Comparing Educational Theorists

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When going into your own classroom as a transitional licensed teacher, theories are often overlooked. However, they are very important when developing a proper classroom management plan. Throughout the duration of this course, many theorists were introduced to give a broader insight and ideas as to how to create a successful classroom management plan. This paper will introduce two of those theorists, the ideas behind their theory, and ways I hope to introduce pieces of each theory into my own classroom. By doing this, I hope to become a more successful and prepared teacher as a way to better educate tomorrow’s leaders.

Throughout Education 320, many theorists have been discussed. Learning of these theorists has given myself an insight of how to become a better educator to the children in my classroom. There is no one theorist that I could truly say, “That is exactly how I want my class ran”, rather many ideas from several theorists that I can pick and choose to create a management plan that fits myself as a teacher. Teachers are always looking for new ideas to help create a more productive classroom management plan. Two theorists that I really enjoyed and could gather ideas from would be Thomas Gordon and B.F. Skinner. These two theorists are two of the more popular theorists, and for great reason. Their ideas are incorporated into many classrooms nation wide. The ideas between the two theories compare and contrast in many ways, and many of my ideas to use in the classroom come from both Gordon and Skinner.

Thomas Gordon’s theory is Teacher Effectiveness Training. “Gordon has developed a classroom management model that focuses on character training rather than rewards and punishments. The focus of this method of managing student behavior is mutual respect and lack of dictatorship in the leadership role. Instead, the teacher is an equal with the students and manages behavior through mutual agreements and problem-solving.” (Wagaman) By showing respect to the students the teacher is promoting the student taking responsibility of his own behavior. In my opinion, you are asking the student to have the will power to control how they act in the classroom and in turn how to act outside of the classroom. I personally like the idea of having students take responsibility at the secondary level. High school is a time when students are known to take the next step in becoming a responsible adult. Many students begin driving, start their first job, or even commence their first serious relationship. All of these privileges come with responsibility. By teaching this idea in the classroom, one would hope that the students learn the proper way to grow and mature as a human being. However, there are times when rewarding students can help promote proper behavior as well. Many people, including myself, tend to work harder if there is a prize waiting at the end. From a personal stand point, at the end of the classes that I am required to take, I will receive my teaching certification. That alone is a great reward, yet, without proper self-control and motivation that would not be possible. As a teacher, I do not believe you want the students to constantly work towards a reward, but by placing rewards along the way the students can truly appreciate their dedication and hard work.

B.F. Skinner introduced the theory of Behavior Modification. “Through the use of reinforcement, behavior modification techniques can develop a new behavior, maintain or strengthen an existing behavior, stop an inappropriate behavior or modify an emotional behavior.”(Aiger) This theory teaches rewards for proper behavior and consequences for misbehavior. The idea behind the theory is when a positive behavior is expressed that rewarding the action will promote the behavior to occur more often, and using consequences will prevent the behavior from occurring again. I believe this theory is great for elementary...
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