|Reflective Professionals (Agents of Change) proactively establish positive relationships with and among their students. They create safe and caring learning environments and present to them relevant and meaningful curricula. Reflective Professionals (Agents of Change) encourage and model behaviors supportive of the democratic society of which their students are a part. And as necessary, they employ appropriate techniques to respond to student behaviors.
Classroom management involves all those actions by a teacher which affect student learning and behavior. The faculty of the School of Education at IU Northwest believes that effective classroom management is achieved through proactive means (Glasser, 1997, 1998). Reflective Professionals (Agents of Change) can maximize student involvement and minimize student disruption. Purkey and Novak (1996) emphasized that effective classrooms are inviting classrooms, where teachers intentionally invite the active participation of their students in the learning process. That is, the teachers exhibit behavior which invites students to belong and to learn. Harmin (1994, p.2) encouraged all teachers to “aim for a fully inspirational classroom.” He envisioned an effective classroom as one in which students are treated with dignity, where students are involved, and that they are self-managing and self-motivated.
Henderson (1992) proposed that the first characteristic of reflective teaching is the ethic of caring. He noted that caring teachers try to understand their students—both the students as individuals as well as; answers to their questions. The faculty in the SOE believes this is important for all students, especially students with disabilities (Wigle & DeMoulin, 1999). Borich (1992) proposed that motivation is the first step in preventing behavior problems in the classroom. The faculty, therefore, model and encourage their preservice teachers to motivate students by designing lessons which are age- and developmentally-appropriate, as well as meaningful and relevant to their students (Wigle & Manges, 1995)
The IU Northwest faculty subscribe to the belief postulated by Dewey (1916) that the school is the place where children are prepared for citizenship. They carry out that belief by modeling and encouraging the use of classroom methodologies that promote active and cooperative learning, meaningful activities, and mutual feelings of dignity and respect.
Recognizing that for various reasons classroom disruptions do occur, the faculty realizes that teachers must be prepared to effectively deal with misbehavior and must do so with as little additional disruption as possible. Curwin and Mendler (1988) claim that classroom rules are important, but they are often overemphasized. They proposed that rules based upon principles and enforcement that included consequences were far more important to the achievement of long-term behavior change. The IU Northwest faculty encourages their preservice teachers to create classroom environments and procedures that minimize disruption, but then to respond to disruptions as they occur with prescribed consequences and suggestions for improvement (Eggen & Kauchak, 2001; Evertson, Emmer, Clements & Worsham, 2000).
- This conceptual theme is most aligned with INTASC Principle 5: The teacher uses an understanding of individual and group motivation and behavior to create a learning environment that encourages positive social interaction, active engagement in learning and self-motivation. It also parallels Principle 7 that focuses on the knowledge of subject matter, students, the community, and curriculum goals.