CRITICAL INCIDENTS 7
In a classroom setting, there are numerous incidents that can occur.Primarily, most of the issues that occur in the classroom aredisruptive and tend to interfere with the learning process. It isessential to note that issues can arise between students and teachersor between students. The management of a classroom requires skillsand experience. Notably, the management of a classroom is notnecessarily aimed at preventing interruptive behaviors, but also toprovide an atmosphere that fosters the spirit of inclusivity andteamwork, as well as community in the classroom (Hicks, 2015).Essentially, when managing a group of people, incidents ofdisagreement are bound to happen and interrupt the process of thegroup hence impeding the achievement of the group’s goals. Duringmy classroom observation, there were numerous incidents that occurredinvolving the teachers and the students. However, it is essential tonote that most of the incidents ended well owing to the effectivemanagement of the teachers. Even though some ended in an ugly manner,it is worth noting that the teachers did what was practicallypossible to help solve the situations.
One of the major incidents that I observed that involved both thestudents and the teacher was when a grade six learner was rewarded.Another student, who was close enough to get the highest mark, wasdissatisfied and jealous. Therefore, instead of congratulating therewarded learner, she goes against him and starts spreading a rumorthat the learner only passed because he cheated. The rumor spreadsextremely quickly in such a way that almost all the students knewthat the leader cheated in the examination. This created animosityamongst the learners who were in support and those who were againstthe rumor. Notably, when such rumors are being spread, the lastperson to know is the teacher (Pickering, 2013). Documented researchhas shown that the students stay in a mob-like aspect where they cankeep secrets. However, it was identified that some of the learnerswere eventually tired with the rumor and therefore, decided to informthe teacher. Since rumors can severely affect students and theirperformance in school, the teacher handled this incident with theurgency that it deserved. The teacher invited the learner who wasspreading the rumor and sought to understand the reasons behind hisbehavior. Furthermore, the teacher was interested in ensuring thatthe learner understands the consequences of her behavior. In order toensure that the incident ended well and set a good precedence forfuture incidents, the teacher invited the aggrieved learner andreconciled them in front of a counselor.
There are numerous lessons that can be learnt from this incident andhow it was handled. To start with, it is clear that learners can behighly secretive. It is role of the teacher to find out any issuesthat might be going on without his knowledge. It was also clear fromthe observation that it is not all learners who are happy when theyare not crowned as the best learners. Furthermore, it was evidentthat rewards are a vital element in the life of a learner. Theteacher needs to be actively involved in the affairs of the students.It was also clear that the management of such situations require theteacher to involve all the parties. The presence of a counselor alsoplayed a critical role in ensuring that the incident was successfullyresolved. In the future, when such incidents occur, there are fewstrategies that would help to resolve them quickly. It is essentialfor the teacher to have a learner’s representative who can reportany ongoing incidents among the other learners. Furthermore, before ateacher issues a reward to a learner, it is prudent to ensure thatthe other learners understand the purpose for issuing the reward(Belvel, 2010). This should be done while informing them that whoeverperforms well in the next examination will also receive a similarreward.
Another critical incident that I witnessed during my classroomobservation was when two female learners from the seventh grade inthe backseat were talking while the teacher was teaching. Clearly,the two learners were loud and their conversation was interferingwith the teaching and learning process. I observed that the learnerswere told to stop talking but they would stop for a while and thencontinue talking. The teacher was clearly pissed with this behaviorand he was getting impatient. This was an incident of indiscipline.It is essential to state that during my classroom observation,incidences of indiscipline were extremely few. This was a rare caseand it therefore, necessitated the full attention and reaction of theteacher. After various attempts to make the learners stop talking,the teacher decided to call the learners outside the classroom andfind out what could have been the problem.
After having a conversation with the two young girls, the teacherreported to me that one of the girl’s sister was critically ill andshe was feeling worried about her. The teacher made a phone call tothe parents and verified that indeed that the sister was sick. Inorder to ensure that the incident ended well, the teacher allowed thelearner to go home. It is essential to note that when a student isdisturbed mentally, he or she will not concentrate hence may notunderstand whatever the teacher is teaching. This situation becomesworse when the individual learner’s instability affects otherlearners such as in this case. While managing similar situations inthe future, it is essential to put various factors intoconsideration. When a learner engages in a disruptive behavior, it isrole of the teacher to call the individual learner aside and try tounderstand the motive behind such behavior (Brophy, 2014). It wasidentified that the teacher needs to address the learner separatefrom the class. If the learner has any psychological issues, it isprudent to offer the probable solution such as sending the learnerhome. It is also prudent to sympathize with the learner and show careand concern for the issue that he or she is going through.
The third critical incident that occurred was a fight between twolearners in the classroom. Two boys in the sixth grade fought andunfortunately one of the learners was injured with a sharp pen. Thiscreated panic in the classroom as the injured learner started cryingloudly and uncontrollably. The teacher intervened immediately andstopped the fight. Since the fight broke out while the lesson wasgoing on, it is essential to note that the learning process wasinterrupted and the lesson had to be stopped for a few minutes. Itwas found out that the learners were fighting over the ownership ofthe pen and one learner was injured accidentally. In order to dealwith the incident, the teacher called the two learners to thestaffroom and interrogated them to get to the bottom of the matter.While the learner never intended to injure the other learner, it isclear they were both aggravated. The teacher took the pen which wasunder ownership contestation and issued each of the learners with anew pen each. Furthermore, he warned the learners against engaging infights in the future and to try and solve disagreements by reportingto the teacher.
There are various lessons that can be learnt from this incident andapplied to solve future similar incidents. Firstly, it is essentialto separate the learners in a disagreement from the classmates andsettle the issue in seclusion. Furthermore, it is important tounderstand the source of the conflict and find out the easiest way tofind a solution. Additionally, it is prudent to inform he learners ofthe classroom rules and to warn them of dire consequences when theyengage in a similar confrontation (Hicks, 2015). However, it wasobserved that the teacher hardly focused on enlightening the learnersabout the rules and regulations in the classrooms. Furthermore, thelearners seemed not to be aware of the consequences of theirbehaviors. These are important components that needed to beincorporated into this classroom to ensure that such incidents areavoided.
During this observation, I noted that all the incidents, includingwhich were not mentioned here due to the limitation of time andspace, ended well with all parties being satisfied. The primaryelement that guaranteed these results was the role that the teacherplayed in handling the incidents. More often, learners require theinput of the teacher in order to feel satisfied. However, the teachermust also ensure that he or she is fair and all the learners feelcomfortable with the outcome (Vitto, 2013). It is important to notethat learners in the lower grades and middle grades are highlyprovocative and they should be handled with care. These incidentshave demonstrated that the classroom is a place that requires skillsand wisdom to manage and control. While learners have a common goalof passing their examinations and gain knowledge, it is essential tostate that they often engage in competitions.
While concluding, classroom incidents can sometimes turn chaotic andugly. Furthermore, they can result in injuries as it has beendemonstrated in one of the cases discussed above. The teacher musthave effective management skills where he or she can manage thelearners in a way that can lead to successful delivery of learningcontent. Wherever there is an incident in the classroom, the teachermust get to the bottom of the matter by identifying the causes of theincident. If it is a fight between learners, the teacher mustidentify the causes of the fight. The strategy that the teacher usesto address an incident must be geared towards improving the learningprocess and finding a permanent solution. When a learner ispsychologically disturbed and cannot concentrate in the classroom,the teacher should consider allowing such a learner to go home. Oneaspect that has been clear is that the teacher must always payspecial attention to the needs of every student.
Belvel, P. S. (2010). Rethinking classroom management:Strategies for prevention, intervention, and problemsolving. Thousand Oaks, Calif: Corwin Press.
Brophy, J. E. (2014). Teaching problem students. NewYork: Guilford Press.
Hicks, C. D. (2015). What successful teachers do in inclusiveclassrooms: 60 research-based teaching strategies thathelp special learners succeed. Thousand Oaks, Calif: Corwin Press.
Pickering, D. (2013). Classroom management that works:Research-based strategies for every teacher.Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and CurriculumDevelopment.
Vitto, J. M. (2013). Relationship-driven classroommanagement: Strategies that promote student motivation.Thousand Oaks, Calif: Corwin Press.