Week 9: Positive Learning Environments

Here are the instructions for Week 9:

This week there is only one page which is divided into three connected topics.

First of all you need to listen to Roz’ s lecture, read the text (ch 13) and then the PDF of a US teacher report.

  • As a warm up and a discussion starter,  consider the elements of this U.S. Report.  Do you think that a similar report could be written about schools in your State? (consider the headings in the Report like “Degraded School Culture” and “Punitive, Reactive Approach to Discipline”  etc). Have you any evidence for your opinion- perhaps a newspaper report? Sometimes Teachers’ Union organizations report on issues of school culture and discipline. What do you think constitutes a school culture? Can you find any material to support your views?
  • From your own perspective and experience as a school student or a parent or as a participant/employee in a school environment do the contents of this report bear any relationship to your own or to your children’s school experiences? Give an example or respond to someone elses anecdote and say what you would have done if you had been the class teacher. Bear in mind the lecture you have listened to and the reading you have done and refer to it where you can.  Before you blog, think through the implications of your imagined actions on the child, the teacher, the parent, the administration and the school culture as a whole. Bloggers can comment on these scenarios and make further suggestions if they wish.

Towards the end of this week’s blogging- say Monday or Tuesday, consider the following question together:

  • Why do you think that sound classroom management is important? As a result of your reading, viewing and discussion so far, what elements do you believe a teacher should consider when planning for a positive, happy and effective classroom?

Your 500 word journal reflection should be about something that you have learned this week through your reading, discussion and interaction on this blog. Place it on your wiki by midnight, 2nd February, WST.

646 Responses to Week 9: Positive Learning Environments

  1. skelly1989 says:

    For students to have a postive learning environment, it is essential, that all students feel safe, welcome and equal.
    As Gordon counselling approach suggests, teachers must be sensitive, accepting and non critcal. This will allow students to feel able to share problem and issues that they have, with the teacher.
    A teacher must try and understand the core of the problem and must own the problem when the situation arises. It is sometime difficult for a teacher to accept that they are the course of the problem. This is a nessacary componet of being a successful teacher and providing a positive learning environment for students.

    As the following You tube video states, a classroom space must be maximised, providing “cosy area’s” where student feel safe to develop disscussion and express ideas or feelings.

    This video also expresses the importants of making students achievements stand out in a class room. As this encourages students to continue working and providing work that can be place on display. Some schools do this by having netural coloured walls and funiture, and colourful work that the students have completed. This allows for the work to stand out and catch the students eye.

    A positive learning environment is important for all students as it encourages learning and ensures all students have equal oppinunitys.

    • jessbrezic says:

      Thans for the video link!! Really enjoyed watching it :)

      • Jodie Mackrell says:

        Great video thanks! It was interesting the involvement of natural aspects. I have always felt that wood and nature do in fact make you feel more homely!

        Thanks Jodie

      • seldering says:

        I agree what a fantastic video…….Thankyou for posting it. I love the way colour and design are shown to have an impact on a students learning. I believe stimulation is very important and colours, posters and other information around a classroom can stimulate students.

    • amay7 says:

      I enjoyed watching your video. Its great for information on classroom settings, It shows just how much colour and decoration is needed for children. I would have thought they love as much colour as possible, but I now see that it would be distracting for them if there is too much.

      • Vicki E says:

        Hi, did anyone notice that the i-lecture on managing postive learning environments was the wrong one – Rozz was lecturinga bout individual differences.

        The slides were about learning environments though – strange…

      • 12wendy34 says:

        I noticed the i-lecture was different depending which bandwidth was chosen. 128k was managing positive learning environments and 400k was individual differences!!

      • ashleighgoss says:

        I had the same thought as you. I thought that having bright colours on the wall from student’s work etc. would be stimulating but now I can see that it could have the potential to be distracting. Thanks a lot for posting that link.

    • biancaflame says:

      Just watched the video link. Very interesting to listen about different strategies to use in the classroom to make it inviting and positive. Keeping the furnishings and walls a neutral colour so that the students work on the walls stands out is a great idea. I have been into some primary school classrooms where there is a lot of colour and ‘stuff’ everywhere, you do not know where to look first. The youtube video also mentioned that the use of harsh strip lighting does not provide for a positive classroom environment, therefore it would be beneficial to have access to a lot of natural light as much as possible. I believe, in relation to delivering a lesson, that teachers need to consider what the students need to learn but to also include what is nice to learn as well. This will also depend on the individual interests of students. Having sequence and order when delivering a lesson makes it much easier for students to understand the content and basically the whole structure of the lesson. Being albe to communicate with your students on their individual level is important to creating a positive learnng environment.

      • 29muz says:

        I like the ideas of making the walls neutral coloured as well because it allows the child’s individuality to come across through the work that they complete. Also natural light is so important because of the environment that it creates for the students within the classroom.

    • francinefield says:

      Loved watching the video link! very interesting! thanks for posting it!

    • melissabraszell says:

      I thought your blog was very interesting and it made me think…. we as adults have this perception of what children want eg, bright colours. I decided to look into this a bit more and found this Youtube video where students were given the option to design their own furniture and classroom and I must say it backs up everything you have written about. The students wanted warmer colours for example.
      Here it is… and it just reiterates that we should include children in their learning.

      • rek58vn says:

        Your You tube video gave us a great insight into what we can expect in classrooms of the future. Hopefully the days of the same stereotypical classroom furniture and the way it is arranged will be a thing of the past. It would be wonderful to have furniture that can be arranged simply and quickly to accommodate various group and whole class learning situations. Students need to play a bigger role in how their classroom environment should look. If the environment suits them and they can claim a sense of ownership then they will respect it more and respond in a more positive working manner. This of coarse is only one of the factors that leads towards good classroom management .

      • mandykersley says:

        Thanks for posting this you tube video, I really enjoyed it and only wish my schooling years were in such creative classroom environments. I personally would have been more engaged in school work if the furniture was new, neat and tidy and flexible.

      • georgina15221993 says:

        That was a really interesting clip re the classroom furniture. i love how they can be set up in so many ways, as each class is different.

      • clover says:

        Thankyou Melissa for posting this you tube video. It was very interesting and thought provoking. An environment that the children have an input in creating is a very positive approach to designing learning environments. The students take pride in the creation as well as respect for their learning space, all round a fantastic idea :)

      • aneenlamble says:

        Very interesting – great find on youtube

      • jmck52 says:

        I love this video and what a dream to have a class like that. But unfortunately thats a dream, 1st the class’s are no where near that size and 2nd that would cost a fortune. One of the best classes I have seen was set up like normal but the teacher brought in an old couch and covered it. Next to it he brought in a heap of books he owned and the year 4-6 kids would lounge on the couch chatting and reading.
        Government needs to get its priorities straight and fit out the classes we have like this instead of demolishing oldish classrooms and then rebuilding them.

      • yasmintoivonen says:

        Thanks Melissa – what a great video, a real eye opener. Just wished they had included footage of when the students did actually walk in and see their new classroom furniture for the first time! Very thought provoking as to what we, as future teachers, can do to make out students feel welcome in their own classroom to maximise their learning experiences.

      • briannat86 says:

        Thankyou for posting this you tube video. It definatly opens the mind about how future classrooms can be designed, and one of the many ideas we can work on achieving to help students have a happy, safe learning environment in a process they have the opportunity to be part of.

      • tanya Chaffey says:

        really interesting video, it made me enthusiastic about getting into a real classroom and seeing how the children would like to have it set up, decorated etc. In my years of schooling it was about rows, front, middle and back. ( not to mention the desk in the hall or in front of the principals office). I was obviously the A- grade student up the front with the apple for the teacher as she came in of a morning. lol..
        Giving students ownership of their classroom layout and design is a fantastic idea and displays just how far education has come!.T

      • heidioverall1 says:

        great video link! I love to see what others think a classroom should look like… it gives great ideas for us all in the future.

      • jcsimpson75 says:

        Thanks Melissa, I am associasted with a very small school and we try to do some of theses things in our classrooms. We have fearly basic coloured furniture, and in one classroom a parents donated an old couch that is in the middle of the class used for group work or reading. In the smaller class (Prep/one) the teacher has bought in a play tent the kids can chill out in to read or communicate without every one watching. Every term the teachers change the format of their tables and ask were the children want to sit, and who the want to sit next to within reason. Most classrooms have basic decoration (mainly due to cost) but this is good as the students work is displayed around the class. One teacher had a wall the was labled “oour best work” and if a student thought that a particular piece of work was their best and they really felt positive about it they could display it on that wall.

      • jennydinh says:

        This is a great idea that would certainly be a model for the future trends in classroom layout. The flexibility given to layout is great for students and teachers alike. The ability to change the layout can be a factor in maintaining interest. The ownership factor given to these students will reduce the amount of damage to furniture and shift the focus to learning and creativity. I hope I don’t sound negative but one difficulty would be obtaining funding from the education department especially in the areas of most need .

      • Sarah Harris says:

        I agree with the other posts above – we tend to generalize that students want a brightly coloured classroom, what an interesting thought. I loved the furniture – wish all classrooms allowed such flexibility for creative thinking and design – allowing seamless movement from group work to individual work – amazing – who knows maybe in a few years we will be so lucky to have classrooms like that.

      • nicolebausch says:

        What a great video melissa, I loved it. i particularly liked how flexible it all is and that they talked to both students and teachers about what they wanted in their learning environments

      • karon92 says:

        What a fantastic video! Thanks Melissa. I think flexibility is the key when it come to classroom design and positive learning environments. It was interesting to find out that the students wanted a more corporate feel, without bright colours.

      • nicolebausch says:

        After reading the teachers talk repot I was in a state of shock. I new violence was common in American schools due to constant news reports, however I never new how inadequately they were dealing with the problem. It appears that there is a serious lack of communication between the teachers and the Department of Education, as their policies are vastly different to the reality of occurrence in the school environment. As stated in the report the principles are not ensuring that their implementation of DOE policies are correctly aligning with the individual school and they are not communicating with the teachers to ensure that the schools policies are effective. Staff meetings rarely take place and teachers are not consulted about practicality or their opinions. The statistics on suspension and cultural discrimination are alarming to say the least. The teachers clearly feel that the current system is failing both the students and themselves and yet nothing is being done about it.

        If we consider the mass shootings in schools that have taken place in recent years in the U.S it is evident that the current policies are in place to counteract public opinion that schools are not a safe environment. However, the DOE and the principles have failed again to acknowledge the actual problem. These students need professional support and different avenues and options prior to a serious event taking place. They obviously feel that the solution to prevention of violent crimes in schools is to employ police officers and SSA’s to police the school environment, use metal detectors and to suspend or eradicate students for serious and minor offenses. As the statistics have shown and the teachers are agreeing, this is completely counterproductive and is actually exasperating the situation. The DEO needs to pay attention to this situation and rectify the problem as soon as possible. Rather than wasting valuable funding on police, SSA’s and metal detectors they need to spend the money on establishing smaller class sizes, training teachers and provide extra counselors and social workers.

        I was under the impression that Victorian schools are nothing like this. I think this belief is due to my own experiences in the catholic school system. I never experienced or heard of any violence in either of the schools I attended. The teachers at these schools always had discussions with the student if any behaviours had changed to ascertain the problem and offer any help that they could. However after reading several of the blocks I was amazed to learn that I was living in a naive world. There is a lot of violence occurring in Victorian schools and there was an article about a 12 year old boy in Queensland that killed a fellow student. This made me think about the state of our school system and went to investigate if the local schools in my area were experiencing any of this violence. I went and spoke with my 14 year old niece who attends the local public school in our area. I was expecting her to tell me that there was little violence at her school as she had never mentioned it to me before. To my surprise she casually explained to me that students get beaten up on a regular basis. She explained that other students find it amusing and video it on their mobil phones to show friends later or place on the internet. Apparently the majority of these physical fights were between girls and a friend of hers had been expelled last year after brining a knife to school. Dumfounded I continued to ask her questions, particularly about how and why these fights started. She said that they were usually over boys, dirty looks or rumours. I then asked her about the child who had brought the knife to school. She explained that the student had no intention of using it on anyone else but herself. The student had a very difficult home life and her mum had walked out on her last year. I asked my niece if the teachers talked to her about any of this and provided her with any support, she said they did not, they simply expelled her and were probably looking for an excuse to get ride of her as she was a trouble maker.

        I could not believe what I had just heard and how naive I had been in my beliefs about our safe Victorian schools.

        I also believed that schools would not suspend or expel students unnecessarily as they did in the US. However, again I was incorrect. Below Is a link to the Department of education and early childhood development VIC about student discipline.
        http://www.nmr.vic.edu.au/index.php?page=tea_sae
        if you then click on the link below, you can view the long list of offenses that warrant suspension or expulsion, some as simple as disrupting the learning of others. Thank goodness my teachers did not implement this, as I may have never been able to attend school.

        http://www.eduweb.vic.gov.au/edulibrary/public/stuman/wellbeing/conduct.pdf

        On a positive note they do state that no student is to be suspended for longer than 10 consecutive days and they can not be suspended for longer than 20 days for the entire year.

        Victoria does have smaller classroom sizes and most are presented with opportunities to gain professional development and training on classroom management. Lets hope we never get to the stage where our children are walking through metal detectors to get to their classroom and are walking the halls alongside policeman.

      • smile234 says:

        In my daughters grade 3 class the students help the teachers design the layout of the furniture. Once this is done, they then take it in turns to choose where the students seats will be. My first thought was imagine a child that doesn’t like you putting you next to someone that you don’t like. But the funny thing is, the students actually take this all very seriously. As they say, ‘what goes around, comes around’. I think it is a great idea to give the kids some responsibility for their environment. This will assist in gaining students respect for their environment and also give them some accountability for their decisionmaking skills.

      • jeskie13 says:

        This video is definately an eye-opener. I would have assummes primary colours would have been what students would want also. However it is very helpful to know what students want, and what environent makes them most comfortable. In oder to manage a classrooom efffectively, it is crucial to create a warm and enviting classrooom environment; one that students will want to be a part of. I think this company are definately on to something grand for future classroooms!

      • Kirsty Moore says:

        very interesting video – thanks for posting.
        I guess the other thing to remember is that all students and therefore all classes are not the same – some kids will prefer something different to others in order to work productively, learn and feel comfortable in doing so!
        As teachers we need to know our students in many respects and somehow cater for them ALL to facilitate learning.
        Basically it’s great to have all this knowledge out there about positive learning environments but we need to learn how to interpret this in relation to ‘our kids’ and be able to adapt it and modify it to integrate it in to our classrooms………………..not an easy task I’m thinking!

      • 15209630caz says:

        Great video, it’s so good for the children that they were able to have input towards the design of their classroom. I only wish classrooms were this great when i was at school. The fact that the furniture is able to be moved and changed so many different ways is great keeps the children intrested!!
        Caz

      • adaday23 says:

        This is a great video, thank you for sharing!
        I hope that future classrooms will accommodate students being able to have their say in how their classroom environment is set out.

      • benjaminamather says:

        WOW! great tube video. I’d imagine this was being catered for a private school as I can’t imagine the government would like to part from their money on this one. Wish I had the opportunity to have a great learning environment like this one.

      • emma89pavez says:

        That was a great video and a really interesting one too. My primary years always had the same layout and high school was the same. I wish my classrooms could have been as interesting as the ones I just saw. The wheels on chairs and tables are a fantastic idea!!!! Easy way to re-arrange the rooms.

      • cassieuretir says:

        I think giving the students a voice in how their classroom is set up is a fantastic idea. the students are doing the learning, not the teachers/school committee/government agencies, so why should we ‘decide’ their visual environment??
        Although it would be wonderful if all schools had the funds to involve designers and access large funds in order to create these environments, sadly it isn’t so. I do believe though, that through enquiry and communication with students we can still create physical/visual learning environments that are suitable to the needs and interests of our students (without costing big dollars).
        Thanks for the link – the video reiterates the point that students must be involved in choosing the settings in which they are to learn and grow!!

      • Ash says:

        I agree, fantastic video. The way education is evolving is amazing and this video can also relate to other aspects of education. All about ownership! when kids own something they look after it. for example; Classroom management. Helping create the rules for the classroom creates a sense of ownership. therefore they are more inclined to respect them.
        Just a thought :)

      • rmsk21 says:

        This is a great video Melissa, classroom designs are actually happpening around the suburb of Victoria in which I live, and they are fantastic! One is a private college and the other two have a P/P (Private/Public) partnership.
        The third Victorian school has just opened it’s doors this year, my two children will be attending and I am very excited to see this new campus operate.

      • johnstarz3 says:

        All well and good, but imagine the costs involved. What school budget can afford to deck out all the clalssrooms with new furnishings.

      • avishaij says:

        I really enjoyed this clip as it brings a whole new dimension to classroom setout and enviroment. Bringing the students into planning the design not only does it give them the positive enviroment, it also gives them the possibility of creativity.

      • klfedder says:

        Loved watching the youtube video. If we include the students on important things such as the surroundings of their rooms, and let them have a say as well as including them with the run and rules of the classroom, we will have harmonious productive learning environments. Thankyou

      • Wow thanks for the post Melissa, this is fantastic. Would love to see the children’s faces walking into that room for the first time. Certainly is the wow factor, but how versatile, and so many different ways you could make the configurations work! Thanks for sharing, this very inspiring, and hopefully something that will become common in the future.

      • CarmelHetrelezis says:

        Thanks for sharing this video, what an amazing classroom! I know I would have been more motivated at school if that’s what mine looked like. I agree with the idea, teachers may need to take a step back and look at what their students want. Not only is it going to give them a sense of ownership and pride in their classroom, it will help set a positive and happy tone every time they walk in. Fantastic find Melissa.

      • chetrelezis says:

        Thanks for sharing this video, what an amazing classroom! I know I would have been more motivated at school if that’s what mine looked like. I agree with the idea, teachers may need to take a step back and look at what their students want. Not only is it going to give them a sense of ownership and pride in their classroom, it will help set a positive and happy tone every time they walk in. Fantastic find Melissa.

      • erinhenn1 says:

        WOW!!! What a fantastic concept! If only I had seen this video before completing the group assessment. Not only do the students feel comfortable and the learning environment is adaptable to different learning situations, but the students, in this kind of environment would, I believe feel more able to be responsible for their learning.

      • lisaward79 says:

        Allowing students to designed their own classroom is a great idea. This creates a positive, warm and safe environment for students and also assists with a more flexible learning environment. Great video.

      • bloorbirds says:

        Hi Melissa,

        this was a brilliant video. the benefits of not only working in a classroom like this but the advantages to the children would be wonderful. As a teacher you could change the classroom around to suit your needs and the students can have input into the best way they would like the classroom to suit their own learning needs. It would certainly make it a very happy, positive and productive classroom for both teacher and students.. I would only see it happening in a private school unfortunately. Public schools do not have the resources to be able to accomodate it.

    • georgina15221993 says:

      Interesting video. Makes sense, yet contradicts what I would have initially thought about having brightly coloured furniture, accessories in a classroom. I love it.

      • tashahas says:

        Lost my blog yesterday due to internet connection problems due to the cyclone up north, so I will post again today. Great video. I really like the layout of the classroom. The colours are great and definately warm. A great, warm, welcoming, learning enviroment for students. I wish my classroom was more like this, unfortunately we had all grey, very drab and institutional-like.

    • vinniejohn says:

      great video, thanks for putting that up

    • jdeh says:

      really good video!

    • Dominique Kropf says:

      For anyone who needs some laughs, I highly recommend the DVD of the series titled “7 Periods with Mr Gormsby”. It highlights some of the silly sides of our education department and it is very funny…but be prepared for some controversial stuff too!

    • kevinjjcarpenter says:

      Safe. That is definitely the vital word here. A great video, thanks!

    • meandmissymoo says:

      The you tube video is great and gave me some insights on positive learning environments – I believe students will learn anywhere as long as they feel comfortable and safe and are treated the same. I know some days my daughter comes home from third grade upset because the teacher seems to favor certain students over others and it is so hard to watch it happen but not much you can do but just hope teachers will treat them the same … thanks for sharing the link ….

    • Morgan says:

      Great video! Watching stuff like this makes me excited for when I can make changes and be in charge of my own class!

      • cassieuretir says:

        agreed! And it shows that we (and our students) don’t have to stuck amongst sterile classroom settings, or colour vomit/overload year in-year out!!
        Very exciting!

    • shelleyparsons says:

      Good summary Skelly and a great Youtube video. I agree that Gordons counselling approach really does offer some simple strategies to get us going.

      Sound classroom management is important if you want to get the best out of students and maximise their opportunities to learn. Strategies can include considering the physical parameters of the room and ask you to think about seating, colours, room layout and how quickly and effectively these choices can be changed to suit different situations. Classroom management and especially behaviour management can be looked upon as a school community responsibility to create expectations and implement consequences. This way a positive learning environment is consistant and supported and transfers from the classroom to the outside world. Taking a holistic approach in the classroom is essential to make sure the academic, social and emotional needs of each student are met. Gordon and Glasser’s theories and suggestions for teachers to be approachable, sensitive to students needs and non-critical, can be applied in the classroom to support students in their learning journey as well as being interactive, using intrinsic motivation to foster good behaviour patterns and encouraging students to identify problems and solutions. Good management skills can increase student productivity by saving time on behavioural issues and spending more time teaching. Students know what to expect and can self regulate their behaviour or suffer the consequences that they themselves have put in place, which ultimately gives the power back to them.

    • dterito1 says:

      Thanks for the video link, very interesting, who would have thought that natural tone settings would be better than bright colours.

    • Marg O'Sullivan says:

      I really enjoyed this video – thanks!

      I found it party reflective of the Reggio Emilia approach where alot of natural materials are incorporated in learning experiences and the environment is recognised as the “third teacher”.
      The following video titled “Enabling Environments” is also quite interesting.
      http://www.teachers.tv/videos/enabling-environments

      • Louise says:

        Thanks for the video link – it was cute how the two students were trying to paint with the thick, oversized rubber gloves on! But it was lovely the way the schools approach to the set up of the classrooms was referred to as trying to ‘humanise’ schools. Now I am off to research the Reggio Emilia approach!

      • melie77 says:

        Thanks Marg for posting the “Enabling Environments” video, it was really interesting and will help with my journal.

    • hoeys says:

      I loved the video. I noticed with my own son while doing maths problems with pics that he would use two white pages to block out all images around the one he was focused on,as they distracted him. It seems to ring true with the video footage concerning bright colours and how we assume they are what children require to learn. In truth we need to ask them how they prefer to learn and how we can best facilitate this.

    • windsort says:

      Thank you for posting this little video.

      I can’t view the ilecture for some reason so I’m trying to figure out what was in it by what everyone is saying about it.

      I love getting ideas about what to do in my own classroom, when I have one, to create a positive learning environment.

      I couldn’t find another video but I did find this piece of literature about it. Hope someone gets something out of it.

      http://www.footprintsrecruiting.com/teaching-tips/564-create-a-positive-learning-environment

    • 15209630caz says:

      Thanks for the video, I really enjoyed watching it. It’s great to see the different aspects from the use of strong colours to natural colours, and the effect that lighting brings to a classroom.
      xox

    • krisalexander44 says:

      Great video, I really liked the use of neutral colours instead of the traditional bright primary colours. It made the whole classroom seem much calmer.

    • cd14616336 says:

      Thankyou for finding this video. I found it beneficial! It was interesting to learn that colours distract students.

    • adaday23 says:

      Thank you for sharing the link! I found it interesting because I personally do not like a lot of clutter in my house! I will be more than happy to implement the ideas in a classroom setting, well when I eventually become a teacher that is :)

    • stormsk says:

      Thanks for the great link.
      A very good point a cluttered space = a cluttered mind. Such a simple thing.
      I would also assume that primary classrooms would need to be full of colour but this would create more distractions and take away from the students own work.
      Thanks
      Kate

    • Rebecca says:

      I agree with you 100%…. A positive learning environment is crucial for students. It also does encourage learning … Great response!!

    • dhemmings says:

      I don’t think that a report like the US report could be written about the schools in my state. While there may be a few schools and communities within NSW that have challenging behaviour, and serious criminal issues, I don’t think that a report similar to the US report could be written. Without researching too much into all of the schools within NSW, generally the classroom sizes and school sizes are not as large as the ones demonstrated in the US report. There also doesn’t seem to be as high a crime rate within our communities as there are seen within the communities of New York.
      To me, school culture consists of the culture that is present in the school community, this is the type of students in the school, the atmosphere and environment within the school, teachers and other members of the school community; all of these contribute to the school culture.

      This report does not bear any relationship to me or my children’s school experience. Where I attended school and where my children attend school, there are or haven’t been any of the reported issues that I have heard about. The community isn’t known for criminal issues with young people, therefore the students attending the schools in the area do not cause the same issues as demonstrated in the US report.

      When a teacher is planning for a positive, happy and effective classroom, I think they need to consider the types of students that they have in their class, how they will reach them through learning and what helps to keep them engaged and motivated. I also think that the classroom environment needs to be safe, welcoming and free from any bias, this will not only help with learning strategies but will also encourage positive self esteem in students. The classroom also needs to be one where teachers listen to their students needs and wants while the students also listen to teachers suggestions- respect should go both ways and not just teacher or student orientated.

    • dhemmings says:

      I don’t think that a report like the US report could be written about the schools in my state. While there may be a few schools and communities within NSW that have challenging behaviour, and serious criminal issues, I don’t think that a report similar to the US report could be written. Without researching too much into all of the schools within NSW, generally the classroom sizes and school sizes are not as large as the ones demonstrated in the US report. There also doesn’t seem to be as high a crime rate within our communities as there are seen within the communities of New York.
      To me, school culture consists of the culture that is present in the school community, this is the type of students in the school, the atmosphere and environment within the school, teachers and other members of the school community; all of these contribute to the school culture.

      This report does not bear any relationship to me or my children’s school experience. Where I attended school and where my children attend school, there are or haven’t been any of the reported issues that I have heard about. The community isn’t known for criminal issues with young people, therefore the students attending the schools in the area do not cause the same issues as demonstrated in the US report.

      When a teacher is planning for a positive, happy and effective classroom, I think they need to consider the types of students that they have in their class, how they will reach them through learning and what helps to keep them engaged and motivated. I also think that the classroom environment needs to be safe, welcoming and free from any bias, this will not only help with learning strategies but will also encourage positive self esteem in students. The classroom also needs to be one where teachers listen to their students needs and wants while the students also listen to teachers suggestions- respect should go both ways and not just be teacher or student orientated.

    • jen668 says:

      Hi
      this was really good. I found this and it complements the lecture material

    • renpresta says:

      Really enjoyed the tube video that demonstrates the aspects of the physical environment being highly important towards an effective environment. Felt that this together with Gorden’s ABC approches to classroom maagement and Glasser’s approach we have ideal concepts to bring together for the evolving classroom.

    • nadiariley says:

      Thanks for the video it was very interesting. It would be great if classrooms could be like that it looks very fun and inviting for children. I agree with your comments a positive learning environment is important.

    • sumeyyacandi says:

      Hi Skelly and all , i found your video very interesting and enjoyed watching it :)
      I also found an article about a teacher in the US which has moved all desks from her classroom and replaced them with bean bag chairs,papasan chairs ,yoga balls, video game chairs and whatever her students found they like and want to donate to the classroom. Teacher found that not only the new seating arrangements worked, but it had also made classroom discussions richer. The teacher states that she had one child who could not sit still, but when he puts himself on the yoga ball he sits still for the whole period. Students who were in her class last semester will stop by her classroom and be sad to go . Teacher states ” I always want to know what they want, what excites them.” Teacher believes that arranging the classroom the way she has—with loose seating that students can arrange when they come in—can work in any classroom and in any subject area, provided that the teacher is willing to work in that kind of classroom.
      Research found that one-third of kids learn best when they are in motion.
      Also greens and blues tend to be calming colours in the classroom .

      Do whatever you can to help students feel safe and secure both physically and emotionally in your classroom.
      Anyone interested in the picture of this classroom environment can go to this link under the topic no desks no problem
      http://www.educationworld.com/a_issues/archives/edscoops.shtml
      Thankyou

      Studies have shown that one-third of kids learn best when they are in motion.

    • 68amanda says:

      Something relaxing for every one busy studying, get a cup of coffee and sit back and enjoy.

    • sarahjbourke says:

      great video :)

    • melinda82 says:

      great video i have struggled all week with this topic and i as helped lots

    • rebeccagreen1 says:

      Krause et al (2003) describes three models for effective classroom management.
      The interventionist teacher, the interactive teacher and the non-interventionist teacher.

      The interventionist teacher model founded by Frederic Jones sees a child’s development as an outcome of external factors. The following four aspects describes Jones’ theory of maintaining firm control in the classroom.
      • Limit setting through body language
      • Responsibility training
      • Back-up system (supported by school policy)
      • Classroom structure

      The interactive teacher is the theory of Alfred Adler, Rudolf Dreikurs, Thomas Gordon and Maurice Balson they see a child’s development as an interaction between internal and external factors. They see the classroom as a democratic society where the power is shared between teachers and students. Students have a need to belong and be accepted. Teachers look at students underlying motives when misbehavior occurs and discuss important matters as soon as they occur. Teachers use I-messages to focus on the needs of the speaker.

      The non-interventionist teacher theory discovered by William Glasser and William Rogers allows children’s development to occur naturally. The focus of this theory is for teachers to help students become more responsible for their own behavior guiding them towards accountability, self-esteem and self control. Glasser and Rogers agree that school does not fulfill students basic needs as described in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.
      • Belonging
      • Power
      • Freedom
      • Fun

      Eggen, P. & Kauchak, D (2009) Educational Psychology – Windows on classrooms (8th ed) – Pearson International edition, New Jersey: Pearson Education

      Krause, K, Bochner, S. & Duchesne, S. (2003) Educational Psychology for Learning and Teaching. (2nd ed). South Melbourne, Victoria: Cengage Learning Australia

      • sonianitschke says:

        Rebeccagreen1,

        You might want to check the accuracy in your post. It is Carl Rogers you are referring to not William Rogers, and according to Tauber (1999) William Glasser is an interactionist not a non-interventionist.

        Tauber, R. T. (1999) classroom management: Sound theory and effective practice. Westport, CT: Bergin & Garvey.

    • phillipsmith75 says:

      Thanks for posting the video it was very interesting to learn about this Reggio method. Very interesting indeed. Obviously there is a new way of thinking when it comes to teaching from when we were kids .

    • Rubecca says:

      Hello

      Wow what a great video.
      Classroom management is important for student success. For this to happen teacher has to be very organized , and consistent in everything. The teacher must maintain control so that instruction and learning can occur. Much of the control that a teacher has over a class is affected by what the teacher does on the first day of school. If teacher can maintain control during the first week that is an accurate indicator for how well the students will do for the rest of the year. It means taking the knowledge you have acquired over the years in incorporating it into

  2. laurayelavich says:

    Your post is very good, i enjoyed reading it, and i found the Youtube link informative, thankyou. I liked Glasser’s Approach, especially his control theory.
    An article i found at http://www.brighthub.com/education/k-12/articles/13907.aspx listed ten steps for creating a positive environment where students can feel respected, supported, appreciated and valued. Also another article found at http://www.brighthub.com/education/k-12/articles/3318.aspx shows five logical strategies for good classroom management which although they are obvious, i think are useful tips.
    I think part of being an effective teacher would involve knowing when and where to use appropriate instruction models, delivering them in relevance to the students’ abilities, and that the use of essential teaching skills should maximise the lessons; ie attracting and maintaining attention.
    Students should want to be actively involved their learning environment, and the teacher can help provide this through providing stimulation, motivation and maintaining misbehaviour.
    Students should feel comfortable, and be able to share their feelings.

    • sassfletcher says:

      Laura,
      What a great website brighthub.com constructive tips for supporting a positive environment.

    • chiswell123 says:

      I enjoyed reading thanks.

    • carlyannlacey says:

      Brighthub is a really good resource. Thanks a lot for the helpful links!

    • vickig says:

      Thanks Laura for the web-site & yes the strategies are obvious but how often do we forget the obvious it is always good to never assume that obvious strategies will be implemented. Cheers Vicki

    • ShonaDonnan says:

      just read the websites laura posted, wow they are very interesting and have relavent information in them. Enjoyed reading them :)

    • mandykersley says:

      Loved the brighthub article, these basic tips may be obvious although are often forgotten and can solve most issues within the classroom. Good find! :)

    • melissalohr says:

      Thank you for posting such great links.
      Melissa

      • nannashazz says:

        great articles – great suggestions. How do remember all this in our classes????

      • brittanyfelvus says:

        Great articles there, I really love this topic, as I find it so interesting to learn the simple ways in which a positive environment can be created. :)

        Whitton, D. et al. provides a whole chapter on creating a positive learning environment, it discusses such factors as classroom layout and design, enthusiasm and acceptance in the classroom and personality traits teachers should have to engage and welcome their students; ultimatley creating a safe and secure learning environment for all students. It is a really great summary of ideas for creating positive learning environments.

        Reference List
        Whitton, D., Sinclair, C., Barker, K., Nanlohy, P & Nosworthy, M. Learning for teaching: Teaching for learning. 2004. South Melbourne: Thompson.

    • ks14891133 says:

      I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE these articles you posted, especially the first one.
      I loved the way the author packaged it all nicely by describing the need for an environment that is “physically comfortable, mentally motivated and emotionally supported” – the ideal environment for learning. I just loved all the suggestions the author made, they were all so practical and valuable to real classrooms. I particularly loved the idea of a biography (for older students obviously), what a fantastic way to know your students better and observe some literacy skills at the same time!
      I actually had number 5 on a personal list for my future classroom – I think an ideas and feeling s box (signed or anonymous) is a terrific way of keeping abreast of what students are feeling and experiencing in the classroom and what needs to be fixed or adjusted.
      I was also enthusiastic about #9 – making discipline about accountability and growth instead of punishment. I think that is a much more constructive approach to dealing with behaviour. Helping them clarify the unacceptable behaviour and then think of a better alternative behaviour encourages much more thinking and reflection. When children are punished it shuts of their thinking and they go into defence and self preservation mode which leaves little room for reflection and restitution.
      The second one had very valuable and practical strategies too. I saved copies of both articles. Thanks for sharing them here.
      Katie

      • jenniferlivingston says:

        Great point about punishment leading kids to defence and self preservation. A point that I think was well demonstrated in the Teachers Talk reading for this week. Let’s hope that is something that Australian schools continue to handle better than those in the USA.

    • joding2202 says:

      Hi Laura
      Great articles, thanks for posting them,

    • shmorrow says:

      I agree. It may be difficult to know what methods to use and when. I guess that it would become second nature eventually but could be very challenging for a new teacher. Excellent point. Thank you

    • waterman9 says:

      These are great tips. Fairly simple tips but they make sense and relate to the theory we are learning about.

      In an ideal world, students would come to class with an intrinsic motivation to learn, and the teacher could apply a one size fits all instructional method.

      We all know that this is very rarely reality. Students come with varying backgrounds, behaviours, knowledge and intelligence levels.

      The environment needs to be conducive to learning and appropriate for the developmental level of students. For Example: Junior primary students love to have their achievements recognised, so displaying their work in the classroom is a great way of doing this.
      Behaviour needs to be managed so that disruptions are minimised. The school my son goes to adopts a whole of school approach to discipline and behaviour management. Students who are consistently disruptive are moved into alternative classrooms for periods of time which is a great strategy for the students to have time to think about the situation and to minimise disruptions to the home classroom. I also attended a school where the leadership team was very involved in classroom management and it was not uncommon to be in class with the Principal present for a period of time either observing or participating. This was obviously managed well as the teachers didn’t appear to be uncomfortable with this approach they actually “showed off” a little which was motivating for the techer and students.
      Instructional methods also need to be alternated to suit the students and the topic.

      Stacey W

    • Kirsty Moore says:

      Thanks for posting Laura – although some steps are common sense ones sometimes we need to be reminded don’t we? – very useful!

    • jenniferlivingston says:

      They are great articles and I absolutely agree that it is so often the obvious strategies that we forget about first. Thanks for the really useful website, Jenni.

    • ednamartin says:

      Loved the list. Will be using some of the points in my classroom.
      Well done in finding this article.

    • Thanks for bringing this article to our attention – it had some very good points! While in the brighthub website, I did some searches of some related articles – came across what I thought was another very good one (link at bottom of this post) where teacher uses student seating charts as a tool/strategy for effective classroom management. They are flexible and can be used to track daily happenings in the class, and customised to your own needs. Suggestions were to code things and make shorthand notes of the events e.g. T stands for talking out of turn, A is answered a question, H for homework done. Very handy for a quick reference in parent interviews and for reward tallying. Can be very discreet too.
      http://www.brighthub.com/education/k-12/articles/71932.aspx

  3. darcieedp155 says:

    The factors in establishing a positive classroom environment vary from colour and layout of the classroom itself, to the way you conduct a lesson.
    Firstly, physical factors entail such elements as equipment or lesson location. If equipment is in a convenient close location, lesson flow is likely to be maintained and students are less likely to take as long getting it.
    Colour used the classroom is believed to be both a physical and psychological factor in creating or maintaining a mood for example; green is seen as calming and peaceful, orange is said to create excitement.
    Psychologically you need to maintain a positive atmosphere amongst the students. To create this you must initially smile, have respect, listen, be relaxed and gain trust with your students. It is important to create a positive atmosphere, one way of doing this is by having consistency in your persona, ‘avoid sarcasm, ridicule or bullying ‘(Whitton, 2004). Supporting this idea is creating a ‘respectful Atmosphere’ where there is ‘always a sense of belonging’ and ‘consistent evidence of encouragement’ (K.Earle et al, 2000), this could be done by arranging work on the wall to create a sense of unity and achievement.
    Class rules are another important aspect to the environment. Rules should be simple, clear and easy to follow in order for them to be adhered to. Followed up with ‘logical positive and negative consequences’ (Whitton).
    Socially, relationships should be formed with parents (D.C.Wesley 1998), to create a rapport, to keep them informed and to reinforce what you are doing as a teacher. Student relationships should be based on trust and ‘empathy’, and the ability to ‘believe in them’ ‘even when no-one else does’ (D.C.Wesley), Herrel 2008 talks of ‘good student relationships’.
    Considerations need to be made to ecological and sociological factors towards behaviour. Arthur-Kelly et al (2006) Talks of socio-cultural and ecological factors affecting behaviour, as ‘behaviour is a product of how we deal with the environment’. Location of the school will affect the demographics and therefore will change parental attitudes, family stresses, care, concern and or social prejudice, all are factors in shaping and affecting a child’s persona before even entering the classroom.
    The pedagogical aspect is perhaps the most important aspect of a classroom environment. It relies with you as a teacher to execute correctly. It takes dedication, evaluation and organisation.
    Firstly, grouping is a major influence in a classroom environment, this is a common belief amongst many researchers. Sizes, composition, combined with the types of task are important (Herrel 2008). Your choice of teaching methodology, how you deal with difficult of different students, the examples you lead and the amount of contingency plans all play a part in the pedagogical aspect of a classroom environment.

    Whitton, D., Sinclair, C., Barker, K., Nanlohy, P. & Nosworthy, M.(2004). Learning for teaching: teaching for learning. South Melbourne: Thompson.

    Earle, K. Mehra, S. Sharma, R. (2000). Cooperative Learning: Where the heart meets mind. State School teachers Union (inc)
    Wesley, D.C. (1998) Eleven ways to be a great teacher. Educational Leadership 55 (5) 80-81

    Eby. Herrel (2008). Classroom Management. Becoming a teacher: knowledge, skills and issues. Pearson education Australia

    Arthur-Kelly, M., Lyons, G. Butterfield, N & Gordon, C. (2006). Classroom Management: Creating positive learning environments. South Melbourne; Thompson.

    • bernie80 says:

      i agree totally with your blog, you have used heaps of references that shows you are extending your knowledge with further texts and readings. i found a website that shows a few steps in how to create a positive learning environment http://www.brighthub.com/education/k-12/articles/13907.aspx.
      cheers bernie

      • darcieedp155 says:

        Thanks for the website Bernie.
        The ten points are concise and easy to follow. Do you think that a positive classroom environment has strong links to the motivation section we did?
        Darcie

      • kl3896 says:

        Thanks for the link Bernie, very inspiring

      • bernie80 says:

        hi darcie
        yeah definately….i have been in a classroom to assist students and the room is dark dingy no work on the walls the students were just at their desks and answering the questions from the teacher….the environment that they were in were not at all inspiring and the students hardly got involved in the lesson….personally i couldn’t wait to get out of there myself, so for sure having a classroom environment where you feel invited, inspired and safe the students’ learning will be enhanced…

    • shmorrow says:

      Great work Darcie. Really excelent read. Got lots of good information from your blog. Thanks

  4. jessbrezic says:

    There are so many things to consider when creating a positive learning environemt. Not only are there physical aspects such as keeping students interested with activities and the layout of the classroom, but also things such as all the planning involved in each lesson, the implementation of lesson plans to keep students engaged, rewarding students positive actions and just the general activities of keeping students ‘in line’. This must be done with care and respect. Treat your students the way you would like to be treated to ensure that no negative relationships created. Just one students negative attitude can disturb the whole class and make it a very unfirendly and un=inviting place to be.

    I like the fact that the following article mentions the fact that in order to create a positive learning environment, there must be respect.
    http://www.suite101.com/content/respectful-classroom-environment-a74857

    This article lists some great steps that can be used to create a learning environment that both students and teachers enjoy being in.
    http://www.brighthub.com/education/k-12/articles/13907.aspx

    I especially like the part that mentions getting to know students on a one-on-one basis so you show the student you actually care about them.

    It is not an option, it is a responsibility of all teachers to ensure they are creating the most positive environment they possibly can so that all students get the chance to excel in their learning.

    • tanya Chaffey says:

      I had a read of the websites you linked, whilst reading I found this article
      Five Top Strategies to Keep Students Learning in a Calm Classroom Environment

      Read more: http://www.brighthub.com/education/k-12/articles/3318.aspx#ixzz1CEQzXxoa

      The teacher in this article seems to run the classroom very smoothly and calmly. Not only through seventeen years teaching experience, but through his enthusiasm for getting to know his student and get to the bottom of any problems they may have.
      t

      • michele15224471 says:

        The task of creating a positive learning environment starts out very simply. Students need to feel as though they are in a positive, safe and nurturing environment and a sense of equality. The class room environment itself is a key element in the beginnings of structuring a positive learning environment, the younger the students are the more visual stimulation they require. Creating a bright colourful room with charts and art work helps to make the child feel warm and comfortable. Through using this form of stimuli’s you can target particular moods and emotional reactions amongst the students: for example the use of calming colours in the student rest/reading areas. The demur of the teacher would have to be the most direct influence, when a child is greeted on a Monday morning and asked if they enjoyed there weekend they gain a sense of belonging and feel that the teacher is interested in there wellbeing in and out of school. Through the use of “news day“presentations the students get the chance to gain the same interest and connection with their fellow class mate’s. Everyone no matter how young or old deserves respect. As a teacher one must demand a certain level of authority and respect but in tern the student must also feel as though they are respected, through showing the students that there ideas have importance, and preaching how proud you are when they show initiative it allows them to feel free to continue to express such thoughts. the basis for an organised classroom is structure, when a teacher has a good lesson plan for the day and structured play time within it the students adapt to this an thrive, it is beneficial as when the students are accustomed to maths coming after English they are mentally prepared to start the new topic. As a teacher our jobs are never easy, there will always be personal matters that effect the student’s ability to participate these will vary in severity and time. Through being someone the students can trust such information can greatly assist one’s ability to turn a negative into a positive and assist the students with their personal needs. Finally through having an extended class room and taking the learning outdoors it gives the students a closer bond with their environment: instead of just talking about the benefits of recycling create a recycling cent within the school, an use the recycled material around the school, like compost for the gardens . Children thrive on routine and structure, through the use of positive reinforcement by the way of discipline children then don’t feel alienated by their teacher there are so many ways to maintain order within the classroom, trough looks, taps and gestures. By using these forms as primary methods of discipline and only reverting to time out as a last choice situation the students are less likely to feel alienated and rejected
        Below is an article I found which u may find interesting 
        http://eric.uoregon.edu/pdf/trends/motivation.pdf

    • sarahohanlon says:

      Really interesting points. Especially the bits about getting to know the students one on one.

      • christierichards says:

        it all makes sense really doesn’t it, get to know the kids & they’re bound to appreciate that effort & put more in themselves.
        It works with the contractors here at work.

    • saidiely says:

      thanks for these articles they were very insightful. and makes you as a techer aware of the problems you could face and how to deal with them. Some teachers in real life don’t think it’s their responsibility to ensure they are creating a positive environment that gives students opportunities to progress in their learning.

    • sarahjbourke says:

      very interesting and great points there :)

  5. naomilea says:

    OK, lets see if I have better luck with posting blogs this week compared to last week!!!!

    Positive learning environments change the whole attitude of the students that attend. Take for example my daughter. She comes home sometimes, quite exasperating she is lol, telling me about her day. Why???? Because the environment that she is a part of she is made to feel welcome, she is encouraged and supported and the feedback that she receives provides her with future goals.

    I am planning on coming back and writing more but I was so pleased to see such a wonderful topic for this week’s blog!!!!

  6. kl3896 says:

    I Love this topic and can’t wait to complete the reading, I grew up in the country and loved school and as a parent I wanted to find that same caring nurturing environment in a school for my kids. Unfortunately our local school has a number of students with behavioural problems and isn’t my first choice, but 10 mins down the road I found a small school of 86 students, 4 classrooms and a teaching principal. The kindy teacher calls all the students ‘darling’ and in her orientation speech she tells new parents she only ever wanted to be a teacher to make sure she gives every child she teaches a wonderful first school experience. I can attest to the fact that she has achieved this over and over and I have had 2 sons receive attendance certificates evry year for 100% attendance. They love going to school and this all due to the positive, caring learning environment provided.
    I have only had 1 small hiccup when I asked my youngest if Mrs Mc still called him ‘darling’ in yr 1, when he said no my heart gave a little jump, but instead she called him ‘sweetheart’.
    As a teacher I can only hope to create such a positive experience for evry student to cross my path.
    Off to do the reading now, will be back
    Kylie

    • Kylie B says:

      Hi Kylie,

      I love your story about your kids loving school, because that is the exact feeling I had and still feel when I think back to my first few yrs. The reason I am becoming a teacher too, is that I wish to have children excited and happy about learning again. I love the idea of the children being happy and content and excited about coming to school! I had the BEST teachers in Pre-primary and Yr 1 and they are my inspiration for teaching. Thank you for sharing your story :)

      • darcieedp155 says:

        I agree with you girls, and had a great school experience too. Not only with my teachers but school mates. Now as I learn more about the intricacies of the teaching role I can’t help but think the teachers orchestrated the whole school environment.
        Work for me, just doesn’t have the same close environment as school, as so many of whom I work with hated it. I want to be a teacher to give everyone the same experiences I had too!

      • staceytrew says:

        Hi Kylie,

        I too enjoyed reading about your positive experience at school. Similarly, I too had a great experience after growing up in a small english village where the primary school had 100 students, my year had only 11. This enabled teachers to provide much more attention and focus on the areas that students lacked to further their learning. From that experience I would love to be able to provide my students the same feeling and want them to be excited to tell their parents about what they have learnt. My eldest is about to start 4 year old kinder and am hoping she continues the enthusiasm she has from learning at home.

    • deishababy says:

      Hi Kylie,
      I love that story … it gave me ‘warm and fuzzies’ (kind of akin to what Roz was referring to in the lecture!). You are so right though – it is a joy to behold when a child comes home shining from his/her day in the classroom. The kids spend most of their days in the classroom … it’s horrible to think that they would have to spend these hours under a fascist, unsympathetic, dicatator-type with little heart (worst case scenario, but you know what I mean).

      I recall my favourite teachers with fondness … they were always the ones who were supportive, encouraging and genuinly concerned about my welfare. It helped that they had a great sense of humour as well!! My results thrived under this sort of mentorship, as did my emotional development. Even though it is now over 17 years since I attended school, I still recall those teachers, and remember many an anecdote which highlighted what made it all so special for me!

      Oh, and one more thing … you mentioned a teaching principal … great asset, I do believe!! They are in there with there shirt sleeves rolled up, and are really living it, rather than overseeing it only. My best wishes to your little ones! (And yourself … good luck with the rest of the course!)

      Deisha

    • aliciagorshkov says:

      Kylie, how lucky both you and your children are that you found such a wonderful teacher. She has created a positive learning environment by endearing the children and making them feel loved. For Kindergarten students this would be a huge thing as not all children spend “time away from mum” (like at pre-school) and the shock of school 5 days a week would be hard for them. She sounds like not only a great teacher, but a very special and caring lady!

    • ashleighgoss says:

      Hi Kylie, thanks for sharing that wonderful story. Don’t we all hope to be a teacher like that! It must have been rewarding for the teacher as well to know her students felt so comfortable and cared for in the classroom. My daughter isn’t old enough to go to school yet, but when she does I hope she has similiar experiences at school.

    • caseyleeclarke says:

      Hi Kylie,
      I really enjoyed reading your story. I had a similar experience with my education; I recall my primary school feeling like an extension of the home environment. I actually completed a practicum on a year 6 class mid last year and could not believe how supportive and caring the school was. The staff worked together like a family and the students could truly see this! One of my favourite memories from my prac was watching the children dance and laugh as they made their way to their class lines in the assembly area.

      Instead of a school bell being rung the students could choose their favourite song to be played through the PA system (all songs were checked with teacher first for suitability). I remember grinning from ear to ear to see how happy the students were to start school every morning (I witnessed some of the most hilarious dance moves I have ever seen).

      It was such a fantastic way to start the morning and really set the tone for the rest of the day.

      I think there are many small ways we can assist in children feeling emotionally and physically safe at school, sometimes the smallest of changes can have the biggest of impacts.

      Creating positive learning environments are essential. Students spend 30+ hours a week at school therefore we as future teachers should endeavour to make every student can feel respected, supported, appreciated and valued.

      I will drop back after some late night reading :-)

      • ks14891133 says:

        I loved reading this, thanks for sharing. What a great way to personalise the school environment and give students some ‘ownership’ of it. Just brilliant :)

      • ktsimeon says:

        Casey,

        I went to a school that also played music for the children’s morning bell. All the seniors got the opportunity to choose a song and they even chose ‘bell monitors ‘ for the day! There was rules to follow though – the bell was only to be rung for 10 chimes, etc but we loved it. Sometimes, someone would be cheeky and would chime the bell 12 times! Everyone loved having this job, even if it was only once a year. I had forgotten all about it until I read your post. Thanks for that :D

        Katie

      • Rebecca.judd says:

        Hey guys really enjoyed reading everyones posts!

        Back when I was a student I attended a Private school. This was not for the so called ‘better education and facilities’ it was because of the smaller school environment with smaller classes and the school was just generally smaller. The teachers could pay more attention to me and really get to know me. They could tell if i was feeling down straight away and the teachers had constant contact with my parents. I had no problems with my schooling life at all! The culture was wonderful :) which consists with the type of students in the school, the atmosphere and environment within the school, teachers and other members of the school community; all of these contribute to the school culture.

    • trentbowman says:

      Great story Kylie..really good :)

    • trentbowman says:

      This is the sort of environment I want to try and promote myself, because at the end of the day, it’ll mean that I am making a difference in my students lives :)

    • francinefield says:

      What a great teacher! thanks for sharing =)

    • melissabraszell says:

      We are in a similar situation. Where I live a lot of the public schools report acts of bullying, “wagging” and general disruption within the class. I was quite nervous about trying to work out where to send my son. We decided to send him to a smaller Catholic primary school. Here the students are taught respect and really do care about each other. I will watch students open doors for adults without being asked or go up to a prep student who is strugglying with their bag and offer to carry it for them. I have noticed too that my son, who has always been loving, is growing to really respect others. I love it! I put this down to not only a positive classroom environment but also a positive school environment. The teachers want to go to work and they care about the students and it shows, and it makes the students feel welcome. I cringed when I read the PDF on American schools and thought Thank God Australia has not come to that!

      • melissalohr says:

        You cringed when you read the report, to me it brought back memories.
        I was regularly bullied at school (late 70′s early 80′s). if I walked on the footpath in the play ground, every single student would jump off, in case my germs transmitted along the ground. if I touched a piece of play equipment every single kid would jump off, muttering secret passwords to ward off some evil.
        Teachers weren’t overly concerned, When My mother saw the principle she was told that children were meant to work out their own fights, and toughen up.

        I remember one incident vividly, it didn’t involve me directly. A little girl of probability grade 1 was being bullied by the principles daughter (grade1 or 2) the little girl had enough and bit her. The principle called a whole school assemble, and told his daughter to bite the little girl back to show everyone what happened to biters. They stood on the top of the steps so everyone could get a clear view. She bit the little girl so hard that she had blood running down her arm.

        Not long after that my mother shifted my siblings and myself to a different school, where I had a knife held to my throat.

        I hope the attitude of teachers and principles has changed since then. I don’t have much dealings with schools at the moment to judge.

        Melissa

      • yasmintoivonen says:

        Thanks for your post Melissa. Was so nice to read about your son’s school teaching respect to others – be a perfect world if all schools did the same thing. I too cringed when reading the PDF on American schools. So sad it has got to that I dread to think that Australia will need to go down that path. A positive learning environment for students and the involvement of their families so as to appreciate the value of education can make all the difference. Reading all the other posts it certainly appears we have some wonderful up & coming teachers who can make all the difference.

      • alycelittras says:

        wow melissalohr, i’m so impressed that you’ve been able to put aside your own experiences of school to study teaching! As a teacher, you will have these experiences to help you in your own judgements to create a positive learning environment for the students you teach!

      • michellevidler says:

        I remember just starting a new school in year two and made friends with a shy girl who liked to work hard and get good grades. A very disruptive student whom I had never even spoken to in class would always swear and throw her pencil case across the room when the teacher told her to finish work.

        On this particular day I was walking with my friend down a flight of stairs after the bell had rang to greet my mother who was waiting outside the school to pick me up when my friend was dragged by her jumper by this student towards the school ramp where she attempted to throw her off of it. It was lucky that she managed to break free from the bully after I distracted her and we ran to my mother. If this girl had have succeeded at minimum my friend would have sustained broken bones.

        My mother and my friends mum went to the principal the next day. Both parents expected him to talk to the bully or call her parents to prevent this happening again. At first he refused because apparently she had tried the same thing on a previous student and it had escalated outside of school into a police matter.

        The end result was that he called both of her parents to the school and threatened suspension if it occurred again. This student was not dealt with in class when outbursts arose by the teacher who feared violence and the principal gave no support to his staff in handling matters like this one.

        It is imperative that teachers build a repour with students and try to solve the root cause of behaviour problems to maintain an effective classroom management system where possible with rules and consequences like running errands.

        Educators need a support system implemented in place from the principal to go to for assistance on matters which require attention such as this one.

      • Rebecca.judd says:

        While researching the PDF on American schools the realisation came that this is what Australian schools could be becoming. There are a lot of public school report acts of bullying, ‘wagging’ and general disruption within the class. But, without researching too much into all the schools within QLD it is safe to say that a similar report could not be written about the schools within QLD. There does not seem to be as high of a crime rate within our general communities as is seen within the communities of New York. Rather than wasting valuable funding on SSA’s, metal detectors and police. The government needs to focus on spending their money on establishing smaller schools and classroom sizes. Providing councillors and social workers but most of all providing much needed training to the teachers. The students need professional support and different options before bad events take place.

    • sarahohanlon says:

      I’m so glad that you found such a lovely school :)

      • Vicki E says:

        Hi melissalohr, thanks for sharing your experiences… while many of us were lucky to have positive experiences your story really brought home that not everyone is so lucky… after reading the American report i can see how a really negative school environment can be created – easily. And that in such an envirnoment good people can be treated badly and vicitimsed and other good children can behave in really unacceptable ways.
        I think that with your experience you will be a wonderfully caring teacher, who understands how important it is to teach kids to respect each other.

      • michellevidler says:

        Hi Melissalohr, thank you for sharing your negative experience with us all. It is great that you are becoming a teacher and can make sure that a situation similar never happens in the future to other students.

      • Rebecca.judd says:

        forgot to post this

        Fields, B. (2000). School Discipline: Is there a crisis in our schools? Available:http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_hb3359/is_1_35/ai_n28766928/

    • slb8 says:

      Hope this post works this time (last week I posted and it never came up on the screen).

      I share your enthusiasm of your children schooling. As a parent of 2 I wanted my children to be positive about their education and enjoy it, rather then a chore having to get up every morning and attend a class with a teacher they dislike in a school they detest. I haven’t had a lot of luck up until last year when I enrolled my sons into a school that had a positive learning environment. The teachers enjoyed coming to school, teaching the students and couldn’t wait till the next day (and if they didn’t enjoy it, they are very good at what they do). I have a bit of work ahead of me to convince my eldest that school is great but with my youngest his whole attitude has changed, he loves school and I have also received comments how his love for learning is infectious. This example showed me the benefits of a positive ‘school culture’.

      Confirming my own opinions on positive learning and school culture is Sellers (n.d), who interviewed Dr. Peterson who stated that a positive school culture increased motivation and makes people focus on what is important around the school. Forming relationships with key stakeholder in the schools gives students the sense of belonging consequently respecting and caring for the environment around them. “If you don’t have a positive, professional culture, you are not going to have a productive school” (Seller, n.d).

      Reference

      Sellers, N. (n.d) School Culture. Retrieved from http://www.smallschoolsproject.org/PDFS/culture.pdf

      • joding2202 says:

        hi slb8
        I am a mother of four, my eldest daughter is about to start high school and after a fantastic primary school the choice of high school was scary. My eldest two children love school, do well at school and look forward to going, I attribute alot of this to fantastic teachers throughout their primary school years. My son is about to start primary school and I hope he receives the same positive school experiences that his sisters have had.

    • smile234 says:

      Kylie, what a fantastic story. Exactly the kind of teacher I would love to be. A teacher never knows the exact moment they are making a life changing difference in the eyes of a child.

      Cheers, Katie

  7. natasha70 says:

    I Currently work at a school and see first hand how fustrated the teachers can get with the ‘system’ and some of their fustrations are very similar to those in the U.S report.
    Here are some links I found in relation to discipline in NSW schools, I have not had a chance to read all the way through them yet or how relevant they are but thought I would share

    https://www.det.nsw.edu.au/proflearn/areas/nt/resources/bm01.htm

    https://www.det.nsw.edu.au/policies/student_serv/discipline/stu_discip_gov/PD20060316.shtml

    https://www.det.nsw.edu.au/policies/student_serv/student_welfare/stude_welf/pd02_52_student_welfare.pdf

    As a staff member and also as a parent I find this topic really interesting as I see what an effect the classroom environment can have on the students. Last year my son was in a class that did not work for him, there was no structure to the class and he found it really hard to concentrate and was very distracted, he ended up in lots of trouble. He had gone from a model student to a student that was spending a lot of time at the office. Its really important that teachers create a productive learning environment and even though I know its going to take a lot of work and also experience, I really want to ensure thats what I provide to my students.
    Natasha

    • Vicki E says:

      Hi, i agree with what you are saying, i think that the most important aspect of creating a positive learning environment is the teacher’s attitude toward her students. Really, having great furniture, nice colours, posters etc will not make a difference if the teacher does not honestly carre about her students, get to know them all personally, show respect and deeply want and believe they can all be successful.
      I think that as future teachers we all need to try our best to create a positive environment, through having high teaching efficacy (Killen, 2010), not just in our classroom but throughout the school The AAMT report strongly suggests that misbehaviour and antisocial attitudes of students come from the way they are treated by teachers, the school and the education system. I think that in line with Rozz’s lecture we have to take responsibility for the problem, own it and find solutions.

      • raelene1968 says:

        I too agree with you. Attitudes of the teachers is extremely important more so than the classroom design and colours. Although it does help.
        I moved from the city to the country with my husband and kids. When deciding on schools my eldest was moving from prep to grade one and very fearful of the change of schools. So the three of us me, hubby and daughter went looking at the local schools. There are 5 schools to choose from all with different reputations. We visited schools unannounced, introduced ourselves to the principals who were all very accomadating. The school we chose was smallish 175 children 4kms from the town, it was not the most aesthetically beautiful, it was not the most popular school in town and it was not the most convenient to get to. The culture of the school starts from the principal and fitlers its way down through to the teachers and students, the attitude of the school was fantastic. The principal knew the children by name, the teachers on yard duty knew the kids and had a real rapport with them. Some students on our visit day came up to my daughter and asked her questions. She was invited to sit in a classroom to see if she would enjoy it. Unfortunatley we dont have interactive whiteboards and our facilities are basic but we have a learning enviroment you cant buy. I now have 2 other children at this school and the enthuasiam of the teachers and the general school community is brilliant. The classroom walls are lined with stories or work of the children. My kids enjoy going to school, they come home tell me stories about things they have learnt, their literacy and numeracy is above average. I put this down to the skill of the teachers and their leader. So I believe I have plenty of great role models to continue this journey.

    • echo112 says:

      I think that teachers should have more protection, than just policies….

      Oh thanks for those links, they are very interesting :)

  8. meyerka says:

    I too really enjoy this topic and having come accross it in other units find it really interesting. I have seen my older son have a year where he would arrive at school eyes down, not greeted by his teacher and although he enjoyed his year the results in his effort and work really showed. The follwing year – a fantastic teacher greeted him and everyone esle every day, asked about his weekend and his sport which was his world and showed a genuine interest in him as a person. You could see the change in him and the way he entered the room with confidence. His efforts were increased and he began to make ground where it had been lost. What a difference a positve learnign environment makes!

    • Tracey says:

      What a great story to share and just confirms so many of the readings we come across. School is a huge part of our lives and children need the positive environments and influences to keep motivated to succeed. We all remember our teachers and how they treated us.

  9. vanessa511 says:

    I am also looking forward to completing this topic!! I have come across it before and loved it, I think creating a positive learning environment is one of the most important things a teacher can do. All the positive teachers I have had would greet the students at the door, were warm and welcoming, offered encouragement and support and made the effort to get to know us and learn about their students. What a fantastic experience for a young child at school.

    • Dominique Kropf says:

      I think your point is great – don’t forget that all students want to continue being in a nurtured and caring environment. Sometimes adolescents need understanding and open heart attitude even more than the little ones because of their emotional confusion during this time of their development.

  10. suevale says:

    I have just read page 5-6 Executive Summary of’Teachers Talk’ and I am just aghast.
    I am sooooo glad my children and I live and go to school in Australia.
    I am speechless.

    • chrissielillico says:

      I have just finished the reading and I completely agree with your reaction! It really is unbelievable to think about some of the various environments where children/young people are expected to learn!! And where some people are expected to try and teach. We indeed are the lucky country!

      • marykemp says:

        Hi Chrissie.

        I just read the post from Tania which saddened me a lot. To think that Australian schools are the scene of violence and gang related incidents is appalling. Children have the right to enjoy their childhood without fear of persecution, abuse or violence. Their innocence is what they should be allowed to experience for as long as possible in a safe and nurturing environment.

        I believe there are more behavioural problems emerging in our schools stemming from social changes that include less extended family involvement in child raising practices. This is my personal belief based on over ten years of work in early childhood environments. Children are exposed to so many carers before they even start start school that relationships can be very short lived which in turn influences emotional development issues such as trust, confidence, security independence and self expression.
        There is no blame attached to my beliefs. Life today demands so much from families that working and out of home time takes up most of our lives, accordingly children miss out on quality time with family. As teachers we will need to have sensitve awareness of background situations of many children experiencing problems that display in their behaviours. The environments we provide allow for creativity in managing positive influences for our students.

        Mary

    • anita33 says:

      I totally agree. You always hear chatter about situations that arise within the American School system. In that I am referring to students bringing weapons to school and the violent outbursts that can take place. That article however really opened my eyes to what goes on within their schools. I just can’t believe it and am so relieved that at the completion of this course that I will not have to teach in one of their schools. Their system needs a complete overhaul

      • taniaadebono says:

        I just would like to make a small note that violence and weapon carrying is not limited to the U.S., and we may like to observe that it is evident in Australian schools too.

        I grew up in the inner Eastern suburbs of Melbourne, and when I had children, I thought it the best area in which I could provide an education for them. Observation of results, performance, teaching standards etc. My son is a gifted and talented child and we just happen to be in the “zone” for a school that has an extended learning program. He will have a good chance based on results as well as geographical proximity to enter the school. My fear no longer results from the fear of not being able to present him with an education that he requires and deserves but more from the fear of whether he will make it home or not at the end of the day. The school – prized for its results, facilities, proficient teachers, now contends with the every day pressures of warring gangs. Gangs based on cultural conflicts – stemming from parental and older sibling influence. Security guards patrol the school grounds and corridors 24 hours a day. My children have so far been oblivious to such incidents but will need to deal with it at some stage. The repercussions of possibly unknowingly associating oneself with a gang member etc…

        The primary school that my children attend is a feeder school to this secondary school – so natural assumption would be that there are students in this primary school related to gang members too. I think we need to be more aware and vigilant with our observations of what goes in our schools – whether public or independent – after all some of the private schools in our nation have provided a sound education to some recently shot prominent crime gang members.

        Violence is not limited to the less funded areas of our communities – and schools cannot be stereotypically identified.
        Violence has been there for many years and is on the rise, and there is a need to stop sweeping the evidence under the carpet in case of bad publicity.

        Any sort of act of violence impinges on a child’s education

        I am putting out a thought here – maybe we should be looking at how teachers and principals are allowed to administer disciplinary action these days. Maybe we should be looking at what children are allowed to get away with setting up extremely violent precedents in many cases.

        Please refer to the below articles

        http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2009/04/26/2552742.htm

        http://www.perthnow.com.au/news/western-australia/school-alert-on-illegal-weapons-as-20-students-suspended/story-e6frg13u-1225914202248

        http://jfs.e-contentmanagement.com/archives/vol/9/issue/2/review/509/journal-of-school-violence

        http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/teen-charged-with-stabbing-murder-of-student/story-e6frg6n6-1225830683736

        http://blog.fathers4equality-australia.org/equalparenting/FiDBlog.nsf/dx/female-violence-soars-in-australian-schools-

        http://www.theage.com.au/national/education/alarm-bells-over-school-violence-20090826-ezra.html

        http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/help-us-battle-violence-plead-victorian-school-principals/story-e6frf7jo-1225832744356

        If there is family violence there is a good chance that this will transfer to the school grounds

        http://www.dpcd.vic.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0003/39603/2008-09_budget_FV_Fact_Sheet_6May08.pdf

        transcript from an ABC report dating back to 2005

        http://www.abc.net.au/worldtoday/content/2005/s1322962.htm

        this report hits the points clearly – in Australia

        http://www.lawlink.nsw.gov.au/lawlink/bocsar/ll_bocsar.nsf/pages/bocsar_mr_r56

        Just another small thought – if there are policies about dealing with violence and bullying – I would say there is a problem. It’s very rare to see funding implemented on causes when there is not an issue.

      • taniaadebono says:

        As an extension of my initial post, I wish to clarify that in no way am I condoning the disciplinary action that is taking place in the U.S. in state run schools, and maybe the situation would be dealt with more effectively by the input of teachers here too. I think teachers need to be given the strategic tools in learning to deal with such possible situations of violence that have arisen in our schools, before the situation does get any worse. We do not wish for any more schools needing round the clock security. I also wish to make the observation that there is the possibility that the situations of violence are not so common (but still detrimental to a child’s education) due to a much lower population density rate. This does have the potential to change, in our larger cities where high density living is being encouraged. The increase in education facilities is not increasing at the same rate.

        We are extremely lucky in this country that the situation has not as yet got so far out of hand as schools in the U.S., but we do need to equip teachers with the methods for counseling and mediation to deal with potential violent class disruption. A primary school teacher was recently disciplined after being reported by a parent who claimed he had handled his son inappropriately. The teacher was actually separating two children who were in a physical brawl.

        The other issue I see that may arise that teachers need to be prepared for is lack of detailed knowledge of cultural differences. An issue that arises in the U.S. school for teachers as they tend to not have enough time to dedicate individualised attention to there students due to over-sized class numbers. In Australia we do not yet have that issue, but we have always been a country that encourages multiculturalism. There is no denial that we are all from varying belief systems – religiously and socially, which can sometimes be the spur to push social imbalance. Teachers, administrators and education authorities need to know how to deal with such issues. Children can easily be discriminated against without a teacher even realising. This can encourage anger and violence.

        This weeks topic has raised so many conversations at the family dinner table and with friends. Evidently it has raised some amazing contemplation with everyone – I think this is wonderful – especially to see that people are approaching the topic taking into consideration so many aspects.

      • ashleighgoss says:

        Good point Anita. It must be difficult for teachers to create a positive learning environment when they have metal detectors, police officers and SSAs patrolling the halls. It’s not surprising that the US report found students did not feel safe. Hopefully other school systems will learn from this information.

      • melissabraszell says:

        Tania I thought your comments were scary and true. We can not live with our heads in sand thinking that Australia doesn’t have issues like America. You are right, policies are put in place for a reason. One of the main areas we are different to America is that we don’t have metall dectors that make our children feel like crimminals before they enter the building. I would like to hope that although incidents of violence occur in schools within Australia that these continue to be the minority rather then the majority.
        I think that the issues you raised about gangs etc are larger then a school based. When looking that the Vic Police statistics During 2009/2010 the rate of assaults per 100,000 population has increased by 1.7% see this web site for more stats: http://www.police.vic.gov.au/content.asp?a=internetBridgingPage&Media_ID=59806
        To me this shows that this is not just a school issue but a social issue that needs to be addressed by the community as a whole in order to find a resolution.
        I believe that Australian schools and teachers fundamentaly care and want to assist students be all that they can be. I know that is the reason we are all here and we are the future of teaching.

      • lilic12 says:

        Hi Tania

        I looked through those articles and I was exasperated to find that violence was as high in Australia as it is – where have I been?

        I thought after reading the US Report that it would never get like that in Australia, but apparently it is like that in some Victorian schools.

        I do have dim memories of school violence on the news, but after the initial report, everything goes away. The outcomes are never reported afterwards – is that for the safety of the identity of the offenders?

        We can become complacent about how we would like things, and think ahead to the perfect ways that we are going to do things in the future when we get our own classrooms – but what if we had to deal with continued violence and threat – or more specifically and shooting or stabbing in a primary classroom – it is not something that we incorporate as part of our plan for our future. It is scary to think that we need to. And really sad.

        This proves that a positive learning environment is first and foremost in importance. The right to feel safe physically and emotionally has to be one of our basis building blocks for developing education for the future. I think that putting money into counsellers to assist the troubled students must have more of a positive effect on behaviour than does being yelled at, sworn at, degraded and arrested. Phew. What are they thinking?

        These articles demonstrate how close to home this problem is of school violence. The US Report demonstrated how NOT to deal with it.

        Leanne

      • dterito1 says:

        Thanks Tania for posting so many links which illustrated that violence can and is occuring in our schools. I was especially shocked to read about the study in ’98 that found 30% of NSW secondary school students had atacked another student in the previous year – that equates to a third of NSW secondary school students which is quite staggering. Although the article did not go into sepcifics of the type of attack (so it could be from mild to quite serious forms of attack), however, it is terrible to think that school is suppose to be a place where students should feel safe.

        I tend to agree with Melissabraszell, who stated that it seems more a social issue rather than an issue of violence within australian schools (I am hoping anyway, because it will be a very sad day if we ever adopt the same punitive measures that USA use. How sad, not only for students who have to endure this type of prison-like environment, but also teachers to have to witness students being subjected to this type of treatment. The report does a good job of highlighting what “NOT TO DO” in creating a positive learning environment.)

    • annisa28 says:

      We don’t realise how lucky we are!
      I can’t imagine going to work everyday in that sort of environment – hardly the setting for effective learning!
      It would be so stressful.
      Annisa

      • samprimm says:

        dear taniaadebono, thank you so much for posting your insights into your kids school. I must say I was shocked. I have always believed that there are problems in every level of society, especially schools, but to read an actual account in an area I know well and would have trusted is an eyeopener!
        I agree with your final comments about teachers restrictions on levels of discipline. I know this is a sensitive subject, and doing this course has opened my eyes a lot more than even before I became a mum. I know we have to take care of our students, show them understanding, care and sometimes even love. But, and its a big but to me, there has got to be discipline, structure, rules and boundaries. Being a mum for the first time has made me realise these are some of the most important things to give children, and mine is only 3! Of course I am not talking physical discipline, but teachers just can’t afford to be seen as too “soft” these days.
        Kids will get away with anything, if given the chance.
        Thanks again for making your comments, I think they are appreciated quite a lot. Good luck to your kids and lets hope that you are raising them to ignore the bad elements (which it sounds like you are!), try not to sucumb to peer pressure and make sure they have good morals and I am sure they will come away from their school unscathed and lovely people!

      • nannashazz says:

        Enjoying reading al the above comments and stories. Had several thoughts…years ago I started a maths degree as I wanted to be a high school maths teacher but I was talked out of it by 2 high school teachers as they told me firstly most kids hated maths and so would make class time hell and second they had each experienced violence from various students including having knives pulled on them. So these things DO happen in Australia. (hopefully not too much in Primary School???)
        I, too, want to make children’s early school years enjoyable, memorable and worthwhile. I loved school and most of myteachers are in my memory forever.
        LASTLY, for now – by making our student’s environment positve and motivational, aren’t we also creating a great working environment for oursellves? where WE love to come to work and go home glowing!
        Shazz

      • Kirsty Moore says:

        Tania I think you hit the mail right on the head with your blog – thanks for sharing!
        I think that as Australians we have a tendency to think that we ar so lucky and will never be as ‘bad’ as other countries…and thats regarding many issues!
        But like you say there are policies out there for the exact things that we do not believe are happening in out country……….!
        We need to open our eyes and really see whats going on at grass roots level and work with communities, schools, parents and families in a finding a solution to violent behaviours of any level! It is simply not on :(

    • aliciagorshkov says:

      It is shocking to think that that is the “norm” that children in The City of New York expect when it comes to schooling… Not a positive learning environment in the least! I too am thankfull that our Country has not had to employ such harsh strategies. I think (as the report shows) that overall they are detremental and disruptive to everyone within the school environment. Let’s hope there is never a need for our governments/schools to even consider such methods!

    • chiswell123 says:

      I AGREE TOTALLY!

    • Sandra Wetzel says:

      I too agree. Australian system is way better from what I’ve heard and experienced. We have maximum class sizes and are usually adhered too and we do have a system of Government that values education no matter how is in power!
      Sandra

  11. plonkeer says:

    A positive environment requires respect both in a teacher student relationship but also amongst parents and staff. It is sad that there are still teachers allowed to teach in our school system that emotionally abuse students, degrade them and make them feel worthless. Unfortunatley I have first had experience watching this happen and the system not doing anything about it.

    I agree with Gordons counselling method although I can see it has limitations and would not be effective with all students. Ownership of problems is very important as is discussion with students as opposed to verbal attacks.
    The no lose approach is one I have used with students and works effectively with some of the more challenging students. Discussing the issue and allowing the student to be part of the solution makes the student feel included and more willing to respond in a positive manner.

    • amyavery says:

      I love your post I think after reading about the violence ect in the reading and in others stories made me think “god how are you meant to apply Gordons counselling method” but you snapped me out of it. Or-thought there are all these issues centred with violence, gangs ect, we still need to think of these student as individuals and if us as teachers can help student to feel more secure within the classroom and give them a voice then this may translate into other parts of there lives.
      I my self have not had a lot of experience with this subject as my children are months and 2, and I don’t have any really strong memories about the learning environment of school as a child. I am really enjoying reading others comment that have a lot more experience.
      Amy

      • COurtney says:

        Amy,
        Your response is very open minded and is exactly what is needed in classrooms today. You will be a great teacher!
        I grew up in a small city and am shocked to hear about the violence in schools in Australia.

  12. jcsimpson75 says:

    I watched the ilecture and read the “Teachers Talk” document from America. A piece of the document that I felt was particularly interesting was ” Teachers using preventitve and supportive approach to discipline and safety that teach positive behaviour and conflict” http://www.nesri.org/sites/default/files/Teachers_Talk.pdf pg 9. This takes into account the theory of Gordon’s Counselling Approach, where we seek to find out who owns the problem? This is also relivent to Kounin Group Management theory of preventitve measures. If we prevent issues from happening, or support students when something does happen, then we are showing a caring and safe classroom.

  13. meyerka says:

    I have just read the Teacher talk PDF and am also left feeling we are very very lucky. being in tassie i believe I am doubly blessed as we have far less issues with gang culture and extreme behaviours than some of the bigger cities. The fact that in New york there are over 5000 security officers employed in schools and over 200 police assigned specifically to schools is incredible. The use if punishment and the treatmentof the students appears almost like they are prisoners once they arrive at school. There is no respect for the students rights.

    I agree with suevale (above) how lucky we are. But also what a challenge to be a teacher in such an extreme environment and produce results!

    • erinhenn1 says:

      I agree…does the fact that these students will be arrested for behaviours such as fighting or even “non-violent offences” increase the risk of an escalation in behaviour. The students know they are going to face a harsh penalty so why would they try and control their anger or reaction.
      Instances like this where students may be expelled for minor (although still unacceptable) inappropriate actions the prevention tactics have been thrown out the window.
      Although I am grateful we are here in Australia embarking on our teaching journey who is to say that this will not eventually happen here.
      We need to somehow stop the insanity of policing schools and make them a place where students feel safe. the safer the student feels, the less likely they are to explode emotionally.

      • Dominique Kropf says:

        I agree with that comment of building from the ground up and re-igniting positive behaviour into the new generation. I think it starts with some fundamental changes such as the complete removal of video/playstation/xbox games that are pure violence and rubbish. There is no value in those types of games and they make our children view violence as the norm.
        The next step is to introduce community to everyone again: let’s get to know your neighbour week, or the like, where we start living outside of our selfish boxes again and we start viewing the world as something we are part of.
        Schools and teachers will then see an increase in children who are sensitive to external stimuli and free of inner turmoil caused by constant war games.
        That would be a nice start.

    • itsmisslu says:

      meyerka, I am not so sure you should be feeling “doubly blessed” living in Tasmania—have you forgotten the infamous Port Arthur Massacre? Martin Bryant was born and bred in TAS.

      I do agree with Tania too that Australian schools are not without their own problems, and it is definitely not limited to public schools.

      My daughter attends a private Catholic primary school and the school hit the news when my girl was in Kindergarten (2009) after a Year 5 student took a knife to school. You can just imagine what I thought about that as a parent of a 5 year old attending the school.

      As far as creating a positive learning environment, I believe inclusiveness is something to consider as a teacher. My daughter was the only girl in her Year 1 class excluded from the class group item, which performed in the whole school annual talent quest last year. I am hoping that she has a good teacher this year because it is tiring forcing a child to go to school each day. Especially when I recall enjoying my school years so much.

      Lu

  14. Kylie B says:

    Why isn’t anyone listening to the teaching staff of all the US schools when they say putting more crazy police officers and metal detectors etc DON’T WORK! What is wrong with people these days? We want our students and children to listen to us but who is listening to the teachers and the people responsible for the kids who are all just becoming ‘criminals’ or at least thats what their being treated like! I just don’t get it! Why are people so blind to the fact that punishing kids ALL the time just doesn’t help. A level of discipline is obviously necessary but treating them like crims is not! This topic really had made me feel thankful that we live in Oz and that our children can enjoy a safe (most of the time) and enjoyable learning envrionment. I am so sad for the kids elsewhere that are subjected to this abuse day in day out :(

    • chrissielillico says:

      I think one of the recurring themes in the article was the fact that the SSAs are generally not much older than the students, and that they have very little to NO training in how to de-escalate violent situations through conflict-resolution strategies…

      • aliciagorshkov says:

        And that I think is the key; It doesn’t matter if it is the SSA’s, the police officers, or better still the teachers themselves… ADULTS need to be trained in these strategies if they are to working in a school. Regardless of the lack of funding in NYC for extra councillors, teachers-aides etc, at least if ALL employee’s of the school have recieved this kind of training that it would have to help things improve? If only a little considering how understaffed the schools are but still…

      • DILEMADA says:

        I agree. We are so lucky not to have these issues here in Australia (yet). The SSAs I feel are much the same as our so called security gaurds that appear at the front of nightclubs or restrauants, they think they are just the best and sometimes they are the ones that cause the trouble. They take their role to far and push the boundarys of what their job is really all about. From reading the article, the SSAs are causing more trouble then the students themselves. Firstly they need to be trained better and explain to them they are to make the students feel welcomed when they arrive at school not get straight into them as soon as they step foot on the school grounds.

      • marykemp says:

        Excellent point!

    • I couldn’t agree with you more. Alot of our books we study are written in America. I think that the violence over there has distracted people from caring about the individual and about promoting the learning journey. I agree. And no one seems to be listening to the teachers.

    • I can see what you are saying, definitely. My understanding is that although the police and metal detectors aren’t achieving what they are there for, they are no longer there for a preventative measure and more now for a controlling measure. These schools are now in a tricky spot, because removing these options can make schools more dangerous, yet teachers may need them gone in order to implement more improved stategies. They need to find a balance of preventing bullying without compromising safety, so eliminating the police and metal detectors could occur when there are measures to replace them.

    • yasmintoivonen says:

      In absolute agreeance (hope I spelt that right) with you Kylie. How can police monitoring hall ways & metal detectors have a positive effect when the action just highlights negativity. No wonder these kids become criminals – by having all this surrounding them only demonstrates that schools are sending the message that they expect their students to be criminals. Schools are supposed to be a safe haven for kids that encourages learning, promotes self esteem and makes kids feel like they belong in society – that if they put in the honest work, they can make their dreams for what they want as their future, a reality. Without the risk of sounding like some trashy novel, it is really up to the schools to make this happen as we cannot rely on students’ families (due to various cultures, socioeconomic status – from the arrogance of wealth to the extreme poverty & family time spent with kids) to share these beliefs. The question is, how can we put into effect this change so our schools can be rid of bullying, gangs, weapons without the extreme measure of having police protection?

      • alycelittras says:

        One of the many things that stood out for me in the PDF teacher’s report, was the amount of suspensions! In 2000 there were a bit of 8,000, and in 2005 there were nearly 16,000!
        I think by jumping to suspensions all the time, students then fall behind in school work, and then their “bad” behaviour escalates when they return as they don’t know whats happening in class, so act out again. It’s just creating a cycle that’s going to get worse and worse.
        In my high school, when a student had mis-behaved to the level that they needed to be removed from the classroom, they were sent to a room in the library. “Time-out”, where they still were given the class work, and were expected to keep up, but could only interact with people at recess and lunch. Before being allowed to return to class, they had to sign a “return to work plan”, and the mis-behaved student would sit down and write their plan to be a better student.

    • adelehirst says:

      I agree, it made me sad to learn about children subject to abuse! I believe the situation needs to be ‘nipped in the bud’ as much as possible in primary school using a high, non punishing disciplinary way. Behaviour breeds behaviour. If kids are subject to abuse, they will quite possibly, become abusive!

    • Mitch says:

      I think that these policies are put in place to make people (probably voters) perceive that the govt. is doing something to stop these issues from arising, rather than listen to what professionals in the industry who deal with these problems every day have to say. I agree that it doesn’t make sense and it doesn’t work.

  15. Natalie says:

    Hi everyone,

    I too really enjoyed Rozz’s video lecture. The PDF was very interesting as well, not sure such a report could be written about schools in Victoria.
    Victoria has a student wellbeing policy framework in place for student support services available to teachers at: http://www.eduweb.vic.gov.au/edulibrary/public/stuman/wellbeing/fwksss.pdf

    What constitutes a school culture? View this PDF at http://www.rucharacter.org/…/DevelopingandAssessingSchoolCulture

    This newspaper article is how one primary school in my area is approaching gang related situations in the playground. What do you think?
    http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/threes-the-limit-schools-hard-stance-on-gangs-20101027-1735w.html

    This article from the ABC discusses “Installing metal detectors in schools would be counter-productive to dealing with a rising knife culture in Australian schools, an expert says.” http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/02/17/2822078.htm

    This is an example of how one school in Victoria view welfare and discipline of their students. http://resources.mhs.vic.edu.au/mhs/about/welfare.html

    Here is a report on international student safety in Melbourne.
    http://www.vu.edu.au/news/report-on-international-student-safety-in-melbourne

    • ashleighgoss says:

      Hi Natalie,
      Thanks for a great post. I particularly enjoyed the article that talked about tackling bullying and gangs within the playground. It was very interesting to read that one particular school tackled this issue by banning all students from congregating in groups with more than three people. I agree with the comment that pointed out, punishing the whole school was not an effective practice. It seems as though the underlying problem of bullying and harrassment has not been addressed, which is a shame for students attending this school.

  16. justjen61 says:

    Wow, this topic seems to have had a huge impact on most of us already. It is so easy to think of teaching in a classroom full of perfect children and being the perfect teacher. I wonder how many of those poor teachers in the US really had any idea that just going to work every day was a life threatening event. The really of it all is, being a child in today’s society is far removed from when I was young. I can remember walking home from school without being concerned about my safety, and even stopping and playing in the park on the way home. My children were fortunate enough to live in a country town for 5 years, and attended both the primary and high schools there. The culture shock they received on moving to a large high school for the end of their schooling was unbelievable.
    The most obvious difference between the small town and city highschools seems to be in the form of RESPECT. From what I have experienced, anonymity has a lot to do with behaviour and respect. In a small town, everyone knows each other, and chances are the teacher grew up with your parents. In city schools, teachers are often just alien figures who have no power and the students know it.
    Just recently, a child I was teaching to swim, told me they had a “lockdown” at school that day. I thought “lockdowns” were only used in prisons, lol , so was horrified. And the reason for the lockdown???? A student on the rampage so teachers locked their doors and kept the other children “safe”. Why??? Because no-one is allowed to touch the student for fear of being sued.
    It is indeed a sad society we live in, and unfortunately it’s not going to change overnight. All we can hope to achieve is being the best teachers we can be, and try to make a difference in the lives of as many of the children we teach as is humanly possible!
    Sorry, blabbing on again. have had my say now…..would love to hear other opinions.
    Jen

    • lisajjj says:

      Hi Jen,
      I haven’t yet read the article but I’m guessing I know what I’m in for with that article.
      I too was horrified at the ‘lockdown’ that had happened in a local high school here in a semi country environment in NSW – and I also had never heard of it before!!. Having moved here recently from WA – well it was certainly a culture shock, not only my children but also to me! I also thought firstly of a prison when hearing the term!
      It certainly does make you wonder where we are headed doesn’t it? (I for one am heading back to WA LOL)…
      Lisa :)

      • lisajjj says:

        Well Jen it seems NSW DET do have an official ‘lockdown’ policy! I wonder if other states have the same system in place in response to behaviour management! The “How to be a Safer School” document was interesting to read – quite an eye opener on the reality of behavioural issues in NSW. (or perhaps Australia wide? how lucky do we think we are at the moment compared to the USA??) the new state of the art local high school in this area actually has bars and gates that do not allow people in or out without first attending the office, and then you are buzzed through a turnstyle enclosed gate… In cases of fire – quite a worrying concern…
        Lisa.

        http://www.schools.nsw.edu.au/media/downloads/schoolsweb/adminsupport/safetysecurity/htbass.pdf

      • aliciagorshkov says:

        Wow! I have never heard of ‘lockdown’! How frightening to think what things are becoming in our own society that for fear of being sued teachers can’t touch or try to calm a child… “No! Why bother? JUST SHUT THE DOORS ON HIM/HER!” That is the worst thing I can imagine, what a positive learning environment they demonstrate.. Very welcoming.. NOT!

    • darcieedp155 says:

      That’s a great point about anonymity! I was from a small town and knew my teachers out of school, I would never have dared misbehave.

    • rek58vn says:

      Jen,
      I enjoyed reading your blog. I agree we your comment on the fact we do live in a pretty safe society these days. Gone is the freedom we had to go to school and feel safe and free to move around outside of school. I still think the Australian Education System is still in a better state then the American System. I know a lot of schools have there share of bullying and disrespect towards teachers, but it becomes a new ball game when a school needs to protect it’s students and teachers, by installing detection devices and have students searched for weapons. It’s a shame society has had to use these drastic measurements to make the school environment safe for everyone. No wonder so many teachers are opting out of the American system and traveling oversea to find employment.Teachers just want to teach in a safe environment, without the fear of being shot by a disgruntled student.

    • jmck52 says:

      Not always the case. Small schools suffer just as much as larger ones when it comes to respect. It all stems from the families. Respect declines when the parents dont rate schooling high on their ladder, and the students know its not going to benefit them, they already have jobs on the farms. I have been all over W.A and worked at several schools now and there are problems everywhere.

      Society seems to be loosing respect, it saddens me to see this and makes me want to reverse the trend even more.

    • itsmisslu says:

      My daughters primary school is in “lockdown” every day from the first bell to the final bell. That’s the high security fencing around the perimeter, and like someone else said you have to go to the office and sign in and get buzzed through. I personally feel that my daughter is safer there with the fences, but I consider they are there to keep the ‘animals’ out rather than keeping them in :)

      Lu

      • adelehirst says:

        It is safe to keep a fencing around to keep the ‘animals’ out, It is important for the student’s to feel safe, according to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, students safety and belonging needs must be met before their intellectual needs can be met. If a child doesn’t feel safe, it is hard for he/she to learn.

  17. cdlt1980 says:

    I have really enjoyed watching the i lecture on positive learning environments. The information and theories that Rozz explains has made it clear to me; what kind of teacher I would want to be once I complete this degree. I would want to be a teacher who managers an organized classroom and creates a genuine caring and nurturing environment where students would be in control of their own rules and consequences. Rather than being a controlling teacher who dictates everything in the classroom like the majority of teachers that I was taught by whilst I was a t high school. This topic and i lecture has put a lot of perspective into where my future of teaching heading. I am really looking forward to researching this topic into more detail. more into this topic.
    Cheers Diane

    • Jodie Mackrell says:

      Hi Diane, I agree with you in relation to the i lecture. It was very informative and gave me some interesting techniques to use to manage students who misbehave. I believe to be able to set a positive classroom enviroment you first need to know your students and the audience.
      In my current role the relationship I have with my students plays a large role on how they communicate with me. How they behave in the class and the kind of mutual respect we have for each other. I believe classroom enviroment is important but so too is the emnphasis on your relationship with each student. I would love to know what others think?

      I will continue to read…..

      Thanks Jodie

      • jenniferlivingston says:

        Hi Jodie

        That’s a great point about the importance of teacher/student relationships and I believe it goes hand-in-hand with creating a positive classroom environment. As Rozz said in the iLecture “if the children want attention, give it to them”. In my experience, if kids don’t feel recognised and valued, they will start to misbehave.

        Also, as many bloggers have already brought up, I do think that as a community there is a need to address the increasing culture of disrespect and lack of empathy. As a teacher I believe it will be important to remember that to some kids you may be their only positive role model. We may not be able to change society as a whole but we may be able to make a difference in the life of one important future citizen.

        Regards

        Jenni

    • hoeys says:

      Hi Diane ,
      I agree with you whole heartedly. I was privileged to have had some amazing teachers through my school years, whose infectious passion for their subjects, and their dedication to the instilment of knowledge and values in their students made a lasting impression upon me. I missed some school early on in my primary years due to ill health and it was through the support of one teacher in particular Ms.Kirwan that my return and catch up was neither disconcerting, nor difficult. Her guidance and encouragement and her unwavering belief that I could succeed gave me the confidence to apply myself . These qualities are what I strive to achieve.

  18. Kylie B says:

    Why do you think that sound classroom management is important? As a result of your reading, viewing and discussion so far, what elements do you believe a teacher should consider when planning for a positive, happy and effective classroom?

    A sound classroom environment is vital otherwise there will be chaos from start to finish and the students and staff will be so stressed. No teaching and no learning will be able to be done effectively.

    In order for a teacher to have a positive, happy and effective classroom they need to plan to make their students feel safe. They need to be greeted and spoken to respectfully. The room should be bright and happy and encourage students by using their work on the walls. Ground rules need to created with the students as well as the consequences. Students should be involved in the process, so they know what is expected of them. There is no need for constant shouting and punishing, things should be dealt with calmly and rationally. A teacher needs to have a good relationship with the students. A mutual respect should be shown, and a teacher should be approachable whenever they may need to talk or ask for help. Once again it comes down to them feeling safe and happy in their learning environment.

  19. carlyannlacey says:

    The U.S Report, Teachers Talk: School culture, Safety and human rights (2008) was a startling account of how fear in the community can translate to the school system. What is worrying is that this could be where the Australian school system will be heading in years to come, as the influence of American culture is so strong in this country. Rather than viewing this as a ‘look into the crystal ball’ however, this report should serve as a warning of what can occur when violence and lack of school unity can errode the culture of a school. Ross Cameron writes in Something’s rotten in the state of NSW – comprehensive public schools (2008, Sydney Morning Herald) ” One public high school principal confessed to me the difficulty he was facing in getting students to accept academic awards at speech day for fear of being mocked and bullied in the playground.”
    In my own experience as a school student, the report and article do not bear much resemblance to my journey throughout school. However there were some isolated incidences of harsh punishment on negative behaviour. I can recall a fight taking place between two girls at my high school. Teacher response was not fast enough. When it was finally broken up by a teacher, the girls were sent to the principle’s office and were not seen again. Teachers Talk (2008) indicates” zero tolerance suspensions/expulsions are linked to an increased likelihood of puture behaviour problems” (p.2) Alhough we will never know, this may have been the case for the girls involved. However I believe this incident deterred others as I never witnessed another fight in the school. Albon (2007) discusses different approaches which may have been more effective ie- “Gordon’s counselling approach”, “Glasser’s approach” or “Dreikur’s democratic approach” for example. Prevention is better than correction. Building a culture of cooperation, fairness and above all, respect is the key to a positive learning environment.
    Article retrieved from: http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/politics/somethings-rotten-in-the-state-of-nsw–comprehensive-public-schools-20100207-nkpm.html

  20. Alison McPherson says:

    The importance of creating a positive, caring learning environment should not be underestimated.

    I would like to highlight the importance of caring.

    I work in a behavioural school where more than 50% of the students come from disrupted homes. 50% of those are in foster care. These are the kids that feel nobody cares about them, and for the most part, nobody does. Students who feel their teachers do not care become disengaged and disengagement can lead to behavioural problems (Eggen & Kauchak, 2010). Well, well, well. It’s not rocket science is it?

    The first thing we do at my school is make these children feel like they belong. When they come to our class, on their very first day, we give them textbooks, a tote tray, a sticker chart. We ask them about the things they like, what their hobbies are. We include them in all conversations. We model to the rest of the class how to be a good friend to someone new. We show them they are valued. The teachers and the teacher’s aides work hard to create safe, caring learning environments. We are teachers, mums, dads, friends, counselors, building up trust with our students, showing them that there IS someone who actually cares about them.

    Just have a look as Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs (Eggen & Kauchak, 2010, p.290). Safety, belonging, self esteem, all these needs have to be met before these kids can even start to learn.

    When our students show a behavioural problem, we take them aside, we talk to them, we listen. Chances are they had a bad weekend, a fight with someone at home, or something similar so they act out at school. If we suspended every time there was a behavioural problem, we would have no students.

    Our number 1 priority is to change their story. A story that when they come to us says;
    ‘I’m no good’ ‘I can’t do it’ ‘ I’m hopeless at school’ ‘Why bother’ ‘I’m useless’, to one that says;
    ‘I can do it’ ‘I’m important’ I’m a good person’ ‘I can achieve’.

    We watch our students change from hating school, and being school avoiders to kids with 100% attendance. These children come to us with behaviour problems, low or no self esteem and, in most cases, within 12 – 18 months we have turned them around and they are back in mainstream, learning, alongside their peers.

    REFERENCE
    Eggen P. & Kauchak D. (2010). Educational psychology: windows on classrooms (8th Ed.). Frenchs Forest: Pearson.

    • Elisa Taylor says:

      wow that is a great inspirational post, as future teachers it will be up to us to make a difference to ALL Australian kids.

    • samprimm says:

      Alison, wonderful blog! Really inspirational stuff. I love your methods of making new students feel immediately included and a valued member of the classroom.
      Great work, what a lovely teacher you must be!

    • hayley15218209 says:

      WOW that is awesome! what you do is just amazing well done – very inspiring :-) totally agree with about Maslows Hierarchy too, when we feel accepted, safe etc then we are free to learn but until then we are ‘stuck’ waiting for someone to show us they care and to guide us in the right direction.

    • sarahohanlon says:

      Alison it sounds like you really care about the students and making them feel comfortable and secure :)

    • georgina15221993 says:

      Thanks Alison for your post. (It brought a tear to my eye!) It sounds as though you and your school do an amazing job in ‘changing these kid’s stories’. I just cant believe that there are so many children that feel as though no-body cares about them… and you say they don’t. Why?
      It is good to know that if these kids are unfortunate enough to have distant parents that there are people who do care. I just don’t understand why and how there are so many kids like this.

    • dalya says:

      thanks Alison, for showing us how important it is to show students that we care and provide a productive environment for them. Great post!

    • kathrynviner says:

      Wow what I wouldn’t do to work in a school like that one. Thanks Alison

    • lmartic says:

      It is good to know that there are schools and teachers out there who do cater for students who truly are in need. Keep up the good work. (:

    • ktsimeon says:

      You’re doing a great job. Very honourable and, I imagine, very emotionally taxing. It must be hard to get these kids to feel safe and help them turn their problems around but how rewarding it must be to see them happy to come to school!

      Very inspiring! Thanks for sharing :D

      Katie

  21. allycat19 says:

    The importance of creating a positive, caring learning environment should not be underestimated.

    I would like to highlight the importance of caring.

    I work in a behavioural school where more than 50% of the students come from disrupted homes. 50% of those are in foster care. These are the kids that feel nobody cares about them, and for the most part, nobody does. Students who feel their teachers do not care become disengaged and disengagement can lead to behavioural problems (Eggen & Kauchak, 2010). Well, well, well. It’s not rocket science is it?

    The first thing we do at my school is make these children feel like they belong. When they come to our class, on their very first day, we give them textbooks, a tote tray, a sticker chart. We ask them about the things they like, what their hobbies are. We include them in all conversations. We model to the rest of the class how to be a good friend to someone new. We show them they are valued. The teachers and the teacher’s aides work hard to create safe, caring learning environments. We are teachers, mums, dads, friends, counselors, building up trust with our students, showing them that there IS someone who actually cares about them.

    Just have a look as Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs (Eggen & Kauchak, 2010, p.290). Safety, belonging, self esteem, all these needs have to be met before these kids can even start to learn.

    When our students show a behavioural problem, we take them aside, we talk to them, we listen. Chances are they had a bad weekend, a fight with someone at home, or something similar so they act out at school. If we suspended every time there was a behavioural problem, we would have no students.

    Our number 1 priority is to change their story. A story that when they come to us says;
    ‘I’m no good’ ‘I can’t do it’ ‘ I’m hopeless at school’ ‘Why bother’ ‘I’m useless’, to one that says;
    ‘I can do it’ ‘I’m important’ I’m a good person’ ‘I can achieve’.
    We watch our students change from hating school, and being school avoiders to kids with 100% attendance.

    These children come to us with behaviour problems, low or no self esteem and, in most cases, within 12 – 18 months we have turned them around and they are back in mainstream, learning, alongside their peers.

    • justjen61 says:

      Wow Ally, what an incredibly rewarding job. I’m sure it’s a lot harder than it sounds, and good for you for being one of the amazingly strong and caring people who can do this kind of work.
      Jen

      • darcieedp155 says:

        Great post Ally,
        I have a friend who is a police officer and he says that when he goes to the schools in the ‘bad areas’ (for want of a better description) he finds that the more attention and CARE he gives these kids, the more they love his visits. Their teachers love teaching in these schools as the children tend to have more positive experiences there than in their lives at home.
        And I wonder, all without metal detectors, security guards and restrictive policies?

    • suevale says:

      What an inspirational story. Thank you

    • sxirakis4 says:

      What an inspirational account of your school! Thank you for sharing.

      Simone:)

    • Yes our priority is on caring. We need to care.

    • ejh says:

      Thanks for sharing Ally. I hate to sound ignorant but I didn’t even realise there were such resources for children in this situation, or at least I hadn’t given it too much thought. At that stage of their childhood with such ‘exceptional’ circumstances, I am encouraged to hear that they get this support in the community and are given the opportunity to return to mainstream schooling when they are ready for it.

      My first thought after reading pages 5-6 of Teachers Talk was that these are necessary actions to protect children within the system from those who are acting out. Obviously, this is often a result of what is going on outside of school and I think in some urban settings where there are social issues relating to gangs and the likes it would be difficult to find the right solution without treating students like prisoners and whilst still protecting all students.

      The RESPECT program sounds like a successful model that could be rolled out to all schools with similar issues. I agree with previous posts about listening to the teachers because ultimately they are the role models interacting with the students at the coal face and impacting their lives. If their voices were heard and they had more opportunity to create a positive environment the results would speak for themselves.

      I like that these topics are raising such passionate responses

    • deishababy says:

      Hi Ally,

      That is truly a heartwarming story. For children to feel that they are accepted, that they belong, that they have people that care for them … it’s paramount! It has such a huge impact on the rest of their lives, and the structure of their souls. Very sad that many, many children in this day and age are not given the opportunity to experience these basic human needs.

      I feel such sadness for the US schools who are subjected to brute force security. For the want of curbing extreme behaviours, whole schools are punished as a result. From the moment they walk through the gates and are subjected to the security staff, they are treated like prisoners in a way – degrading way to start the day!! I do believe that there is much violence and extreme cases in schools, but the use of such tactics only responds to the visual problem of the ‘trouble makers’, not what is causing the problem. I mean, they have to be bringing those behaviours from somewhere …. rocky home lives, poor neighbourhoods (even rich ones), societal differences, lack of self esteem – the list goes on (and on and on!). These are the things that need attention and TLC. Its useless to just bandaid each situation … violence begets violence … they are teaching the kids the wrong things. So sad.

      When I start teaching, I would love to work within an environment such as yours; one which spreads the message of care, concern, positivity and acceptance.

      Thank you for your post … it has made me think – and feel …

      Deisha

      • marykemp says:

        Yes these posts have been really passionate showing the quality of our current and future teachers. Once again I emphasise the need to instil values of respect in and for children from the earliest possible age to impact positively on their lives.

    • Jodie Mackrell says:

      Great post! I guess we as adults too have bad days and in reflection aren’t always so perfect also!

      Nice point that misbehaviour is a cry for an ear to listen. I personally know some adults who do exactly the same when things are not going right.

      Jodie

    • taniaadebono says:

      Allycat

      really enjoyed your uplifting post. A group of positive thinkers all pushing forward to give young ones a better chance.

      Well done to you and your colleagues.

    • aliciagorshkov says:

      Thank you so much for sharing! You and your fellow works must really have your work cut out for you at times, but what you do is amazing! What a life long gift you all provide these children with – not just education, but a feeling of self-worth and belonging. Inspiring!

    • kateizzard says:

      I totally agree with you Allycat about changing the students ‘story’. Creating a classroom that can be a safe haven from their home lives can make all the difference. When children know that you are there for them, they stop fighting you and start working with you. Making school enjoyable for our students does make all the difference.

    • taniaadebono says:

      You have displayed and illustrated what teaching is truly about. Great job Allycat!

      I have to say it is common sense but it takes special people to pick up on what is going on like yourself, rather than only witnessing and evaluating situations from their own personal perspective. We do tend to get a bit obgged down with our own worlds.

      The best teachers I have ever come across, are those willing to extend themselves beyond. What I mean is they do not see teaching as just a job but as a vocation.

      It is extremely easy to categorise children and place them into pigeon holes – makes teaching so much easier if students have to comply with such labelling mechanisms.

      Providing an education to children is all about giving them a chance and making that chance as easy to access as possible. I agree with your comment about changing their stories.

      Most issues that do arise in the school environment are predictable if one takes into account what actually does or in many cases does not happen in the surrounding communities. Immediate responses to our environment have an effect on our every day life as well as histories.

      Great post Ally.

  22. darcieedp155 says:

    The teachers talk report has so many examples of what not to do! The social learning theory suggests that students can learn from modelling. I would not want my child modelling on aggressive forceful security guards.
    Page 18 reinforces the need to create good parent/teacher relationships. It seems schools only contact parents when there is a problem, yet as we are learning now, relationships need to be formed on a neutral level. Therefore contact should be made for both positive and negative instances.

    • kl3896 says:

      I agree with your comment for contact, my kids school has an open door policy which is great as it is nice to just drop in and say hi to the teacher without there being a problem.

  23. darcieedp155 says:

    Yet another principle the report highlights that these schools have done wrong is having policies such as suspension for horseplay!!! (p.22) wow. This is terrible. Let kids be kids. Again, we have all learned to give children the freedom to express themselves, horseplay, to me, is a prank, a laugh a bit of mischievousness. Providing no-one is hurt, humiliated or disrupted, a gentle reminder of the rules would suffice.
    This report shows that these schools do the opposite of what is needed, and therefore they have their dangerous and disjointed environments. I feel the predominant factor may be over crowding, and I feel for these students in these schools. They will never break the cycle of bad schooling. Their experiences will lead to their stigmatisation, labelling and consequently Self fulfilling prophecy. I wonder how many missed opportunities and wasted talents these schools have abused!

  24. kl3896 says:

    I believe school culture is reflected in the standards the school has set for its staff and students, both moral and educational. A positive school culture or environment will encourage students to respect each other, their parents and their teachers. In a positive school environment students will be able to achieve more as they will feel valued and supported in their efforts. This positive environment will come only from a strong principal who leads their teachers in building strong traditions and celebrate achievement of students. Teacher development will also enhance student learning as they will bring new ideas rather than relying on decades-old procedures. The following website gives and insight into creating positive school cultures: http://www.educationworld.com/a_admin/admin/admin275.shtml
    While some American schools appear to have major problems, it is not fair to judge all students on the same level. In all situations individuals needs vary and while discipline is important, I believe encouragement and support would go a long way to improving some situations. Some students who come from a disruptive home life would benefit greatly from having a teacher show a genuine interest in them; students would respond in a positive manner which will then be reflected in their effort and results. (Eggen & Kauchak, 2010)
    Reference
    Eggen, P. & Kauchak, D (2010) Educational Psychology – Windows on classrooms (8th ed) – Pearson International edition, New Jersey: Pearson Education

  25. Marg O'Sullivan says:

    The West Australian Newspaper had a relevant article on Saturday 23 January 2011 that reviewed an audit by the Education Department on underperforming schools. It suggested that claims had been made about increased bullying, abuse, undesirable behaviour and racism. The audit indicated that few teachers consider themselves responsible for managing student behaviour and also suggested that disruptive behaviour was detracting from effective teaching and learning. An Expert Review Group has been set up to identify the problems and fix them.

    One of the main points that stands out for me in the US Teacher report is the importance of building a school culture through collaboration and communication. My view is that this needs to be done within individual school communities so that it is responsive to the needs of those involved with that particular school. Therefore, I question how effective it will be for a departmental “Expert Review Group” to be able to identify and fix such issues that have arisen through the audit!

  26. Marg O'Sullivan says:

    Many schools now have policies relating to bullying.

    My own 6 year old daughter has attended a private school now for 2 years (kindy and pre-primary). Within these year groups, the teachers use the “sad chair” as a form of discipline. To start with, I have a strong adversion to time out (or the “sad chair”)! Even the name has negative connotations! When on parent roster, I witnessed this form of discipline being used inappropriately: a 5 year old child was made to sit with his back to the group, at a distance and for a period of 15 minutes. I felt really disturbed by this and felt that it was degrading and humilitating for the child. At a later date, I met with the Principle of the school and bought up the issue. I suggested that the practice of using the “sad chair” contradicted the schools policy on bullying. He found this hard to accept and asked me for alternative suggestions, which I was happy to provide.

    I believe that a positive school culture requires respect on all levels – from teachers, students and the wider school community. As an advocate for children and a parent, I am more than happy to stand up for the rights of our children and assist in the development of proactive strategies to develop positive school cultures.

    • taniaadebono says:

      Ah! the naughty chair or the sad chair – so many names for it – that place of isolation away from the rest of the children. You would think we have gone beyond that form of isolating discipline.

      My children attend a state school. Six years ago when my son was in prep, I was helping in his class when one particular child decided to play up – he had a record of being disruptive – the teacher this day decided to “send him to Coventry”. I nearly fell off my chair in dismay – an expression I had not heard since I was a child. And it’s been some thirty odd years since I was in primary school. Just for the younger souls out there its an expression that stems from the English civil War, when royalists were imprisoned in the town of Coventry.
      Just before the end of school term last year a parent raised the subject with me, more due to the fact that she hadn’t understood what was going on. The teacher, still teaching prep is still using the term and using it to discipline five year olds. She sends them off to Coventry and makes them sit with their back to the class facing a wall. Just as a bit of trivia for everyone – the name Coventry is a derivative of the words Covin tree – an oak tree that stood in front of a castle in feudal England. The tree was used as a lynching tree. So the connotation isn’t a charitable one in the least.

      There are many underhanded forms of such punishment used in schools to this day that serve as a form of teacher bullying. If it isn’t stopped – it just means it is being encouraged and condoned.

    • ashleighgoss says:

      The idea of a ‘sad chair’ sounds terrible for students and their self esteem. It’s a shame that the principal could not understand your views on this. I hope he took into account your alternative suggestions.

    • Can I ask what your alternate suggestions were, and what the school ended up doing – did they implement your suggestions?

      • Marg O'Sullivan says:

        Thanks for your response, Belinda.

        In a pre-primary classroom there is always a teacher and a teacher assistant. I suggested that the teacher assistant remove the child from the group and talk with the about what the expectations are and how to meet these expectations. For example, the expectations are that the child sit quietly during mat sessions, so the child needs to sit in a space without touching anyone else, look at the teacher and listen to what the teacher is saying. I also suggested that the teacher assistant position themself next to the child on the mat to prompt desirable behaviour. This form of supportive scaffolding is far more effective than a ‘sad chair’.

        I don’t know if they have made any changes because my daughter is now attending another school.

    • sarahohanlon says:

      I agree that the sad chair isn’t the best idea when teaching the children that bullying isn’t acceptable.
      I liked your suggestions too Marg.

    • yasmintoivonen says:

      Good on you Marg for speaking up about the ‘sad chair’. Even if the principal didn’t act on your comments straight away, I bet he gave it some thought. Hopefully he actioned your recommendations.

      • lisajjj says:

        hmmm, not sure I agree with you Marg.

        I think a ‘sad chair’ could be used if after that chat with the teacher the child didn’t respond or continues in their behaviour.
        Why do you think the chair a form of bullying?
        Is being sent to the principles office also a form of bullying/ostracising?
        I don’t think either are forms of bullying.

        Perhaps we should encourage consequences for actions, not just talking as this may not always be enough/appropriate.

        I also advocate children’s rights – but what about their responsibilities? Are we letting children lose respect for themselves and others and contributing to the social issue today by not introducing consequences?
        I am for the ‘sad chair’. It gives a child the opportunity to think about their actions and the consequences – negative reinforcement???

      • dterito1 says:

        Yeah Marg, I do not necessarily agreee with making an example out of a student by placing them in a chair for 15 minutes, but I do think lisajjj has a point that sometimes talking is simply not enough.

        I am going off on a tangent here, but, my sister in law used talking to her son to try to stop him from his violent outbursts towards my son. The problem was that taling was not a good preventative measure, and so he always got the first hit in on my son (his cousin) and he was pulled aside and spoken to. This continued to happen and over time my son grew scared of him and would flinch everytime his cousin came near him, even they were the same age. My nephew knew that the only consequence for his actions was being spoken to and so he continued to do this. My husband was horrified, and I want to reiterate that we are not a violent family and we do not condone violent behaviour, however, my husband told my son to stand up to his cousin the next time he hit him. It was only a matter of time before it happened again and this time, my nephew hit my son, my son hit him back and they have never had another hitting episode ever since (almost one and a half years ago) and they get on like a house on fire.
        I do not necessarily agree that hitting back is acceptable, but I do feel that students need to take responsiblity for unacceptable behaviour and there should be consequences.

    • smile234 says:

      My daughters old school did a similar thing. They had a sad face and a happy face up on the board. When a student got their first warning, their name went under the sad face for the class to see. Likewise, when a child required praise they got it by having their name placed under the happy face. Many teachers used this teaching tool within the school. I liken the sad face to public humiliation and embarrassment. The happy face is almost like bragging. After hearing my daughtertalk about how troubling this form of discipline was, I still cannot decide what these teachers were actually trying to achieve!

      • ktsimeon says:

        Time out chairs are a hard one. I’ve worked in child care centres where they used them and it can work when done correctly. I’ve had situations where talking to a child doesn’t work. When you’re asking them to sit quietly so the other children can hear the story and they’re yelling NO! at you then yelling at the top of their lungs, well, I believe they need to be removed from the scenario. It becomes unpleasant for the other children, too. They like hearing stories as a group and don’t like other children yelling in their ears. You can only talk so much to a child before they need to be given a change of scenery! I’ve had assistants sit with the misbehaving child but that only works for a couple of minutes. I have found when they have been moved away and then they see they’re missing out on a fun group activity, they come around fast!

        Interesting topic…..

      • lisajjj says:

        Hi Smile234,

        Are they teaching self regulation perhaps? Rozz’s iLecture discusses this under Glasser’s Theory… or maybe vicarious learning?? Intrinsic motivation??
        Many theories as there are diversive classrooms!
        Perhaps pride and achievement is represented by the happy face, not bragging – I guess it’s all in one’s perception :)
        Lisa :)

      • lisajjj says:

        Hi ktsimeon,
        Your example is perfect :)
        Consequences for actions – good or bad :)
        In line with Glasser’s Reality theory…
        Thanks for your input!
        Lisa

    • Marg O'Sullivan says:

      It is my understanding that the purpose of time out is to remove a child from a situation and place them in a position where they can observe appropriate behaviour. Positioning a child with their back to the group for a period of 15 minutes does not provide opportunity for this.

      I have attached a link to a position paper on ‘Time Out’ and, although it is specific to children aged up to 3 years, it is an interesting read.

      https://edp155testcase1.wordpress.com/positive-learning-environments-week-9/

      • lisajjj says:

        Hi Marg,
        Yes appropriate use is the key! However, a child’s back to the group would be appropriate according to Glassner’s Theory!!
        I still believe that a time out chair can be appropriate and still have to disagree with your point of view :)
        Did you listen to the iLecture yet – Rozz Albon makes a very clear case, attached below are direct comments:

        Glasser’s Reality Therapy theory endorses age appropriate reasoning and self regulation using isolation and the “castle”, however this is then based on the premise that it is:

        “Beneficial for students to suffer the consequences…
        If you’re going to punish someone make sure it hurts…
        Make sure it’s hard…
        No sense in tappy on the hand…
        Students must suffer the consequences to self regulate their own behaviour” comments by Rozz Albon in the iLecture on Creating and Managing Positive Learning Environments (2007).

        This theory makes the ‘sad chair’ quite relevant in behaviour management :)
        I agee with Glassner’s Reality theory :)
        Lisa :)

  27. meganduce91 says:

    Positive learning environments can alter a student’s development from the beginning of their first day at school. Different factors affect positive learning environments. These may include colours and pictures or the layout of the room itself. Other factors may include the location or physical contributions of the classroom. It is important that at all times classrooms maintain a positive atmosphere. This may be done by avoiding bullying or favoritism between students, acting professional and avoiding sarcasm. Controlling classroom management; using rules should be enforced to maintain orderly and safe environments. Having a positive environment also includes teacher’s ability to identify which types of behaviors deserve consequences and which deserve praise.

    Culture in classrooms vary among different countries and religions, although I do believe that culture standards in classrooms reflect the standards that are already in place for teachers, students and parents. Cultures in different classrooms and situations can be further researched and discussed in the following link http://www.yourdictionary.com/esl/Culture-in-ESL-Classrooms.html.

    I also believe that positive learning environments in the classroom, comes from the overall learning environment of the school itself. Principles are to maintain order among all of the classrooms. Their decisions would highly affect the overall outcome of which learning environments are being implemented in their school.

  28. Katrina says:

    To me the definition of school culture is the beliefs, attitudes, and behaviours that characterize a school. Culture influences everything that happens in a school. School culture should be a shared experience, both in school and out of school, a sense of community, of family and team. Staff stability and common goals should spread throughout the school. Common agreement on curricular and instructional components, as well as order and discipline should be established through consensus where open and honest communication should also be encouraged. By having support from leadership at the school and at district levels would be of considerable benefit. Having a positive school culture will motivate students and increase productivity.
    I’ve added a couple of links which I found to be interesting.
    http://www.rucharacter.org/file/DevelopingandAssessingSchoolCulture_Final%5B1%5D.pdf
    http://www.ericdigests.org/1995-1/culture.htm

  29. courtez81 says:

    Im going to blog different to everyone else, have you ever been the student in a negative environment. I was motivated and a bright student, I always did well at school. My parents separated and I put on 30 kilos, ok I will get this into perspective I was a medium built students weighing in at 65 kgs then went to 95 kgs in less than a year. I was bullied and picked on and the teachers did nothing about it, my grades slipped and with it my motivation to learn, I wanted to be a rebel, I wanted to show people I needed positive attention too. I slit my wrist at 16, I failed thank god, no body knew the personal hate I had for myself but for my school environment. School was torture and I think to this day, if only the teacher and/or school had tried to fix it where would I be…..dont ever let your students suffer the way I suffered!!!!

    • samprimm says:

      bravo court, this must have taken guts to post such a personal blog in such a public domain! Good on you. I think your past might help you even more than the rest of us to be a better teacher, more understanding and empathetic!

    • taniaadebono says:

      Courtez – well done for speaking up. I commend you, and your story will be a constant reminder for me of the diligence needed in attending to children as individuals.

    • aliciagorshkov says:

      That can not have been easy to post, but thank you. Considering all that you have come through, your personal experiences probably place you in a better position than the rest of us. No doubt you will be even quicker to spot the child that is suffering and in need of support, you will be better able to empathise with them. And you will help them! What you have shared shows all of us just how important it is to interact with each and every student (regardless how many there are) and to insure we provide positive environments where everyone can feel safe and valued.

    • marykemp says:

      You are very brave to share this with us. Thank you. Great to see you will be able to relate to others in such circumstantial traumatic times. Mary

  30. amandachila says:

    This topic is incredibly interesting and I particularly enjoyed Rozz’ lecture outlining the methods we can utilise when structuring our classroom environment. I do believe that a teacher should never underestimate the power & influence they have to shape a child and how they develop their own value systems. It goes beyond professionalism and how they ‘appear’ to others.A teacher should have an intrinsic desire to actively engage with every student in a caring manner. Children are intuitive little beings- they know when someone is not genuine or interested in them. They are often a product of their environment and it is up to us as teachers to instill self-belief and a feeling of worthiness at every available opportunity-even if their home-life dictates otherwise. Even as an adult, I distinctly remember the impact different teachers have had on my life, my motivation, my goals and my self-esteem in both positive and negative contexts. I hope to never forget how important my words and attitude will be to my future students and how they progress and wish to maintain a classroom environment that displays safety, belongingness, happiness, respect and pride.

  31. bianc88 says:

    Please, please, please watch this video link. At first it may look like your typical American football film but if you watch the whole video it has so much more to offer. The whole video specifically focuses on motivation, an important attribute that the teacher must not only possess but also deliver to their students. If you put yourself in the shoes of the coach it can equate to the power a teacher has in the classroom. It is them who have the ability to create the environment in which they teach in. it is them who motivate the students to do their best and it is them who have the power to give every single student in that classroom an equal opportunity to be the best they can be. Hopefully with all this attained content and pedagogical knowledge along with personal qualities and attributes you as a teacher hold, you have the power to create something great in a classroom. Not by delivering facts and figures but delivering the skills and knowledge to learn.

  32. sxirakis4 says:

    I have looked over my states policies on discipline and school culture, and while I don’t think that the US report is all that relevant for my local schools at present, I do see that it may be in other areas, or could be in the future. The government do have suspension, exclusion and transfer policies in place, that are at the discretion of the Chief Executive. In the case of suspensions, the Cheif Executive can authorise principles to make decisions on suspensions (for up to 15 days). While the suspension time is supposed to be used by the school to reflect on procedures and implement a plan to assist the affected student, it seems that the effectiveness of the suspension depends heavily on the administration (a point made in the US report).

    There are policies in place to protect student safety, which are essential to providing a positive learning environment. These policies cover countering racism, bully/harrassment, voilence and sexual harrassment and are integral in developing a positive school culture. School culture can be defined as the beliefs, attitudes, values and relationships of those in a particular community (Ngunnawal Primary School, n.d.). A positive school culture supports people feeling physically, emotionally and socially safe, and requires the community to pull together and contribute to a shared vision (Ngunnawal Primary School, n.d.).

    I do not beleive suspension to be an effective form of discipline, except perhaps in extreme cases. I have known one mother who’s child is sent home frequently because of behavioural issues. He is a twice exceptional student (which means he has a learning difficulty but is also gifted) and his misbehaviour has been misinterpreted. While he has not been ‘suspended’ as such. Being sent home is pretty much the same thing. The reasons for his behaviour have not been addressed (no matter how many times the mother goes to the school) and there has been no specific plan to assist him put in place (apart from sending him home when it gets too much).

    On the other hand I have witnessed a first year out teacher handle one of her disruptive students in a very positive manner. She is aware of his emotional issues and his dislike for change, so always prepares him if a relief teacher is coming in, reminds him of his coping strategies and lets him know that if it becomes too much he can leave the classroom and wait in the wet area for either herself to come back from release (she always stays close) or one of the other teachers that he knows well to come and talk to him. This boys behaviour can get quite out of control if not handled properly, but he is never sent home or told he is ‘bad’ and his behaviour improved dramatically over the year.

    Just some quick thoughts from what I have researched so far.

    Simone:)

  33. anita33 says:

    I remember when my son first began Kindergarten and had a few altercations with a student a few years above him. My son was and still is a shy, very quiet fellow who would never say a word about being bullied. I noticed scratches under his neck from being scratched with a stick by this boy. A few instances followed and then finally this little boy and some friend’s decided it would be funny to thread my sons arms through the school fence. I was beside myself and although normally a quiet person myself I thought that this was enough. I informed his teacher as to what had happened and had a meeting with the principle. In all fairness though I really felt that they acted in an appropriate manner when dealing with the situation. The teacher spoke to the students involved and their parents were notified. I was satisified with what had been done and he never had any problems with that student after that.

    • caseyleeclarke says:

      I found document ‘Teachers Talk School Culture, Safety and Human Rights’ to be such an eye opening read and shocking to say the least. A quote from the reading that really jumped out at me was the following:

      “I was trying to get a student back in the building and didn’t know he couldn’t return once he’d left. He was getting screamed at by security for nothing (from what I could see) and then I started getting screamed at and threatened with arrest. I was baffled – why can’t students come to school? And why does school safety have more authority over
      these decisions than administrators or teachers?” – Teacher of 3 years, medium-size school in the Bronx (Survey Respondent 131)

      I can’t begin to imagine how difficult it would be to create a positive and productive learning environment with such undercurrents of aggression form external authorities. How are teachers able to provide a consistent and caring environment when students are being harassed and threatened not only by other classmates but from those in the community who are meant to protect them? This type of enforcement only breeds an ‘Us and Them’ mentality, reducing the voice of the teacher.

      Apart from the classrooms physical environment there is the psychological environment also known as the classroom climate. Classrooms should feel safe and secure, encourage students to make their own learning a high priority and be willing to take risks and make mistakes and learn from these with teacher support.
      Time and again research indicates that the quality of student teacher relationships is by far one of one of the most important factors affecting student’s motivation, emotional well being, and overall achievement. Research also indicates that students have to feel physically and emotionally safe in order to be motivated to learn, classrooms that are well organised and orderly increase these feelings of safety (Eggen & Kauchak, 2010, p.379).
      It is particularly when students have supportive positive relationships with teachers that they experience higher self efficiency and more intrinsic motivation to learn. This results in more self- regulated learning and students feeling comfortable in seeking out assistance.
      Creating a non violent, non threatening positive school culture:
      • School wide commitment to supporting all students academic
      and social success
      • Caring, trusting a staff- student relationships
      • A challenging and engaging curriculum
      • Student participation in school decision making
      • Genuine and equal respect for all students
      • Mechanisms through which students can communicate their concerns openly and without fear of reprisal
      • Emphasis advocating pro-social behaviours, helping, sharing, co operation and respect
      • Close working relationships with families and community agencies
      • School wide policies and practices that promote appropriate behaviour
      • Open discussions on safety and bullying issues
      • Consistently applied consequences for inappropriate behaviour
      • Teaching staff model effective social interaction, problem solving skills and school wide respect and support for all students (Ormrod, 2006).

      References:
      Eggen P. & Kauchak D. (2009). Educational psychology: windows on classrooms (8th Ed.). Frenchs Forest: Pearson.
      Ormrod J, E. (2006). Educational Psychology: Developing Learners (5th Ed.). Upper Saddle River. Pearson.

  34. Again another interesting topic! I believe that the article ‘Teachers talk’ is a reality, however it is an extreme reality! I do acknowledge that in recent times, there have been more and more recorded incidences of violence in schools occuring here in Queensland. Despite this, I do not believe that there has become a culture of violence in schools as these incidents are not occuring everyday or in every school. However, bullying is also on the increase in schools (see article: http://www.news.com.au/school-violence-at-highest-ever-levels/story-e6frfkp9-1225772291418 ). The number, medium and severity of incidences has increased, suggesting there has become of culture of bullying within schools. Because of this, it has become the focus of major political action. In Queensland, the government has set up the Queensland Schools Alliance Against Violence (QSAAV) which addressing both bullying and violence in schools. (See their website for more information: http://education.qld.gov.au/studentservices/behaviour/qsaav/index.html ). I believe this a good step in the right direction.

    When I was in school, I did not witness any violence, however bullying was prevalent. The school did not have the knowledge or the resources to manage the situation adequately. Thus, government initiatives such as QSAAV can be a great reference point for schools who are faced with this problem.

  35. Doesn’t that report on US Schools in New York and the Bronx really make us appreciate the safe environment our students can learn in here in Australia. Metal detectors and School Safety Agents, Police with guns and School Aides to patrol corridors and hallways.
    The main point of this article that stood out to me is that when you take humans and human feelings out of the equation and start just doing a JOB then any culture can develop. Aggression breeds aggression and students responded in the article much better to the School Aides who managed to get to know the students, who always were friendly and had a smile on their face and showed respect for the student. The students cooperated with these ones and it created an environment of warmth and friendliness.
    When students were involved with decision making and rule making proceedures or mentoring others they felt empowered and connected with their school and school community. It seems as if those schools that responsibly starting working at positive school cultures and allowed students ‘freedom’ within the framework of school rules had less disciplinary problems.
    It is every humans right to an education. The education environment should be warm, welcoming, free of any predjudice or discrimination. Students should feel safe to express their feelings and develop in their learning without having to worry about being shot in the head between class.
    Bullying is a major issue to deal with in any school each state has policies on bullying. However from my own personal experience some Principals like to put their head in the sand about this issue. I had one school principal tell me that bullying was a made up issue by the media for attention. We changed primary schools. My children are attending a public school which is a progressive school. It is very positive and we actually experienced bullying at this school by students and the Principal employed methods mentioned by Ros in her lecture. She sat the students down in a circle and facilitated the session. Then when speaking to the children she found out the cause of the problems and never spoke to the children issuing blame. Even though my son was the injured party he came away from this experience unscathed and with an even greater respect for his teacher and principal. Some of the trouble making students and my son even became friends later on. I realise that not all bullying issues resolve so happily but why I am mentioning this scenario is that the Principal put into action the counselling methods mentioned in the lecture.
    Teachers need to take responsibility for problems in the classroom and the playground.
    The report also mentions the importance of counsellors and social workers in creating and promoting a good culture and environment. When we had issues with the first school the school counsellor was an amazing help to us. However she was hard to get hold of. This one lovely lady was working between 4 or more schools. Again its the funding.
    The elements that make a happy classroom are: making it a safe and progressive learning environment where students feel free to share and grow in their learning. Where students know you will be ‘firm but fair’ and reasonable with no predjudice. Where learning is fun and where students feel that they are empowered in their learning and know that in whatever way their teacher is their to support them in their learning journey.

    • hayley15218209 says:

      I must agree – the mention of counsellors and social workers in schools was really appealing to me – i dont currently work in a school so i dont know if its the norm here but i think its an awesome idea and definitely a contributing factor in positive learning environments

  36. 42tighe says:

    I found this interesting site regarding discipline in American high schools. It is certainly different from the ones mentioned in our reading for this week.

    http://www.safersanerschools.org/library/ssspilots.html

    • melissalohr says:

      it is so easy to pick one article like “Teachers Talk: School Culture, Safety and Human Rights” and form an incorrect view of a whole country. thank you for putting some balance into the discussion.
      Melissa

  37. chantal10 says:

    “Developing a positive environment where students can learn helps build self-confidence and a sense of accomplishment and maximizes the educational experience of each student” (Lin, 2010). When students have a positive attitude about school, they are motivated to learn and retain more information.

    Students thrive in environments were they feel safe, nurtured and respected (McFarland-McDaniels, 2009). She states that students who are mentally motivated and emotionally supported succeed in their development. In order to create such an environment, teachers must:
    - Get to know each student as soon as possible.
    - Spend time with the students individually.
    - Fill the classroom with positive images and quotes.
    - Provide constant feedback
    - Provide outlets for expression, such as, area for students to display art work or a box where students can ask questions or concerns to the teacher.
    - Create a comfortable environment for the students.

    I remember when I was in primary school, I was afraid to answer questions and voice my opinion in class. I was a shy student, however, perhaps this was also due to the environment which the teacher created. I felt intimidated and scared of answering incorrectly.

    Lin, P. (2010). How to create a positive learning environment in the classroom. Retrieved from http://www.ehow.com/how_7628463_create-positive-learning-environment-classroom.html

    McFarland-McDaniels, M. (2009). Creating a positive learning environment. Retrieved from http://www.brighthub.com/education/k-12/articles/13907.aspx

    I also came across a couple of videos:

    I found this video very helpful:

  38. ailapasic says:

    Reading the US report showed me the quick fix approach that they rely on to teach their students about discipline. Through harsh consequences, they attempt to threaten students to display good behaviour. Negative surroundings, such as metal detectors, just show students that their school doesn’t trust them and has to resort to such extreme measures.

    I find that discipline is so closely related to behaviourism. The quick fixes above don’t really ‘teach’ or instill good behaviours in students, they merely scare them into good behaviours.

    I found this book located at:
    http://books.google.com.au/books?hl=en&lr=&id=g9Y9AAAAIAAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PR7&dq=behaviourist+discipline&ots=3IXsvcLEDt&sig=JDdjHojUBvtSOAHwLvDRLT4q0m4#v=onepage&q=behaviourist%20discipline&f=false

    It talks about behaviourism as a discipline strategy and i can’t help but feel that it is the most effective approach in managing and creating a positive school environment.

  39. Tori says:

    After considering the schools in Victoria in comparison to the US report, there are some similarities while there are also many differences. The similarities include the inclusion of suspension, exclusion and transfer policies in action. The US REPORT makes an interesting point regarding the time a student is suspended for, stating that it depends on how long the school needs to consider procedures and implement a plan to help the student that is having issues. However, it seems, as the US REPORT states, that it far more dependent on the administration. Similarly, both cover student safety with a wide rage of topics including, racism, bullying/harassment, violence and sexual harassment. Without these types of topics being covered in schools worldwide it would be impossible to create a positive learning environment.

    To create a positive learning environment there are many facets that need to be considered, these include:
    • Physical factors, which includes the room layout and surroundings. So to construct a positive learning environment a teach may think about using a “seating plan” to ensure that students are sitting in a position that they will not be easily distracted during class (D.C.Wesley, 1998). Ensuring that the room is cheerful, bright and engaging will create a positive physical learning environment (D.C.Wesley, 1998). Making sure the room is safe is also an important physical factor to guarantee a positive learning environment (D.C.Wesley, 1998).
    • Psychologically factors, which relates to the mental and emotional needs and being of the students (D.C.Wesley, 1998). To create a psychologically postive learning environment, the teacher needs to be aware of each students family situation, be conscious of bullying and have a sounds knowledge of students abilities and needs (D.C.Wesley, 1998).
    • Social factors, which relates to the elements of behaviour of the students, again, including bullying and family situations, but also the friendships groups of students (D.C.Wesley, 1998). To make sure this is used positively in the learning environment the teacher would need to be aware of these aspects and try to ensure they remain or becoming positive.
    • Pedagogical factors, which include, the way the teacher teaches (D.C.Wesley, 1998). The way in which the teacher produces information to the students and conveys instructions. For this to be a positive factor the teacher would need to be succinct, organised, positive, calm and effective (D.C.Wesley, 1998).
    A teacher that considers all these factors is far more likely to have a positive, smooth running and happy classroom than a teacher that does not. A classroom with all these factors considered is likely to be one that students want to be in everyday and enjoy learning in. The teacher is more likely to be in control of the classroom when all these factors have been considered.

    References:
    Eggan P. & Kauchak D. (2010). Educational psychology: Windows on classrooms (8th. Ed.). International Edition. New Jersey: Pearson
    Wesley, Donald C (1998), Eleven ways to be a great teacher. Educational Leadership, 80-81
    Whitton, D., Sinclair, C., Barker, K., Nanlohy, P. & Nosworthy, M.(2004). Learning for teaching: teaching for learning. South Melbourne: Thompson.

  40. savannahduncan says:

    I have found this topic very interesting this week! Mainly because I went to a strict catholic boarding school which I felt promoted a positive learning environment by taking a holistic approach. Rather than detentions, suspensions and “hard-stance” discipline, students were encouraged to focus on repairing relationships, rather than placing blame. The responsibility was left with the students to resolve situations, with trained mediators on hand if necessary.

    The US report was quite alarming as many schools fostered a culture of “zero tolerance”, many treating students like criminals. After reading Chapter 13 in Educational Psychology: Windows in classrooms, I found that preparation, planning and implementing instruction creates productivity, which is connected to creating a positive learning space for students. However, this is only part of the formula. I believe that in order to create a productive learning environment, teacher’s must ensure several strategies are implemented. A positive culture that includes communication and interaction between students, staff and parents must be achieved. A clear guideline for behaviour, with input from students must be observed. Classroom management and conflict resolution training is also important to foster a safe educational environment.
    I also agree with Tori, as teachers must also consider pedagogical, social and physical factors to create a positive learning environment.
    I found a short You tube video made by Kitsap Lake Elementary School that was really simple but summed up a safe, positive learning environment. I hope you will find it just as enjoyable as I did!

    References:

    Eggan, P. & Kauchak, D. (2010) Educational psychology: windows on classrooms, (8th edn, Pearson; New Jersey

    Creating a positive learning environment,

  41. Marg O'Sullivan says:

    In our text for this week, Eggen & Kauchak indicate that effective teaching “maximises students learning” (p390).

    I have found the following webpage which has 10 simple tips for providing productive classroom environments.

    http://www.examiner.com/public-education-in-indianapolis/tips-for-creating-productive-classrooms

    Reference:
    Eggen, P. & Kauchak, D. (2010). Educational Psychology: Windows on Classrooms (8th. ed.). French’s Forest. Pearson Education International.

    • Cassrew says:

      I think that statement is excellent. It is too true, effective teaching & any kind of teaching needs to maximize the way children and people learn.
      Cheers
      Cass

  42. Ashlea says:

    A positive learning environment for students is an essential part of their learning. Students must be able to feel safe, welcome and equal. Teachers must be sensitive and accepting of all student cultures and beliefs and should allow students to feel they are able to speak to the teacher openly if they experience any problems or issues with the class work or students.
    Teachers need to be understanding about the problems or issues that particular students face as it can sometimes become difficult to accept the student’s experience. Being open minded as a teacher will enable teachers to be successful when it comes to dealing with students that suffer problems or issues. Being an understanding and positive teacher will allow a positive learning environment for all students to feel safe to share their feelings.
    An effective teacher should understand how to involve the use of appropriate instructional methods that are relevant to the students learning. Teachers need to have the ability to maximise teaching skills that maintain the attention of the students and be able to keep students on task without distractions. Students need to be actively involved in their learning environment and be provided with stimulating learning activities that will maintain motivation and discipline.
    To create a positive learning environment there are many key elements to consider. There are physical elements that enable students to become active learners within the classroom as well as keeping them interested in the specific task. The classroom layout is also an important element to a creating a positive learning environment. If the leaning materials are set out in a way that students will have free access to use and they are placed close to the students then missed time and classroom management will be achieved. Another important element is the involvement of the teacher. The teacher is the most important part of a child’s learning and if the teacher has outlined the lesson plan according to the material needing to be used by the children then a smooth learning environment will be created. The teacher need to ensure the lesson plan will be implement to allow students to become involved and engaged in their learning and rewards are given for student motivation. The use of positive praise will allow students to continue to become involved in their learning as no negative relationships have been created.
    A positive learning environment is important for all students as it encourages student learning and offers equal opportunities for all students no matter on their beliefs or cultures.
    There are some great positive learning environment videos displayed on YouTube that I found to be very interesting and informative. I have included some links for anyone who may be interested in some extra ideas.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e4pyVblOTOY&feature=related

  43. jmackrell says:

    I believe strongly in the importance of establishing a positive enviroment and to ensure all students feel free to express themselves. Most importantly the connection you have with your students should also be just as important.

    When you and your students have established a positive relationship I believe the classroom dynamics will follow suit. It is great to imagine a room full of color and plenty of room to move however unfortunately this is not always the case. Therefore the relationship between the student and teacher becomes more profound.

    As a teacher you need to establish a positive attitude and keen enthusiasm to learn and model the behaviuor you expect of your students. Professional development for teachers is crucial to maintain and keep with the times of handling an effective classroom.

    I found this paper in relation to creating an effective classroom. It highlights the improtance of professional development.

    http://www.tqsource.org/topics/effectiveClassroomManagement.pdf

    Cheers Jodie

  44. jessicakehl says:

    i believe that creting a postive classroom enviroment is important allowing students to feel safe at school is what teachers and schools should be aiming for. The connection between student and teacher should be strong and students should feel as if they can trust you, when students and teachers have a postive relationship this will reflect in grades.

    As a teacher a postive enthusastic attitude towards everything will help your students learn better and demonstrate the kind of moods you want your students to possess in you classroom.

    There are many articles, videos on how to create an effective classroom and I took the time to read a few but this one interessted me the most, enjoy.

    http://www.educationworld.com/a_curr/curr155.shtml

  45. kim says:

    Hi everyone,

    I too have read the beginnings of the article, Teachers Talk. WOW! I am ever so grateful we live in Melbourne, Australia. We are sooooo lucky, aren’t we. How could any parent feel comfortable sending their child to a school that requires metal detectors and police officers? How must the students and teachers feel? Scared out of their minds, I bet. How can anyone concentrate, let alone learn in a place like that. I am just relieved there is extensive research being done to show the validity of providing a respectful and safe environment in schools.

    Here is an article I found on the Department of Education and Early Childhood Learning (DEECD) website of a similar nature, just not so frightening!
    http://www.eduweb.vic.gov.au/edulibrary/public/stuman/wellbeing/respectfulsafe.pdf

    Happy Blogging!
    Kim

    • mathubber says:

      the impact of such an agressive enviroment must take an emotional toll on everyone within the school, as well as parents, there is no way studetns could be expected to achieve their full potenial with such distractions around them. For every knifing or shooting in a school there must be 1000 smaller incidents that occur, often with little provocation, glad i live in a smaller town. Yes violence still occurs, but no where at the same level, i couldnt send my kids to school like that.

    • taniaadebono says:

      Hi Kim

      Great document and reference point and it is good to see that Victoria is doing something about it.

      I found another document http://www.eduweb.vic.gov.au/edulibrary/public/stuman/wellbeing/segpolicy.pdf
      Effective Schools are engaging schools.

      They are both very concise documents providing schools with proper guidelines.

      On the document Effective schools are engaging schools it does stipulate that each school needs to have their own policy plan in action by 2010. There are links provided on the document which provide information on how to go about implementing such a policy plan on a school level. This document HAS placed the responsibility in the hands of the principals, the teachers, the students, the parents and the wider community as it stipulated that the document should be founded in consultation with representatives from all sectors.

      66 page read but a worthwhile read, simply from the point of view that we will know what to expect in schools when we are all one day appointed as teachers.

      What is another 66 pages after 52!

      Still though I do worry that maybe …. possibly …. there are a lot of underlying factors that maybe haven’t been accounted for.

      Yet to see I suppose.

  46. kim says:

    Me again,

    Found this article and thought it may be interesting for some…

    http://www.hreoc.gov.au/letstalkaboutrights/guide_young_people.html

    Although it is not entirely about education, education is right up there at the top of the human rights list.

    Kim

  47. eoindurkin says:

    A similar report to this U.S report could be written about schools in NSW, which face many of the same issues, such as violence and drug use in and around schools. In fact according to this article in the daily telegraph http://news.smh.com.au/breaking-news-national/group-to-tackle-school-violence-bullies-20100223-osal.html a group of parents, teachers and academics in Queensland started to look at ways of dealing with bullying at the beginning of last year. In terms of dealing with serious acts of misconduct the zero tolerance approach of suspensions and detentions has been proved to be relatively ineffective in tackling ongoing issues. Alternatively proactive approaches, were teachers work with students to tackle issues, are becoming more widely used and supported, the following article in this website also supports this idea, http://www.nasponline.org/educators/zero_alternative.pdf .
    Also for anyone who missed Laurayelavich’s post she found a great article which has some common sense ideas to dealing with students http://www.brighthub.com/education/k-12/articles/3318.aspx.

  48. ashleighgoss says:

    Sullivan and Keeney (2008, p. 6) suggest that “supporting student leadership in discipline practices through student participation in decision-making and in peer mediation and mentoring” are important for student learning and growth. I can relate to this statement through an experience I had when I was in year six. The school had set up a student parliament which was made up of year five and six students which convened every Friday. This parliament had back benchers, a government and opposition party and speakers who would run each session. This was completely made up of students. During a parliament session, a whole range of school issues were discussed. Every member of the government had a responsibility, e.g. minister for sport, treasurer (managing school funds), minister for playground duty, prime minister, opposition leader, deputies, shadow ministers etc. If an issue was raised and a decision needed to be made the backbenchers and ministers would vote and then come to a decision. Whilst I was involved I experienced great satisfaction and responsibility being speaker and at one stage deputy prime minister. This was a very positive learning experience as it gave control to the students about putting in place specific rules, tackling current student issues etc. This made students feel as though they had ownership over school decisions made. The two government leaders would also attend some staff meetings so they could be involved in any current issues which really had a positive effect on the school environment overall. This arrangement also had the added benefit of teaching students how the Australian parliamentary system works.
    This situation can also be related to Glasser’s Interactionist Approach where problems will emerge from the discussion within a student group, which is what Roz discussed in her lecture. In this situation the teachers had very little involvement in the process. Within the classroom the student parliament had a positive impact as well. If a student raised an issue with the teacher that was relevant to other students as well, the teacher suggested that it may be a good topic to bring up within the student parliament. The student would usually respond positively to this suggestion as it meant they could contribute within the student meeting.
    Younger students who were not a part of the student parliament could also contribute as well. The teachers made it well known who the ministers of the parliament were, so if a younger student had an issue they were to go to the relevant student minister so they could raise the issue in the next meeting.
    Parents had a positive reaction to this arrangement as well. On some occasions they were invited to attend and were impressed by the proceedings. I’m not sure if anyone else experienced a student parliament but it certainly had a positive effect on my learning and experiences at primary school.

  49. amay7 says:

    Creating a positive learning environment and keeping it positive can be a difficult task, however it is one of the most essential things in a child’s learning. It’s essential that children feel welcomed and motivated for them to want to learn. “In a recent survey, 40% of high school students stated they were bored in class due to material they didn’t find relevant to their lives, and 60% of potential drop-outs stated lack of value in schoolwork as the main reason for possibly leaving high school” (Yazzie-Mintz, 2006).
    It is important to have a balanced, uncluttered classroom with colourful items as well as space for displaying the student’s work. “Ensure that classroom expectations for performance and behavior are clearly posted and consistently applied” (Skinner & Belmont, 1991)
    To have an ordered classroom is great for students as they learn organisation and cleanliness. They also feel the responsibility for keeping it neat and tidy.
    A few people have mentioned about bullying on the blog to far. I agree that bullying is overlooked in most classrooms and with the type of bullying that is in this next generation (cyberbullying, text messages etc) it can only get worse.
    Teachers need to teach children at a young age about the effects bullying can have on students and how to behave in the appropriate manner. Teachers need to also make sure procedures are put in place for students who do not abide by these rules.
    Bullying can effect children for life. It can make them into people they were never meant to be and can lead to things like suicide and depression.

  50. kateizzard says:

    Professional knowledge is present in our planning and organisation of our lessons. Knowing what to study and how to teach it to the class effectively has to do with our professional knowledge. When lesson planning it is important to think how the students will most likely benefit from the lesson and how the lesson is delivered to best accommodate the students. Knowing what excites or bores the students is important also so that our lessons are focused on how well students will apply the knowledge. Therefore it is apparent that this also affects how well we can create a productive learning environment.

    Student-teacher respect is highly important in the classroom to be able to manage the class in an orderly fashion, but to get this respect; a teacher must respect their students also. Working in a community environment is important so that the students feel safe and happy. Allowing our students the space to thrive under our guidance is important to ensuring a productive learning environment. So if respect is a necessary factor in our classrooms to make sure that we are creating a productive learning environment then we must know what respect means.

    I found this website the government has set up to deal with the issues regarding our children today. In here they speak about respect. Respect for ourselves as well as for others. http://www.theline.gov.au/parents_and_teachers/information

    I also found this you tube video: Dealing with Challenging Behaviour

    By making sure that as teachers we are approachable and caring our classrooms should be a productive environment.

  51. jennydinh says:

    I suppose it must be very daunting to face a classroom of students who will try to “ test you out “ at the slightest opportunity. The tempting immediate reaction is to try to lay down the law and apply hard core discipline.
    The preventative and cooperative approach is far more productive even if it requires greater commitment of time and preparation in the beginning. As the year progresses the mutual respect and positive learning outcomes make the extra effort self rewarding for all.
    Students today are exposed to many influences outside the classroom that must make school seem such a boring part of their life. The challenge for the teacher is to draw on these influences and use a constructivist approach to build on students natural desire for learning.
    We have to make them feel that they are respected and can safely express their views without fear of ridicule or retribution. we need to give them ownership and a cerain amount of creative freedom.
    There are many schools in Australian suburbs especially in the low socio economic suburbs that have extreme classroom management problems. In these areas there is a high degree of negativity in schools amongst teachers and students alike. Australia is probably not as bad as is commonly portrayed in some New York low economic zone schools but these problems do exist here to a lessor extent.
    One news item recently talked about the number of teachers in the NSW education system that had been physically attacked and injured over recent times. (Age Newspaper, Melbourne 2006).
    http://www.bullying.com.au/media-psychologist/teachers-can-be-bullied.php
    A friend in Centrelink once told me that he’d interviewed a large number of extremely stressed teachers who’d resigned during the midyear.
    Since 1996 over 1,000 teachers and principals in the state of Victoria, Australia, have received over $34 million in compensation for stress and injury to health caused mostly by excessive workloads, abuse, lack of support and recognition, and having to deal with difficult students.

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/nation/students-threaten-teachers-on-net/story-e6frg6nf-1225831550708
    In the New York schools It was said that extreme measures in discipline and police involvement were like shutting the gate after the horse has bolted and were counterproductive. Teachers were calling for preventative and constructive measures that encourage participative learning.
    Teachers quoted the lack of administrative leadership and support and overcrowding. Often Australian government policies are reactionary and piecemeal and sometimes follow the hardline approach to discipline.
    In order to prevent these problems teachers and education administrators do need adopt a unified approach to improvement and development of positive classrooms.

  52. chantal10 says:

    I found the report extremely interesting. It was a real eye-opener and am very grateful that we don’t have to put up with a lot of that here. Kylie I 100% agree with you. Treating students as though they are criminals is not the answer and placing all these security measures in schools is clearly not working. The report states that 13% of teachers said that SSA’s treat students with respect. How can students possibly be motivated to learn when they are being treated with no respect?
    A few interesting points which i read in the report:
    “When schools create a positive culture, it contributes to improved student learning and a sense of connectedness to school which in turn reduces disciplinary problems”. Disciplinary problems and poor learning outcomes result when teachers dont have the time to build relationships with their students. Overcrowded classrooms is a big issue and influences whether the teacher is able to build a relationship.
    It was also interesting to see the 80% of teachers felt that supportive interventions such as counceling are effective rather than suspension. Really liked this quote from one teacher. “Suspensions are just paying a fee for doing wrong, but its not changing the behaviour”.
    Many of the teachers stated that their schools only had one councelor or social worker. I remember when i was at high school, there were maybe 2-3 social workers/councelors that were always willing and able to help. One of my friends was having some trouble at school and thankfully with the help from the councelor provided she was able to have someone to turn to and confide in other than her friends and successfully complete high school.

  53. kylewinzer says:

    I agree, Australian schools are safer than those in New York. However it wasn’t too difficult to find news reports on security problems in Australian schools.
    Here is the url for one report I came across,
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/02/16/2821384.htm.
    The president of the Queensland Association of State School Principals and the head of the Australian Government Primary Principals Association, Norm Hart disagrees with the view that Australian schools are becoming more violent. The news article Danger in the schoolyard by Chris Johnston retrieved from http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/danger-in-the-schoolyard-20100219-olxq.html has a different view point. It cites Victoria Police statistics, that show a 17 per cent increase in assaults at educational facilities from 2007-08 to 2008-09.
    All children should feel safe at all times. In school and out of school. But is that the world we live in?

  54. emmavichera says:

    Wow, great reading all these different ideas and seing the different YouTube clips on “classroom atmosphere”. I too, would have thought, the more colour – the better. How wrong I was! I liked what darcieedp155 had to add regarding respect and good lesson planning as an important role in the “classroom environment”. Indeed I think it is VERY important that children feel safe and comfortable withing your class and with their peers.
    Maslov’s hierarchy of needs sites this as being fundamental (www.businessballs.com).

    Ive also stumbled across this wikipedia describing Reggios Emilia’s “Role of the environment”. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reggio_Emilia_approach#The_role_of_the_environment
    Often stating the role of the environment is that of a “third teacher” is quite a statement and emphasizes how important he views this.They describe his early childhood learning centers as “generally filled with indoor plants and vines, and awash with natural light. Classrooms open to a center piazza.” Throughout the schools they try to create opportunities for children to interact – how amazing!!! This is obviously vastly important and i cant wait to learn more about it:)

  55. Nateeka says:

    After reading Teachers Talk and researching Western Australia’s policy for Behaviour Management is School I found many similarities between the views of the teachers in U.S. and the implemented policy in Western Australia. I have dot pointed my findings:
    Students should be engaged in the curriculum
    • “To better engage students, teachers described how they link their lesson plans to issues and topics that are relevant to students’ everyday lives and to the school community” (Teachers talk, 2008, p. 32)
    • “A safe and orderly learning environment…is best achieved by creating an atmosphere in the school where students are actively engaged in the curriculum” (Managing student behaviour, 2009)
    • “The use of appropriate curriculum and learning programs will encourage engagement by students” (Department of Education, 2010)
    The Principal has a vital role:
    • Teachers suggested that about the biggest threat to school safety is “…lack of leader ship and support from principals” (Teachers talk, 2008, p. 9)
    • “The principal is responsible for the creation and maintenance of a safe and positive learning environment…” (Department of Education and Training, 2010). Notice this is the Principal’s responsibility.
    Students are encourage take responsible for their own actions (Teachers talk, 2008, p. 34)
    • Students are taught to “…accept responsibility for their own actions” (Department of Education and Training, 2010).
    Meeting students needs:
    • “…the problem is we have all these kids whose needs aren’t being met and of course they’re acting out” (Teachers talk, 2008, p. 8)
    • “The crux of successful behaviour management is acting to meet students’ needs rather than simple reacting when they misbehave.” (Managing student behaviour, 2009)

    References:
    Department of Education. (2010). Behaviour management in schools. Retrieved from http://www.det.wa.edu.au/policies/detcms/policy-planning-and-accountability/policies-framework/policies/behaviour-management-in-schools.en?oid=au.edu.wa.det.cms.contenttypes.Policy-id-3781804

    (I need some advice of how the reference the Teachers Talk article…is it a journal article or what?)

    (I also need some advice of how to reference the piece “Managing Student behaviour”…it is a PDF link on the bottom of the following page (“managing student behaviour”>”details”): http://www.det.wa.edu.au/policies/detcms/navigation/school-management/behaviour-management/?oid=Category-id-3457115)

  56. ednamartin says:

    To create a positive school culture and hence better learning environment, it seems that teachers, students and parents need to be involved in the process. As the article shows, 51% of the teachers felt students should have a lot of input into school safety and discipline policies. This would help students to take responsibilty for their own actions and also monitor when their peers behaviour is outside the policies they all agreed on.
    I found an article that supports this idea from the NSW Teachers Federation about Mungindi Public School and how they implemented the “You can do it” program with five “keys to success”.
    One of the teachers explains: “The adoption of the You Can Do It! program, has worked to improve the emotional wellbeing of our students. The school has based its welfare and discipline policy on the foundations of success. Teachers have observed a dramatic reduction in the number of behavioural incidents and a much higher commitment to school life.”
    Students are also involved as the school captains use the key foundations when awarding their weekly school captains’ awards at the assemblies. The primary and secondary school captains meet once a week to determine which students they have seen demonstrating the five keys to success.
    It is an interesting concept and seems to be working. See link below:

    http://www.nswtf.org.au/edu_online/103/behaviour.html

    Recently my 10yr old was involved in an incident with a group who seemed to be bullying another child. Naturally as a parent I was horrified. All the students involved and their parents were counselled and the children asked to share their feelings about what they did. I think this made them more aware of how hurt the other child was and that it didn’t make anyone feel good about themselves.
    I think our school has a lovely school culture and the teachers, students and parents involved handled the incident with dignity and compassion. Thankfully we do not have any severe actions like some of the schools in the Teachers Talk article.

    I also agree that it would make a difference for the principles and heads of the schools to go out and mix with students. Students need to see their school leaders so they can attach a bond with them and this shows students they have a genuine interest in them.

    • taniaadebono says:

      hello Edna.

      It is wonderful to hear that your children are in such a community supportive school. It is extremely uplifting to see and hear of responsible productive action taking place when it comes to situations of bullying. It is also positive to know that the principal does not sweep the issues under the carpet for fear of exposure but actually deals with the individual situation.

      I have to comment on the You Can Do It Program. I have seen it in action and yes I agree the ideals it is grounded in are extremely moral. but it does need a lot of upkeep to maintain its worthiness. Awards are given out each week, bringing to the attention of the whole school the achievers for each week and the students nominated are generally picked by the class teachers. The five types of awards (certificates) are given for Confidence, Persistence, Organisation, Getting Along and Resilience. Unfortunately sometimes the teachers do not select topics well. And believe it or not students do feel quite often targeted more if they have not received awards. an example of a bad topic selection for an award by a teacher in a school I helped in last year was An award for Persisting to learn how to spell words longer than five letters – the child was in Year five. she was humiliated having to stand up in front of 700 students to receive her certificate. The other problem that arises is that, by year two students see it as another piece of paper, that they shove in the bottom of their bags. Sometimes the distribution of too many awards can backfire. It takes this one school 30 – 40 minutes of assembly each Monday morning handing out various awards – “you can do it awards” “social service awards”, eco friendly class awards, sports team awards, school house awards, french student of the week awards, golden recorder award, and yes the list does not stop there. The students have become so complacent about hearing all this each week, awards really do not warrant much at all. A survey was done in the Year fivelevel with 66 students, and the consensus was that they would prefer to just get on with their class and hear about announcements in the school newsletter. I have a feeling Rozz actually touched on the subject of rewarding children for learning in an earlier lecture, and what can be sometimes the negative effects.

      I think the You Can Do It program can have a lot of benefit, but it truly needs to be managed properly.

      One of the biggest kicks of the children’s day at this particular school is getting to walk around and talk to the teachers on yard duty. The principal also does it and tends to take some bats and balls out with him and plays a few rounds of baseball with the kids if they want. I agree with you mingling with their teachers and principals is extremely beneficial for the children. Some children have limited access to adult role models and having teachers interact with them on a one to one basis in the school yard can make a child’s day.

      • sonianitschke says:

        I totally agree with the concept of children mingling with the teachers or principle in the school yard the kids love the adult attention.

        When I went on school camp with my daughter I played handball with the kids and they loved it! I had an instant fan club! One teacher followed my lead and joined in as well which made the kids go wild and we had a mini competition.

        One kid told me that teachers never played handball at school and that he wished they did.

        I think you get out of your students what you put into them. If you want their attention in the classroom then it’s only fair that you give them attention on the playground. Play handball, play cricket, kick the footy around. It’s great exercise, builds student teacher relationships and the kids really enjoy it.

  57. mathubber says:

    the key to postive classrooms is in the planning, fromthe teacher, school, education department and the enntire community.

    it is important that objectives and outcomes are relative to real world application, so that students can relate and make sense of their learning.

    equally important is planning for, and preventing unwanted behaviours. Understanding what drives disruptive behaviour, things such as boredom, disinterest in content, lack of involvement, can help to eliminate disruption to maximise learning time.

    involving students in the planning phase of behaviour and discipline may give a sense of ownership and connection withinthe class enviroment.

    forming a trusting open line of communtication between teachers and parents can help to forge a sense of harmony and community well being for students, and also noting students who have involved parents are more likely to achieve academically, and less likely to be disruptive in class.

    any resulting punishment must be appropriate for the offence, limiting the amout of time the students spends away from the class, thus learning is important. Rather, teachers should see discipline as an opportunity for student development and growth.

    as a volunteer, i have seen this proactive approach be successful. The teacher in question knew what students were likely to be distracted in any particular learning area, and had planned alternate o specialised tasks to best suit the individual, while giving equal (as possible) attention to the whole class. When disruptions did occur, the teacher reacted swiftly, but in ways that minimesed disruption to learning, such as voice chnages, visual cues. The teacher was almost upbeat and positive, and that ways radiated throughout the class. Praise was used to great effect and most students showed an interest in learning and aachieving to impress the teacher.

  58. annisa28 says:

    I went to a small coastal high school for a year and a half and it was fantastic.
    I share many peoples opinion that being in that environment has a huge impact on the behaviour of the students – it did on mine!
    Then my parents moved and I changed to a large suburban high school – which was definitely an eye opener!
    I know there is no one answer, but I can’t get past smaller class sizes!
    I know from my own experience that it was certainly the case.
    A

    • criches says:

      I went to small country town schools all my life and I have very fond memories. The schools were small communities where teachers and students all interacted and took responsibility.
      One incident I remember was when I turned up to school unhappy ( i had fought with my sister on the way to school!!!!) and a teacher took me into the staff room and gave me a milo (maybe the fact that I was the publicans daughter played a part in this too). I felt very safe and was able to learn in a positive environment for my entire school years.

    • marykemp says:

      Class size is one thing that I think needs to be considered by or governments in Australia. Many all schools have been closed in recent years. Large classes make the teacher’s job difficult in many ways. It also takes away quality of learning experience for some students who require more attention, thus leading to off-task behaviuor disrupting the school room for all. Mary

    • The Mushroom Connection says:

      Hi Annisa28!
      I’m not so sure that smaller class sizes should necessarily be at the forefront of our opinions. My mother is a retired primary teacher and says she could manage just as well with a class of 34 as with a class of 17.
      My thoughts are that a teacher who is confident, passionate, professional, and who has a good store of management skills up his/her sleeve can effectively teach a classroom full of individuals, of many varying backgrounds and cultures. :-)

  59. Jodie Mackrell says:

    Hi everyone, I have just come accross a very moving and inspirational website and in particular a video attatched to the website.

    Please have a look and I hope you get as much out of it as i have!

    http://www.wholechildeducation.org/about/

    Cheers Jodie xx

  60. lsharryngray says:

    After reading the report “Teachers Talk”, I would consider the elements to be:
    Firstly, the report focuses on public schools in New York City. In particular, these schools have implemented various security measures such as armed police, security guards (most with little training), metal detectors and security cameras. There was a perception that these measures were linked to a “prison” type atmosphere in these schools.
    Secondly, there was a lack of resources such as school counsellors and actual individual school sites. There was one example of five schools sharing a building. There was extra workload on some teachers as they took on the social workers role.
    Thirdly, there was a lack of funding as so much funding had been poured into security. There were lots of policies in place to help teachers and students but the reality was a stark contrast. Education, that is learning, seemed to put on the “backburner”.
    Fourthly, black people were labelled as trouble-makers and potential criminals.
    Fifthly, current disciplinary measures were not working – they were not focusing on the actual behaviour. Suspensions were not changing behaviours and if anything, exacerbating the bad behaviour. Also, children’s needs were not being met and therefore they were “acting out”.
    According to Woolfolk (2007, p. 433) the best answer to violence is prevention. She believes teachers have much to say about the way students treat each other and the sense of community created in their classes. Acceptance and compassion can be taught through direct and indirect means and a culture of belonging can be created for students. This can be achieved even if teachers have little to say about metal detectors or gun control.
    I do not think a similar report could be written about schools in my State, particularly schools in my local area – at least I hope not.
    Bullying and harassment were issues when I attended school in the 1980s. Today, these issues are still around in my children’s schools. Fortunately, any minor incidents involving my children have been dealt with promptly by the Principal at the school they attend.
    On a wider scale there are the bullying issues using the internet. More recently, issues of a sexual nature (McDougall, October 2010). As a result a new teaching program called “Digital Citizenship had been launched throughout NSW schools which covers the dangers of over-sharing personal information (McDougal, October 2010).
    In June 2010 Deputy New South Wales Coroner Malcolm MacPherson recommended that schools with more than 500 students should have full-time counsellors. This followed an inquest into the suicide of a 14 year old boy who had been the subject of bullying (June 2010).
    There have been over the last twelve months isolated incidents of violence (these are the ones I could find over the internet)– one in Bateman’s Bay in September last year leaving a 13 year old boy in an induced coma (Burke, 2010), another on a teenage girl in the Campbelltown area (the attack on the girl was not on school grounds but it had involved girls from the same school (2010), two incidents of children wielding knives at their schools – one at Claremont Meadows Public school (Labi, s. n.d) and one at Kingswood Park Public School.
    According to NSW Primary Principals’ Association president Geoff Scott in a report “Assaults rife in our schools” 21 February 2010, he said “schools had strong student welfare policies and were among the safest places for children”. He believed there was no need for metal detectors or security guards patrolling school grounds. He further went on to say, “In our primary schools there are lots of checks and balances and teachers keep an eye on kids. They know when things are likely in most cases to blow up.” (Labi, 2010)
    In the same newspaper report Public Schools Principals Forum deputy chairman Brian Chudleigh said “Given the total number of schools in NSW, it’s far fewer than one incident on average per school per annum and I don’t think that’s high at all …” (Labi, 2010).
    There is nothing to say that in the future violence wont escalate in our schools due to family breakdown, domestic violence, people migrating here from difficult environments. But, hopefully, there will be strategies in place to ensure that our schools don’t resemble prisons. I did like the idea of “managing a classroom” vs “control” as per the lecture.

    Reference List:
    Burke, K. (2010, September, 11). Suspension is a ‘holiday’ for violent students. Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved from http;//www.smh.com.au/national/education/suspension-is-a-holiday-for-violdent-students- …
    Labi, S. (2010, February 21). Assaults rife in our schools, The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved from http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/sunday-telegraph/assaults-rife-in-our-schools.sto
    McDougall, B. (2010, October 26). Tough class in sex and violence. The Daily Telegrah. Retrieved from http://www.deailytelegraph.com.au/news/nsw-act/tough-class-in-sex-and-violence/story-e
    Sydney Moring Hearld (2010, May 31) Girls charged over teen attack. Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved from http://news.smh.com.au/breaking-news-national/grils-charged-over-teen-attack-20100531 ..)
    Woolfolk, A. (2007). Educational Psychology. (10th ed.). Boston, USA: Pearson Education Inc.

    World News (2010, June 18) Coroner faults schoolin boy’s suicide. Retrieved from http:www.upi.com/Top_News/World-News/2010/06/18/Coroner-faults-school-in-boys …

  61. samprimm says:

    I have a confession to make, as well as to eat some humble pie! The confession is that I am yet to read this weeks topic in our textbook or listen to the iLecture (thinking I had covered this topic already very thoroughly in previous studies); however I have already learnt so much more than I expected! some of the links and suggested readings are outside of the box so to speak, I like them.
    The eating humble pie is in relation to this forum. At first I was doubtful this would work with such a huge number of students and even “huger” blogs to read! But I stuck to it and have to admit that I finally feel like a uni student. This forum is a lot like how I always imagined uni lectures and study groups to be like. Everyone trading ideas and resources. I never went to uni so never got to experience that. But now I have! Talk about broadening our minds and ideas, its awesome (once you get past that initial feeling of being overwhelmed by so much information). I am really pleased to admit that I didn’t know it all in relation to this subject. Its a really really interesting subject to “debate” and discuss,so many different experiences.
    Ok, enough blabbing… just practicing for my graduation speech (sounds more like an oscars acceptance speech lol).
    One final comment, for those who are still doubting this forum or even about to give up or still feeling overwhelmed…don’t give up! I am very glad I didn’t.
    Sam

    • jcsimpson75 says:

      hi again Sam, as with most things, when you first see them and don’t know how to use it there is a fear. But when you give it a go, and learn how to use it, it’s not that hard at all. That’s how I would discribe some of the children coming to school. When you are a first time student in prep, it all seems a bit scarey coming to school. Then the teacher talks to you and they are really nice, and other students talk to you. It makes you feel welcomed. After a couple of days you feel at ease with it all. Then the next year when you are in grade one, the preps are under you and and you think, “what are they worried about” only because you have the tools to know how it all goes, and it’s all normal/easy and above all welcoming.

  62. darcieedp155 says:

    I wonder with the readings and Roz’s lecture, how you would all react to this?

    Last month a six-year-old Year 1 student was suspended for taking a knife to the Southport State School and threatening to stab another classmate after an argument over a paper aeroplane.

    Is her action a product of the school environment, her home environment, or her genetics?
    What ways do you think this could be resolved or prevented?
    I’m not sure that suspension is the best choice, however is this student safe around others?

    I found it on- http://www.news.com.au/school-violence-at-highest-ever-levels/story-e6frfkp9-1225772291418

    • criches says:

      What is the world coming too?

      It is hard and inappropriate to judge without knowing a full history of the child but my opinion is that it would probably stem from genetics and home life but surely there were early signs of problems at school that couldve been picked up by a teacher and passed onto appropriate authorities.
      Classroom environment couldve caused part of the problem as the tension between the 2 students involved could’ve been a regular occurence, maybe it was a case of being constantly bullied. The student should’ve been part of a safe and caring classroom not one where you think you need to take a knife to solve a problem!
      Suspension would need to be given to the student to set an example but obviously further steps to evaluate the childs mental state need to be taken. If my child went to the same school I sure as hell wouldn’t want the student still going to the school but I would be worried for their welfare.

      Cathie

  63. darcieedp155 says:

    Thanks for your ideas Cathie. I tend to agree with you

  64. chiswell123 says:

    I work as a Teacher Aide and believe caring is a major factor that constitutes a school environment. I would like to share one of my experiences with you as follows:-

    Mark a year 10 student labelled as a trouble maker and who often was removed from class was having a very disruptive day. Other students in the past had observed Mark’s bad behaviour and joined in.

    On this particular day Mark could not think of a topic for an English assignment and was playing up. Before Mark’s behaviour escalated, using the method of association in classical conditioning, I suggested to Mark the topic of car motors. I knew Mark’s association with cars was fun and enjoyable and Mark was on task in minutes. If I didn’t use the method of association and show Mark I cared he would have continued with bad behaviour.

    Until this incident Mark had not handed any work in. Mark finished the English assignment, was not disruptive in future English classes and handed the assignment in and received good marks for it.

    This is an example of getting to know the students you work with, show you care and the sky is the limit. Everyone wants to feel like they belong and are cared about.

    • klfedder says:

      Thank you for sharing your experience with us about Mark. It is something we all need to be aware of in the classroom. Being a teachers aide sure has its benefits and being a teacher having someone like you in the classroom is outstanding. Teachers are very busy people with many things to consider during the course of their day. As student teachers we need to stay mindful of every person in our classroom, that they are individuals and all come with different backgrounds and abilities. I am also a teachers aide and there are many times the teacher will say I am so glad you picked up on that student, otherwise it would have been overlooked.

    • chantal10 says:

      Fantastic example of the importance of getting to know your students.

    • jcsimpson75 says:

      Like you I am an aide in a class and I really admire what teachers do, thus taking up study to decome one. But I too have had times where a child just wants some one to listen to them or take the time to talk to them, and a teacher of a classroom with alsom twenty children doesn’t have the time sometimes to see all the little things and pick up on things that an aide may see. Teachers really do appreciate another set of eyes.

  65. joanne1brown says:

    Hi everyone
    Has any one had problems with the lecture. I keep getting the Individual difference one, despite the title saying Positive Learning enviroment??? Will try again later when the blackboard is operating properly.

    Certainly the Teacher Talk article is disturbing. As a parent I would definitely not like my child exposed to such an environment. Perhaps the culture involes not so much the school, but a reflection of the culture of New York???

    Additionally, could you easily attract teachers to work in such an evironment?

    As per child’s human rights I have found this declarataion from the UN. Quite the opposite to what is occurring in these New York schools

    http://www.un.org/cyberschoolbus/humanrights/resources/child.asp

    • georgina15221993 says:

      I had problems with the lecture.. induvidual differences kept coming up… so I opened it up just as an audio file and it worked… i went through all the options on that lectopia caster page (the one where you choose whether you open the file with mediaplayer, quicktime, pp etc) and eventually the right lecture came up. hope this helps.. I cant really articulate myself really well.. it was doing my head in!!

  66. carlyannlacey says:

    Part 2:
    Sound classroom management is extremely important. Without it a positive classroom environment is very unlikely if not impossible. Being organised, planning ahead and guiding children’s behaviour appropriately is essential. Eggen & Kauchak also point out that positive teacher attitudes are fundamental to effective teaching.
    (p.400)

    The elements listed on BrightHub I came across as I viewed the posts of other students are a great guide to planning for a positive, happy effective classroom. The ten steps discussed include getting to know students on a personal level, providing positive feedback, creating a culture of respect and accountability and making the physical environment aesthetically pleasing.
    Link: brighthub.com/education/k-12/articles/13907.aspx

  67. 42tighe says:

    How lucky are we to live in Australia after reading “Teachers talk”? School culture is made up by many elements. First and foremost I believe that the relationship between the teacher and his/her students is the foundation for establishing a positive school culture, but with class sizes on the increase, it is difficult to give individuals the attention they need and it is almost impossible to establish the cohesiveness needed to form this positive relationship between teacher and student. As cited in Teachers Talk School Cultures, Safety and Human Rights, Fall 2008, “relationships are the key.”
    Another key factor is having a pro-active principal someone who is actively involved with his/her staff, interacts with the students and has clear expectations and guidelines for acceptable behaviour. “In a national survey, 79% of new teachers said they would choose supportive administrators over salary increases.’ This gives us an indication of the importance of a supportive principal to the schools’ of today. The principal must create a supportive, nurtured environment for teachers as well as the students. We have read before how important it is for students, but it is equally important for staff members to form a professional cohesive team where they have backing from the principal.
    Another important issue is that teachers have little or no say on the development of discipline policies. “As key stakeholders in the education community, teachers should be included in developing and implementing school and district level policies and practices.” Teachers state that the rigid guidelines which they must follow, hinders “their professional judgement and frontline knowledge of the students”. This culture leads to apathetic teachers. Teachers also believe that students should be involved in developing discipline guidelines. “Teachers also believe that greater student participation in decision making can improve discipline and safety problems”. Students being involved in the decision making process give them ownership and more likely to comply with the rules.
    Parent involvement is crucial. Most parents liked to be informed of the child’s development to share in the experiences with them, not just to be called in when there is a problem. Parents need to be on board with the discipline policy of the school to ensure its success and if not reinforced at home, it becomes pointless.
    You can see from the “Teachers Talk” article, the reasons why things have reached this stage whereby students, teachers and even parents feel the way they do regarding disciple and safety. With the lack of resources available, including counselling, creating a nurturing environment, support and funding it has reached a crisis point. We are fortunate to have information on who to create a positive and safe learning environment for our students of the future.

    I have seen students punished by teachers for uncharacteristic behaviour, while the teacher didn’t ask for any reason for the change in behaviour, just punished. This happened to my friend in primary school, her parents had separated and she was deeply upset. She became withdrawn and didn’t want to participate in classroom activities so the teacher decided that my friend was just being difficult and made her stay in at lunch and recess. The teacher labelled her as being “difficult”. Unfortunately, the teacher didn’t take the time to find the reason for her behaviour, and it wasn’t until many months later that her parent came to school to see the teacher about the change in attitude towards school they the reason became known.

    • nakhoulc says:

      Enjoyed your post thoroughly. How different a school experience your friend would have had, had the teacher stopped for a moment and asked her a simple question (ie. is there anything upsetting you?).

  68. belle2011 says:

    It is disappointing to read about how little control and influence these teachers feel they have over discipline policy when they feel that it is their responsibility to share. It is great however, to read that they want preventative and constructive approaches to discipline.
    In line with our thinking of positive classroom environments and effective and positive teaching, how do we keep discipline positive? Is positive discipline an oxymoron?

    The article mentions suspension as one method of disciplining student misbehaviour. I have found some reading on the reasons why misbehaviour can occur. Revenge, fear and anger lead to misbehaviour. These traits usually occur when someone does not feel like they belong, feel left out, disliked or bullied. A teacher has so much power over these feelings in a student.

    How does suspending a student help them feel like they belong? What will this form of discipline do towards helping the student amend their behaviour and will it address the cause?

    http://www.google.com.au/url?sa=t&source=web&cd=5&ved=0CDQQFjAE&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.eps.vic.edu.au%2Fiande%2Fdeveloping_social_competence_through_the_positive_discipline_approach_by_jane_nelsen.doc&rct=j&q=suspension%20discipline%20students%20does%20it%20help%20%3Aedu.au&ei=DWdDTc_bE4S3cIDQld8N&usg=AFQjCNEwaZe0SXvIgGTshV9S1sRud3xcNQ&cad=rja

    Teachers need to be caring and positive and lead the way for behaviour in schools. This can help eliminate some misbehaviour and the need to address it with discipline. As the ‘Teachers Talk’ article suggests, human rights are important. Students must feel that they are all equal and are entitled to respect and dignity.

    Our country is not even close to the size of America and we like to feel like we know what is going on in our schools. But how far different from them are we?

    This article from Barry A. Fields, PhD, Faculty of Education University of Southern Queensland addresses the question “Is there a crisis in our schools?” He looks at the Australian Federal Government inquiry reports on violence in our schools. We may find that we are surprised by the number of violent incidents that are reported here.

    Again in this article the topic of suspension or expulsion is addressed and agrees these are inappropriate forms of discipline for the majority of misbehaviour fostering “withdrawal, exclusion and segregation.” Australian education is now structured on a belief in multicultural learning, acceptance of others and feeling included.

    http://www.aare.edu.au/99pap/fie99266.htm

    The Cover Story in teachers net gazette, March 2009 written by Graysen Walles is entitled ‘Teachers are Brave’ –and goes on… “Somewhere in this country a drive-by was avoided, a robbery was reconsidered, or a suicide attempt was abandoned because a teacher was willing to show up and make a difference in the classroom, administrative office, after school activity, or at the home of a child”

    How important to feel that we can achieve this, and how important that we do!

  69. carob74 says:

    There are a few notifications to the UN Committee on the rights of children.I found the link

    http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/crc/docs/discussion/earlychildhood.pdf

  70. jess1982 says:

    Why do you think that sound classroom management is important? As a result of your reading, viewing and discussion so far, what elements do you believe a teacher should consider when planning for a positive, happy and effective classroom?

    Classroom management is important for making students feel safe and welcome in their learning environment and provide a sense of belonging. It is also important for strengthening respectful relationships between the teacher and the students as well as between the students themselves.

  71. nakhoulc says:

    What I liked most about the U.S. Report is the way they consider the ‘holistic’ student. I believe, that first and foremost, every single person has an inherent right to be treated with respect and dignity, regardless of their ethnicity, socio-economic background, gender, and religion. This is especially relevant in our schools be it at home in Australia, or overseas. Let us consider the whole student. Why are they the way they are. Let us identify their strengths and weaknesses, and try our best to achieve the best learning outcome for each individual

    I have always envied those families who lived within walking convenience to their school. Both for the convenience as well as for the less use of the family car adding more emissions into the air and so forth. I do have a high school about 100 steps away from my house, but am reluctant to send my children there due to the behavioural problems associated with gangs within the school. While the neighbours can testify that their children went there and it is a good school, seeing them identified on the local news network, has not done my confidence any favour. What a shame that things need to get that serious for police and reporters to show up at the school (this was about 2 yrs ago!). There is no way I will send my children to this school regardless of it being so much more convenient to get to, for fear of them being bullied and/or hurt.

  72. joanne1brown says:

    Hi

    This I found to be very useful. It is certainly a contrast to the New York approach.

    http://www.education.vic.gov.au/region/loddonmallee/healthwellbeing/restorative.htm

  73. ashleighgoss says:

    I found this slide show interesting and informative. Here is the link http://www.slideshare.net/kstashuk/creating-a-positive-classroom-environment. It provides tips on creating a positive physical and emotional learning environment. It also contains strategies that teachers can employ to achieve this, including some great examples.

  74. smithlorraine100 says:

    I like this quote from the Pdf
    Every child has the right to receive an education of good
    quality which in turn requires a focus on the quality
    of the learning environment, of teaching and learning
    processes.
    - UN Committee on the Rights of the Child,
    General Comment 14

    ‘discipline means teaching as opposed to punishing’ http://www.buzzle.com/articles/some-child-behaviour-pointers-related-to-constructive-discipline.html

    After reading the NESRI PDF file from the U.S (http://www.nesri.org/sites/default/files/Teachers_Talk.pdf) & learning how they feel about disciplinary actions within schools it has come apparent the majority are in agreeance with, including the ideas and opinions of the students when it comes to creating and adhering to rules. They appear to prefer the humanistic forms of discipline by making the perpetrator aware of their actions & the implications.
    Elements of the report include degraded school cultures, recognition of ineffective disciplinary actions, the impact of security measures & creating positive school cultures.
    I noticed the research was focused on middle/high school, excluding primary aged children, I asked myself… should we be implementing a better way of recognition for behavior at an earlier age? If children understand consequences for their actions earlier on in life would they be more aware of their behavior & behave better as teenagers?
    Anyway, back on track, the NESRI focused on the implications of discipline and the effectiveness of those in a school culture.
    All in all it was apparent the presence of police, security guards & metal detectors caused anxiety & stress in students, held them up for class & had minimal impact on behavior. However, sadly enough, they are required for safety reasons, even though, for the majority are extremely impersonal.
    The teacher’s in the PDF consider discipline as a opportunity for learning & growth but are restricted due to strict policies of which they have no control. Lacking this takes away the chance of supporting & meeting individual needs, the student doesn’t know any better & will probably continue with misconduct. They would also like to see more parental influence regarding their child’s learning.
    We in Australia are fortunate enough to be welcomed in our children’s school’s along with our opinions. P & C Associations are just one example of how we can ‘have a say’. Also parent teacher interviews are a common occurrence.
    In relation to this topic, my eldest child has recently started Middle school & there are just over 2600 students. They attempt to manage the school as a ‘whole’ first by having a number of deputy principles who cater for a specific age group. This allows a more personal relationship between peers as it allows for the time needed to ‘get to know’ individual students needs. (1:2600) the ratio of one principle to the entire school or (12:2600) with extra ” trained professionals”. I could only imagine the implications the school would have if parents were to request an interview with their child’s principle, if there were only one! The uniform policy has also been amended in an attempt to increase the schools reputation. With these changes have come rules such as detention slips for deliberately & repeatedly turning up out of uniform. There are options available for families of low economic abilities such as payment plans, so the school has a no tolerance (other than unavoidable circumstances) avoidance on uniform. I’m in total agreeance with this new policy, if they allow one student to ‘fall by the wayside’ others will follow & it as in the past will look unsightly. Other implications are also avoided by dressing the same students are all equal there are no social/economic clashes.

  75. annemareedwyer says:

    I work in a primary school where there is a culture of care and respect among staff and students. I have been there for ten years and watched many staff and students come and go but some how this amazing culture remains. All staff including everyone from the executive through to the ancillary staff are treated with the same understanding and respect. All individual differences are accepted and everyone is there to help each other when necessary. This therefore flows on to the students who learn this behaviour through the modelled behaviour of the teachers because, as stated in Eggen & Kauchak teachers “… continue to be high-status models for students” (p. 185)

    I felt quite disturbed reading the US report on their schools, but at the same time felt very glad to be in a country NSW school. It makes me wonder what sort of culture exists among the staff in their schools. They might need to watch a series of Rozz ‘s lectures to get back to the grass roots of what students need to best learn. Eggens & Kauchak define a productive learning environment as “a classroom that is orderly and focused on learning. In it students feel physically and emotionally safe, and the daily routines, learning activities, and standards for appropriate behaviour are all designed to promote learning” (p.352) I wonder how “physically and emotionally safe” those poor US students feel when they are roughly handled by the powers that be before they even get into the classroom?

    Here is a website that may be of interest, it shows a full range of our Department of Education policies on safety and welfare, just thought it was interesting to see some of the policies we have here in Australia, one of which is a policy for weapons in schools.

    http://www.det.wa.edu.au/policies/detcms/navigation/safety-and-welfare/

    Happy reading!

    • kateizzard says:

      Thanks for your post Anne! It gives us hope that what we are learning here can be implemented in our future classrooms.

  76. lsharryngray says:

    School culture is synonymous with school climate or school ethos. In simple terms it is “the way we do things around here” or on a deeper level it encompasses such things as the “basic assumptions and beliefs shared by the school members regarding human nature, human activity and human relationships” (Australian Government Department of Education, Employment and Work Relations, n.d.)

    School culture, I believe, is a combination of values, beliefs, rituals and ceremonies (Peterson n.d.). At Llandilo Pubic School (a western Sydney school) throughout the school year there are held several traditional events and rituals. These include the reciting of the school song and prayer at assemblies, Parent-Teacher interview sessions, Open day during “Education Week”, Easter Hat Parade, Swimming and Athletics Carnivals, Llandilo Idol (talent quest), Student of the Month, on a weekly basis “Legends of Llandilo” (naming the best achievers or best in terms of behaviour in each class), Fundraising events for the Year 6 Farewell (including a mine-fete involving the whole school, parents and community), Year 6 Farewell and Graduation Ceremony. Many sporting events take place during the year – the traditional local competitions involving soccer, netball, Aussie Rules and cricket. There is a school choir and next year a school band. At each main assembly the best behaving class receives the school mascot, a dragon, for the next week.

    This is the culture of this school – it is predictable, organised and reliable. Most of the above has been happening for the last eight years since I have been involved in the school.

    Last year the school introduced badges for students (with dragons on them – different colours for different levels) attaining certain levels in behavioural standards. In order to become a prefect or any other position of leadership the student must have obtained a certain level.

    This year the Principal will be introducing weekly awards for students who say “please”, “thank you” and display, in general, good manners. At the time I thought this was a bit unusual but having reflected on what goes on in the wider community, perhaps good manners needs to be encouraged.

    In my opinion, the school culture at this school is a positive one.

    In relation to a blog above this is not my local school. My local high school and public school is just up the road from us. I would not send my children to either school as I have seen and heard the parents in action, so imagine what their children are like!

    Reference List:
    Australian Government Department of Education, Employment and Work Relations (n.d). Retrieved from http://www.deewr.gov.au/Schooling/Programs/REDI/professionaldevelopment/allREDI/s
    Education World (n.d) Is Your School’s Culture Toxic or Positive? Retrieved from http://www.educationworld.com/a_admin/admin/admin275.shtml

  77. benboyd888 says:

    I am glad that when I went to high school they didn’t have a strong punitive approach. I didn’t realise how much security and policing they have in New York City. I know when I was living in Auckland, NZ some of the schools in high risk areas would have security personnel at the entrance of schools and had the power to search students bags and belongings for weapons. The past few years there has been a debate in New Zealand about punitive approaches in schools and the need for non-punitive approaches to be implemented. Punitive approaches are not only setting a bad example to children but in some cases it is minimising their chance to a fair education.
    I found a blog at http://emigratetonewzealand.wordpress.com/2009/03/05/new-zealand-scores-second-worse-in-world-for-bullying-in-schools/ . Ian Hassall who is an Auckland Paediatrician and former Children’s Commissioner explained that increased bullying in New Zealand reflected a punitive society. Ian Hassall continued to explain that because we have a society that believes in punishing and threatening children, it is not surprising that children follow this lead and go punishing one another.

  78. lucinash78 says:

    Wow! What an amazing (long, but amazing ) read the policy was. Like my fellow students, I feel a sense of relief that my children will not have to encounter the punishment that the U.S students face on a daily basis.I can’t imagine my school days, ever involving metal detectors, or police officers in the play ground?? That really takes the fun out of ‘play ground’ and makes it more of a prison environment.

    Key points that I took from the policy:
    *teachers must work together with students and the community to form trust and a mutual respect
    *the foundation to a safe and succsesful school was a principal with strong leadership
    *surveyed teachers stated that the ‘lack of positive relationship was the largest threat to safety in the schools’.

    Remembering back to my school days, although there were discipline issues, I never felt threatened, or unsafe at any time. Teachers would address the ill mannered children in a professional manner, with minimal fuss. The most respected teachers, were our ‘mentors’, rarely did they have disruptive students in thier classes. These teachers had obviously gained a mutual respect and created a positive learning environment.

    I have attached a link that you might find interesting that I came across on the Teachers Tv site, a ‘behaviour timeline’. Take some time to have a look over how a punitive reactive approach to discipline has changed over the years.

    http://www.teachers.tv/behaviour/timeline

    I would love to hear what your thoughts are on how discipline evolved, and how this has affected generations.

    Tori

  79. trentbowman says:

    The fact of the matter is that no matter how hard you try, your never going to have a perfect class room. All you can do as a teacher is your absolute best to create the sort of safe environment that students deserve, and if at the end of the day, your efforts backfire, you come back the next day and try again, that is what it’s all about, never giving up, and making a difference.

    • catherinepatterson says:

      I have to agree with you. The best we can do is never give up and try to make a difference. Well said :)

    • kateizzard says:

      Agreed… :)

    • kateizzard says:

      People need guidance; this is why we appoint leaders over the country, bosses in business and teachers in schools. Without these people it would be a very chaotic existence. Students need a sound classroom to attend to be able to effectively achieve their goals. Remember as a student when the teacher slipped out of the classroom for one minute…everyone stopped working and started yelling, throwing things, running around the room etc. If the teacher does not give their students guidance nothing would be achieved. People rely upon rules, hence why we have laws therefore for students to be able to learn school rules and procedures must be made, followed and enforced. This is also important for the safety of everyone in the class, stopping problems from arising and solving disputes promptly with correct punishment. We don’t want our schools in Australia to become like the schools in the US so it is our job to make sure that we are teaching our students the way we teach our own children.

  80. mwjan31 says:

    Question 1: Could a report like this be written about a school in your state?
    In NSW yes, on the Coffs Coast I don’t believe so! The ‘teachers talk report’ highlights many internal and external factors that negatively influence ‘school culture’. The report indicates that overcrowding, a lack of conflict resolution skills, and limited rules and respect are some of the main factors ‘threatening teacher and student safety’. The reason I believe that the Coffs Coast wouldn’t have the same responses is that the area has been more effectively planned, room for growth has been catered for, and the availability of resources is greater. Once populations grow beyond what was originally planned for in metro areas the design and facilitates become insufficient. Open spaces generally get used for housing, and with more people and more housing means more children and a need for more schools. This is the typical story for all metro areas around the world, there just isn’t enough space! Sydney is great example of people from all over the country (and world) gravitating to it in search of work or a better life. It is from ‘not knowing’ cultural norms and expectations that conflict generally results from and makes rules ineffective. Also the cost of living in the city is generally higher meaning there becomes a broader range of economic statuses between families. Behavioural problems can and do occur in any school across the country but if teachers are stretched then they are less likely to be able to accommodate for and manage these misbehaviours whilst effectively teaching.
    Question 2: What do you think constitutes ‘school culture’?
    School culture is the beliefs, norms, and attitudes that teachers, students and parents contribute to the school environment. It is also affected by the wider community and the government, for example- standards are set based on state and national criteria.
    Question 3: Do the contents of the report bear any relationship to an experience you know of, or may have had?
    The risks on teacher safety shown in the ‘teacher talk report’ are those that we in Australia typically respond to by saying ‘it would only happen in America’, however, in June 2010 a similar situation occurred in a small coastal town of Woolgoolga. A high school student claimed to have a gun and made alleged threats towards others, the police were called and the school was put on lock down until the all-clear was given. I’m sure that this experience would have made the school revisit some existing policies regarding threats, or maybe even consider a constant police presence or metal detector. Although these extreme reactions are rational and normal given the seriousness of the situation, after reading ‘teacher talk’ it’s probably best they weren’t introduced as the small percentage of students and staff that they make feel safe is outweighed by the ‘new tensions and conflicts’ they create.
    Question 4: Why is sound classroom management important?
    Sound classroom management incorporates both the physical layout of the environment and behavioural management strategies. It is important to remember this when planning lessons. The environment needs to be designed to allow all students to clearly see the teaching area, easy access to materials, have large spaces for group work and small spaces for individual time. Students achievements should be respectfully displayed, and the natural environment needs to be reflected throughout both experiences provided and the physical environment. Student misbehaviour can be dealt with using either a humanistic or behaviourist approach, or both. Either one of these methods, however, will only be effective if the teacher knows the students well and a clear set of rules has been previously established (not meaning that they cannot change).

    • marykemp says:

      mwjan
      You have reminded of the incident at Woolgoolga High which happens to be the local high school that my son attended (but not at the time of this incident). The incident you mention ended without anyone being hurt but was quite serious and traumatic for those involved at the time.

      Another school in the area Orara High School in Coffs Harbour (my own old school) was the scene of an actual shooting several years ago which ended with a teacher being shot in the hand. In a small town it is no wonder that this teacher was the father of a boy in the same football team as my son. These violent and worrying situations arise all around us. Schools are representative of the community so are bound to be reflective of community values, behaviours and problems.

      These incidents are very worrying and not to be taken lightly, however I cannot help thinking ‘what must be going on in the lives and minds of young people for them to take such extreme actions’. I am not saying that I have the answer but the psychological needs of children is an area I believe we need to take a close look at. The media often refers to the mental health situation needing attention but is this taken seriously by policy makers and those allocating funding for our children and young people?’
      Mary

    • sarahohanlon says:

      Wow! Two people who live in my local area!!! I live right behind Woolgoolga High School at Safety Beach. I have heard that it doesn’t have the best reputation due to incidents with students bringing guns to school etc.

  81. matthewsrobyn says:

    The teacher’s Talk article is scary, but ultimately very, very sad. How awful for those kids! Overcrowding is the major issue, I think. If they could break down the numbers and create many smaller schools, smaller classes, there might be half a chance of improving the situation. Good, strong, caring leaders/principles are a must. If the staff are all on the same page, policies can be agreed upon, along with parents and students, to create a school community that really feels like a community, working together to instill pride in themselves and their school. I can’t help but feel there is an underlying problem with behaviour issues which seem to be increasing world-wide, stemming from generational changes in parenting, where basic respect for what is right, respect for oneanother and respect for authority is slipping away. I am 46, probably one of the oldest in this large group, so I am a witness to this change. Trying to pinpoint why these changes are occurring is the hard part. Could it be, that people are generally frightened of their liability when it comes to disciplining children? If, for instance, policies allowed a violent student to remain at school after a minor incident, and a teacher or another student was seriously injured soon after, would the school’s insurance cover a huge claim in the civil court? Is this what is changing in our world. Are we all running scared? I don’t know……………….

    • kylewinzer says:

      You make a good point. I believe basic manners and respect aren’t being taught at home. A recent trip to the shopping centre confirmed this. Children now don’t seem to have a problem pushing past adults to get through a doorway and can be heard yelling swear words at eachother regardless of where they are. This being the case it is even more important that basic values and respect are taught at school. I came across a program by David Koutsoukis called Six Kinds of Best. It’s simplistic approach is great for children and who knows maybe they can take some of it home with them.

  82. lsharryngray says:

    The only significant case, I have experienced, of bullying occurred when my eldest son was in Year 5. He was pushed to the ground and his best friend defended him by telling the other student to leave him alone. The student retaliated by rubbing one of his eyes to the point it was so sore and went and told the teacher on duty that my son’s friend had kneed him in the eye.
    The matter was reported to the Principal who at that time was working between two schools. She decided to put my son’s friend in the behaviour book.
    I found out later what had happened and asked my eldest if he had spoken to the Principal – present his side of the story. He told me the Principal had not interviewed him. So the next day we went to see the Principal as my eldest’s friend is a really friendly and polite child. Also the student responsible was to us a trouble-maker – he had been to our place for a party and all he wanted to do was put holes in the walls.
    After this incident this child for the next school year transferred to another local public school.
    In this instance the teacher on playground teacher should have interviewed all students, or at least the Principal should have. The real culprit got an innocent child in trouble and I felt my son was not even listened to when he presented his version of the incident.
    The implications were an innocent child became frustrated, his parents became disillusioned and the Principal at that time was not giving the school her whole attention. This matter was handled in a “quick-fix” way and the real culprit got all the undeserved sympathy.

    • buttacup28 says:

      Sadly to say this kind of situation is quite common. A good teacher would ask all children involved, report it and follow it up with their boss to make sure it was dealt with accordingly. The principlal at your sons school failed to do her job properly.

  83. fmxprincess says:

    I don’t think that in Queensland an article like the ‘teachers talk report’ could be written. The report goes into detail about overcrowding in schools – almost all classrooms are kept to a maximum of 30, most classrooms have less than this. 30 is such a large number that at times problems may arise, some students teachers may not get to know on a personal level, however if class sizes we kept at a smaller number for example 20, then there is the issue of not enough teachers, or classrooms. I believe there is little or no overcrowding in Queensland schools due to my own experiences, I attended a high school with 1500 students, year 8 alone had 11 classes, the way schools have been built have shown that they can accommodate so many more students, allowing for growth . The report also mentions student and teacher safety, this could be due to the relatively relaxed gun laws, gangs and ‘rough’ neighbourhoods. In Queensland there is still the issue of safety, in spite of this, not to the extent that American schools witness. Just recently a student was stabbed at a Brisbane school, but occurrences such as this are rare. In every school, there will be behavioural problems among students and or local youths. There is no escaping this, however many schools have processes in place that is followed, should something happen.

    School culture is the opinions and actions of students, teachers, the local community and the local governments.
    The report mentions safety of students and teachers, even though we rarely experience anything like America does, for example the Columbine shootings, we still have violence in our schools towards students and teachers affecting the safety of them. I was once in a classroom where a student started throwing around chairs and desks. There have been instances in other schools where non-students have come into schools to start fights, some cases have resulted in students being injured, there have also been some acts of violence from students towards teachers. I don’t know of any schools in Queensland that have metal detectors, this type of prevention is much too extreme for the little violence we experience.
    Sound classroom management is using time effectively, management strategies, and teaching strategies. It is important as it helps teachers to plan their lessons to get the most out of their teaching time. The room should be set up in a way that all students can see the board and access the things around the room that they need with ease. Natural environments and lighting, with neutral walls are good for not distracting students, some suggest that bright classrooms, with many colours and lots of student work displayed are motivating for students, but this is untrue, too many colours and artwork prove distracting for students. It also helps if the teacher has set routines that students are to follow for example, every Friday homework is due or every morning students go straight to their desk and review the previous days’ work. Classroom rules should be displayed; this reminds students that they are expected to follow them.

    • liza55 says:

      http://www.schools.nsw.edu.au/studentsupport/programs/classsize/index.php

      The policy above comes from The NSW Department of Education and Training (DET) website. It outlines the Class size reduction program that was implemented in 2003 in NSW for student in K-2.
      Resulting in:
      20 students in Kindergarten classes
      22 students in year one classes
      24 students in year two classes

      It also discusses new building infrastructure that the government is funding to support the program, which mentions some of the physical aspects that will make the classrooms more comfortable for teachers and student.

      I live in Sydney and it is plain to see this in action when driving past schools. Many schools are under construction (especially over these last school holidays) to build new classrooms to support extra classes due to the down size in numbers. My daughters own primary school has added two new classrooms and hired two new teachers this year to support this. It is good to see action being taken in this area, as teachers may be better able to get to know the students and create productive learning environments to support students if class numbers are kept low. However, this policy does not talk about what happens after year two. I know that this policy is not being implemented in high schools as my eldest daughter is heading into year 9 at a large high school and class numbers are over 30 there. I believe that such a policy would be more beneficial in high school where behavioural problems seem to be more serious than those in primary school. That is not to say that serious behavioural problems do not occur in primary schools, as I have also seen some quite serious problems there. But if primary school students become accustomed to smaller class sizes wouldn’t it be a shock to them to enter high school and be placed in a classroom of 30 or more students and all of a sudden experience less attention from the teacher. It would make sense to me to continue this program all the way through. I guess it all comes down to government funding as always.

      This policy also discusses programs to prevent bulling and behavioural problems in NSW schools.

  84. buttacup28 says:

    This report is quite concerning I have experience working in a school and behaviour can often be an issue. I can relate to what some of these teachers are saying in regards to behaviour policies and procedures and lack of communication. The system in our school changes frequently and when changes are made it is never communicated and this can be frustrating when you think you’re following procedure only to be told that it’s incorrect because it’s changed. Senior staff don’t seem to be informing other staff members who are the ones implementing these procedures usually.
    I would like to see senior staff sit down with all staff and go through behaviour policy and make sure everyone is aware of policy and any changes that have been made and display it in staff room where everyone can see it. It’s important to leave the communication lines open.
    Teachers, executives, and students should all be on the same page when it comes to be behaviour and discipline. If students catch onto the fact that the consequences of their actions aren’t always followed through or that there are different punishments for the same consequence then problems can arise and this is when teachers and parents become fed-up with executives not following procedures or changing it to suit certain kids. It should be fair.

  85. buttacup28 says:

    Sound classroom management is important because children learn better when in a safe, friendly environment. When teachers implement instruction, have a positive attitude and outlook, are organised, good communicators, offer praise and feedback it helps foster motivation amongst students. Techniques teachers should use to assist in teaching effectively are questioning and prompting.
    Teacher’s need to plan for instruction, select topics that are valid, prepare learning objectives, prepare and organise learning activities and plan for assessment when planning for a positive, happy and effective classroom.

  86. buttacup28 says:

    I found these 3 tips on a site and thught they were quite fitting and tie in nicely with what the text was stating. Here is the link –
    http://www.classroommanagement101.com/blog/category/classroom-management-plan/

    Below are three of my top tips for implementing an effective classroom management plan today and ending inappropriate student behavior.

    1. Praise your students loudly and praise them often.

    The most potent tool at the dispoal of any teacher is the use of praise, and everything else comes a distant second. Use praise wisely and you will no longer be asking the question ‘how do I deal with poor classroom behavior’.

    2. Stay calm, cool, and collected.

    If the pupils you teach can sense that you are flustered or starting to panic then it’s quite likely that their innapropriate classroom behavior will become magnified. No matter how stressed out and frustrated you become, you must present an image of calm to your pupils at all times.

    3. Be prepared

    Being prepared is quite simply a must for any teacher looking to be on top of student behavior in the classroom. Teachers who excel at promoting good classroom management are organized and prepared at all times. If you want to promote posive student behaviour in your classroom then it’s essential that you are prepared too.

    Above is a brief outline of three of my top effective classroom plan tips. Following these tips won’t result in you having a amzing classroom management skills overnight, nor will they end teacher stress as a result of innappropriate pupil behavior.

    • bronlane says:

      Liked your 1 2 3 approach, similiar in thought to what i would do, and what i have witnessed in action.
      :) Bron

    • Linda Nipperess says:

      There’s been a lot of research done on praise in the past years, and while it’s good to praise, it’s not good to do it indiscriminately, nor is it good to praise the child/student. Praising actions and effort rather, is advised. “Great effort” instead of “good boy” type of thing.

      I studied this ten years ago, and realised what a difference it can really make when the situation is reversed. We have always taken this advice onboard and when dealing with our son, have said that we are not pleased with his behaviour, rather than calling him a naughty boy. A teacher last year called him a naughty boy (with good reason I’m sure, but still), and nine months later, he still carries that with him. Quite regularly now when we ask him to use his good behaviour, he tells us that he can’t because he’s a naughty boy, and he seems quite ashamed of the ‘fact’ – and like it’s something that he can’t change. It’s amazing how one comment can have such lasting effects (and I’m sure that his teacher meant nothing by it – she’s really sweet).

      Praise can be great – IF it’s done properly. The following article is a good read…

      http://www.stanford.com/dept/psychology/cgi-bin/drupalm/system/files/Intelligence%2520Praise%2520Can%2520Undermine%2520Motivation%2520and%2520Performance.pdf

      The following article is both Australian and new (2010), though I personally don’t feel that the sample size is anywhere near big enough to make any definitive conclusions. Nonetheless, it is a good read.

      http://wwwlib.newcastle.edu.au/Resources/Research%20Centres/SORTI/Journals/AJEDP/Vol%2010/V10_burnett%20_mandel.pdf

  87. buttacup28 says:

    I found this video on you tube and it had some great tips on classroom management and a lot of the info related to our topics and text and what to do as a good teacher and what not to do.
    Classroom Management Tips & Tricks “Documentary” – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QI1EslmriCE&feature=related

  88. hayley15218209 says:

    HI everyone :-)
    for me reading the article clearly reminded me of how blessed we all are to live in Australia – thinking of going to school everyday and walking through metal detectors, and having guards everywhere you look would be so daunting and uninviting. However it does make me have great amounts of gratitude towards american teachers as they must be so compassionate to do that!!! anywho I found some pieces from different websites that talk about positive classrooms etc :

    It is imperative that great schools have great teachers who know their subject matter well, are enthusiastic about it, inspire their students and provide excellent learning programs. The great teacher does not lecture students, but draws out their own understanding.
    We must start with having the best staff, and then provide them with resources and support that they can deliver excellent curricular in and out of the classroom. Our curricula are fully up-to-date, including the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme, the Victorian Essential Learning Standards and all of its associated resources
    Reference
    St Leonards, (2011), What Makes a Good School.
    retrieved from: http://www.stleonards.vic.edu.au/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=88:what-makes-a-good-school&catid=45:principal&Itemid=54

    and

    The Principles of Learning and Teaching P-12 (PoLT) and related components state that students learn best when:

    The learning environment is supportive and productive
    The learning environment promotes independence, interdependence and self-motivation
    Students’ needs, backgrounds, perspectives and interests are reflected in the learning program
    Students are challenged and supported to develop deep levels of thinking and application
    Assessment practices are an integral part of teaching and learning
    Learning connects strongly with communities and practice beyond the classroom

    Reference
    Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, (2009), Principles of Learning and Teaching P-12. Retrieved from: http://www.education.vic.gov.au/studentlearning/teachingprinciples/principles/default.htm

    positive learning environments are a subject that i feel very personally about – teachers have a HUGE responsibility to teach, care for and guide their students, it is not an easy job and not one that should be looked upon with complacency. I aim in my classroom to do my best to ensure each and every student feels safe, welcome and accepted.
    I think i partly feel so strongly about this because i have a four year old daughter who at times can be quite shy ( you wouldn’t notice it most days! hehe), but when she went through 3 year old kinder last year there were days that i walked out with her chasing me and crying, it was so hard to do! BUT with the help of her wonderful teachers each time i left became easier and easier until finally there were no tears and i was lucky to get a kiss! The classroom was inviting, warm, colourful etc but in the end what it came down to was her connection with the teachers. I have very HIGH expectations for her Kinder teacher this year, and Prep teacher the following year, and i believe most parents do. When i am teaching i will expect to have those same expectations from parents placed upon myself and i aim at putting all these worries aside by establishing a positive learning environment through teacher relationships, classroom activities, learning and attributes.
    I could go on and on about this forever but i think i should stop here for now :-)

  89. samantha Rasipanov says:

    following reading the pdf file on American schools and reading the blogs from this week, I have reached the conclusion the to create a positive learning environment teachers must be able to find a way to effectivly manage those students that they are responsible for, be it through any of the methods listed in the ilecture, but to honest i feel that many of the methods suggested lack focus and seem all to simplistic when dealing with a lot of the behavioural problems many of us will encounter in our careers. I found reading the pdf very interesting in that when you compare the population size differences Australian schools in some areas are in no way any different in the issues they must deal with. I myself grew up in an undessirable area in NSW which was often reffered to as the ghetto and school violence was a daily occurrence not only were students verbally and physically assulted teachers also felt the brunt of this community and their cars were often vandalised and they themselves were often physically and verbally assulted. So don’t think we are the lucky country just because the media is not saturated with these events here at home, because we are no different. When we step outside our modest middle class life and see the other side of Australia with eyes wide open what a shocking sight to behold. Currently in the area I described children are now locked in their classrooms and playground times are schedualed in way to limit the amount of students congregating at the same time. I no longer live anywhere near there and enjoy all comforts of a civilised life, yet those days will stay with me.

  90. bronwynwhite says:

    Kids come to school and can’t just turn off what goes on at home. Then there are issues of bullying (and school can’t prevent what is inherent in all of us) and grieving poor self-esteem. We can create a great atmosphere but sometimes more is required. I was interested that the US Teacher report concluded with the suggestion we need to look at prevention by creating great whole school environments. The Queensland DET site is about Building a Safe and Supportive School Environment. http://education.qld.gov.au/actsmartbesafe/schoolleaders/building-safe-environment.html
    Two of the strategies mentioned are Mind Matters and Restorative practice. These are strategies used also here in WA. A number of other excellent programs are integrated into the school program in an attempt to attend to student needs (and, yes, Maslow’s Heirarchy of needs deserves reference here) and encourage great school community. As a chaplain in a state high school for 8 years I ran several of these programs, similar also to the measures referred to in the US teacher report. Indigenous support workers also do a fantastic work in our schools to build community and encourage connection with families.
    (Now I discover that chaplains are again under fire, and the government taken to court for employing them (or paying them). Hmmm. Misguided?
    This was also a great site addressing the issue of whole school well-being. https://www.det.nsw.edu.au/policies/student_serv/student_welfare/stude_welf/pd02_52_student_welfare.pdf

  91. ilknur1 says:

    Hi guys,

    Having read the US report with wide eyes about the some of the disciplinary issues in schools, I was astonished at the figures of gangs, violence and bullying in schools. When another student posted that they were having similar issues in NSW I couldn’t believe it. So I did a bit of research and am even more dumbfounded by the amount of bullying and violence in our own schools in Australia.

    I’d like to share this article.

    http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_hb3359/is_1_35/ai_n28766928/pg_3/?tag=content;col1

    It states that in a survey conducted in QLD they found that the second most frequently occurring misbehaviour was physical disruption followed by verbal or physical resistance and unwelcomed teasing. In another survey 1,300 teachers reported they had experienced physical violence. How sad it is to realise that the US report isnt an isolated case.

    The article also shines light on the effect of the media is exasperating the situation by misreporting issues in schools.

    As i read through the long article I was astonished that twelve high school students were suspended from N.S.W. schools for making death threats against teachers and classmates in the aftermath of the Columbine High School shootings (Nason, 1999). What have our schools come to? Which goes to show the real importance of establishing positive learning environments in schools to prevent situations getting so violent.

  92. ray3110 says:

    I agree, i enjoyed this lecture from Roz also. I liked how Roz showed how to negotiate with students to get them to do their homework. I liked the councilling technique and how she used it to show how to listen to students and show students that she was actively listening to them.

    • 68amanda says:

      I agree. I also enjoyed the lecture of Roz but I think it’s going to take time as a new teacher to implement all these strategies. Will some of these techniques work on students with ADD and ADHD?

  93. ■Why do you think that sound classroom management is important? As a result of your reading, viewing and discussion so far, what elements do you believe a teacher should consider when planning for a positive, happy and effective classroom?

    I believe that sound classroom mamangement is important for a variety of reasons – allowing for effective learning, ensuring the safety of students and teachers, and creating a safe, structured and progressive learning environment are just a few examples. Teachers have a big responsibility to ensure the implementation of classroom management is effectively controlled, as it can be more beneficial in the long run to set up structure and teach students from the first opportunity that they are in a safe learning environment.

    According to Marsh (2004), some of the many elements involved in creating a positive, effective learning environment include:
    - classroom setting
    - colour
    - noise
    - temperature
    - seating
    - class size

    Each of these elements has their own effect on the classroom. For example, an even temperature can allow for more student attention, as they are not distracted by being too hot to pay attention. Seating is also important, as tables set in groups can encourage for social constructivism, and more interactive learning (Eggan & Kauchak, 2010). Class size is a consideration as well, as too many students can be damaging for a teacher yet too few students may not allow for effective social learning.

    I believe that teachers also should not just set up a classroom and leave it as that as times goes on. Throughout the school year, teachers are getting to know their students, and they can then learn what particular factors are more effective for their students. Allowing for student input and contribution in regards to classroom management can improve respect for the teacher, and show the students that the learning environment is truly created for them and they are valued.

  94. natashamorris says:

    One of the things I’ve found that is lacking in the report and perhaps everything we’ve learnt so far is the issue of bullying. We can do everything possible in the classroom environment but that will not stop bullying happening. It is one of those subjects that has had so much exposure in recent years that I’m surprised we’ve not heard much about it yet. I hope that at some stage we will find out a little more on the matter before we begin teaching ourselves.
    Bullying now is very different to what it used to be and that is why it has become so bad. With the access to technology there are all sorts of ways for kids to be bullied now.
    This has a run on effect. When kids are bullied it often causes problems in the classroom. I have a step-daughter who was bullied quite badly. She now has a new group of friends who are not the best ‘crowd’ at all. Her behaviour has gone downhill at home and school and she is constantly being suspended. This shows the run on effect of bullying. She used to be a good kid, and I would assume that now she feels she is in a position of power when she acts out, so of course her behaviour is awful. Obviously the suspension is not working, so other methods of correcting her behaviour should be explored by the school (they are working on this at the moment).
    As teachers I feel that is very important we learn a way to deal with problem behaviour. Kounin’s ideas of preventing problems are great, but we can’t rely on that because try as we might, there will be times when the problem can’t be prevented and we need to be ready to deal with problems when they occur.

    • Natasha, you are so right in saying that bullying is so evident in today’s society. This is a topic I would also love to learn more about, and how to proactively prevent bullying in the school environment – and hopefully, that can then ripple out into the home and social environments of school children to completely eliminate, or at the very least control, bullying.

      There are some schools who are taking a proactive approach to bullying – there is a school in Massachusetts who have a computer application which allows for victims to anonymously report a bully. It then sends information to teachers, who can then monitor the student in question and can more efficiently intervene in bullying as they are now aware of what to look for. More information on this can be found at http://www.cio.com/article/609714/School_Uses_Anti_Bullying_App_After_Suicide

      I have also come across a powerpoint presentation here http://www.mclc.indiana.edu/includes/pdf/safeschoolPowerPoint.pdf that has ten methods of helping to prevent and control bullying in the school environment. I believe in student inclusion when planning for effective classroom managemet, and I think that having student input on how bullying can be identified and controlled would be beneficial for teachers. It also has the added bonus of showing students that their opinion counts, and may make them have more trust and respect for the teacher if they feel the teacher truly cares about their safety.

    • mandykersley says:

      I totally agree with you here, I would love to learn how to manage and stop bullying. It is a major issue in most schools and should be addressed more deeply within local communities. I personally was bullied from about year 4 through to year 9 and it is not something I will ever forget, it also makes me want to become a great teacher. I only wish we really could have a set of eyes in the back of our heads! How to manage bullying would be an awesome topic as I think SO many people would be able to relate and share their experiences.

      • smithlorraine100 says:

        Very good point, we could do with some practice. I see bullying as an action that requires a reaction….the ‘bully’ is often seeking attention, and in some cases may be a victim of abuse. It’s important for the teacher to ‘help’ find the cause of the bullying and hopefully, by implementing the ‘counseling’ approach to discipline, come to an agreement about future behavior and the possible consequences. I was also bullied at school and it was very difficult to overcome, it was damaging to my self confidence. I personally believe it will be a very difficult task to approach in some cases, I am glad, however that the majority of people in this particular course prefer the counselling approach.

      • tashahas says:

        I agree, bullying is a major issue within schools today. Some schols are worse than others but it is a major concern. How do we, as teachers, deal with bullying. My 8 year old nephew had problems with bullying wthin his first year of school. Older kids picking on younger kids. Unfortunately there was only so much that could be done by the school, the teachers and the parents. It got to a point where because not enough was done, which leads to also the question of how much can one do, my nephew decided that if he couldn’t beat them he would join them. Now because he was a good student before that, when an incident occurred that involved himself, the teachers and principal came down on him and disciplined him, however this discipline was not the same that the other children received to start with. I understand that my nephew was a child that could be brought back into the fray and kept on the straight lline, he was a good kid, have good parents that cared, whereas the other children the parents didn’t even turn up to the school when called.
        I think bullying would be an excellent topic to address.

  95. A positive learning environment is so important for a students wellbeing and to feel safe in their surroundings. I have found some links that I thought were very useful.

    /Users/jamiegerrard/Downloads/respectful-classroom-environment-a74857.html
    /Users/jamiegerrard/Downloads/13907.aspx.html

    I remember when I was at school, I use to get bullied all the time for things like being overweight and developing sooner then other girls and even though I would confide in my friends the teachers would never find out what was wrong.
    There are situations like this all the time where kids take bullying onboard emotionally and no teacher or parent ever finds out because the child is too embarrassed or could be worried about other people in the class finding out.
    As harsh as it seams sometimes the bullies get away with it, and from the outside no one knows any different.
    I am not saying our school system isn’t active about solving bullying, I am just saying there are a lot of students that fly under the radar.

  96. darcieedp155 says:

    With regard to classroom management a great quote I read was ‘at one time or another every child will misbehave’. I’m still looking back to find the reference.
    What is says to me is that despite your best laid plans for a positive classroom environment, there will be undesirable behaviour. Which is why teachers must be skilled in quickly and unemotionally putting a stop to it.

  97. Laurie Hayhow says:

    Wow what an amazing PDF! I found it very interesting and shocking at the same time. I feel a complete overhaul of their school system is more than needed.

    Comparing this report to Australia, although there are certain areas that will be worse than others, I believe we do not have the extremity that they have in the US.

    I absolutely believe we as teachers must try and look past the behaviour and think about what the child is trying to say through this action.

    I believe to have respect from your students and therefore respect for the rules in the classroom and school positive relationships need to be formed by teacher AND principal.

    I believe class sizes will determine the effectiveness on the above 2 points.

    I believe that teacher and school expectations we place upon our students determines how they will act. Positive expectations from every student will result in positive behaviour and results. The report mentions the introduction of School Safety Agents and Police Officers in schools where they are able to suspend, arrest, place offsite and transfer students to second opportunity schools and shows my belief exactly when there was a reported 85% increase in suspensions. I was most shocked reading this section. I felt they were being treated like criminals with no thought going into the any developmental theories relating to the age of these kids. I wish I could ask them, why, in the eyes of the law, are children of high school ages not sent to jail if they commit a crime? If the case is due to their developmental differences with adults……then why are we simulating this in high schools?

    and finally, I believe every high school should have a full time counsellor or psychologist to work with students, teachers and parents in creating steps for creating a better self esteem.

    After reading this document I am wondering if you think it is harder as a high school teacher to maintain a positive classroom environment when the students are constantly changing teachers and classrooms? As a teacher you may only see a particular class 2 or 3 times a week?

    Here are some You tube videos on teachers expectations

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=derUjqnlEzs

  98. lauren083 says:

    I was left shocked after reading the Teachers Talk article. I couldn’t imagine having to go to school as a child, passing through metal detectors etc.

    I remember my school experience as a very positive one, with great teachers and good relationships with other students. I do not remember ever having to worry about gang related activity so it is hard for me to imagine such a scenario.

    I found a few sites that talk about school culture and discipline:

    http://www.schools.nsw.edu.au/gotoschool/a-z/discipline.php

    http://www.nswtf.org.au/campaigns/files/Student_Discipline_Schools.pps

    I believe that if teachers were given more rights when it comes to discipline it could go a long way to improving things. Teachers are told from the beginning of their study not to use the word ‘No’ because it is too negative, but students need to know the difference between right and wrong and that all actions have consequences.

    I want to provide a caring, friendly, fun, responsible learning environment for the children, where they will learn good values and respect.

    I have a 1 year old son and I hope that when it comes time that he can enjoy some of the positive schooling experiences that I did, but reading some of this material worries me and makes me think that this might not be the case, which would be a real shame.

  99. cazzaroons says:

    I have taken more time to keep up with the magnitude of reading on the blogging page this week. Thanks everyone for the abundance of really relevant and interesting reading!

    I agree that teachers have a huge responsibility in getting it right. My eldest daughter is due to start school in one week. She is so excited. I must say she holds high expectations of how wonderful it will be at big school. So I am very intrigued to see how she fits in, how she enjoys it, how her teacher interacts, what she will learn, who she will make friends with, the list goes on. It’s all new for us and we have so much to discover!

    So that is why I have taken a special interest in reading the blogs from other parents about their children’s school experiences. How teacher and staff attitudes can impact students learning and even the lay-out of the school and the classrooms. It seems everywhere we turn we read and hear about the problems with school bullying. Although the levels of bullying vary, are any schools really immune? Often there is much criticism about teachers turning a blind eye to the problem or mismanagement by departments and school leaders. I have no doubt my opinions will change and develop as my children have their own experiences.

    I certainly do appreciate that the answers are hard to find. There is much to contend with, differing opinions and attitudes and cultural diversity. We rely on the experience and training of our teachers to enhance the learning environments of our children. Teachers are being held accountable for what they do and how they do it. And I agree with this – they should be. Let’s not forget about the role of the parents. Sometimes it appears easy enough to place blame elsewhere. We as parents must also be accountable for our children and how they interact and behave. Parents also need to take ownership and most importantly be present in our children’s lives. I really encourage parent involvement in the classroom. I appreciate with the responsibilities of working parents it can be very difficult to get involved. It’s just that the responsibilities should be shared amongst the community. I read about the community of learners in the classrooms, what if this transpired into the real world of a community of carers. And in saying this it’s not relinquishing teachers or schools from their responsibilities just adding to the mix. I just think parent involvement can be very beneficial and we should strive to maintain healthy partnership between teachers, parents and the community.

    This website offers advice in this respect also.

    http://www.acsso.org.au/2010/03/the-most-productive-partnership-for-every-child-and-family/

  100. biancacandice says:

    Sadly, positive learning environments are generally taken over by crowded, rushed, cluttered and “to the book” classrooms. The pressure on today’s teachers to reach the academic demands of society gives little time for them to meet the personal needs of students and ensure they are all learning to reach their highest ability.

    An environment which nurtures students learning and provides experiences that reflect individual growth can be achieved with good time management, understanding of the curriculum, and a genuine desire to help all students. Equality, respect, routine, understanding, desire, discipline, expectations and communications all promote a positive learning environment. Unfortunately the pressures on teachers do not allow them to meet all these needs, resulting in poor communication, disruptions, conflict, and a negative learning environment.

    I can recall numerous circumstances in my school years where students were instantly removed from classrooms for disrupting other students. In most circumstances this was the result of a chain reaction and a number of students were involved. These instances were never seen to once the class had finished, and neither the student nor teacher communicated afterward. The lack of relationships, communication, and respect resulted in these situations. These students were often repeat offenders. Although this is minor compared to issues in the US, it is a clear example of a small culture of students who lacked the discipline and skills they needed to see through successful conflict resolution and relationships with teachers.
    Following is a link that discusses psychological safety and how this impacts on students and their learning.

    http://edtheory.blogspot.com/2010/10/psychological-safety-key-component-to.html

    • apryllynch says:

      Very interesting article on psychological safety in the classroom thanks for the link.

    • The Mushroom Connection says:

      Hi biancacandice,
      I agree with you, there is a lot of pressure on teachers today to meet the “academic demands of society”. I presume you are thinking about NAPLAN testing and the like. Though in general, there is more pressure on teachers today to be adaptable, innovative and progressive in their attitudes. These skills enable the teacher to cater to individual student needs.

      I too recall many instances of ineffective disciplinary measures. The point you make about the “lack of relationships, communication, and respect” as a cause of these situations is certainly valid, and I would add that it was also the reason for the recurrence of the behaviours.
      :-)

    • Sarah Kassan says:

      Sometimes it is a better option for disruptive students to be removed from the classroom. This is because they cannot be controlled and may need special attention. However, this is not the case for most disrupting students.
      If I was a teacher, I will try my best to constantly reinforce classroom rules and discipline to remind them of the consequences. If I am finding it difficult to control a disruptive student, I have to make effort out of classroom time to empathies with him/her and gather background information as to why this student is acting in a certain way. Maybe he/she has family issues or is being bullied which greatly affects his actions. If the student recognises that I care, he/she may feel a sense of belonging and nurture which may alter his actions or attitude (Eggen & Kauchak, pg. 407, 2010).

      Another option is to send him/her to discuss his emotions or issues with a counsellor.

      Reference:
      Eggen, P. & Kauchak, D (2010) Educational Psychology: Windows on classrooms (8th ed). Pearson International edition, New Jersey: Pearson Education.

  101. hi,
    I agree with you laurie.
    The american school system is not good, compared to our country we are lucky that we had schooling here and that our children are lucky enough to attented our safe environments.

    Reading the pdf report and our chapter for the week, I can see how american schools are in some trouble and could benifit from following the instruction in chapter 13.

    To have an effective learning environment the content picked to teach needs to be not only relevent, but interesting to the students. As long as your following the curriculum you may choose the delivery method that you feel best suits your students likes and dislikes. Have examples that are thought through carefully, examples that are easy to follow and is relivent to both subject being taught and curriculum being followed.

    Teacher knowledge of the content is also very important. The more a teacher knows of the subject being taught, the better the teacher can present and effectively teach the subject.

  102. biancacandice says:

    I forgot to mention the Values in Schools project by the Department of Education. VASP – Values in Action Schools Project – is a national project in which clusters of schools are funded to design, implement and evaluate the outcomes of high quality values education projects. The Values in Action Schools Project reflects the Australian Government’s commitment to high quality schooling and to the role that effective, planned and systematic values education can have in improving social and academic outcomes for Australian students. he link below is the final 2010 report into these projects (State Government of Victoria, 2005).
    “Education equips young people with the knowledge, understanding, skills and values to take advantage of opportunity and to face the challenges of this [global] era with confidence. As well as knowledge and skills, a school’s legacy to young people should include national values of democracy, equity and justice, and participation in Australia’s civic life.…[students need to develop] personal values and attributes such as honesty, resilience, respect and empathy for others [which help them] establish and maintain healthy and satisfying lives” (MCEETYA, 2008, as cited in State Government of Victoria, 2005.).

    http://www.curriculum.edu.au/verve/_resources/VASP_FINAL_REPORT_2010.pdf

    State Government of Victoria. (2005). Department of Education, Employment, and Workplace Relations – Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians. Retrieved from http://www.curriculum.edu.au/verve/_resources/VASP_FINAL_REPORT_2010.pdf

    • biancacandice says:

      thought this was interesting too as it links home and school influences on violence in students.

      http://www.lawlink.nsw.gov.au/lawlink/bocsar/ll_bocsar.nsf/pages/bocsar_mr_r56

      • kylewinzer says:

        That is a really interesting report. Thanks for that. The bivariate analysis (Table 11) really shows how using positive classroom management techniques can make a difference to student behaviour.

      • debd says:

        Thanks so much for providing the above link.
        I found the US teachers report accentuated the importance of classroom management and promoting positive school culture, whilst fiercely opposing the popular punishment and discipline techniques currently used within its New York schools.
        Whilst I totally agree with the concept of behaviour management and the promotion of positive school cultures, I believe that this approach is only beneficial if it complements the students’ home/life culture. A ‘cultural mismatch’ (Eggen and Kauchak, 2010, p.97) will occur if two differing cultures conflict with each other.
        For example, Children who are from a culture that places little or no significance on learning, respect or consequence for own actions are unlikely to adhere or understand a school culture that promotes respect and behavioural boundaries.

        Eggan P. & Kauchak D. (2010). Educational psychology: Windows on classrooms (8th. Ed.). French’s Forest: Pearson.

      • tam1511 says:

        debd, I agree with your opinion. It is very difficult to instil values if at home they are different. While children spend alot of time in the school environment, their parents are much more influential in their lives.

      • cassieuretir says:

        so maybe a constructive idea would be to involve parents more in school ethics and discipline, and maybe schools need to communicate expectations with parents more clearly? Just a thought, as you are right – no amount of teacher discipline will entirely alter negative behaviours if the parents/family do not respect the same values.

      • Elizabeth M says:

        You make a really good point. I guess what we have to do as teachers is make the students aware that the bahaviour they are getting away with at home is not acceptable when you walk into the school ground. Children learn very quickly what they can and can’t get away with.

      • Sarah Harris says:

        I agree – big issues there – and one of the hardest to combat is respect – we know children see, children do. So many adults don’t show respect these days its no wonder some children have little or no respect for people in authority, includign teachers.

      • Courtney says:

        You said it Sarah – this topic is so broad, I guess we all have no idea what we’re in for until we can put some of this theory to practice, its one thing to write about techniques that should be used, another thing entirely to practice the techniques in a classroom of hyperactive, disrespectful kids.
        Scary!

      • shelleyparsons says:

        I agree with your comments Debd. Its scary to think that New York Schools would at come point have been like the schools here in Australia and probably doing a good job. Its unfortunate to think that discipline seems to be taught less and less in the home which adds to the teacher stress and anxiety they feel. I have noticed a huge difference between the behaviour of students now compared with when I went to school. The cane was stopped in th4e first year I went to school but we were threatened with it at home. not to say that this is good or bad but to point out that parents aren’t doing enough of the disciplining at home and are leaving it to others to teach or enforce. It sno wonder so many students and educators are disenfranchised. I cant help but ask myself if teachers get paid enough??

      • slb8 says:

        Perhaps the example of the New York School system should be a warning, that Australian school should learn from.

        I totally agree with you on the discipline at home.. i was recently out and about with my children when I noticed this child misbehaving, only to hear the mother threaten the child with the exact behaviour that she is telling him off with. I wonder if parent these days know any better though. I came from a childhood were it was ok to smack children and children should be seen rather than heard, I however have done my research on how to become a better parent but how many other parents haven’t or don’t even see what impact their own behaviour has on the child, let alone how that behaviour is displayed in the classroom with other children.

        I believe society is changing and yes I dont think teachers should have to worry about violence and gangs in the classroom but change has to start somewhere and with positive attitudes and right role models I believe it is possible. If we teach these children positive relationships now and be a part of a ‘school culture’ than perhaps society will be a better place one day were teachers wont have to worry and everyone works together to build a strong harmonious community.

        I am not so sure whether the question is ‘do teacher get paid enough’, but rather ‘are they getting the support and resources they need to support the children’, many would say no. Money in our pockets isn’t going to solve the problem.

        You hold some valid points shelley :)

      • kylewinzer says:

        Good point debd. Do you think teachers are then obligated to educate the family, through the child perhaps?

      • jenniferlivingston says:

        It is a good point. Personally I don’t think teachers are obligated to educate families but perhaps the point is that they do have the opportunity to be positive role models for both the child and family. That creates a responsibility that should not be taken lightly.

  103. clox73 says:

    I’m going cross-eyed this week…
    I am going to respond from the perspective of a parent of primary aged children.
    The elements of the report are certainly applicable to Australian schools. Although it appears there are much less and not as severe incidents within Australian schools, the fundamentals of the report would be useful here.
    Focusing on creating positive learning environments, school culture can be a big influence. Schools that do things together as a whole (our school has assemblies, buddy programs, ‘tribes’, walkathons, multi-year level productions, etc) creates an atmosphere of acceptance and responsibility. As the report suggested on p.12, the admin staff and principal should be visible and interact with the students and teachers, creating an open, trusting environment.
    Class size seems to always be an issue. I grew up in large class sizes of 30 or so. My children have had as little as 18 in a class. Smaller sizes seem to create a less chaotic environment, more caring, which should lead to less discipline problems and higher learning outcomes. Having zoned schools where I live could be a problem in regards to class sizes. Schools must accept applications for enrolment if they live within the zone, regardless of whether they believe their school is full or not.
    I used to believe in harsh punishment for students but my thinking has changed since studying EDP155. Addressing the underlying problem and encouraging and praising good behaviour is far more effective than severe punishment which doesn’t solve the problem. The student may become resentful and display even worse behaviour!
    Teachers need to make sure they choose their model of instruction carefully to ensure it is right for the age group to keep them engaged. I like the idea of keeping the room background to a neutral tone and use the children’s work to brighten up the room. Too much ‘busyness’ on the walls can detract from the important things and could even be distracting. Perhaps some children with exceptionalities would have difficulties in a room with too much ‘stuff’ around. That video certainly gave me some things to think about.

  104. jennym92 says:

    I use to ride my bike to and from school and i would not feel too safe. When i moved to a country school, there was a great difference. Less people, different setting and different environment. The main difference between the small town and city high schools seems to be the amount of respect that people have for each other. In the country, everyone knows each other and respects everyone. Most people do not even worry about locking their car doors. In city schools, students have less respect; you have to keep an eye on all your things, buy locks and chain for your bikes.

    Why do you think that sound classroom management is important?
    Effective classroom management is the difference between a happy teacher with high achieving students, and a stressed out teacher with students not achieving their potential.
    To be able to have a positive environment there must be respect by both the teacher and student and also parents and staff.
    Gordons counseling method has limitations and would not be effective with all students, but can be effective to most. I would use the no lose approach with students because i believe it would encourage more students. Discussing the issue and allowing the student to be part of the solution makes the student feel included and more willing to respond in a positive manner.

    As a result of your reading, viewing and discussion so far, what elements do you believe a teacher should consider when planning for a positive, happy and effective classroom?
    Be positive: If you are negative, then the students that you teach will also be negative and negative students are not well-behaved students. If you remain positive in the classroom, no matter how tired and stressed you feel, then you will have a better chance of promoting positive behaviour in the pupils that you teach. Set clear limits, but remain positive while doing so, and your students will reward you with improved students’ behaviour.

    Highlight good behaviour: Highlighting good behaviour and explaining why it is good. This can be as simple as praising a group doing excellent quiet work, or a student who demonstrates constructive behaviour with his peers. Highlight good behaviour and the behaviour of the students you teach will increase.

    Model good behaviour: In the classroom, you are a role model and you are an influential
    one too. So if you want to promote positive behaviour in the classroom, then you had better
    demonstrate as well. If students see you as moody, temperamental aggressive or worse, then you are not demonstrating the correct ways to behave in a classroom environment. Show the students how to behave well through your own actions and your classroom will become a more peaceful place.

    Eggen & Kauchak 2010:
    • A productive learning environment as “a classroom that is orderly and focused on learning. In it students feel physically and emotionally safe, and the daily routines, learning activities, and standards for appropriate behavior are all designed to promote learning”.
    • Students who feel their teachers do not care become disengaged and disengagement can lead to behavioral problems.
    • Positive teacher attitudes are fundamental to effective teaching.

    References:
    Eggen P. & Kauchak D. (2010). Educational psychology: Windows on classrooms (8th. Ed.). International Edition. New Jersey: Pearson

  105. We are lucky here in Australia not to have to metal detectors and police waiting for someone to slip up. There may be the rare school police officer, this may vary to the area’s reputation as it seems to do so as explained in the ‘Teachers Talk, School Culture, Safety and Human rights’ doc we had to read.
    The lecture and the document are on different wave lengths, as the Lecture is showing and teaching ways to prevent the behaviour problems, where the document is focusing on the bad behaviour which has already developed and created a fashion.
    In Queensland the focus on schools is the sport achievement and some academic achievement with one of the closest schools offering the Bachelorette system where is undertaken wile studying in Secondary school the system provides access to any university in the world providing your grades on passing. No similar report could be undertaken on any of the Sunshine Coast schools let alone the Queensland schools, the worst it could get on reporting schools in newspapers is about Smoking and how far some students may have to travel to get to school in the western areas and how remote they are from Brisbane causing difficulty in providing background excursions on Australia and its origination.
    In my experiences of Police and metal detectors at my schools the closest interaction I had was in the later stages of secondary school when I swapped schools and there was a police officer. This was for extra safety and legal measures, this because the school was along a main road and majority of the students would walk across this road at the start and end of the day.
    Classroom management is extremely important in keeping an organised class. For example if one student were to get up out of their seat to go and get something from their bag without permission due to lack of discipline, this will create a wave effect of each and every other student thinking they can do the same causing a disruption in the class. Teachers must ‘Brainstorm rules and consequences of bad actions with the students’, ‘Must not moralise’, ‘Do not blame the student for the bad behaviour, try to figure out what the problem is and why this problem is arising. Sound classroom management is also important to keep the class in order to ensure a positive learning environment and to ensure the students attention is on the stimulus.

  106. mandykersley says:

    Check this you tube clip out, its so funny. This is an example of a negative learning environment.

  107. lsharryngray says:

    According to Woolfolk “the aim of classroom management is to maintain a positive, productive learning environment” (2007, p. 445). Since our children spend so much of their lives at school, as we did, being in a positive learning environment is essential for learning and motivation. It would be a terrible predicament for a parent to have a child who did not want to go to school.

    There are many elements a teacher should consider when planning for a positive, happy and effective classroom.

    These include:
    • classroom management:
    - maximised learning time
    - keeping students actively engaged
    - clear participation structures
    - students encouraged to be responsible for themselves (Woolfolk, 2007, p.473))
    • rules and procedures:
    - clear, specific and modelled by teacher
    - clear consequences in place for breaking rules (Woolfolk, 2007 pp 450 and 451) (As a side note, one of my children’s teachers has as his first rule “Mr E.. is always right)
    • organisation of lessons:
    - activities planned
    - materials ready
    - activities designed to flow (Woolfolk, 2007, p. 444)
    • classroom layout:
    - students can see displays
    - teacher can see all students (Eggen & Kauchak, 2010, p 361)
    • personalising the classroom:
    - comfortable
    - delightful
    - student-centred (Eggen & Kauchak, p. 363)
    Students will feel:
    • accepted;
    • safe – physically, emotionally and intellectually;
    • cared about and listened to (Marsh, 2005, p. 63).

    It is important to gain the co-operation of all students in an attempt achieve order and harmony (Woofolk, 2007 p. 444). Also, it is better to prevent problems by keeping students engaged in productive learning activities (Woolfolk, 2007, p. 458).

    Teachers need to take into account individual differences, maintain students motivation and reinforce positive behaviour (Woolfolk, 2007, p. 473). Kounin outlined that successful problem preventers are skilled in the areas of “withitness” (“eyes in the back of your head”), overlapping, group focusing and movement management.
    It is also important to involve families and inform of expectations, rules and making them partners in the learning process (Woolfolk, 2007, 472)

  108. cazzaroons says:

    Yes I agree we are the lucky country. Australia is a young and multi-cultural society, some say here in Australia we lack a strong culture. I don’t agree with this, in that I think most Aussies have strong attitudes and beliefs. In Australia we pride ourselves on being loyal and honest. We have a reputation for friendliness and promote free speech and equality. We like to think that everyone should be given the same opportunities to simple rights like education and health.

    In respect to our school culture we focus on our students and centering classrooms on social interaction. No doubt with so much cultural diversity in Australian schools there are obstacles. School violence and bullying is becoming a world-wide culture. It is a global problem. Although certainly we are not experiencing the extremities as seen in the US and detailed in this PDF. And I hope we never do!

    I am not sure these reports are yet justified here. Although on the other hand reports and case studies of this nature are critical in establishing best practices. It is important to identify and address problems. These issues should not be ignored. We need to support our future generation, teach our youth to not only respect others but to respect themselves. We need to present them with a world of opportunities and assist and inspire them to fulfill their dreams.

    Thankfully teachers have plenty of support out there. In an effort to create safe school communities based on respect a number of government departments and organisations have been set up to assist students, teaching staff and parents. Bullying No Way! is one such organisation (link below) and Kids Matter also has much to offer.

    http://www.bullyingnoway.com.au/who/default.shtml
    http://www.kidsmatter.edu.au/primary/

    Another organisation raising awareness and offering advice to our younger generation of learners is Peer Support Australia. They are offering wonderful support through peer based programs.
    http://peersupport.edu.au/about.html

  109. salhughes says:

    I found this you tube post interesting http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lisjQEhoZYc&NR=1
    It explains the ‘rules’ of a positive classroom and I agree with these guidelines. A classroom should be a happy and cheerful place. It should be well organised. The use of colour and texture should be considered. In the end a classroom is a positive one if children feel safe and happy.

  110. kycol says:

    I totally agree with this Regi Model talked about in the first YouTube video in these responses. I have always found my own children work better in environments that are uncluttered and have less visual distractions. With so many children being diagnosed with ADHD and Autism and Aspergers, it makes sense to create less distractive environments. I will be investigating this Regi model they talk of I think.

  111. allison22 says:

    Week 9.
    Positive learning environment.
    To develop a positive learning environment there are a lot of elements to consider. A teacher’s characteristics such as personal teaching efficacy, modelling and enthusiasm, caring and high expectations increase learner motivation. They also lead to increased student achievement, which makes sense, because motivation and learning are so strongly linked (Brophy, 2004; Bruning, Schraw, Norby,& Ronning, 2004).
    Some aspects to consider are,
    • Recognizing that all children and youth deserve a safe, respectful, caring and positive learning environment,
    • Recognizing that schools are a nearly universal setting where children and youth meet daily,
    • Recognizing that schools are part of their communities and that community members participate and contribute to the environments within schools,
    • Recognizing that schools are expressing immediate concerns about issues such as teasing, bullying, racism, harassment and other forms of violence. (Positive Learning Environments in Schools, A Pan-Canadian Consensus Statement).
    To maintain a productive yet positive learning environment a teacher must plan for instruction, must plan and organise learning activities. Planning for assessment and considering the instructional alignment and must plan in a standards-based environment. Some of the areas that make for a more settled classroom are positive attitudes, to be well organised and effective communication, questioning, focus and positive feedback and praise. A classroom needs to be friendly or warm, classrooms that are cold, unfriendly, threatening or disruptive are generally not productive or successful.
    There is a major need for a teacher to learn the importance of names. The effort of learning students’ names lets them know that they are visible and that you recognise who they are.
    Charles(2004) stresses the need for good classroom climate but to have this there are a number of human relation skills needed.
    • General human relations skills
    -Friendliness
    -Positive attitude
    -ability to listen
    -ability to compliment
    • Human relations skills with students
    -regular attention
    -reinforcement
    -willingness to help
    -being a good role model e.g courtesy and manners
    • Human relations with parents
    -communicate regularly
    -communicate clearly
    -explain expectations
    -emphasis the positives, don’t dwell on the negatives.
    Charles(2004) is clearly emphasising a classroom climate characterised by positive communications, warmth and support and one that would be likely to enable productive, enjoyable activities to occur. Marsh (2008. p 181).
    Another area that needs to be coincided when developing a positive learning environment is the classroom itself. Arranging the classroom is an area that needs to be stimulating without over stimulating and therefore affecting students’ concentration. An unstimulating classroom will contribute to stimulus deprivation, which can contribute to lack of student motivation, unwillingness to learn and problematic behaviour (Weinstein & Mignano, 1993).
    To achieve and maintain a positive learning environment is important for both teacher and student. If it is kept at a high standard, motivation, self esteem and accomplishments for both will be successful and achieved. A happy and motivated teacher will benefit all students and they too will succeed.
    References
    Eggen, P. Kauchak, D. (2010). Educational Psychology; Windows on classrooms; Eighth edition. New Jersey, USA. Pearson international edition.
    Marsh, C. (2008). Becoming a teacher; Knowledge, skills and issues; 4th edition. NSW, Australia. Pearson education Australia.
    McMillan, JH. (2011). Classroom Assessment; Principles and practice for effective standards-based instruction; fifth edition. Boston, USA. Pearson.
    Hurst, C. (2009). Professional practice in primary education. Australia. Cengage learning.

  112. sarahohanlon says:

    A positive classroom environment can be achieved by making the students feel comfortable, supported, cared for, and also accepted. The teacher should be consistent in their approach to teaching and interact consistently and equitably using humour appropriately, showing enthusiasm for subjects being taught and also being accepting of students class contributions (Whitton, et al. 2010).
    The physical organisation of the classroom can have a major impact on how students behave. Issues to consider include- the spaces between desks, location of equipment, colours of the room, noise levels when on task, and the temperature. The physical organisation can also influence social factors such as friendship groups. All of these factors need to be considered when a classroom is organised (Marsh, 2008).
    Teachers need to be approachable and students must feel that they can confide in their teacher if necessary. They must display active listening skills, uphold high expectations, deal consistently with students and use appropriate discipline (Whitton, et al. 2010). By establishing routines within the classroom tasks can be completed efficiently and it will reduce the chance of major disciplinary problems from occurring. Routines should be planned in advance and explained clearly to students (Marsh, 2008).
    Teachers must also understand the importance of motivating students, as this affects their behaviour in the classroom (Marsh, 2008). Each student has a different motivational need and different forms of motivation should be used depending on the classroom environment (Marsh).

    References

    Marsh, C. (2008). Classroom management. Becoming a teacher: knowledge, skills and issues, 13, 117-192. Retrieved from http://edocs.library.curtin.edu.au/eres_display.cgi?url=dc60261251.pdf&copyright=1

    Whitton, D., Sinclair, C., Barker, K., Nanlohy, P., & Nosworthy, M.
    (2010). Learning for teaching: teaching for learning (2nd.ed.). South Melbourne, Vic: Cengage Learning Australia.

  113. aneenlamble says:

    Last year I helped at my children’s school during the science fair. I manned a station with some science activities. My duty was to explain the experiment and what the kids where going to do. I was told that the individual teachers would walk the kids through the experiment.

    I did as I was told, and explained the experiment and handed out the materials they would need, expecting the teachers to help the students and encourage them, help them when they got stuck etc. To my absolute horror, almost all the teachers either chatted with me during the ten minutes at my station, or chatted to a fellow teacher, treating this as ‘time off’.

    This total lack of interest in my opinion does not add up to a positive learning environment.

  114. katequintana says:

    i was shocked when I read the PDF file. I have seen metal detectors and the use of security in movies, but to think about it as something that is common place at these schools as an eye opener. (maybe i am being an ostrich and putting my head in the sand). growing up in south africa, especially in my high school years we had mixed classes of black, coloured and white. discrimination unfortunately was evident. even as students we would discriminate and just automatically place these students in the lower classes. Not giving them the same opportunitites as otheres did. Not giving them the sense of belonging that they duely deserve. Everyone needs to feel like they belong, some more so than others.
    I enjoyed watching the ilecture. Having a senses of belonging is one of maslows hierarchy needs. we all need to feel as if we belong and find our place in the world. By having a feeling of not belonging stays with you forever and can impact your whole life. Students needs to be involved in their classroom, making decisions about classroom rules and they need that sense of involvement and participation.

    • jmck52 says:

      I went to school in a Perth’s suburb. And yes we had bag searches and fulltime Police on campus. It was scary to be around and very negative but necessary. Knives, needles, drugs, stolen things were only half of the problem.

      • mandykersley says:

        Wow, I didnt even realise Australian Schools had to go to such extreme measures, I only thought it was American schools etc. I have always lived in small country towns so I have never experienced bag searching etc and we are flat out having enough local police let alone fulltime police at school !! Very interesting, thanks.

  115. jmck52 says:

    Just reading a lot of your blogs and talking about how great some schools are. I am currently working at a school and last year our school environment was lacking in a lot of areas. It was strange to sit back and analyse why this was. During the last couple of weeks of school the teachers had several discussions about the reasons and it all lead back to the Principal. Unfortunately all the teachers apart from 1 has left – mass evacuation. and then the Principal decided to leave. The teachers comments were: Our hands are tied to much, we cant set up the classroom the way we want, behaviour problems needed to stay in the class, fun activities that lighten the mood were not allowed, etc etc.
    It seemed the principal controlled the environment.
    Does this happen at all schools???? Does anyone else have any experiences like this or the opposite?
    Yes I cant wait to work in a fresh environment!

    • natashamorris says:

      My children used to be in a very small school where there were a lot of problems. Not only in the environment but in the learning that took place as well. It seemed that the focus was on reading and writing and for anything else it was just luck if children learnt. I had one friend who’s child moved on to middle school (year 7) and at this point hadn’t even learnt the times tables. The following year the school had a new principle and it was amazing to see the difference. I had nearly moved my kids to another school, but when this man came along it was like there was a new energy in the school. Children actually enjoyed coming to school, and the learning improved out of sight!

      So, I definately agree. The person in the top job can certainly make a very big difference. We can see in any job that staff that are treated with respect and allowed to think for themselves work far better. I think this is not just the principle though. The entire school needs to have policies that work, so all of the authorities, and even the P&C must be taken into account along with the teachers to ensure a positive learning environment.

      • melissalohr says:

        My children went to a very small country school similar to this, they weren’t very concerned about bothering to teach them reading or writing either. I tried very hard to improve the situation, I went and tried to help out in the classroom 1/2 a day a week, I joined the school council, etc. After a few years of me teaching my children up to 3 hours every evening ( because they weren’t really learning at school ) I decided to pull them out of school completely and homeschool them.

    • mandykersley says:

      No I don’t think this is the case in all schools. I did some work placement as part of my hsc in a local primary school and the teachers looked as though they had complete control. I talked to one of the kindy teachers and she loved her job and the main reason was because she had so much flexibility in what and how she taught her class. I guess if the principal can trust the staff, they should have no worries about having to intervene unless necessary. Although this is just one school and i’m sure there are a few principals out there who may be on a bit of a power trip.
      You are so lucky to be working in a school enviroment as it gives you first hand experiences and insight that may be helpful to most of us studiers who are not yet working in that industry. Good luck and I hope your new environment is a positive one. :)

  116. jdeh says:

    A positive learning environment involves a student to be able to feel safe and be encouraged to do their best. Students should feel safe and welcome when during school hours and things such as bullying and rascism.
    For a student to reach their optimum learning capability they must be enjoying the things they learn. This can be done with things as simple as decoration, colour and student to student interaction.

  117. savannahduncan says:

    An area of this weeks topic that I found very interesting is what constitutes a “school culture?” As this is one of the aspects of creating a positive learning environment, I researched this area and came up with a few sites that had some information on this. It is quite informative, hope you enjoy the read!

    http://www.slideshare.net/matt.scully/understanding-school-culture

    http://www.e-lead.org/resources/resources.asp?ResourceID=25

    http://www.docstoc.com/docs/1066306/Creating-a-Positive-School-Culture

    http://www.nais.org/publications/ismagazinearticle.cfm?ItemNumber=150099

    I definately could have researched 24 hours a day on this topic! It was great to everyone’s posts. I especially like hearing stories from parents and their experience that they have had with their own children. I don’t have any myself so it is great to hear their perspective!

  118. kathrynviner says:

    Chapter 13 in our text book and Roz’ s lecture seem out of kilter with the US teacher’s report. Surely there are not SSA personal roaming every American school and in primary schools at that. While the US teacher’s report article was an interesting one it seems that in America (since it is an American document we are discussing) once again the education policy makers are not listening to their teachers who are at the forefront of education. While some elements of the report may apply to Australian schools, this isn’t applicable to our schools in country NSW areas. There is certainly bullying, and there are posted comments from this blog site of acts of violence within schools they or their children have attended. There are news reports of gang behaviour in our major cities but on the whole this doesn’t seem comparable to the measures taken by American policy holders as a reaction to the extreme behaviour problems of American students. Surely there is enough research available relating to the policy and practice within australian primary schools that can be studied.

    • celes79 says:

      I agree I think that maybe the handful of schools in the cities that are experienceing problems maybe ought to look at thier culture and address the problems through this channel. The longer they leave it, the worse it will become, until we have a ‘bronx’ situation on our hands.

  119. niclufty says:

    I am not sure about the Victorian schools – whether or not a report like the US one could be written as all schools have issues. The key is how these issues are dealt with. The key thing to remember here is that it is important to practice preventative strategies so that major issues don’t occur. If you can prevent the small ones from starting then they shouldn’t progress into larger issues – hopefully.
    I have had a look at the DEECD website and found the student engagement guidelines.
    http://www.eduweb.vic.gov.au/edulibrary/public/schadmin/environment/4-7.pdf
    These guidelines specify that
    “A Student Engagement Policy will be most effective when it focuses on:
    • creating a positive school culture that is fair and respectful
    • building a safe and supportive school environment
    • expecting positive, supportive and respectful relationships that value diversity
    • promoting pro-social values and behaviours
    • encouraging student participation and student voice
    • proactively engaging with parents/carers
    • implementing preventative and early intervention approaches
    • responding to individual students
    • linking to the local community” (DEECD, 2009).
    This to me embodies what school culture should be about – tolerance, respect and fairness, values and beliefs, where everyone is equal to each other and school is a place where students feel safe and want to be – learning.
    The mind matters website http://www.mindmatters.edu.au/resources_and_downloads/staff_matters/the_organisational/useful_information/the_organisational_school_cultures_and_learning.html
    This site specifies what should be included in school cultures for today’s schools.
    “According to Peterson, school cultures need to possess:
    • a sense of the value of learning
    • work that enhances curriculum and instruction
    • a focus on students
    • a shared sense of purpose and values
    • norms of continuous learning and improvement
    • a commitment to, and sense of responsibility for, the learning of all students
    • collaborative, collegial relationships
    • opportunities for staff reflection, collective inquiry, and the sharing of personal practice
    • common professional language
    • communal success stories
    • extensive opportunities for quality professional development
    • ceremonies that celebrate improvement, collaboration and learning.” (“School Cultures and Learning | MindMatters,” 2010).

    When I was in Primary School many moons ago I distinctly remember one student in particular who was very disruptive. We all thought he was so funny, as he kept picking on the teacher. This teacher was not a nice teacher, no sense of community caring and trust, who did not interact well with the class. The student one day acted out far too much and really pushed the teachers buttons so much that the teachers ran up to the student with a red angry face yelling at him, reefed him out of the chair by the throat, holding him on the wall with his feet waving about. Clearly this teacher was at his wits end and just snapped. The student went into shock and wet his pants. The whole class sat stunned in disbelief at what they had just witnessed. Finally the Principal came in, ushered the teacher and student out of the room, walked back in and spoke clearly about the ideal behaviour to show in the classroom in a non-aggressive manner, reassuring students and answering appropriate questions.
    The incident that occurred in my primary school could have been avoided early on had the teacher taken a better approach at the building situation. The teacher needed to use Gordon’s counselling approach when clearly the student had problems early on. The teacher should have taken the student aside, been sensitive and try to understand what was happening at the time to make the student act out, been more approachable. The teacher needed to try and address the student in a non-threatening manner, and work out whether or not the teacher himself was adding to the students’ issues. Together they could have worked out a solution that would suit both of them instead of it building into a huge debacle.

    DEECD. (2009). 4.7 Student Engagement Guidelines. State of Victoria DEECD. Retrieved from http://www.eduweb.vic.gov.au/edulibrary/public/schadmin/environment/4-7.pdf
    School Cultures and Learning | MindMatters. (2010). . Retrieved January 30, 2011, from http://www.mindmatters.edu.au/resources_and_downloads/staff_matters/the_organisational/useful_information/the_organisational_school_cultures_and_learning.html

  120. niclufty says:

    Sound classroom management is important because it sets the tone for what should happen in the classroom. If there are good rules set by the students then they will try to sick to them giving a sense of ownership and respect as they set them, using modelling by the teacher of how to deal with problematic issues, and work on solutions, involve the parents so that they are kept informed on student progress and any issues, arrange the physical environment allowing for collaboration and cooperation of students, ease of access to materials so as not to cause disturbances detracting from staying on task, set the room for clear views of the board for students and the students for the teacher and ensure the teacher is prepared with materials, planning for on time activities. Smooth transitions and good routines to follow, using reinforcers and punishers as consequence behaviour options, antecedents, shaping and reinforcement schedules are all forms of operant conditioning that will help keep good control over the classroom so that optimal learning can be achieved by all students.
    To help bring this all together in the class, teachers need to ensure they are approachable at all times, treat everyone the same, show respect and preserve student dignity and above all demonstrate ‘withitness’.

  121. klfedder says:

    How fortunate are we to be living in Australia, having been educated in Australia and learning how to teach, just the antithesis of the report that I have read

    Creating Productive Learning Environments

    The are four main aspects for a teacher to consider when creating a positive learning environment, these being the physical, psychological, social and pedagogical areas. The teacher needs to consider the comfortable surroundings for example heating and cooling. It is beneficial to accommodate for adequate space for working and moving around the room.

    Visuals, the room colour, letter charts, phonics and number charts for student learning. The seating arrangements set out in the classroom need to be considered as this will have postive and negative affects on the learning environment. Experienced educators recommend at the beginning of the school year that a teacher must set aside time during the first day to discuss and establish class rules and routines. The successful teacher has an understanding of the individual student’s background and learning ability. The warm, sincere greeting as students enter the room with a general question asking about their weekend or holiday helps build positive student teacher relationships.

    A teacher who is well organised, has activities planned from the moment the bell goes, this includes considering the way in which students prepare to enter a room, linning up outside the classroom and going to their desks or the routine of sitting on the floor in front of the teacher, selecting appropriate tasks for their students, what they expect their students to learn from a particular lesson all help contribute to a productive learning environment.

    A proactive classroom keeps students on task and learning is able to continue. When the teacher is creating a productive learning environment, classroom management goes alongside this with a set of several low key responses to keep students on task and behave appropriately. Using the proximity approach, a gesture at the correct time across the room by a hand movement or nod of the head allows learning to continue. The pause technique can be very powerful, to stop misbehaviour before it escalates. Educators are aware that these techniques can be used effectively as they allow correction with little disruption, the students does not directly treat it as discipline, rather a way to co operate, it does not invite escalation, but if used too often and without variety this type of technique may lose its effectiveness.

    Professional Practice for Primary Education 2009

  122. belindamurphy27 says:

    In addition to my comments on this weeks materials I would like to comment further about my time as a Student Support Officer. I worked in three classroom daily and found two very different teaching approaches that affected the classroom culture. One teacher was very welcoming, always had a positive attitude althought there were some students with significantly disruptive behaviours. This teacher never raised her voice, always used positive comments to direct behaviour, encouraged and supported contributions. She would give disruptive children a choice with what they could do to redirect their behaviour and had the patience of a saint. In contrast another teacher in the same grade level had a very negative and sometimes cruel attitude. I didn’t even like been in her class! Some children would cry regularly and she had numerous complaints to the principal. Her comments were almost always negative and she never smiled. What a lesson for me how the contrast in attitudes makes or breaks a classroom culture. We are such powerful influences in a childs attitude towards school.

  123. staceytrew says:

    The US based report has really broadened my views, along with a lot of others by reading the blogs already submitted, by opening my eyes to the high number of violence offences within schools. I believe here is Australia, the number of violent attacks is however a lot less than those in the US, however the principles still remain the same. If the students are made to feel welcome and are respected to the way they should be, this can initially deter violence in schools. When I was at secondary school in UK, my school had about 500 pupils, however as their parents were in the army they were unfairly treated, consequently led to violence. Knives were brought into the schoolyard if one student had a problem with another student, alternatively fights would break out in the corridors only to be disciplined with detention or suspended. These students were never made to feel welcome or safe, therefore, unable to build positive relationships with students, let along teachers.

    Teachers should have the responsibility from day one establishing a positive environment for students to feel welcome and create a space where they want to learn and become part of the school community. Involving the students is a particularly useful strategy to let them know their opinions count so they can all work together. Students need to know they will be cared for and they will remain both physically and emotionally safe.

    This website suggests ways of creating a positive learning environment: http://www.cmy.net.au/Assets/447/1/Participant_Chapter_6.pdf

    Upon further research, within Australian articles, it has come to my attention that violence in primary schools are increasing. The following articles demonstrate the worry parents should have when sending their children to school, which should not be necessary. Children of primary school age are taking drugs and alcohol to school? Is this what schools are now portraying instead of a safe learning environment?

    http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/drugs-violence-top-school-woes/story-e6frf7jo-1225797966634

    http://www.theage.com.au/national/education/alarm-bells-over-school-violence-20090826-ezra.html

    http://www.theage.com.au/national/education/boys-at-sharp-end-of-violence-20100221-onco.html

    This last article relates to the US report but stating these incidents would not usually occur with Australia, however violence is on the rise within schools where focus should be improving positive learning environments and safety for those students.

  124. zooperdooper22 says:

    I believe the teachers attitude is a significant contributing factor toward a positive classroom. I remember a teacher that I had in Primary school, who was so energetic and enthusiastic about the topic she was teaching, that the students couldn’t help but listen and become interested. Another teacher I had however, used a monotone voice, and never seemed intersted in the subject area. There was a lot of behaviour problems in the class, and the student’s didn’t tend to achieve as much as they probably should have. It just shows how imporatant teacher role models are to student learning and achievement.

    • jenniferlivingston says:

      While I agree that a positive attitude is important, I believe it is as equally important to be organised, focussed and communicate clearly.

      My son is a bright, friendly child who always made friends easily. His 3rd class teacher was a lovely lady who genuinely loves kids and he was so excited to be in her class. Unfortunately, she lacked organisation, focus and communication skills. Before long the class was in disarray. Good kids were behaving badly in an attempt to be noticed and recognised. As Rozz said in her lecture, “students choose to misbehave because socially acceptable methods to gain attention have failed.”

      The effect that one year with that teacher had on my son was quite devastating for him socially and academically. I wish I had known half of what I know now, because I think I could have made a good case to get him moved.

    • jcsimpson75 says:

      Reading what you have said I can remember when my youngest daughter was in Prep. After the first term she cried all though the school holidays saying she didn’t like school and didn’t want to go back. It took some time to work out what the problem was. but I found out that the teacher always yelled in class. I found out it was not at my daughter but to the children that disrupted the class which made my daughter very anxious. I approached the teacher and she said that she never yelled at my daughter and that was it. I later found out another child in the same class of the same age had the same experience, and her mother came to the school to discuss it with thte teacher and had no response. I talked it over with the principal, and I think i made a small difference. But the following year when there was another teacher in her class, she flurished, she began to love school, and didn’t want to have breaks in semesters.

  125. rivka83 says:

    Children learn best when taught in a safe and positive environment. When children feel safe they will focus more on their learning. I feel it is really important to ensure a welcoming atmosphere right from the start of the year. There are several ways to create a welcoming atmosphere, one is they layout of the classrooms, neutral colours and leaving room to decorate room with the students work. Children should feel comfortable with their teacher, know the teacher is sensitive, supportive and listens. Educating the students that the classroom is a place of respect and will not tolerate violence and bullying.

    School culture is very important, it brings a unity between the teachers and students. They both understand what is appropriate in their school. Students are encouraged to participate in activities, whether it is a school assembly, a concert or a sports carnival. It guides the students and the teachers to develop and flourish their school.

    • Kim says:

      I totally agree. I work at an independent school and the ‘dna’ of the school definitely starts at the top, the principal has a school vision with part of it saying that the school is concerned with growing ‘ courageous and compassionate global citizens, the kids know it, the staff know it very well and you can tell just by working and walking through the school. It impacts ALL, the parents often comment and are so glad their children are in the school. Everyone feels safe, cared for and respected from kindy to Year 10, all staff including adminstration staff and executives.

  126. shereen84 says:

    “Classroom management must go beyond just managing classroom behavior – it is also about the management of learning. Classroom management as a whole is a complex task of designing an environment that facilitates better teaching and learning.” (Tak & Wai-Shing , 2008, p. 45)

    Children learn effectively where they feel safe, respected and nurtured. Furthermore, those children with learning difficulties and extraordinary personal and behavior challenges, can do well when they are physically comfortable, mentally motivated and emotionally supported, hence a positive learning environment.

    Establishing a positive learning environment will enhance student learning, help teachers build an organized classroom community and create a pleasant work environment for both teacher and students. It is essential for teachers to utilize the following factors to create an enjoyable and positive learning environment: physical factors, psychological factors, social factors and pedagogical factors (Whitton et al, 2004, pp. 180-184).

    Physical factors
    Teachers must consider desk arrangements (desks grouped in fours will encourage collaboration or desks formed in a U-shape to allow all students to be in front row of the teacher). Organisation of materials and resources will avoid delays and disruptions. Decorate the classroom with student art, photos, floor rugs, motivational posters, plants and calming colours. Create a comfortable temperature, noise level and lighting. Students who get fidgety and restless in bright light can often work better in dimmer light, arrange the classroom to create shade (Whitton et al, 2004, pp. 180-184).

    Psychological factors
    Teachers must act positive and enthusiastic. The brain is a very powerful muscle, encourage students to believe in themselves. Give students emotional support. If they get an answer wrong, don’t punish them or tolerate negative comments from classmates. Failure is part of the learning process. Acknowledge students efforts or they will hesitate to contribute in future discussions. Teachers must remember the names of all their students. They will appreciate the attention and be more responsive. Create a professional relationship with each student. Ask them about their personal interests. Reward student’s success and achievements. Use melodic levels in the speaking voice not dull mono-tones. Smile, be friendly and act out humour with the face and body language. Make lessons fun and less informal. Get the class active and excited about learning (Kelly, 2007, pp. 61-70).
    Social factors
    Teachers must create a friendly and nurturing environment so all students feel they belong. Some students commence school untutored in social relationships. Pairing students with similar interest in seating, alternating playground pairs and putting students in small groups for activities will encourage friendships. Monitor the behaviour of students towards each other. Rules should be applied so that tolerance, respect and humanity are encouraged between students. Parents should help their child develop social skills. If their child has a friend at school they should be encouraged to develop the relationship outside of school hours (Whitton et al, 2004, pp. 180-184).

    Pedagogical factors
    Teachers must have a strong knowledge of the curriculum in order to structure and plan each lesson effectively. Strong knowledge of students by understanding their intellectual development (stages in cognitive development and physical growth). Hence, the teacher can apply flexible practical skills, styles and strategies to teach students of different capabilities. Teachers must present clear instruction and use of various methods to explain content.
    Committed teachers go out of their way to keep up to date with improved teaching strategies, methods, skills, techniques and resources. They don’t just adjust to what they know, they have a want to learn attitude to always better themselves in their profession (Killen, 2005, p. 35).
    Students should never feel anxious to approach their teacher for help. Teachers should use their professional judgement to determine the best way to deliver the content. Evaluate students to determine knowledge gained of the curriculum (Whitton et al, 2004, pp. 180-184).

    “A good classroom manager carefully plans everything that occurs in the classroom from the seating arrangements to instructions for children who finish planned activities early.” (American Federation of Teachers as cited in Tak & Wai-Shing 2008, p. 45)

  127. dalya says:

    After reading the ‘teachers talk’ PDF, it saddened me greatly to know there are children that have to endure such environments on a daily basis. The fact that there is such easy access to guns would frighten any parent in sending their children to school which is why home schooling is such a popular phenomenon in America. I hope Australian schools don’t take the same road as American schools, although, as some posts reveal, a fairly recent knife culture has emerged in Victorian schools which has raised much alarm.

    The knife culture, clearly described in this article
    http://www.theage.com.au/national/education/boys-at-sharp-end-of-violence-20100221-onco.html

    reveals scary statistics related to violence in schools today.

    I have to admit, I really wasn’t aware that school environments here in Australia were, to a certain degree, becoming unsafe. Tania DeBono’s post was an eye-opener, particularly, due to the fact her children attend school in the ‘better’ suburbs.

  128. francinefield says:

    This topic has an important place within my heart. After reading teachers talk and listening to the lecture, I would like to share a story with you all. This stuff does happen in Australia! People just don’t know about it.
    I heard this off a friend about her child’s school, which thankfully doesn’t attend there anymore!! I am not going to name the school but the horrible environment and class room management within this school is ridiculous! Some students lived in fear, while others thought they could get away with anything. Luckily there were some students who were lucky enough to get along with everyone and make it through high school with no broken limbs.
    She explained how when you walk into this high school you could point out the ‘gangs’. Each ‘gang’ had a box with a tag written on it, if anyone dared to sit in that box they would get hurt. This high school is very much “Americanised”. Racism is a major problem and constant bashings and stabbings were done because of this. Some students would walk around in fear not knowing what would happen if they let their guard down for more than a second.
    Her son was lining up at the canteen one lunch time chatting to a friend. Him and his friend made it to the counter and her son turned his head for a second to order a meal, and as he turned back to chat to his friend, he found his friend lying on the ground bleeding!! A screw driver had been plunged into his back, puncturing his lung!!! The student who did this crime only got suspended, and spoken to by the police. He was allowed back into the school!!!!
    She also mentioned that classroom management went out the window with the students…..LITERALLY. Students jumped out of classroom windows half way through lessons if they found the lesson boring! The teachers do nothing to stop them either!
    Let us as the next generation teachers do something to help these type of incidents stop happening in our schools. Talk to your students, get to know them as individuals, ask them how they are going and assess their attitude when they answer. Motivate your students!! Excite them!!! Engage them!! Think like them, remember you once were a student too!!!

    =)

    • staceytrew says:

      Hi,
      Your story was very truthful! It does happen here in Australia, just not to the extent of America, and because of that it is not known about. It is awful that in this day and age, strategies are not better put in place to stop violence from the start by promoting a safe environment and like you said, talking to the students to build relationships that the students themselves feel safe with. I agree that 21st century teaching should be different…encourage your students, get them involved, talk to them (personally and academically) and remember the things that you liked or enjoyed about school and promote it in your students learning!!
      Thanks for that francinefield! I really enjoyed your blog…

      • melissalohr says:

        I am wondering if “this stuff” doesn’t happen to the extent of America is because the population in Australia is so much less. I wonder what the % of “this stuff” is in the 2 countries?

      • criches says:

        I think that some of the schools in America should use the money they spend on SSA’s and metal detectors on implementation of policies such as the ‘I-Team’ that is used at Banana Kelly High School or the ‘ Prevention & Restoration’ approach used at James Baldwin School. These policies educate children instead of criminalising them.

      • staceytrew says:

        I agree, the population and the % would change statistics due to the population in the US being so much more. It is evident though that more and more violence is occuring within australian schools and as long as the schools can remain focused on teaching the students and maximize learning, violence should be kept to a minimum. This has made me think so much more into where I send my child, (now only 3) but whether the schools have policies in place to help students when violence is used rather that make them feel criminalized.

    • tbastian says:

      Oh my goodness>that is disgusting!!! i believe that students who commit such an act should not be allowed back to that school at all. They should be made to go to mandatory counselling and rehabilitation to get better and learn from their wrong doing.

  129. dalya says:

    Creating a Positive Learning Environment

    Students thrive in environments where they feel safe, nurtured and respected. Most students, even those who have learning difficulties, can do well when they are physically comfortable, mentally motivated and emotionally supported.

    According to Gunter et al. (as cited in Marsh, 2008, p.180) physical surroundings affect the behaviour of students, therefore, teachers should put careful consideration into the physical outlay of the room ensuring to strike a balance between a drab classroom and one that has too much going on. Also by monitoring the noise levels, temperature and planning the positioning of the equipment, teachers can achieve a harmonious environment.

    Another important factor is the psychological aspect in a classroom. Teachers should create a positive atmosphere by listening, complimenting, reinforcing and being friendly. Each individual child should feel respected, supported, appreciated and valued.

    To help build a cohesive classroom community, teachers should encourage group work, set class rules, provide consistency, model good behaviour and have strong communication with parents.

    Pedagogical factors are equally important; teachers must understand subject matter and know how to communicate the subject matter. Also, teachers should increase on-task activities. Marsh (2008) states that the more time a student can spend each day dealing with on-task activities, whether they are teacher directed or student initiated the greater the learning.
    These factors are all inter-related and are required to create a positive work environment for the teacher and students.

    Reference:

    Marsh, Colin. (2008). Classroom management, Becoming a teacher: knowledge, skills and issues Pearson Education Australia

    Wesley, D.C. (1998). Eleven ways to be a great teacher. Educational leadership 55(5), 80-81.

    Arthur-Kelly, M., Lyons, G., Butterfield, N. & Gordon, C. (2006). Classroom management: Creating positive learning environments. South Melbourne: Thompson.

    Whitton, D., Sinclair, C., Barkes, K., Nanlohy, P. & Nosworthy, M. (2004) Learning for Teaching: Teaching for Learning. South Melbourne: Thompson

  130. lrudd9 says:

    “Positive and safe school cultures are difficult, if not impossible, to cultivate without the leadership and guidance of the school’s principal.”

    The year before my god daughter was bullied at school. Her mother rang the principal to discuss what had happened as this child had been known to bully others. The principal said she would contact the parents of the child. However, no follow up was made to advise of the outcome prompting the mother of the bullied child to call again as she wanted to be made aware of what plan for discipline had been put in place. She wanted to know what the rules and consequences were and whether or not these were being implemented consistently and fairly. The fact that the parents of the bullied child, had to ring the school several times did not put them at ease and they felt like the school was not keeping records of incidents and were not making them available and therefore felt that the process lacked transparency.

    As a teacher wanting to prevent this kind of behaviour happening in or outside my classroom, I could certainly use the article based on New York Schools as an example of not what to do. Punitive punishment and/or putting in security devices as “prevention” do not address the problems that lead to disruptive behaviour.

    In my classroom I would endeavour to have a list of classroom rules established at the start of the school. The list would be created with the students as I would want my classroom to be inclusive as students who help to create the rules are more likely to follow them.

    I would hope to foster a democratic classroom as referred to in the lecture presented by Roz Albon on Creating and Managing Positive Learning Environments. As I hope my classroom would foster respect and appreciation for all, in the case of bullying I would look at both reality therapy as I would want the child bullying to look at the consequences of his/her actions but I would also look at the control theory as the child bullying is trying to send a message through his/her behaviour. I would open the lines of communication amongst the students, remaining non judgemental, and encourage them to come up with a solution that everyone agrees with (if not already established in the classroom rules list).

    • celes79 says:

      I agree with your comment totally. I too hope to foster a learning environment where students can be included in a democractic system to develop behaviours that make them responsible for their own behaviour and strive for a happy, comfortable classroom where students have all the things they need; Belonging, Power, Fun and Freedom!

    • jenblundell says:

      I agree. I have found that although schools now have a clear anti-bullying policy often it is the victim of the bullying that is made to feel they are causing an inconvenience by reporting it. There seems to be a definite lack of follow-through when it comes time to enforce these policies. They can talk the talk, but not walk the walk, so to speak.

  131. lrudd9 says:

    Hey everyone just wanted to say thanks for all the links – the one’s I have managed to look at are all very interesting. I have sent this link as it relates to getting to know your student which is also a valuable way to create a fostering classroom environment, it’s a quick read and I like the ideas suggested.
    http://www.ehow.com/how_7851383_create-positive-classroom.html#ixzz1CW4LKIGK

  132. celes79 says:

    There are certainly many suggestions about positive classroom management. Here is a link to an edutopia your tube video that I found interesting. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K5kETSAn0j8
    There is progress in America, but it is obviously not fast enough. They are supposed to be world leaders, but seem to be lagging on the school behavoiur management front. With respect to culture, my sister works in a high school that has long been known for having the ‘rough kids’ in attendance. She truly believes that her students are good kids and that the community wont change their perception regardless of how ther school tries to tidy their reputation. I think that once the stigma is there it is very hard to change, and perhaps this affects the school culture in a detrimental way. Not sure how you change that but it is intersting to see how schools are managing their cultures positively. Heres another link from youtube about focusing on classroom climate and culture which I found interesting too. I hope you like it. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zXy2V1JmJUs
    Celia

  133. lrudd9 says:

    Hey everyone just wanted to say thanks for all the links – the one’s I have managed to look at are all very interesting. I have sent this link as it relates to getting to know your student which is also a valuable way to foster a caring classroom environment, it’s a quick read and I like the ideas suggested.
    http://www.ehow.com/how_7851383_create-positive-classroom.html#ixzz1CW4LKIGK

  134. aamy05 says:

    I think that classroom management plays a huge role in a child’s learning. I am a teacher’s aide at a small country school and our learning environment is safe and caring. The teachers, principal and parents work together to create this environment. Last year, we had new students come from overseas. The rest of our students were welcoming and helpful when they came. These new students quickly settled into school.

    Most of our students have parents that want their children to be respectful and caring of others, and I think this goes a long way in helping us to promote this behaviour at school. If parents and teachers are on the same page, it helps students know how to act and what behaviour is acceptable.

    When we have had ‘problems’, everyone involved is spoken to privately. Students react positively to this and feel free to discuss their problems. Many times I have the seen the children resolve the problem and then just get on with their work. The problem is forgotten and everyone moves on.

    After reading about the schools in New York, I was shocked. I’m glad I don’t have to experience that type of classroom. I hope that people in authority and government realize that changes need to be made before it is too late.

  135. catherinepatterson says:

    Hi everyone, sorry that this is a late post. I have had a very sick little girl that needed my full attention. Everyone has been very busy with their posts and it has been great reading, I have learnt more from reading this blog than I could have from just reading the text and watching the lecture.

    I believe that school culture can basically be described as the way things are done around a school community, and is made up of the shared beliefs and priorities that drive the thinking and actions of those people within that community.

    Here is a video that I found on school culture.

    • itsmisslu says:

      Hi Catherine,

      I hope your little girl is feeling better :)

      Thanks for the video, I really enjoyed it. I think she hit the nail on the head when she said the school culture reflects the principal’s beliefs and actions. A good leader is of absolute importance.

      Lu

      • jenblundell says:

        Hi Lu
        Yes I agree the principal of the school needs to set the expectations for the whole school community. Another vital part is the home environment, if the parents are not willing or able to support the school’s ethos then the child will be fed different values. This, naturally, will result in conflicting behavioural expectations and is likely to cause problems in the school environment.

    • belle2011 says:

      Great video!
      What a refreshingly down to earth approach Louise Bywaters shows to how a positive culture starts with the school leaders and can filter through the community. It is true that you subconsciously assess the culture of an environment as soon as you enter it.

      • celes79 says:

        I thought it was great too. I imagine it would be pretty tough to change a school culture, especially if it’s a big school. I have learned a lot about culture in my place of employment. I work for a big company who hold culture as a very important part of their business. Upon opening a new store they have workshops firstly with management and then with the team to determine a set of values for the store. Each team member must then work by that set of values. It is an integral part of our functioning and I can see how it is important in every aspect of life, including school. As a teacher it will be important to live and work by important values which uphold and maintain the integrity of the school and it’s community.

  136. georgina15221993 says:

    In regards to the Teacher’s Talk PDF… I cant believe it! I would hope that a report like that one could not be written about schools in Queensland, although after reading all of your posts, it sounds as though maybe it could in some instances. Perhaps it is just starting, and we can look to this document and these schools and not make the same mistakes that have been made in these American schools.
    If it is glaringly obvious to all teachers interviewed, and to us, that the discipline measures, police presence and metal detectors etc employed by these schools just fuels the violence and unrest… then why does it continue?
    We all know that children see, children do (remember this from the start of the unit…

    , so to treat children with no respect and intimidation would be a contradiction to what you are trying to achieve. In the report one teacher spoke of how these safety officers pat down the babies in the daycare centre (I find the fact that they feel the need to do this abhorent)… so starting from this age they learn about all the things an innocent child should never have to know about.
    ‘Be positive. Be the change you want to see in the world.’ is a quote (from Ghandi?) I read from someones posted link earlier in the blog. Let’s not let Australian schools end up as corrupted as those depicted in the Teachers Talk report!

  137. jaydag says:

    I found this U.S report very interesting and disturbing. I knew that some schools in America had police patrolling them and metal detectors to stop weapons entering the school buildings. I always thought it was a good idea as it would help stop the violence. I didn’t think about the fact that most of these violent attacks with weapons happen on the outside school grounds and not in the buildings. I was also blown away by how these students were treated with such disrespect and humiliation. It is so obvious that that they will react violently to this kind of discipline so why can’t they see that this kind of punishment does not work. I felt so sorry for the students and teachers that have to live through this every day. I have investigated schools in Victoria and have come to the conclusion that there would be no reports written of this nature. There are security measures put in place in some schools like close circuit television systems, high fences, better lighting and improvements to window security but nothing like the magnitude of security in American schools. The following sites are where I have obtained some of my information from
    http://www.ag.gov.au/www/agd/agd.nsf/Page/Crimeprevention_SecureSchoolsProgram
    http://www.theage.com.au/national/education/alarm-bells-over-school-violence-20090826-ezra.html

    I believe school culture refers to how a school looks and feels. A school with a positive school culture is one where teachers keep self improving by having an open mind, learning new things and enhancing their capabilities by accessing professional development opportunities. Teachers in this positive environment are sharing ideas with each other, treating students with respect and are basically all working together to achieve the same goal of having a school with happy, respectful children that is focused on student learning. If students feel their teachers are truly interested in their well being and are there solely to help them achieve their goals and become the people they want to be, then I believe a large majority of the students will be well behaved, motivated, and most importantly have a self belief that they can achieve anything. This is definitely the school culture I desire for my children to be involved in.
    I found these articles very interesting
    http://www.insidetheschool.com/articles/a-culture-of-school-discipline/
    http://www.smallschoolsproject.org/PDFS/culture.pdf

  138. jemz04 says:

    Positive learning environments, what are they? there are so many variances on what is positive. As some of you have said Bright colors and inspiring pictures are what we as Teachers feel the students will want to look at whereas the students in the YouTube Videos you have shown are wanting basics that are neutral and almost corporate like. The students should have a say in where they would like things to go and giving them that option allows them to feel positive they have contributed to the environment where they will have to work.
    While the environment in which they learn in (the classroom) is very important the school yard and school culture needs to be examined so that becomes a positive environment also. The Teachers Talk PDF document suggests that Gangs and fights among students are some of the highest threats to safety in their schools. Over the past 5 years the topic of Bullying has been in the headlines very often. Statistics on School yard bullying suggest that 20 percent of students will experience bullying in Australian Schools, the real number will never be known as students fear the consequences. This is a frightening number of students who are feeling unsafe and negative about their school environment.
    A positive, happy and effective classroom is one that sets rules and boundaries that makes every student safe. Every student has the right to feel safe and it should be pushed in classrooms also.
    The Teachers Talk document makes me evaluate our schools in Victoria. Do we really have the need for metal detectors and security guards? Where is the line when it comes to student safety. It astounds me that there would be schools anywhere in Victoria that need that extra security implemented just so students can go to school. What has the world come to?

  139. ShonaDonnan says:

    When creating a positive classroom environment teachers should make the students feel safe and important, so that they will feel comfortable. “A positive classroom environment does not just happen, the teacher creates it” (eHow contributor). I have found this wesite on how to create a psositve environment. it explains how to create a positive physical and emotional atmosphere, as well as how to create a positive classroom discipline system http://www.ehow.com/how_2241604_create-positive-classroom-atmosphere.html

    • clox73 says:

      Thanks Shona. Such a simple set of ‘rules’ to follow but easy to understand how it could all go out the window in a stressful environment. So important to get it all in motion from the very beginning.

  140. meandmissymoo says:

    Thanks everyone for the insights on positive learning environments – there is so much we need to take into consideration – classroom being comfortable to making student feel safe to the teacher just treating all students in the same level . If we as teachers follow this tips our classrooms are bound the be awesome learning environments …

  141. criches says:

    Thankgod I’m going to be teaching in Australia and not in America. I’m sure if I lived in America I wouldv’e chosen a different occupation!

  142. criches says:

    I investigated the use of suspension in NSW schools and found a detailed set of procedures. Here are some of the main ideas:
    • Only the principal being able to suspend a student
    • Collaboration between the student, parent, teacher and principle needed to occur
    • Students individual needs to be considered
    • No discrimination
    • Suspension is for the student to be able to reflect, take responsibility and consider how they can change their behaviour to re-join the school community
    • The student has access to support teachers
    • The safety, care and well-being of all teachers and students is considered
    • Suspension is the final step in discipline strategies
    • Incidents such as carrying illegal drugs, weapons or acts of violence must be reported to the police
    • Expulsion occurs after 2 long suspensions within 1 year
    • Suspension resolution meetings need to be attended
    I was trying to compare this with the suspension policies in America but couldn’t find a detailed document outlying procedures. Whilst ‘googling’ I did come across may reasons for students in America being suspended such as for – taking down a Mexican flag, for creating a Facebook page on speech and expression and a 9 year old took a manicure kit to school that had a 1 inch knife in it!
    Suspension is being used as the easy way to discipline children instead of taking the time to educate them on the importance of real life skills such as values and responsibility. By using suspension children are being removed from school communities and are being alienated, this doesn’t create a positive school culture. Zero tolerance definitely has its place in regards to severe violence, weapons and drugs but not with minor school yard arguments and classroom disruptions.
    To create a school culture the students and teachers need to collaborate to create a set of values and then a set of rules that relate to the values. If students are given responsibility they are more likely to act responsibility and consequences will be of more benefit.
    Karangi Public School have the motto “Truthful & Trustworthy” (n.d.) and have a section on their web site labelled ‘Caring for students’ which discusses topics from sun safety to anti bullying plans. The web site mentions specific traits that would create a positive school culture such as parent involvement, access to counsellors, extra-curricular activities, school leadership program and an education program that builds on each child’s self-esteem and self-confidence. To evaluate the workings of these programs I would need to attend the school but on paper this school appears to provide a positive learning environment to its teachers and students.

    Karangi Public School (n.d.) Dwwnloaded from http://www.karangi-p.schools.nsw.edu.au/sws/view/694843.node
    NSW Department of Education and Training (2007) Suspension and expulsion of school students – procedures. Downloaded from https://www.det.nsw.edu.au/policies/student_serv/discipline/stu_discip_gov/suspol_07.pdf

    Cathie

  143. criches says:

    Sound classroom management is very important to ensure smooth lessons that provide students with the opportunity to learn.

    Elements that need to be considered:
    • The main consideration for the teacher is the interests of the students. If students aren’t interested in the content they won’t be engaged, learning won’t occur and disruptions are more inclined to happen.
    • Teachers need to be prepared for disruptive students by knowing what techniques will be used and what works best for ‘problem’ students.
    • Teachers need to be prepared to make instructional modifications if lessons aren’t running smoothly
    • Instructional methods need to be appropriate for the age and the context of the lesson

    I would be interested in anyone else’s further ideas for discussion.

    Cathie

  144. kateizzard says:

    I found this newspaper article on bullying in schools and I just hope that none of us ever have to deal personally with a story like this…
    http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/nsw-act/cyber-bullying-is-every-schools-responsibility/story-e6freuzi-1225881102673

  145. chiswell123 says:

    Sound classroom management is important so that children can learn in a happy and caring environment. When planning for a positive, happy and effective classroom a teacher needs to get to know the principal, students, parents and other teachers on a caring and personal level. Set acceptable rules and guidelines for both children and parents i.e. readers are to be read at school and also with the help of a parent at night etc. Working as a team to get the best learning outcome for everyone involved staying positive and setting goals to be achieved.

    I was shocked to read the US Report and did not know metal detectors existed in schools – how sad. As a parent of 2 I am so glad our school is a caring and happy environment.

  146. tam1511 says:

    I found a really thought provoking article written by a former Liberal MP. It discusses the MySchool website and ‘comprehensive’ public schools. Very interesting point of view! Not sure I totally agree with what he discusses but it has certainly made me think!
    http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/politics/somethings-rotten-in-the-state-of-nsw–comprehensive-public-schools-20100207-nkpm.html

    • shelleyparsons says:

      Hi Tam
      It certainly does make you think! I found another article which puts another spin on things. I came across this article from the Sunday Herald Sun which summarises a survey, conducted online with over 5000 participants, toward teachers. Parents recommended sacking bad teachers and giving a pay rise to good teachers as well as playing the name and shame game with schools. It suggests that parents want teachers to be held more accountable not only with discipline but with literacy and numeracy standards however I wonder what todays “norm” values on discipline and the role of the teachers are? With Australia’s cultural melting pot being so diverse I suspect the expectations of parents to be extremely broad. Therefore coming back to Gordon and Glassers approach to discipline, relying on a school community to decide its own disciplinary measures and expectations of teachers and students looks to be the way forward. Each school environment is different and one school strategy might not suit the next. For some interesting up-to-date statistics view the article at: http://www.heraldsun.com.au/ipad/get-tough-on-bad-teachers-say-parents/story-fn6bfkm6-1225996722074
      Reference
      Heard, H. (2011). Get tough on bad teachers, says parents. Available: http://www.heraldsun.com.au/ipad/get-tough-on-bad-teachers-say-parents/story-fn6bfkm6-1225996722074. Last accessed 31st Jan 2011.

    • lilic12 says:

      Hi Tam

      Thanx for this link. It was very interesting, and does have an element of truth I think, but once again only person’s perspective.

      He has a fine point about funding. I never understand why there is so little money put into health and education sectors compared to military and business.

      It seems to me that the students of today are our leaders of tomorrow – the ones who will make the decisions when we are old, and for our coming generations, yet they are the least nurtured. If we treat those how we like to be treated then it doesn’t look good for our futures the way things are.

      I love how we are being taught how to implement the changes that need to occur – somebody has been thinking well to base our training on the newer methods. Not only can we implement these when we get to a school, but can lead by example for the older teachers who are not upgrading their skills, but awaiting retirement – we have a few of those at my daughter’s school.

      Leanne

  147. tbastian says:

    WEEK 9: POSITIVE CLASSROOM ENVIRONMENTS
    I believe that classroom management is important as it provides structure and discipline within a class. Effective classroom management can prevent misbehaviour and unproductive work habits by thorough lesson planning, establishing good relationships with students and conducting lessons effectively.(Eggen & Kauchak,2010).It is essential that students learn in a healthy, safe and protective environment or as Gordon’s Counselling Approach states that it needs to be sensitive, accepting, and non critical. An effective classroom runs smoothly and has momentum and that promotes learning.
    Teachers need to consider many factors for a positive, happy and effective environment. Whitton (2004) describes some factors as the arrangement of the classroom, colours and displays within the room, Remembering the students name, expectations and standards, communication skills and approachability.
    A teacher’s mannerisms and behaviour can greatly impact the classroom’s environment. Firstly, a teacher’s attitude can individually enhance student learning, motivation and achievement by being approachable, enthusiastic, caring and provides clear expectations and standards for the students. Secondly, teachers need to be well organised for their lessons, as it helps prevent management problems and maximises instructional time. Thirdly, a lesson must be able to attract and maintain the student’s attention. For example, concrete objects or materials on the projector. And finally, feedback. Feedback allows the students to receive information about their individual progress. According to Eggen & Kauchak (2010) it gives the student information about the validity of their knowledge construction and helps to elaborate their understanding.
    Here is a link to a video that I watched and thought it was very interesting and helpful.
    http://www.league.org/gettingresults/web/module1/introduction/creating_community_video.html

    References:
    Eggen, P & Kauchak, D.(2010) Educational Psychology. Windows on Classrooms (Eighth Edition). United States of America. Pearson
    Whitton, D., Sinclair, C., Barker, K., Nanlohy, P. & Nosworthy, M.(2004). Learning for teaching: teaching for learning. South Melbourne: Thompson.

  148. Sarah Harris says:

    So we are all in agreement that the culture of the classroom directly impacts on learning. The PDF on school culture mentioned that research shows that that positive learning environments are the most effective, but many issues were impacting on being able to achieve the right balance. A zero-tolerance method, once held as a champion of achieving good behavior, has been found to be severely insufficient. Resource starved schools are found to be imposing measures that are ineffective irrational and extreme and overcrowding compounds the issue as teachers are unable to devote time to developing a positive and personal relationship with students. The aim needs to be establishing a climate within the whole school that is secure, engaging and supportive of students. School culture is the beliefs, norms, behaviors and relationships of the people within the school community – I was thinking that often schools have a motto’s – sometimes it is displayed on their school emblem – often uses phrases like respect, believe, unity and at times these may even be in Latin (how the students will reflect values in a dead language is a whole other argument); but whether these are being effectively moved into the culture of the school is up for debate.
    While looking at the school as a whole, principals need to build a collaborative teacher community and include teachers in developing and implementing policies and procedures that will be put into practice.This link is based on a US school – talks about the school working together to create a positive learning environment http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_KFefvhceII.
    Equally as important is students participation in improving school climate. This link
    shows how Classroom disruptions decline dramatically when kids are held accountable for their behavior to both their teachers and their classmates http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K5kETSAn0j8 Although some of the issues are in contrast with Kounins ideas on effective measures, as the momentum is slowed in the classroom as behavior is dealt with. The issue of peer mediation is looked at too.

    This YouTube video highlights that only 1/4 of parents think that secondary schools are safe and 2/5 for primary schools (American based) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ipTFYqtvf_0
    We would be remiss to think that these types of issues are only relevant in the US, a quick search for the past year in Australian schools shows an increase in an environment that would be doing little to enhance learning.
    http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/violent-schools-need-guards/story-e6freoof-1225942948391
    http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/queensland/school-knife-attacks-on-the-rise-20100217-oc87.html
    While we aren’t in the same league as America and its school issues, it is important that pro-active approaches to creating positive learning environments are taken now, so that we are not “fixing up” a problem that has got out of control. This article tends to suggest suspension as being the primary way of dealing with problems in school – much as was noted int eh PDF reading – this is ineffective, it doesn’t change behavior or address the underlying causes.
    http://schoolangels.com.au/bm/news/queensland-school-violence-at-highest-ever-levels-12909.shtml

    Developing a set of core values between teachers, students and parents – a whole community approach and where lessons are liked to the core values and related to real-world learning. Effective classroom management communicates clear consequences to the students.

  149. 29muz says:

    “Effective teaching is teaching that maximizes student learning.” (Eggen & Kauchak 2010) This can be done through the positive teaching and influences that the teachers have on the students within their class. The learning environments that the children are in taught in are the basis for the way in which they will receive the information given to them. Teachers need to ensure that they have essential teaching skills to use within the classroom adapting to the different students in their class. There are seven essential teaching skills that are used to create a positive learning environment. These are; attitudes, organisation, communication, focus, feedback, questioning and review and closure. (Eggen & Kauchak 2010) When teachers incorporate all of this into their teaching and classroom it will allow them to be able to respond to the students needs and wants. When students feel safe, warm and equal it will mean that the positivity within the classroom will ensure work can be done appropriately.

  150. taniaadebono says:

    I must say this weeks topic has proven truly inspiring and it is wonderful to be able to view so many informed opinions.

    I have unfortunately had a couple of messages disappear but that is ok – others have made similar points.

    Just thought I would highlight two documents though that may be of interest especially to Victorians

    Building Respectful and Safe Schools Policy document – can be retrieved from http://www.eduweb.vic.gov.au/edulibrary/public/stuman/…/respectfulsafe.pdf

    and

    Effective Schools are engaging Schools – can be retrieved from http://www.eduweb.vic.gov.au/edulibrary/public/stuman/…/segpolicy.pdf

    Both really worthwhile reads – hefty but worthwhile.

    The interesting thing that I found was that there are the policy documents in place and the individual schools were required to put into place their own action plans for both in liaison with the community, teachers, parents and students.

    I have not heard of the implementation in my children’s school and you would think such a relevant document would be advertised as quite an accomplishment. Unless of course, one of two possibilities – the document has not been compiled or the document was compiled by the principal without due consultation with the members to be included in the planning.

    I wonder how many other schools operate under this premise.

    Still worthwhile documents to think about.

    It is interesting too how it has been noted by many of us that the state of our education system is not necessarily as extreme as the U.S. but we do have concerns both in the actual education system and concerns about the way our social system handles matters – which then have impact on our children.

    One very interesting lecturer I had a few years ago who originated from the U.K. emphasised with us the leaps and bounds that education systems take once the community takes on a supportive, educational and mentoring role.

    I have noticed in our local school where my children attend what does combat discord is the ever active, social services push – raising awareness and aid for those that need it. One of the most rewarding projects that the Year five and six students participate in is The Smith Family student2student reading program where children pair up with children that do not have access to help and encouragement with their reading. As the Smith Family site quotes 85% of participants surveyed had improved reading. I think this is wonderful – for the participants as well as for the children dedicating their time to helping. I think one of the other wonderful benefits of such a program is that it is non-denominational. One of the unfortunate issues that has caused a certain amount of bullying and tension between students at the children’s school is the opt out policy for Christian Religious education. It is a public school with yes Christians, Buddhists, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Wiccans, Humanists, Atheists, and Agnostics, but students must opt out of C.R.E. Students who do not attend these classes are expected to help other teachers with errands, sit out in a corridor and finish work or read, or sit in a corner of the same class in which the C.R.E. class is taking place. This evidently sets up a situation of segregation, and quite often entertains the encouragement of teasing and harassment and bullying.

    I have dared raise a rather contentious subject here but one that has been raised considerably in the press of recent, which we may wish to think about. I have witnessed teachers questioning students as to why their parents do not wish them to attend C.R.E. classes in front of their classmates, when they have been presented with proper documentation from parents. Uninformed, insensitive teachers can also cause problems. Seeing the Australian human rights policies do dictate that everyone has right to practice their beliefs freely – then I am wondering what good argument there is for still having only one form if any form at all of religion taught in Public Schools. I have nothing against Private Denominational schools as it is proven they do provide a good sound education for who wishes to attend, but I do not see that Public schools should by nature of their education be causing segregation.

    Would really like to hear people’s views on this matter.

  151. shelleyparsons says:

    I found the report on the US Teachers Talk to be very interesting, in particular some of the statistics relating to policing in schools. Even when you consider the population difference I haven’t heard of anything close to the lengths that these New York schools are having to go to, in Australia. However, Australia is forgetting the basics of literacy and numeracy as well as discipline, according to Fields (2000), “school discipline ranks as one of the major concerns voiced by the public about schools and the school system”. Needless to say a media report of school violence has increased over the last few years and unfortunately some of the violence is making its way to social broadcasting networks. What is even more surprising is that during my search for the incident where a female student hits and kicks her teacher, which is recorded on a cell phone by a fellow student, I found an overwhelming amount of videos of teachers hitting the students. An example of this can be found at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w9pH_24vSZ4. As a result of this finding I would now have to say that maybe Australian schools are slowly becoming like the schools of New York but on a much smaller scale.
    A school culture, according to Sullivan & Keeney (2008), should include all the stakeholders in the education process and implementation of disciplinary and safety measures. Considering that Australian Teachers and students, like ourselves, more often than not go into teaching with a passion to make a difference and apply all of the practical and theoretical information we have learned, it doesn’t seem to be decreasing the number of incidents in our schools. I therefore strongly agree with Sullivan & Keeney’s statement to have all the stakeholders involved. I think too much pressure and responsibility is being placed on the teacher to fulfill disciplinary measures that could be assisted by parents, peers, school administrations, student services and community figureheads, organisation and social groups. Gordon’s views of interaction and talking, that encourage accepting and supportive relationships, taking a humanistic approach to discipline and being non-judgmental or critical of students is essential in creating a safe school environment. In return teachers should expect the same of their students. I would like to think that I will take note of Glassers point of getting students to come up with problems that might arise and plan for disciplinary consequences, making them part of the process of discipline to increase ownership of their behaviour.

    esgaz111. (2009). Teacher hits student. Available: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w9pH_24vSZ4. Last accessed 31st Jan 2011.

    Fields, B. (2000). School Discipline: Is there a crisis in our schools? Available: http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_hb3359/is_1_35/ai_n28766928/ .Last accessed 31st Jan 2011.

  152. pashley87 says:

    How a schools culture is made is dependent on the school’s community of teachers, principals and administrators, and as well as with the students and the surrounding communities. The things that make up a positive school culture are the schools community’s positive beliefs, attitudes, and behaviours that characterize a school as well as the injection of diversity in the students that come from all different backgrounds. This range of backgrounds that students have needs to be recognised by the school community, so that there is providence of programs and support which acknowledge differences and promote harmony (NSW Department of Education and Training, 2004).

  153. bronlane says:

    Students feel secure when there is a set routine, where the children are greeted welcomingly by the teacher each day and where the children feel that their teacher is genuinely interested in them as a person.

    Classroom management is important not only to how the classroom runs on a daily basis but also to how secure the students feel within the class. But what factors make up classroom management? Effective use of time, planning, classroom rules and code of behaviour, pedagogy and management style eg. Gordons, Glassers, Kounin, are all important factors that contribute to how well a classroom is managed. Kounin’s ideas of the 70′s are still valid in today’s classroom and offer teachers an effective tool in classroom management (Whitton, p. 187).

    The teaching approach chosen is also relevant; permissive, authoritative or authoritarian. (Whitton, p. 165 – 186). What each teacher chooses will differ slightly but the goal is the same, to have students feel a sense of security and identity with in the class and to have the class run smoothly on a day to day basis.

    School culture plays its part in classroom management. A school that prides itself on attendance may have a lower truancy rate than other schools, plus having students in class on a regular basis not only helps the class run better – no need to be catching up all the time. Respect is important; to teachers from teachers, to and from parents and most importantly to and from students and to each other.

  154. tam1511 says:

    Whilst reading the US report, I attempted to relate the issues discussed to schools in which I am involved in here in Newcastle. I am so pleased that I was unable to find any comparisons that were the same between them.
    As a nanny and step mum, I am involved with a primary school and high school, and all of my interactions so far have been positive. In particular, the primary school has a wonderful sense of community. The principal is very involved in all aspects of the school. He greets families at the gate before assembly, an assembly parents and community members are invited to. Parents and carers are encouraged to be involved in the school as much as possible and lots of projects around the school grounds are done by parents, eg. vegetable garden, fairy garden, car sand pit, fencing, gardens, painting etc. Theses are all done during school hours and students are involved. This really encourages the children to see the school as theirs and have a sense of pride and responsibility towards it. As discussed in the report, when schools create positive culture, it contributes to improved student learning and a sense
    of connectedness to school which in turn reduces disciplinary problems. (Teachers Talk
    School Culture, Safety and Human Rights, 2008) From an outsider looking in their doesnt seem to be any major discipline issues. Children are accepting of one another and all seem to get along.
    My step son attends high school, there was a case of bullying by another boy towards his girlfriend. My son stepped in to stop this boy from harassing her and was punched in the face. This occurred outside of school hours, and we were unsure of how to deal with it. We informed the school the following morning of the incident and they were fantastic. All three children were involved in mediation and behaviour contracts were designed for all. I thought this was a great way of dealing with all involved. The teacher kept all parents up to date and communication was fantastic.

  155. dalya says:

    Creating a Positive Learning Environment

    Students thrive in environments where they feel safe, nurtured and respected. Most students, even those who have learning difficulties, can do well when they are physically comfortable, mentally motivated and emotionally supported.

    According to Gunter et al. (as cited in Marsh, 2008, p.180) physical surroundings affect the behaviour of students, therefore, teachers should put careful consideration into the physical outlay of the room ensuring to strike a balance between a drab classroom and one that has too much going on. Also by monitoring the noise levels, temperature and planning the positioning of the equipment, teachers can achieve a harmonious environment.

    Another important factor is the psychological aspect in a classroom. Teachers should create a positive atmosphere by listening, complimenting, reinforcing and being friendly. Each individual child should feel respected, supported, appreciated and valued.

    To help build a cohesive classroom community, teachers should encourage group work, set class rules, provide consistency, model good behaviour and have strong communication with parents.

    Pedagogical factors are equally important; teachers must understand subject matter and know how to communicate the subject matter. Also, teachers should increase on-task activities. Marsh (2008) states that the more time a student can spend each day dealing with on-task activities, whether they are teacher directed or student initiated the greater the learning.
    These factors are all inter-related and are required to create a positive work environment for the teacher and students.

    Reference:

    Marsh, Colin. (2008). Classroom management, Becoming a teacher: knowledge, skills and issues Pearson Education Australia

    Wesley, D.C. (1998). Eleven ways to be a great teacher. Educational leadership 55(5), 80-81.

    Arthur-Kelly, M., Lyons, G., Butterfield, N. & Gordon, C. (2006). Classroom management: Creating positive learning environments. South Melbourne: Thompson.

    Whitton, D., Sinclair, C., Barkes, K., Nanlohy, P. & Nosworthy, M. (2004) Learning for Teaching: Teaching for Learning. South Melbourne: Thompson

  156. shelleyparsons says:

    I was thinking about a time when the school I attended was “forced” to discipline me. I use the word “forced” in a very flexible way, considering I was about 8yrs old. I remember one teacher in particular that would poke students in the chest with excessive “force”. Some students would cry and others would be humiliated. The day it happened to me I’ll never forget. I can’t remember what is was that I had done, I wasn’t a naughty kid and I was only 8yrs old but he poked me about 7 times in the chest. The punishment obviously wasn’t connected to the behaviour as I can’t remember what the behaviour was and I was perplexed as to what I should do. I went home that night and told my parents what had happened. The next day my father was down at the school meeting with the principle asking why a teacher was touching, let alone hurting, students in his class. Needless to say that teacher never touched anyone again. I look back and think about his actions and his actions only as I wasn’t made to talk about my behaviour or expected to deal with a consequence that related to the behaviour. I wasn’t encouraged to accept responsibility for my actions or to understand the punishment as I had no involvement with its implementation. Looking back, had I have been that teacher my previous suggestions would have been in place, prior to the incident. Making the environment safe and free from physical harm would have been my first priority. In this case the behaviour was not only coming from myself, the student, but also from the teacher who couldn’t handle the situation. As Albon (2008) suggests when talking about Gordons approach to discipline, identifying the problem and who owns it, is important to establish. The use of I-messages and a no lose approach would have increased co-operation instead of power. I wish that teacher could study this unit too or better still follow Glassers approach to have classroom meetings to decide rules around appropriate behaviour and discipline. Dreikurs suggestion to resist the first impulse may have stopped my bruises also.
    Reference
    Albon, R. (2007). Creating and managing positive learning environments. Available: http://dbs.ilectures.curtin.edu.au/lectopia/lectopia.lasso?ut=31&id=15349. Last accessed 31st Jan 2011.

    • lilic12 says:

      Hi Shelly

      This is linked to the wrong lecture as well. The slides are correct, but the lecture is not related to the slides. This is the same as the link at the top of the page.

      I am wondering how everyone else viewed this iLecture – does anyone have any clues for me?

      Thanx Leanne

      • blayd98kai00 says:

        Hi Leanne,
        I thought it was okay but not really sure on the matter. Now abit confused.
        So are we supposed to be using this information in our journal about the lecture or is it incorrect, I am studying EDP155,

  157. carob74 says:

    In response to our blog question I think a sound classroom is an organised one. Teachers need to be prepared. Lessons need to be kept real and oportunaties to spend one on one time with each child during the week should be a goal. I like the idea of names on popsticks and pulling them out one by one (or go down the roll) so that students can spend 5 minutes with the teacher doing whatever thry like. It might be reading or talking but that is the qaulity time for the student and teacher. It would be har at first but once there is an undrestanding I think it would be a routine most students would look forward to.

  158. tahniaking says:

    This report is overwhelming to read especially seeing the findings of the numbers shown for the safety of these students. Where did it all go wrong? Are they just trying to protect these children, is this the extent that this country had to go to prove that these children can walk through their school doors knowing that they were safe? A bit extreme I know, but did it have to come to this to now show that it is not an appropriate or effective way of dealing with the safety and discipline of these students. I strongly believe that yes we should have reports written in our states to acknowledge different issues that schools face such as bullying (a major concern), parental involvement, self esteem issues, sexual harassment, students rights etc. These reports should be given to all communities so that they are aware of what is going on and how we can solve these issues. We can then as communities come together and fight these problems just as NESRI and Teachers Unite are doing to try and fight for the rights of our children and demand justice! They are bringing peace to peoples relationships and are fighting for a positive environment in which every country is trying to achieve. This report outlays very extreme, important issues that need to be addressed to, but sadly some people choose to ignore.
    How grateful are we to not experience or watch our schools in Australia go to that extent where there is that much security and metal detectors! Crazy! But in saying that we have had incidences where stabbings have occurred therefore asking our people if having metal detectors is an option?
    Fortunately our country can see that this doesn’t seem like the right way to go about this, it would be un-Australian. Here is a little article on a 12 year old boy who died from a stabbing during school. Which makes me just wonder HOW DOES THIS HAPPEN???
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/02/17/2822078.htm
    I can speak for all of us in saying that we are very lucky to be living in a country where we now have a choice to teach and learn in a more holistic approach compare to the United States where you take a risk walking through those school doors everyday knowing it is potentially unsafe, proving that there is degraded school culture and punitive discipline in these schools.
    A positive learning environment is the basis of having a respectful, safe, caring, positive learning space for all students and teachers. This is what any teacher, parent and child would ask for, but actions speak louder than words and we need to somehow work on how we will achieve this in everyday classrooms. School culture and discipline can provide us with some answers.
    Here is a short article on what is school culture

    http://eric.uoregon.edu/publications/digests/digest091.html
    References:

    Collerton, S. (2010, February Wednesday). ABC News. Retrieved Janurary 31, 2011, from More security not the answer to school knife crime: http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/02/17/2822078.htm
    Eggen, P. &. (2010 ). Educational Psychology. In p. education, Educational Psycology 8th edition. New Jersey.
    Stolp, S. (1994, June). Leadership for school culture. Retrieved february 2, 2011, from Clearinghouse on educational policy & management: http://eric.uoregon.edu/publications/digests/digest091.html

  159. eoindurkin says:

    I believe sound classroom management is vital for effective teaching to take place in a school. To maintain a classroom that promotes learning teachers must plan to create a positive environment. Elements teachers should consider when planning for an effective classroom include;

    • Planning for instruction, selecting topics to teach and communicating learning objectives with students

    • Positive example, being a role model of politeness, positive and caring to students needs and displaying good communication skills

    • Feedback, responding to students work and behaviours in ways that encourage desired behaviours and depress undesirable behaviours

    • Democratic not autocratic, work with students to develop an atmosphere that students want to be involved in and feel like they have a say in the classroom.

    This url also has some practical ideas for creating a positive classroom environment http://www.wonderhowto.com/how-to-create-positive-classroom-atmosphere-097651/

  160. Lisa-Marie says:

    Positive Learning Environments
    What do you think constitutes a school culture?

    What I believe is meant by a ‘school culture’ is the way in which, the school community does things. According to Peterson (2001) school culture includes elements of ‘schedules, curriculum, demographics, polices and the social interactions that occur within the school’. It is evident that school culture has a deeper layer that refers to the ‘fundamental assumptions and core values of both individuals and the school community’ (Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations, 2011). It can be said that school culture is linked very closely with classroom culture (Peterson, 2001). According to the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (2011) the term “culture” relates to such things as ‘physical setting, language and stories’. It is suggested by the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (2011) that ‘culture refers to the ceremonies/customs and symbols (such as uniforms and logos) as well as the accepted standards of behaviour (rules and procedures)’.

    As stated by the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (2011) ‘school culture has been shown to create solidarity and meaning and inspire commitment and productivity’. It can be said that, positive school culture is the ‘foundation on which changes to classrooms can occur so that students can better develop protective behaviours and resilience’.

    http://www.deewr.gov.au/Schooling/Programs/REDI/professionaldevelopment/allREDI/schoolculture/Pages/Home.aspx#what_is_school_culture?

    http://www.smallschoolsproject.org/PDFS/culture.pdf

    Whilst reading the U.S report I was thinking back to when I was in Primary and Secondary school, wondering if I had ever encountered some of the issues that are raised in this report. I am pleased to say that I have never encountered any of the issues raised and discussed from the U.S report document.

    I remember always having a happy experience and time at school. If I was ever in need of help my teachers and peers where always there to assist me. I remember my classroom environment was always a positive one; full of positive energy, smiley faces and of course full of learning resources such as books, posters etc. It can be said that my teachers always used effective teaching strategies, in which maximised student learning (Eggen & Kauchak, 2010).

    Having completed several hours of voluntary work at my local primary school, I have became very familiar of the schools culture and community. It can be said that the school is a very pleasant one that is full of friendly staff and students. Each morning before the morning bell goes, all the teaching staffs go outside and socialise with their students’ family and friends. The principle believes this is an essential aspect to building a strong and loving community. I believe that this approach is great as it encourages a positive learning environment for both the parents and students. As stated by Teachers Talk School Culture, Safety and Human Rights, 2008) these approaches ‘can improve student learning and give a sense of connectedness to the school in which in turn reduces disciplinary problems’.

  161. eoindurkin says:

    I believe sound classroom management is vital for effective teaching to take place in a school. To maintain a classroom that promotes learning teachers must plan to create a positive environment. Elements teachers should consider when planning for an effective classroom include;

    • Planning for instruction, selecting topics to teach and communicating learning objectives with students

    • Positive example, being a role model of politeness, positive and caring to students needs and displaying good communication skills

    • Feedback, responding to students work and behaviours in ways that encourage desired behaviours and depress undesirable behaviours

    • Democratic not autocratic, work with students to develop an atmosphere that students want to be involved in and feel like they have a say in the classroom.
    This url also has some practical ideas for creating a positive classroom environment
    http://www.wonderhowto.com/how-to-create-positive-classroom-atmosphere-097651/

    • Dalya says:

      Hey Eoin

      thanks for posting that website, I like the point about using index cards with each student’s name to ensure that students get called upon an equal amount of the time.

  162. nicolebausch says:

    Does anyone know how to reference the ilecture?

  163. eleen44 says:

    Emmer et al. (2006) states that all teachers need to maintain classrooms environments to be safe orderly and focused on learning. As our children spend so much time in their school, so I believe a teacher should create a positive, a happy learning environment which is safe for the students. Cruickshank et al. (2009) suggests that teachers are expected to be professional classroom managers. Some of the elements that a teacher should consider when planning for a positive, happy and effective classroom could be as follows:

    Routines for all students to follow when entering the classroom: e.g. take out books silently.
    Routines for working in small groups: e.g. listening politely to comments from other students.
    Establish good classroom rules of behavior.
    Develop trust and respect in the classroom by being a role model.
    Listen carefully to students and speak respectfully to them.
    Greet students by using their name.
    Keep students engaged with their work.
    Getting organized, e.g. arrange desks and chairs; write lesson plans for the week.
    Learning School Policies.

    Teachers must know how to plan, implement and monitor rules and procedures and intervene when misbehaviors occur and moreover classrooms must be designed to prevent, rather than stop disruption.
    School environments are different and challenging. Teachers come across with behavior problems, children being too noisy during lesson times and students being easily distracted and students playing roughly with others in confined areas however, these problems can be solved by proper classroom management. According to Marsh, (2010, p.233) in the beginning of school terms, proper behaviors expected from students could be discussed. It is better to keep students engaged instead of them them misbehaving. I believe, these problems could be solved if the teacher plans carefully and demonstrates as a role model for the students.

    References

    Cruickshank, D Jenkins, D & Metcalf, K (2009), The Act of Teaching, 5th edn, McGraw Hill, Boston.

    Emmer, E.T., Evertson, M.C., & Worsham, M.E. (2006). Classroom management for middle and high school teachers (7th ed.). Boston: Allyn3 & Bacon.

    Eggen P. & Kauchak D. (2010). Educational psychology: windows on classrooms (8th Ed.). Frenchs Forest: Pearson.

    Marsh, C. (2008). Becoming a teacher; Knowledge, skills and issues; 4th edition. NSW, Australia. Pearson education Australia.

  164. tamarawells15200536 says:

    Anyone catch the report on the 7pm project tonight about child discipline in schools? I read the first paragraph in the pdf and immediately thought of it!
    http://7pmproject.com.au/video.htm?movideo_m=89654

    • jenniferlivingston says:

      Thanks for that link. I am a fan of Dr John (he actually lives in my local area & used to conduct consultations at my children’s preschool). I have always found that he makes great sense in his no-nonsense approach and he didn’t disappoint me in this video.

      Some of his points that I found intersting were:
      * Parents are disengaged
      * Community is divided
      * Teachers are powerless
      * The cane was ineffective because ‘naughty’ kids saw it as a status symbol
      * Suspensions are ineffective because they have no relationship to the ‘crime’

      I absolutely agree with his point about a ‘Code of Conduct’ being the way of the future. I believe that this is something bigger than individual classrooms or schools, but requires community input. I sincerely hope that the Education Revolution continues on from Digital and Building to extend into Conduct. Then we might see some significant funding go into support for children and their families who struggle with issues regarding lack of respect, violence, drug & alcohol abuse, mental health, etc.

      Until that happens (?) it is more important than ever for schools and teachers to continue implementing programs that support positive learning environments. This should include the wider local community as much as possible. I have to say that I consider myself very lucky because that is something that our local school strives to achieve. While it may not be perfect, it is certainly better than many others I have heard about.

      Thanks again,

      Jenni

      • tamarawells15200536 says:

        I was very excited to see that it related directly to the week’s work. I was also interested in it because of the fact I am fairly isolated in terms of having alot to do with large/city schools and a greater percentage of children who are at risk of this behaviour. The reason being my daughter attends a 30 child, 3 teacher school and the community at large are very supportive of the school culture. That isn’t to say we don’t have problems, 6 of the students are from the same, dare I say, low socio-economic family and generally these kids are well behaved but with being at a small school these kids have no opportunities to be involved independently to their siblings and as a result there is alot of sibling rivalry and sibling fights. To combat the behaviour at the school we are looking at implementing the Positive Behaviour for Learning (PBL) model currently being endorsed by the NSWDET (I attended a seminar on this last year and was very happy with what it involved). In this model there are a set of core values which are agreed upon by the teachers, students, parents and community which are then displayed as a visual model by signage throughout the school. These core values are adjusted depending on where you are, so you will have a twist on the values, if you are in the classroom, in the playground or even on excursion. We are in the first throes of coming up with a working model and I am thinking by the end of the year the it will be implemented.

  165. eleen44 says:

    Hi all, thought of sharing this information on positive learning enviroment.
    http://www.ehow.com/how_6113881_create-positive-learning-environment-children.html

  166. staceytrew says:

    I believe sound classroom management is important as it’s role is essential for teaching to become effective. Teachers need the ability to plan for instruction according to the students needs and expectations and at the same time have the ability to adjust instruction where students are not engaging or understanding. Instruction must involve students in planning, creating and implementing activities and rules. Alongside instruction, classrooms need to remain orderly for students to focus on the learning tasks involved, therefore teachers need to intervene according to student disruptions to deter from further problems occurring.

    Teachers need to remain organized from the beginning and make the most out of the time available by multitasking and observing the students. To further students learning feedback is essential in providing information back to the student on where they are exceeding expectations, as well as where they could do better.

    Another important aspect within classroom management is for the teachers to get to know their students. If the teacher knows and understands on a personal level a little about each student, the students will then have more respect for the teachers and feel comfortable in that environment. Building rapport can increase students motivation and self-esteem establishing better connections between students and teachers, therefore decreasing chance of disruptions.

  167. achorsblog says:

    A positive learning environment is what all parents hope their children are provided with. The schools in NSW are generally quite good in providing a safe learning environment. The one thing most schools are in agreement with is the lack of funding to public schools. The lack of funding means students may not have the most updated facilities. There are many schools in the NSW that still have portable classrooms with no air-conditioning. Everyone knows it is important that students are comfortable in their classroom but in a lot of cases students are not comfortable. For example my nephew’s classroom is a portable one and the classroom does not even have any air-conditioning. If teachers want their students to be focused and enjoy coming to school the school needs to update their facilities.

    Bullying has really only been brought to attention in news headlines in recent years. Even though we all have experienced bullying of some sort it is only now people have started to take. This is due to the media bringing the general public attention to what is happening to the children in our schools. The bullying in our skills have driven some children to fear to come to school or even do the unthinkable and take their own lives. A perfect case of the education system failing to protect students is the Alex Wildman case, a fourteen year old boy who was constantly physically and verbally abused.

    http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/alex-wildman-a-teenaged-boy-who-just-had-enough/story-e6freuy9-1225788535770

    Most of the bullying took place on schools grounds when the principal found out about the physical abuse he failed to report it to the authorities. This is an example of how our schools culture is going downhill. It is a teacher’s responsibility to provide the right protection and detect a student’s change in behaviour and refer them to the school counsellor.
    School culture in my opinion is the ethics, good name and relationships the school has within its gates. It’s the teachers and students responsibility to uphold a certain standard of teaching and learning to achieve harmony. To improve school culture teachers must constantly assess on how they can improve the schools environment.
    http://www.deewr.gov.au/Schooling/Programs/REDI/professionaldevelopment/allREDI/schoolculture/Pages/Home.aspx

    Students should never feel scared to come to school teachers need to provide an environment free from prejudice and abuse. When I was in Kindergarten I was a social outcast due to the fact my English was not 100% instead of trying to teach me the teacher sent me to the back of the classroom and left me there while she taught the rest of the class. Because I did not know English I couldn’t tell anyone what was really happening. My parents were surprised to learn I have learnt nothing when they received my report card so as a result my parents changed schools for me. My new school offered me an ESL course and counselling due to the fact I was extremely scared of strangers they even brought in a translator for me. As the report has stated schools should provide emotional support to the students. When the school provided with a temporary translator my academic achievements accelerated, what received from my school should be offered to all students who have learning difficulties or language barriers.

  168. deishababy says:

    Effective classroom management strategies are imperative in today’s classrooms. They provide structure and discipline, and foster healthy working habits in students. A sound classroom management system also lends itself to moral guidance and support for students, as well as the facilitation of socio-emotional learning.

    There are multiple elements which help cultivate an excellent classroom management program. These are explicated below:

    A healthy classroom environment is invaluable to the creation of a sound management system. Students need a safe, positive environment in which to participate and learn. In a classroom wherein the teacher is seen as caring and genuine, research has shown that the students are more apt to develop pro-social goals, social responsibility and greater personal control (Perry et al., as cited in Eggen & Kauchak). It is essential that teachers strive to remain positive in their outlook, expectations and communications with students; this is an excellent foundation for creating an climate wherein students feel a sense of class-wide belonging and responsibility.

    For students to be respectful of a classroom management system, it is imperative that teachers develop and implement excellent organisation skills. Being organised enables a teacher to prevent management problems and maximise student learning (Bohn, Roehrig & Pressley, as cited in Eggen & Kauchak, 2010).

    Another important aspect is the development of pro-active classroom management techniques. Sullivan & Keeney (2008) believe that proactive strategies “protect access to education and build social and behavioural skills needed for positive learning environments” (Sullivan & Keeney, 2008: p21).

    At times, proactive strategies are unsuccessful in preventing misbehaviour. In instances such as these, it is imperative that teachers remain calm, focused and in control at all times. Professor Albon (2007) keenly advocates the use of Gordon’s counselling approach, that which is inherently humanistic in its approach, and supports sensitive, accepting and non-critical teacher reaction at all times. Professor Albon (2007) also promotes the use of the following teacher-reaction strategies:
    • I-messages: The communication by the teacher about how he/she feels about the misbehaviour.
    • No-lose approach: A cooperative approach to dealing with a problem; one wherein the teacher and student discuss the issue at hand, and mutually come to a viable solution.
    • The Glasser approach promotes a sense of shared responsibility in an environment where there is no fear or evaluation. It concludes with mutual discussion.
    • Dreiker’s Democratic approach encourages a system wherein teachers help students develop a sense of inner control over their behaviour.
    • The Kounin approach is incorporative of a culmination of preventative measures; ‘withitness’, overlapping, smoothness and momentum (Albon, 2007).

    Sullivan & Keeney (2008) suggest that educators support “student leadership in discipline practices through student participation in decision making, and in peer-mediation and mentoring” (Sullivan & Keeney, 2008: p6). Students are known to respond positively when they are given a sense of involvement (Eggen & Kauchak, 2010).

    Research has shown that the implementation of a sound classroom management system leads to an increase in on-task behaviours and motivation, and a decrease in counter-productive behaviours. As such, it is imperative that teachers develop a system that is effective and personalised to their class of students.

    References:

    Albon, R. (2007). Lecture 10: Understanding Learning [Power point slides]. Retrieved from Curtin University of Technology Website:
    http://dbs:olectures.curitn.edu.au/lectopia/casterframe.lasso?fid=28219& cnt=true&usr =not-indicated&name=not-indicated
    Eggen, P. & Kauchak, D. (2010). Educational Psychology. Windows on Classrooms.
    New Jersey: Pearson
    Sullivan, E., & Keeney, E. (2008). Teachers Talk: school culture, safety and human rights. New York: National Economic and Social Rights Initiative (NESRI). Retrieved from: http://www.nesri.org/sites/default/files/Teachers_Talk.pdf

  169. deishababy says:

    Effective classroom management strategies are imperative in today’s classrooms. They provide structure and discipline, and foster healthy working habits in students. A sound classroom management system also lends itself to moral guidance and support for students, as well as the facilitation of socio-emotional learning.

    There are multiple elements which help cultivate an excellent classroom management program. These are explicated below:

    A healthy classroom environment is invaluable to the creation of a sound management system. Students need a safe, positive environment in which to participate and learn. In a classroom wherein the teacher is seen as caring and genuine, research has shown that the students are more apt to develop pro-social goals, social responsibility and greater personal control (Perry et al., as cited in Eggen & Kauchak). It is essential that teachers strive to remain positive in their outlook, expectations and communications with students; this is an excellent foundation for creating an climate wherein students feel a sense of class-wide belonging and responsibility.

    For students to be respectful of a classroom management system, it is imperative that teachers develop and implement excellent organisation skills. Being organised enables a teacher to prevent management problems and maximise student learning (Bohn, Roehrig & Pressley, as cited in Eggen & Kauchak, 2010).

    Another important aspect is the development of pro-active classroom management techniques. Sullivan & Keeney (2008) believe that proactive strategies “protect access to education and build social and behavioural skills needed for positive learning environments” (Sullivan & Keeney, 2008: p21).

    At times, proactive strategies are unsuccessful in preventing misbehaviour. In instances such as these, it is imperative that teachers remain calm, focused and in control at all times. Professor Albon (2007) keenly advocates the use of Gordon’s counselling approach, that which is inherently humanistic in its approach, and supports sensitive, accepting and non-critical teacher reaction at all times. Professor Albon (2007) also promotes the use of the following teacher-reaction strategies:

    • I-messages: The communication by the teacher about how he/she feels about the misbehaviour.
    • No-lose approach: A cooperative approach to dealing with a problem; one wherein the teacher and student discuss the issue at hand, and mutually come to a viable solution.
    • The Glasser approach promotes a sense of shared responsibility in an environment where there is no fear or evaluation. It concludes with mutual discussion.
    • Dreiker’s Democratic approach encourages a system wherein teachers help students develop a sense of inner control over their behaviour.
    • The Kounin approach is incorporative of a culmination of preventative measures; ‘withitness’, overlapping, smoothness and momentum (Albon, 2007).

    Sullivan & Keeney (2008) suggest that educators support “student leadership in discipline practices through student participation in decision making, and in peer-mediation and mentoring” (Sullivan & Keeney, 2008: p6). Students are known to respond positively when they are given a sense of involvement (Eggen & Kauchak, 2010).

    Research has shown that the implementation of a sound classroom management system leads to an increase in on-task behaviours and motivation, and a decrease in counter-productive behaviours. As such, it is imperative that teachers develop a system that is effective and personalised to their class of students.

    References:

    Albon, R. (2007). Lecture 10: Understanding Learning [Power point slides]. Retrieved from Curtin University of Technology Website:
    http://dbs:olectures.curitn.edu.au/lectopia/casterframe.lasso?fid=28219&cnt=true&usr =not-indicated&name=not-indicated
    Eggen, P. & Kauchak, D. (2010). Educational Psychology. Windows on Classrooms.
    New Jersey: Pearson
    Sullivan, E., & Keeney, E. (2008). Teachers Talk: school culture, safety and human rights. New York: National Economic and Social Rights Initiative (NESRI). Retrieved from: http://www.nesri.org/sites/default/files/Teachers_Talk.pdf

  170. blayd98kai00 says:

    At the moment I am working as a teacher aide at a public school on the Gold Coast, after reading the PDF file I was shocked to think teachers have to worry about the students safety to that degree as well as their own with the gang volience, there is enough teachers and students worry about, without worrying if they will be knifed or attacked. I have to be honest and ask, what have the parents in these places done so wrong and how can we fix it so the children and their children can have a better quality of education and life.. Yes all schools including mine have trouble time and time again with behaviour management children and I feel that all schools have their problems with bullying, even with procedures in place, but nothing like what I have read. There are lots of cases where children haven’t been feed proir to school and even no lunches with them, that is why tuckshops have implented breakfasts for children now.As the volience part I honestly say I have not come across that in my childrens school, I have heard stories about drugs at high school, and knifes but not come across it myself. My eldest just started high school this year, and I would hate to think that he would have to deal with those kind of things like the children in New York, I have no doubts there would be gangs and knifing in some Australian schools. But all Schools simply cannot ensure the human right to education or create effective discipline and safety policies, without a healthy and respectful school culture. School culture is defined as the beliefs, attitudes, norms, behaviors, and relationships of the people that make up a school community. A positive culture supports “people feeling socially, emotionally, and physically safe” and requires that “students, families, and educators work together to develop, live, and contribute to a shared school vision.”
    This is what we all should be striving with our school enviroments. Creating a productive learning enviroment where the students feel safe and cared for as a human being as well as a student.
    I found this statement in http://www.education.tas.gov.au/school/health/inclusive/gender/support/construction/violence_and_school_culture
    Gender-based violence is one of the most difficult challenges facing all schools. However, there are schools which operate in a way that ensures that violence is isolated, infrequent, and managed through policy and programs. These schools are characterised by strong leadership, by staff who believe that violence can and should be reduced, and who are dedicated to effecting this change. These schools have a whole-school approach to addressing violence and they ensure that all students know their rights and responsibilities to themselves and others.
    I think the video link was fabulous on the designing the classroom, it would be fantastic, but realistically that is not going to happen in our established schools now, maybe in the future with new schools, but with the budgets schools get they can not afford that kind of equipment, if and when they have money it normally goes into resources like smartboards that are hooked up to computers that students can physically touch and move things on the screen, just for one of those is $11000. So you can see technology is not cheap, and schools that are already established probably would not spend money on fancy furniture.(I wish they could)
    Teachers can utilise the furniture they have and arrange them accordingly to the way they perfer to teach whether it is in traditional rows or semi cirlce style, more commonly used now it group setting, the classrooms, especially for the younger grades I find that teachers place coloured fabric of even rolls of coloured paper and all notice boards, so rooms to look more vibrant and once students art works go up they can look wonderful. Truly depends on the teacher.
    I liked Dreikur’s democratic approach although similiar to Glasser’s I related to this more. Two points he made are so true, Motivated by need to belong and be. Well don’t we all relate to this, one way or another. And attention seeking, power seeking, revenge seeking and displaying inadequency. All children do this one time or another, tiis actually quite common, and as Rozz Albon said in her lecture be aware of this, still be firm but kind to try to prevent the behaviours from occuring, perhaps even have a quite word or two with the students treating them like a person, and ask if you can help in any way or even that you are there to chat if they would like. all children want recognition, and all children need attention just make sure the attention you are giving is the right one for the right reasons.
    Effective teaching maximises student learning, that is what we are all here to learn to do. I think obviously the 5 essential tips for instruction are very important;
    *Select topics *Specify learning objectives *Prepare and organise learning objectives *Prepare assessments *Ensure that instruction and assessment are aligned with the learning objectives . Also important is FEEDBACK this is a important essential teaching skill especially in conjuction with assessments. As this allows students elaborate and revise on their thinking. Imagine doing this course or module, and having no feedback from your tutor, I know without it, I would be lost.

  171. Marg O'Sullivan says:

    Louise Porter is a well respected Australian child psychologist who has written numerous books and articles in relation to behaviour guidance. Her views sometimes attract critisim, but I really like her work.

    Her following article titled “Guiding Children’s Behaviour” talks about how to develop responsible bevhiouar in children:
    http://www.louiseporter.com.au/pdfs/developing_responsible_behaviour.pdf

  172. jenniferwitnish says:

    Positive learning environments, this is where students should feel safe and equal . Its about effective teaching, maximzsing the students learning. If we teach things interesting or of interest to the students then they are more likely to want to keep learning.

    • eleen44 says:

      Hi Jenniferwitnish, I agree, with your comment, students must feel safe and equal at all times in school as they spend so much time there. They go to school to learn and as a result I believe they must enjoy the learning process and at the same time feel safe.

  173. Courtney_Carr says:

    I have enjoyed reading the posts this week regarding positive learning environments. An important part of classroom management is having effective discipline strategies which will contribute to maintaining control in the classroom and ensure overall success in teaching and learning. As students spend the majority of their time at school, it is important to set ‘ground rules’ and routines early to allow students to feel a responsibility to own their behaviour (Eggen & Kauchak, 2009, p.353). By promoting student responsibility and understanding, teachers also promote social-emotional development and make their own jobs easier (Eggen & Kauchak, 2009, p.355). That is, students are more likely to obey rules if they understand they are there to protect themselves and other students in the classroom (Eggen & Kauchak, 2009, p.355). This will encourage safety, order and learning, which in turn promotes both motivation and achievement (Eggen & Kauchak, 2009, p.353).

    References

    Eggen, P. & Kauchak, D. (2009). Educational Psychology – Windows on classrooms (8th ed.). Pearson International edition, New Jersey: Pearson Education.

  174. rek58vn says:

    After reading the PDF on the US teacher report, it made me realise how fortunate we are in Australia to have an education system as we have. Even though it has it’s problems, when it comes to providing a safe learning environment. Wouldn’t it be a tragedy to our country if schools became so unsafe that they had to implement the security measures the NYC schools have taken. What has happen to American society, that make there schools feel so unsafe?I can imagine the inconvenience and discomfort of having to to searched each day by the SSA’s or police, using metal detectors ,plus feeling you are being watched with every move you made. No wonder students become aggravated and upset. The crazy thing about it all this security and expensive surveillance tools is that most teachers agree that it does nothing to proactively prevent violence or protect student’s rights.
    I like to hear your comments.

  175. vinniejohn says:

    After reading the American report regarding schools problems in the New york area I have no doubt that Australia n schools are of no comparison, but lessons can be learned.
    An example of this would be the high class numbers of over 30 making them difficult to manage. Here in australia levels are much lower, but there is still debate over what is an acceptable level… see links below for opposing views:

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/nation/teacher-not-class-size-key-to-results-says-report/story-e6frg6nf-1225953463212

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/11/15/3066520.htm

  176. bloggalotta says:

    I also agree with your comments Debd. How many children are not receiving any boundaries at home or have parents willing to follow through with consequences if rules have been broken? Children won’t learn to self-check their behaviour or respect anybody given these circumstances.

    I’m deeply saddened by what students and teachers have to live with in the US school system, let alone the babies that are being patted down on their way to child care within these US schools. Let’s pray it never comes to that here in the lucky country.

  177. Katrina says:

    Sound classroom management is important so that students are given the opportunity to learn in a positive and orderly environment, where inappropriate behaviour is kept to a minimum. Influencing students so that you promote positive behaviour in the classroom is more powerful than just trying to control it, which can mean the difference between a happy classroom with high achieving students and a classroom in disarray, with students not achieving to their full potential.
    Some of the elements teachers should consider when planning for a positive, happy and effective classroom could be

    - to be organised
    - have the ability to multi-task
    - making a smooth transition between activities
    - set rules from day one
    - praise desired behaviour
    - teach students the principles of friendship, caring, respect and trust
    - Show warmth and sensitivity – acknowledge student’s by name as the enter the classroom, learn about students’ interests, families and accomplishments outside of school
    - enlist parents’ support
    Students thrive in environments where they feel safe, nurtured and respected. All students, even those with learning difficulties and extraordinary personal challenges, can do well when they are physically comfortable, mentally motivated and emotionally supported.

  178. cassandramoscos says:

    I found a lot of this week’s reading and the lecture to be quite common sense. Yes, children need direction but they are human beings, just like the rest of us, and deserve to be treated as such. treat others how you wish to be treated has always seemed to work for me. Giving someone the perception of some control over their lives and providing a supportive environment for them to thrive in has always seemed to work in my opinion. I am also a realist and understand that all children are unique and you must accomodate this as well. But allowing them to be a part of the planning process and take responsibilty for their actions is primarily the number one way to ‘win them over’. I also really like the idea of asking them to come up with solutions or punishments when they act up. Interesting topic

    • Dalya says:

      I totally agree with you Cassandra, particularly to treat others as though you would like to be treated. Very wise words indeed and ones I have often reiterated to my children. Giving students someone the perception or indeed some control over their lives is another really important point and some advice I think I need to take for my 16yr daughter (I’m having trouble loosening the reigns and she’s really feeling it). So, thank you for a common sense perspective and the reminder!

      Yes and also the idea of asking them to come up with solutions or punishments when they act up is great.

    • I agree with you here, but unfortuantely, the thing about common sense is that it is not always common! I only have to think back to my own education to think of some of the teachers we had and the horrors that they inflicted on us!

      As a future teacher, I really want to try to remember to treat students, parents and collegues how I would like to be treated, with respect and kindness, wothout judgement, which seemed to be the central theme to the behaviour management theories in the lecture.