This the repetitive nature of routine practice.

              This essaywill aim to critically analyse and evaluate upon my learning journey to date regardingbehaviour management. The will be achieved through critical reflection, basedupon a combination of both my own teaching practice within a year 3 classroom,hosting 30 children, at a large urban school and the key theoretical learningframeworks which have underpinned my teaching pedagogy. Particularly concerningthe behaviourist theory of B.F. Skinner and Albert Bandura’s social learning theory.               According to Ghaye (2011) and Zeichner and Liston(2013) reflection can be defined as the process of looking backwards toidentify both successes and failures within our actions and using thisknowledge to make meaningful improvements and facilitate change withinourselves.

Appleby (2010) andBolton (2010) further this point, adding that reflection also allows usto take the time to explore and ruminate upon our personal experiences,allowing us to re-experience and review events from not only ourown perspective, but the perspectives of different stakeholders as well,granting a greater understanding of our actions, their impacts and how we mightmeaningfully change them in the future. Within the teaching profession,reflection is particularly important since it is only through reflection that educatorsare able to develop the unique insights and understandings into their personalpractice that can allow them to make, maintain and extend their professionaldevelopment in the highly dynamic and responsive manner that is required ofthem in order to ensure thattheir teaching practice does not become overly ritualised or stagnant (Ghaye, 2011;Brookfield, 1995 and Pollard 2014). Schon (2014) elaborates on the importanceof reflection for teachers, explaining that without proper reflection the’ritualisation’ of teaching practice can, through repetitive and routineaction, draw teachers into a pattern of error they are unable to correct, born through the over learning oflesson material and the repetitive nature of routine practice. Building onthese ideas, Schon identified the concepts of reflection-in-action andreflection-on-action as a means by which teachers should reflect on theirprofessional practice. As such, throughout my teaching practice, I have worked to utilise both approaches, reflecting throughoutand after each day, a process which enables me now to effectively analyse andevaluate my progress in behaviour management to date.              According to Hart (2010),behaviour management is as an educational approach deployed within a classroomcontext, which is designed to first promote and later sustain a calm, wellcontrolled teaching environment, conducive to school-based learning. This goalis achieved through the effective and consistent deployment of both positiveand negative reinforcement strategies, aimed at promoting positive behaviourswhile simultaneously reducing opportunities for poor behaviours (Sandall et al, 2005).

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Pereira andSmith-Adcock (2011) elaborate that in order for these positive and negativereinforcement strategies to be truly effective, they should be centered on theideal of allowing children to take responsibility for their actions, be theypositive or negative. Providing children with the incentives and opportunitiesnecessary for them to both display andmaintain positive behaviours which are conducive to learning, whilesimultaneously learning from, and self-correcting their own, negativebehaviours (Paris and Paris, 2001). Effective behaviour management is essentialto good teaching pedagogy since withoutit the processes of teaching and learning can become exponentially much moredifficult and time consuming (Rogers, 2015). Indeed, research conduced by Departmentfor Education (2012) has shown that most teachers report regularly losing up tothirty percent of their teaching time to behavioural disruption, a figure whichby the end of the school year can equate to as much as 3 months of wastedteaching time for particularly challenging classes. It is because of thiscentral importance that I have decided to reflect upon my progress in behaviourmanagement to date.              When initially beginning my teaching practise Idisplayed a naive understanding of behaviour management which Pollard(2014) describes as early idealism.That is to say, I wanted to be liked by the children as well as respected bythem, wherever possible avoiding negative reinforcement in favour of positivereinforcement. Part of this had also resulted from a misunderstanding on mypart of B.

F Skinner’s theory of operantconditioning, the main theory which underpinned my practice. In his theory Skinnerdescribes the process of operant conditioning, a means by which behaviour canbe modified through the use of positive and negative reinforcement (Vargas,2014). What I had failed to realise was thatsuccessive research studies into this theory and its applications for theeducation system had consistently emphasised the importance of utilising bothforms of reinforcement simultaneously for the strategy to be truly effective (reference;reference). Almost immediately myapproach to behaviour management proved ineffective in dealing with thechallenges present within my class. Initial lessons were marred by notablelevels of low level disruption and this only began to worsen as children beganto realise that they were able to get away with these actions with fewconsequences. (reference)explains that when a teacher fails to adequately challenge undesirablebehaviours, those behaviours will not only continuebut will become more frequent and more pronounced as time goes on. True to thisassessment, the behaviour within my classroom did continue to worsen,particularly when I began to fail in following through with threatenedsanctions and became inconsistent in my use of positive praise. Yet someresearch was still seeming to support my practice.

(reference) explains that… (reference) elaborates that… .However, after several weeks of watching the classrooms behaviour deteriorate, itfinally became clear to me that my idealistic philosophy was incompatible with thelearning needs of the children I was teaching and that the studies I was basingthis philosophy on, perhaps because of their …… did not apply to the schoolcontext within which I was placed.               At the beginning of myplacement, it became clear to me that behaviour management more than any otheraspect of teaching was proving a serious concern for me. Indeed, this washighlighted throughout my early observations (see figure …)  and my initial PRP (see figure …). This issuewas worsened by the already behaviourally challenging nature of the childrenwithin my class, which alongside my initial unwillingness to follow throughwith negative sanctions and inconsistency in offering positive praise, asdiscussed earlier, became a potent combination.

From this evidence andreflections upon my strategies, it hadbecome clear to me that something had to change,since without effective behaviour management most other aspects of my practicewere also to suffer (reference). The opportunity and necessity for this changecame when my mentor was forced to take an extended absence away from the classfor several weeks and I was left covering the class alone. It was at this timethat the behavioural issues which had always been evident within my lessons became increasinglypronounced. Reflecting on a particularly poor first week teaching alone, Idecided it was time to fully embrace both aspects of B.

F. Skinners operantconditioning, with a particular emphasis on the negative reinforcement aspectof the theory I had initially neglected during my early practice. This wasbecause recent research had found that this aspect was far more effective atsparking initial behavioural changes than positive reinforcements which werebest suited to maintaining new positive behaviours and preventing regressionsin behaviour (reference). This change in behavioural approaches was graduallyintroduced over the course of a week and occurred in several stages. To begin Imade it very clear to the class what my expectations were going to be from thispoint on, with the introduction of clear and consistent systems for rewards andsanctions, grounded around the central concept operant conditioning. Thecentrepiece of this change was the ‘happy/sad list’ which was to be ever-presentwithin the classroom on the main whiteboard. The concept was a simple one, ifchildren were well engaged and well behaved they were added to the happy list,if they misbehaved or were disengaged they were added to the sad list. Oncenames were added to the lists, every point tallied against their name from thatpoint would represent 2 minutes of their lunchtime, be it losing time or goingout early.

This method would seek to incentivise positive behaviours throughoutthe lesson, not simply until the child’s name was on the board and would cometo represent somewhat of a competitive game for students to see who could tallyup the most points. When dealing with my initial negative behaviours from thispoint on I specifically began to make a point of following through with everydetail of threatened sanctions, one key example of this being the use of stopwatchto time the minutes I took away from students lunchtime so that they werecompletely aware that they would be made to wait for every second and not belet off easy or early, as had been endemic to my early practice. Additionally,I began to have private chats about behaviour following their sanctions in aneffort to try and determine the causes of these issues and how I might be ableto eliminate them. By the time my mentor had returned the low-level disruptionand frequent behavioural episodes endemic to my early lessons were almostentirely eliminated, unrecognisable from what they had been previously. In somecases, strategies and tricks I had developed during this time were found towork even better than my mentors own, a fact which was reflected throughout mylater observations and final PRP. I now feel more confident than ever in myabilities to maintain a solid presence within the classroom and elicit appropriatebehavioural changes through positive and negative reinforcement strategies.                In conclusion, the effective deployment of behaviour managementstrategies within a classroom environment, both in terms of positive rewardsand negative sanctions are essential to the process of effective teaching andlearning.

While I still believe I have a long way to go in order to trulymaster my behaviour management, particularly within the context of a newschool, classroom and key stage. From the evidence provided I believe it isclear that I have made great strides thus far within this area and hope tocontinue to do so through a combination of critical reflection and thecontinued application of new research strategies to my practice.  Of particular importance to me during thistime will be to cement my behavioural expectations and strategies as early aspossible into my new classroom.

It is my hope that solidifying my presencewithin the class as one of authority early on, will allow me to elicitbehavioural changes without the need for the challenges and difficulties Iinitially faced when I was forced to switch strategies mid-way through my firstplacement. This in turn will allow me to focus more specifically onstrength-based reflection, rather than deficit-based reflection, permitting meto further enhance my teaching practice. 

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