Teach English in Hepu Zhen - Huanggang Shi

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It comes as no surprise that children learn their behaviors from adults. Such can be witnessed in the famous psychology study of Bobo the Clown, where two groups of children were put in a room with an inflatable clown; one group had previously seen an adult abuse the doll, the other did not. The findings were that “children who witnessed an adult pummeling the doll were likely to show aggression.” In this case, we can see that children use adults as models for their behavior. Teachers, due to the amount of time spent with children, are also important models for behavior. For the sake of brevity, this paper will refer to “students” as elementary school aged children. If a teacher punished a student who was wasting class time by sending them out of a room, for example, they may learn that ignoring people with whom they have problems with is an effective solution. Children should learn through praising of good behavior, and that their actions will hold consequences, in order to have a healthier classroom environment. Children are figuring out the world around them, and seek approval from those older than them. Whether they notice it or not, students look to their teacher for the same encouragement. If a student is modelling ideal behavior, it is important to let them know so. Praise can be verbal, like a simple “Good job!”, or material, such as giving out stickers. In this way, teachers can establish expectations in the class in a positive manner. Some children may be intrinsically motivated, so verbal praise is enough to satiate their hunger for approval. Those who are persuaded by external factors may be easily swayed by a small, material reward. If a problem student sees the praise that others get for modelling certain behavior, they will be encouraged to act on the same model actions, which make for a more functional classroom. If, however, problem behaviors are a constant nuisance to the class, students should learn that there are natural consequences to their actions. They have been raised in a home environment, where they may or may have been taught that their actions have consequences. In the classroom, one could be dealing with upwards of thirty students with different upbringings and definitions of “consequence.” In the classroom, it should be a “natural” one, meaning that the action and subsequent consequence are clearly connected. For example, if the same student, who was mentioned in the introduction, was disrupting the classroom and wasting class time, was made to use their own break time to finish up their work, they would see that wasting class time ultimately means wasting their own free time. In this way, problem behaviors are dealt with in a healthier, non-aggressive way, promoting personal growth for the student, as well as a benefit for the classroom environment. Punishment should not be used in the classroom; rather, using praise and natural consequences is more conducive in making a prospering classroom. School-aged children crave approval from their older role models, and seeing others being praised by their teacher for better actions will encourage them to make more model student choices. As well, having consequences that are directly related to the actions of the student are effective in having them realize their mistake, and how they can avoid the negative consequence in the future. Punishment in the classroom would make the dynamics feel negative, and should not be used. If the teacher can use more positive influences on their children, they too will choose positive behaviors in their classroom.