General Series Editor: Kerry J. Kennedy, The Hong Kong Institute of Education
The volumes in the series set out to provide contextualized reflections on issues thatmost teachers come across. Each volume will delve into discussions that will enhanceand improve teaching skills. The series covers a wide range of topics includingcurriculum and assessment, understanding and managing diversity, guidance andcounselling, and human development.
Hue Ming-tak and Li Wai-shing
Hong Kong University Press14/F Hing Wai Centre7 Tin Wan Praya Road
Hong Kong University Press 2008
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Foreword by Kerry J. Kennedy vii
1. Understanding Classroom Behaviour and Situations 1
2. The Influence of Chinese Culture on Hong Kong Classrooms 21
3. Effective Classroom Management 45
4. Managing Misbehaviour 63
5. Approaches to Students Misbehaviour 85
6. Enhancing Communication and Strengthening Teacher-Student 109Relationships
7. Promoting Positive Peer Relationships 129
8. Collaboration with Colleagues to Improve Classroom Behaviour 149
9. Working with Parents to Create a Positive Classroom Environment 165
10. Learning from Classroom Experience: Reflection and Action 183Research
Teachers play a fundamental role in the social and economic development of anysociety. Their preparation as professionals to meet the challenges of post-modern livingis a key priority for both governments and universities. Many changes have takenplace in teacher education since the establishment of formal institutions of teachingtraining in Hong Kong over one hundred years ago. Today, the Hong Kong governmentis committed to an all graduate, all trained profession and university level institutionsare now responsible for all teacher education across early childhood, primary andsecondary education. It is against this background that the Hong Kong TeacherEducation Series has been developed.
The incentive behind the series is simple: the need for resources that reflect localvalues, professional contexts and cultures. The market for resources is dominated byWestern materials that are either embedded in non-local contexts or that assume thereis a general context that is relevant across cultural boundaries. Such resources, ofcourse, can be useful but they do not help Hong Kongs future teachers appreciate andunderstand the unique contexts that characterize Hong Kongs schools. Thus the HongKong Teacher Education Series will provide culturally relevant resources that embedboth theory and practice in local classroom contexts.
Hong Kongs aspirations to be a bilingual triliterate society will be reflected inthe Hong Kong Teacher Education Series. Dual-language versions of the resourcematerial will be produced for use in either Chinese or English teacher education contexts.This is recognition of the centrality of language in the lives of Hong Kong people. Itplaces value on both English and Chinese in the teaching/learning process and willensure that the resources are accessible to all teacher education students in Hong Kong.
The initial titles that have been selected for this series reflect the needs of futureteachers in Hong Kongs classroom: classroom management, assessment for learning,managing and understanding diversity. Subsequent titles will deal with curriculum,human development, and school guidance and counselling. These professional areaswill introduce teacher education students directly to the concepts, ideas and practicesthey will need as young professionals in Hong Kongs classroom. Case studies ofactual school practice will bring the text to life as students engage with the realities of
actual teachers and classrooms. This will help to prepare them in a realistic and practicalway so that they are well prepared for their own students and classrooms.
As important as the focus on practice is in this series, it does not mean that theoryhas been neglected. Concepts, ideas and issues are located in broader theoretical andcultural contexts but not in an abstract way. For teachers, classrooms and studentsprovide the ultimate context against with theories can be tested and cultures can bebetter understood. In these challenging and demanding times, teachers need to befully equipped with the latest thinking and ideas based on research and advances inunderstanding. Yet these must always be tested in the laboratory of practice so thatteachers are not only knowledgeable but they also know how to translate this knowledgeinto action that can benefit students.
In developing this series, I have been grateful for the dedication of my colleaguesat the Hong Kong Institute of Education. They have taken up the challenge of writingand shown great commitment in providing meaningful and relevant resources for theirstudents. I am also grateful to Senior Management at the Hong Kong Institute ofEducation since they supported this endeavour from the very beginning. I have alsobeen encouraged by Hong Kong University Press which has seen the value of theseries and the need to support Hong Kongs future teachers. As is so often the case ineducational matters, collaboration and cooperation can produce great outcomes, and Ibelieve such has been the case in this instance.
Hong Kongs future is in no small way linked to the quality of its teachers andtheir capacity to support the learning of young people throughout this new century.Hopefully, the Hong Kong Teacher Education Series will contribute to this importantobjective.
Kerry J. KennedyGeneral Series EditorThe Hong Kong Teacher Education Series
Teachers in Hong Kong, like those elsewhere, are concerned about classroom discipline.During the period we worked with them, they had expressed grave concern about howto handle students misbehaviour positively and effectively. This is the case particularlyfor those who feel it necessary to defend their roles as teachers when facing difficultclasses and spend most of the time on discipline rather than instruction. This book isbased on listening to their inner voices and recognizing their needs. In it, we haveattempted to provide practical ideas and theoretical frameworks for student teachers,in-service teachers and school managers to help them develop ways of creating andmaintaining learning environments in which teaching is conducive to better learning,positive discipline is exercised, and helping relationships between teachers and students,and among students, are established.
By combining literature, research evidence and examples from everyday practice,we encourage teachers to develop their personal systems of classroom managementand ways of engaging their students in learning. For this purpose, the book examinesclassroom management in both Chinese and Western societies, especially recentdevelopments for managing discipline in non-confrontational and supportive ways.Other topics of concern to all teachers, such as managing challenging behaviour,establishing classroom rules, communicating authority and coping with bullying, arealso dealt with. A broad perspective is taken to view issues in classroom discipline atthe whole-school and cultural levels.
In this book, we invite teachers to consider what constitutes a positive learningenvironment and cover the following topics to help them in this endeavour: Classroom behaviour is examined from an interactionist perspective, and teachers
are led in particular to look closely at the contexts in which incidents and problemsarise (see Chapter 1).
An effort is made to raise teachers awareness of cultural influences on theirbeliefs and practices of discipline (see Chapter 2).
The major components of effective classrooms which teachers must take intoaccount in constructing an inviting environment for students are identified, andteachers roles as good classroom managers are discussed (see Chapter 3).
A continuum of strategies for managing student misbehaviour is examined, tofacilitate personal planning (see Chapter 4).
Various approaches and models for managing classrooms are introduced, and aframework with simple and practical strategies to help teachers in using them isoutlined (see Chapter 5).
The importance of good communication for productive teacher-pupil relationshipsis stressed, and ways of inviting communication and communication roadblocksare analysed (see Chapter 6).
Various strategies are suggested for enhancing friendship among students to enrichtheir school lives and learning experience, including the teaching of some socialand emotional skills which promote and maintain positive relationships amongpeers (see Chapter 7).
The benefits of collaboration are emphasized and practical ideas are given toenable teachers to identify contexts in which they can work collaboratively andcollegially to deal with issues of concern and develop action plans forimplementing change (see Chapter 8).
The potential contribution of parents to improving classroom behaviour and thequality of learning both inside and outside the classroom is highlighted, andteachers are advised to create contexts in which positive and creative partnershipswith them can take place (see Chapter 9).
Reflection and action research are promoted as effective means for examiningand tackling problems in the classroom, and ways of establishing personalmanagement plans are introduced (see Chapter 10).
Our schools are subject to increasing demands for particular sorts of performance inthe current wave of educational reform and the overwhelming culture of auditing andaccountability. This may narrow our attention, diverting it from those aspects whichcontribute to healthy behaviour, helping relationships, a positive learning environmentand effective achievement. Classroom management is, after all, about creating anenvironment that is inviting and appealing, so that students are pleasantly engaged intheir learning and teachers share their enjoyment of the learning process. Only whenthe efforts of management fail should teachers have to resort to controlling orintervention strategies.
It is hoped that this book will broaden the ways in which teachers examineclassroom episodes and provide insights into how to create a positive environmentwhere all school participants work together for the welfare of students and put effortinto making things better.
1Understanding Classroom Behaviour
A leader is best when people barely know that he exists; not so good whenpeople obey and acclaim him; worst when they despise him. Fail to honourpeople, they fail to honour you. But of a good leader, who talks little, whenhis work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will all say, We did this ourselves.
(Lao Zi, 500 BC)
This chapter encourages teachers to continue to expand their repertoire of classroommanagement and discipline strategies. It offers a broad view of classroom managementand stresses its positive functions in promoting students academic, social andemotional growth. An interactionist perspective is adopted and its theoreticalframework is explained, with the cycle of interaction being used to highlight thecomplexity of classroom behaviour. Some types of classroom situations are thendescribed, and their implications for good classroom management strategies areoutlined. The discussion then shifts from whole-class to individual behaviour, forexplaining which a framework of ten important questions is introduced. Finally,the chapter focuses on the importance of identifying patterns of classroom behaviourfor effective management.
After reading this chapter, you should be able to: define the term classroom management and identify its purposes; take an interactionist perspective in examining classroom behaviour; identify features of classroom situations and their implications for behaviour
2 Classroom Management
explain classroom behaviour by examining the linkages between the situation,the person and the behaviour;
use the framework of ten important questions for diagnosing classroombehaviour.
Pre-Reading Reflection and Discussion
What factors contribute to the creation of an effective classroom? What do teachers and students do in an effective classroom? How can a classroom be managed in an effective manner? What kinds of student behaviour should be viewed as misbehaviour? What are the common causes of student misbehaviour? How may students explain their misbehaviour? How might this differ from
teachers explanations? What can be done to prevent student misbehaviour? What are the best ways for students to become disciplined?
Teachers clearly wish to teach effectively and make learning meaningful for students.However, they are often frustrated in attaining their goals because of behavioural andacademic problems of some students for whom they are responsible. Many teachersask: How can a good classroom be created and maintained? Effective classroommanagement does not, of course, happen automatically, even with proper teacher andstudent attitudes and expectations in place. How a teacher manages the classroom willhave an important influence on whether most of the time is spent on promoting learningor on confronting management and discipline problems. There is no single best way tomanage classrooms; and no one model or theory can address the great variety ofcircumstances and difficulties teachers encounter.
In the following case, before Miss Yeung entered the classroom, the whole classwas in chaos. Why did the students behave in this way? What do you think MissYeung could do to restore order and avoid this happening again?
After playtime, Miss Yueng was on her way to take class 3B for an Englishlesson. When she got close to the classroom, she heard a very loud noise, and
Understanding Classroom Behaviour and Situations 3
she was surprised to find that the door was closed. When she opened it, she sawfive students standing in front of the blackboard drawing graffiti, and four othersthrowing folded paper to each other. At the same time, a group of students wasbusy decorating the display boards at the back of the class. Also, three studentswere chasing a classmate and others were chatting and laughing.
Definition of Classroom Management
Effective management is a key factor contributing to a positive classroom environment.While considerable effort and attention has been directed to the development of teachersinstructional r...