Students in early years rely on the direction of teachers in regards to their safety, curriculum learning, classroom rules and behaviour. At a grade 5 level, a teacher ideally would take on a coach/mentor role enabling students to become increasingly independent and responsible for their learning. During the short transitional phase from early childhood to adolescence, young people are establishing themselves as increasingly autonomous. (Erikson, 2012; Smith &Bentley, 2010). However with the range of cognitive and behavioural levels as well as students with additional needs, a Classroom Management Plan (CMP) needs to support all students and not just the general level.
General Classroom Management Plan
Grade 5 students are extremely sensitive as they experience many changes (physical, emotional, cognitive, social and spiritual). Education is not just about pedagogical content knowledge but engaging and supporting students as they learn and problem solve through various life challenges. (Smith & Bentley, 2010; Gardner 1995). Although teachers need to be aware of the concrete operational stage students (Piaget, 1970), there are students at other level. Accepting student differences (in all areas of development) and teaching accordingly rather than assuming all grade 5’s have the same needs is vital. As a teacher it is necessary to ensure all students have a positive view of themselves despite their differences, feel supported and work towards strengthening all areas of their development (multiple intelligences and individual learning experiences). (Erikson, 2012; Gardner; 1995; Hattie, 2012).
Strategies to support motivation and self-regulated learning Recent practical experience supports the CMP regarding student autonomy although it is difficult to undertake. Many students cannot rely (for various reasons) on parent guidance in their schooling. At this forth stage of psychosocial development students desire to take more responsibility in their pursuit to fit in. (Erikson, 2012) As teachers, the role is to value all students taking into consideration their circumstances, behavioural or learning issues (e.g. trauma, family dynamics, autism, hormonal effects etc.). Teachers have specifically met with individual students to assess behavioural and academic needs as well as spending time with them. Their aim is to motivate student autonomy whilst supporting them, highlighting their capabilities and achievements. (Bandura,1994). Although this may be the best approach in theory, there were students who needed redirecting techniques or prompts as they were unable to demonstrate self-regulated autonomy. Reminding students regularly was a team effort and took time. Time which may have been better spent focusing on other areas. Jean Piaget, when talking about cognitive development promotes the idea that a young person’s learning is an independent process. (O’Donnell, 2012) Therefore being flexible and allowing individual learning to occur is essential to minimise areas where students may feel overwhelmed or anxious. However the practicalities need further consideration and implementation into a CMP.
Rules and Values
Student autonomy is important also as it allows responsibility in the areas of their rights, and classroom rules. When they have ownership, they are more likely to value and accept the outcomes. Boundaries and establishing rules however should be set for all regardless of their cognitive, emotional or social development levels. At this age, most students grasp faith and justice therefore when guided appropriately students will discover that fair positive outcomes occur according to their right choices. (Fowler, 2006) However saying this, students do need constant reinforcement and reminding. Christian values can be found in both Christian and non-Christian schools and taught (not necessary bringing God into the picture) as the aims...