You are the teacher of a 5th grade class. Two students finished their assignment early, one student arrived late, and one student is not attempting the assignment. Being able to have the skills to handle situations like this takes practice and experience. The skills that are required are the ones that complete Jacob Kounin’s Classroom Management Model, “Lesson Movement. ” Kounin’s theory on classroom management was the first to integrate instructional and disciplinary aspects of the classroom.
The basis of the model is for teachers to be organized, prepared, and use proactive behavioral management combined with high student involvement with the goal of leading to a more effective classroom while minimizing disruptive behavior. Kounin coins his theory as Lesson Movement, comprised of techniques called: withitness, overlapping, momentum, smoothness, and group focus (“Classroom Management Theorist and Theories/Jacob Kounin,” 2009). Withitness is the ability of a teacher to know everything that is going on in his/her classroom at all times to prevent discipline problems before they occurred.
However, as important as it is for teachers to achieve this skill, it is just as important for students to believe they their teacher is “withit. ” Students will still act disruptively if they feel the teacher does not notice them. Some ways that teachers can display this technique are: consistently suppress misbehaviors of exactly those students who began the problem; dealing with the more serious of two discipline problems occurring simultaneously; and decisively handling off-task behavior before it gets out of hand or imitated by other students(“Whom are We Talking About: Jacob Kounin,” 2008).
Similar to withitness, overlapping involves the ability to attend to multiple classroom events at one time, and avoiding fixating on one event at the expense of all other classroom activities. For example, if a teacher is conducting small group assignments, and a pair is off task, a teacher may address them from a distance while still conducting the activity. (“The Kounin Model,” 2008). Momentum is keeping the lesson moving briskly, requiring the teacher to plan effectively to avoid slow downs.
Kounin believes that teachers should not lecture for a long period of time to allow students to gain knowledge by moving around and maximizing their allotted time. By minimizing delays and interruptions, causes students will not lose interest and misbehave. (Charles, 1989). In conjunction with momentum is smoothness. While lecturing, a teacher must maintain direction and not drift off on tangents, be diverted with irrelevant questions and information or fall victim to “flip flops,” “dangles,” or “truncation.
”Otherwise, students will be confused and act out from loss of interest. (“Classroom Management Theorist and Theories/Jacob Kounin,” 2009) Lastly, Kounin refers to group focus as the ability to engage the whole class. Some techniques he offers are: building suspense or ask community questions Though community questions may appear random, it draws the group’s attention and intrigue. The teacher must incorporate procedures to handle multiple situations at once to maintain group focus.
For example, if a student completes an assignment early, he/she must have a back up plan such as providing another assignment or enrichment activity while he/she helps other students that are struggling (“Classroom Management Theorist and Theories/Jacob Kounin,” 2009). Kounin’s Model of Classroom Management is an important topic for teacher’s today, because it is one of the most difficult skills to acquire. Student-centered classrooms and discovery lessons are becoming much more popular in our classrooms, leading to a more active learning environment.
Being able to handle multiple situations at once, keeping students engaged, maintaining momentum and smoothness in your lessons and transitions takes experience. These are the most difficult techniques for a first year teacher to learn; therefore, making them a habit during that year will allow for mastery of these skills to occur. I believe that Kounin’s Model is important to develop an effective classroom environment; however, discipline problems will occur, no matter the amount of preventive planning a teacher makes.
Kounin does not address his procedures for disciplining, if he would or would not discipline children differently, nor does he address misbehaving as a response to some factor that is outside of the teacher’s control. As a teacher, I would incorporate Kounin’s theory in my teaching planning and practices, though remembering that each student may require different accommodations. References Charles, C. M. (1989) Building Classroom discipline: from models to practice. New York City, New York: Longmans Inc.. Teacher Matters, (2008).
The Kounin Model. Retrieved May 31, 2009 Teacher Matters http://www. teachermatters. com/index. php? option=com_content&view=article&id=9:kounin-model&catid=4:models-of-discipline&Itemid=4 WikiBooks, Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. (2009).
Overview/History of Jacob Kounin’s Work. Retrieved May 28, 2009, from http://en. wikibooks. org/wiki/Classroom_Management_Theorist_and_Theories/Jacob_Kounin WikiEd. (2008). Whom are we talking about: Jacob Kounin. Retrieved June 8, 2009 from http://wik. ed. uiuc. edu/index. php/Kounin,_Jacob.
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