should also be relatively few in number and of important content. Conflict between students is natural and serves as an excellent learning opprtunity for all concerned. Simple disruptions and off-task behavior is an indicator that some aspect of the system is failing.
Finally, the breadth and height of classroom community academic success is an necessary barometer of success. If academic achievement levels fail to be high and or brioadly distributed, something needs rapid adjustment. Broad academic achievement is the central goal of any classroom and failure in this regard is serious.
The variety of issues that may occur preclude thorough discussion here. The most likely source of academic achievement difficulties is the lack of stimulation and relevance in the academic material. Done correctly, most students should be eager to absorb the material. Issues of breadth of academic achievement most likely lie in the lesson structure. In my system, breadth is driven in the student-centered classroom experiences. Lack of breadth can most likely be adjusted by adjusting students understand oof roles withing student-led groupings and/or readjusting those groupings to get better representation of all ability levels in each grouping. Problems of generally repeated behavior is an obvious cue to hold a classroom community meeting to discuss causes and solutions. Repeated behavioral problems in one individual or a small group of individuals would most likely be solved by careful exploration of the causes and solutions with those individuals. There may be issues outside of school, there may be actual behavioral disabilities, or there may simply be the need for more detailed and thorough educational exploration of behavior.
Success of this system should be fully apparent. The classroom runs smoothly. Students are motivated and happy. They are generally achieving at or above expectations. Those who are not remain fully engaged and fully supported by their peers. There should be a minimum of disruption and off-task behavior. What behavioral issues do occur should be quickly and easily remedied through the efforts of the classroom community and teacher. Any exceptions to this expectation are indications of flaws which need discovery and adjustment.