Effective classroom management is necessary to ensure that students meet curricular requirements which will enable them to excel on state standardized assessments. Even though these assessments are the guiding standards that revel the effectiveness of education, without such techniques these efforts will become futile to say the least. Teachers can effectively use classroom techniques that directly enhance the education of students of color.
Students of color exhibit several behaviors that teachers can benefit from when implementing classroom management techniques. Classroom management is the process by which teachers and schools create and maintain appropriate behavior of students in classroom settings. However, when teachers and administrators develop strategies, they take little responsibility in how their behavior impacts the behaviors of students of color. School administrators, teachers, and other personnel must stop operating on the assumption that all the reasons for the failures rest with students of color and take some of the responsibilities.
Administrators and teachers receive specialized training in order to become certified. During that specialized training it is their responsibility to become more in tune with the different behaviors of students of color. This is important because many believe that teachers discriminate against students by stereotyping according to ethnicity.
Many of the cultural differences between teachers and students are directly related to differences in instructional, verbal and nonverbal behaviors. Instructional procedures include cultural values, perceptions, and orientations that differ from those of Black students. Students who are not interested in school may meet teacher demands for compliance with resistance. Blacks acquire cultural values, attitudes, and learning styles that conflict with values, attitudes, and learning styles needed for success in public schools.
One of the first classroom management techniques that teachers must consider is from an instructional perspective. If the material is not interesting to the students, then the students are more likely to act out in the class and create an environment that is not conducive to learning. Many school social codes are unfamiliar and opposed to culturally diverse student home codes. Blacks have difficulty with school instructional concepts and ideas that are absent in their community, culture, or economic environment that ignore or misrepresent their present condition. As a classroom management technique, teachers must correlate familiarities to the curriculum and the students home environment. For example, as a former math teacher, when I taught the concept of area, I always correlated it to their room. I went as far as to require that the students take measurements of their room and calculate the area of the room.
Another instructional process is cooperative learning. Cooperative learning structures provide a cultural match for Hispanic students. Hispanics value people and relationships over task accomplishment. Most Hispanics enjoy working together in groups which includes community-oriented projects and working together on homework. Many Hispanic students are more cooperative, and group oriented when compared to Anglo students, and therefore Hispanic students may allow other students to copy their classwork or test in order to show helpfulness, brotherhood, and generosity.
Blacks prefer to work in groups too. Black students do well when the teacher incorporates a socialization learning model that works to benefit the group. Black peer-based cooperation in learning translates into cheating for teachers. Teachers may interpret Blacks’ natural instinct to seek peer assistance as cheating, copying, or frivolous socializing. Black students work and function better in cooperative, informal, and loosely structured environments where teachers and students work together to achieve a common goal.
The best classroom management technique involves developing positive racial relationships between teachers and students. Positive relationships at schools and in the classroom are in many ways the prerequisites for effective learning and behavior. Students and teachers who are warm, compassionate, and friendly toward one another in the classroom have the potential to improve instruction, learning, and classroom management.
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All the best,
Dr. Derrick L. Campbell, Ed.D.