I recently read an article on the behaviorist theory. It was a good review from my Educational Psychology class in college. Here were some highlights:
1) Key Ideas:
a. You must understand your students’ culture to succeed in classroom management.
b. You must understand your student’s culture to be able to connect with them.
c. You need to know your students – who causes disturbances, be able to handle more than one disturbance at a time.
d. You must be able to communicate and be “in touch” with your students.
e. Teachers need to expose themselves to adolescent culture (but they don’t need to embrace it, meaning become it as well).
f. Affirm students excitement for particular events (may cause a lack of concentration…)
g. Relate content to students’ outside interests.
h. Know your students.
i. Share your humanity with your students.
2) Application for Teaching:
a. Find out what where your students are from, their home background, what is most important to them, what culture are you surrounded by at the school and in the community…
b. You need to understand what is important to your students and what they connect with, what role do you take in their culture (their parents view), etc.
c. Be in control of your classroom by knowing which students will cause disturbances so that you can stop them before they become a problem. Give students a solution to work towards and then go help another group of students if there is more than one disturbance at the same time.
d. Use terms that they understand and that are personally meaningful to them.
e. You can be aware of new movies, books, music, activities, fashions going on, but do not need to become exactly like one of the students (you are their teacher, not their peer).
f. Find out what activities are going on in the school and if at all possible try to focus that excitement for the event in class (apply what you are teaching to their situation). Be excited with students.
g. Find out what your students really enjoy and then draw on their experiences and knowledge from that to help connect content to them. They can even help teach according to their interest.
h. Each individual child is different, find out what makes them unique. What do they respond well to.
i. Let your students get to know you and have fun with them as well.
3) Reaction: (Agree, Disagree, Questions):
a. I agree with this whole heartedly because you have to understand what is important to your students and try to see the why behind their behavior before you can understand what is most important to them and what they really need.
b. It depends what you are teaching and how you are trying to teach.
c. This will avoid problems before they even have a chance to occur.
d. Students need to have a good relationship with you to care enough about what you are saying
e. You need to be able to understand and draw upon the students lives and culture, but you cannot become totally apart of it or they will not have the same respect for you.
f. Students will see how much you care and be able to focus better when their excitement is acknowledged.
g. Students will relate what they are learning and care a lot more about what they are learning if what they are learning has to do with something they really love.
h. If you know your students you will be able to relate the lesson to them and know how to best help them as individuals.
i. As students get to know you they will see you as a real person and not just an authoritarian figure.
Gordon R.L. (1997) How novice teachers can succeed with adolescents. Educational Leadership (54(7), 56-58).