Other than that, Gay (2002) said that Culturally Responsive Classroom is defined as using the cultural characteristics, experiences, and the perspective of diverse students as a way to achieve effective teaching in a classroom (as cited in Dahlgren, 2015).
Monroe (2009) suggests that socio-cultural values are very important to establish effective classroom management. According to this model, the knowledge of the students’ cultural background helps the teachers to manage the classroom better. This is because the teachers may use some strategies that cater to the students’ social background. For example, corporal punishment are accepted in Malaysia but not in the United Kingdom. According to Gay (2002), when the teachers considered the students’ lives and voices in a classroom, the students will be more interested and making the learning process easier. This teaching style increase the students’ academic achievement (as cited in Dahlgren, 2015). On the other hand, Rogers (2007) believed that the Whole-school approach is effective in terms of classroom management.
It is a holistic approach where the whole school participates and follow a specific vision and mission that will encourage positive learning environment. Based on this approach, there are two basic principles of managing classroom namely positive reinforcement and negative reinforcement. As for the positive reinforcement, the teachers used some techniques to encourage positive behaviour from the students. This includes praise, support and also rewards. In terms of the school context, positive reinforcement has a wide range that involves how teachers can communicate, interact, manage, deal, and counsel the students professionally. As for the negative reinforcement, the teachers used strategies to eliminate or reduce undesired behaviour from the students. For example, the teachers give detention, physical punishment, suspension or dismissal depending on the level of misbehaviour conducted by the students (as cited in Wahab et al., 2013).
In addition there are also some recommendations to improve classroom management skills among the teachers. Firstly, Oliver & Reschly (2007) in their study recommended that in order to improve classroom management skills that will also help to increase the teachers’ professional development is to provide the pre-service teachers with instructional approaches for classroom management through coursework and guided practice with feedback. This is because in order to become a good teacher they must focus on building their own capabilities to use effective instructional strategies to prevent academic and behaviour difficulties from the students. Therefore, in order to get the students to respond positively to the teachers’ instruction, the teachers must first ensure that the instructional material that they implement is suitable and educationally relevant. They should also use guided practice as well as give immediate feedback and error correction for the students’ work. This is to avoid the students to feel frustrated and became less engage with the lesson if the task is too difficult for their level. The students can also receive feedback and correct their error without any delay so that they will be able to learn effectively.
I believe that this is a good recommendation as the teachers can focus more in getting the students’ attention in the classroom. The students who are given opportunities to participate in the class will become less disruptive and be able to demonstrate improved academic skills. Next, the second recommendation is to address the challenges facing the pre-service teachers in creating a positive classroom context. A quick survey or a meeting can be conducted to get insights on the challenges that they faced and they can discuss together on the strategies to lessen the classroom management problems. This is because, it is important to build a positive classroom context as it can help to shape the students’ behaviour in a positive manner. Therefore, the teachers should create a physical arrangement in a classroom that allow the students to feel safe, minimizes any distractions and able to provide the teachers with a good access to the students in order to respond to their questions. This can help the teachers to build rapport, reduce any inappropriate behaviour and increase the students’ participation in the class.
Thus, I believe that this recommendation is also good to be implemented in the classroom management courses because the pre-service teachers can discuss among them and come up with solutions that caters to their problems or issues in managing the students’ behaviour in school. As for the current and contemporary notions of the professional development in terms of the classroom management and discipline issues, a lot of views and perspective was built regarding the issue. According to Kariuki (2009), teacher quality is the most important factor in managing the students’ discipline and to increase the students’ achievement in the classroom. This is because an intensive professional development in classroom management is more likely to have an impact to enhance teachers’ knowledge and skills, and ultimately student achievement, compared to shorter professional development activities.
In addition, since the teachers have control over many factors that influence motivation, achievement and behavior of their students, professional development focusing on classroom management will enhance a teacher’s skills and performance in the classroom. Next, based on my point of view regarding the professional development that affected classroom management and discipline, I believe that teachers should be aware with their own responsibilities and continues to find opportunities to develop their skills professionally. The teachers should attend any professional development courses, seminars or events that is provided to ensure that they are updated with the current knowledge of classroom management and discipline. This is because classroom management is a skill that can only be obtained through constant practice and effort to do well in their profession. Lack of knowledge is the reason that the teachers faced failure to control the students’ behaviour and disciplinary issues in classrooms. Moreover, professional development will only be successful in terms of the student learning if it involves the involvement and support from the entire school community. Knowledge about teaching and learning is also very important and precise when the teachers shared their own experience based on the school culture and climate.
During my practicum session in SMK Saujana Utama in Sungai Buloh, Selangor, I faced some challenges in managing discipline issues. I was assigned to teach two classes which has low proficiency level and the classes are placed in the middle and second last in the class arrangement. Both of my classes have some discipline issues in which they did not attend the school, they did not finish their homework and many more. Even when I tried to advice and punish them it was not effective at all. They prefered to play in the classroom and have little respect for the teachers in the school. Other than that, there were always students who were brought to the discipline room to be punished by the discipline teacher.
I once found a group of students who hid in an empty hall during the teaching and learning session because they did not want to study and attend their class. When I arrived there, all of them started to run away from me and I could not even recognized the students as they were too many of them. The only thing that I can do at the time is to report the situation to the teachers on duty for that week.
I felt frustrated at first because I thought that I have no problem to utilize all the theories that I have learned before in managing classroom management issues. However, it is not as easy as it looks and I only get better after adapting to the school and receive advice from my mentor. This shows that professional development is very important as it can help the pre-service teachers to cope with any situations that might happen out of our calculations and predictions.
In conclusion, professional development is very important as it functions as the key to measure the teachers’ level of professional skills in their profession. Although some teachers may faced issues in handling classroom management and discipline issues in school, they can improve their lack of knowledge through attending professional development activities to improve their confidence level and gain informative input in managing any problems and challenges in school.