Classroom rules and procedures shape the learning experience, allowing students to understand what is expected of them and foster a positive learning environment within the classroom. Rules are necessary within the classroom and society in general. The classroom is often times one of the first experiences that students have to teach them about life and expectations as members of society. For this topic, two in classroom activities and the behavioral expectations for these will be examined: the use of learning centers and cooperative learning groups.
We will also consider two out of classroom activities and the behavioral expectations associated with these: field trips and assemblies. Finally, we will discuss evaluation methods that can be put in place to determine the level of understanding of behavioral expectations for these situations. For the first in-class activity, learning centers, we will first take into consideration the size of the group. Learning centers are most commonly small group activities consisting of three to four students.
Learning centers should be areas in which students can complete simple tasks that support and reinforce material that is being taught in the classroom. Say, for example a class is learning about plant life. The teacher lectures on the topic and has a whole class activity that is to be completed by the end of the week. Learning centers can reinforce this topic across a wide variety of subjects. There could be a writing center in which students are given a topic such as the stages of plant growth.
A math center which might include counting seeds or other plant related material and a science center that could outline the stages of plant growth would reinforce material covered in large group instruction. There could be a computer learning center where there might be a matching game, where students match stages of a plant’s life cycle with vocabulary words. Throughout all of these activities, rules of behavior would be of utmost importance. Small group activities such as these learning centers usually have minimal teacher supervision.
Here is a situation in which behavioral expectations are crucial. Rules such as stay in your assigned area, complete the assigned task and assist peers in your station would be critical for students to understand. Cooperative learning groups are the second topic that will be covered. This is similar to learning centers in that students would need to assist their peers within the group, stay in their assigned groups and complete the task assigned.
However, another important rule might be to complete your individual task assigned. In cooperative learning groups, many times a large topic or task is broken down into individual jobs and these are assigned to each student who researches a particular topic and comes back to the group to inform them of their findings. The first out of class activity we will look at is field trips. Field trips are an exciting part of the learning experience, often times bringing to life what has been taught in the classroom.
This is an experience that mandates students understanding specific rules of behavior. First and foremost, is the rule to stay with your group. Students need to understand the importance of staying close to your teacher/other authorized school adult so that they return safely. Another rule would be to behave appropriately as the environment calls. For example, a student would behave very differently visiting a library vs. visiting an arcade. Discussion on the location that the field trip takes place would be crucial.
How one should dress, what noise level is appropriate and other topics would need to be explained to students. The next out of class activity is assemblies. An assembly is an activity that requires multiple classrooms and hence, differing age levels of a school to come together. This can be a situation that is ripe for negative behavior. There are many purposes for assemblies including special appearances of community members or other recognized individuals, or award ceremonies or special recognitions.
Since most assemblies include the whole school, they tend to include large numbers of people and are often quite noisy. Rules that students would need to know include keeping a moderate noise level, walking in an orderly and appropriate fashion and keeping an eye on the teacher to know when to enter and exit an area. During the assembly ceremony, rules that need to be outlined include being attentive to the speaker and participating, if appropriate.
The question arises of how we can accurately gauge a student’s understanding of behavioral expectations. The old adage of practice makes perfect would be appropriate here. For situations such as assemblies or field trips, a teacher could utilize practice sessions, coaching students on appropriate behavior in those situations, even having a mock assembly or similar activity to gauge how well students understand their responsibilities in that environment.
The teacher could provide tips and tricks for the students to attend to such as always keep your eye on the speaker, which shows respect for the person giving the presentation. A more tangible method might be a multiple choice test given to the class. Depending on the age level of students, scenarios could be written asking students to circle the appropriate behaviors and cross out inappropriate behaviors. Rules and procedures are a vitally important lesson taught in classrooms. They are usually the building blocks of kids becoming productive members of society.