I work at White hill secondary school, and I am in the management team of the school. We formed a committee, and I was chosen to be the team leader of the committee. We were working on various tasks, and I was asked to investigate whole the school’s behavior management policies by critically analyzing and evaluating systems that support inclusive student participation and engagement class and school activities. Behavior management in school generally refers to the process by which a school administration and in the teachers of a specific school develop and maintain proper conduct that is, the behavior of students in classroom settings and the school in general (Olson et al. 2018). For any institution to perform correctly, it has to have appropriate behavior management policies. These policies ensure that the behavior of any child or any member of an institution does not have any adverse effect on other members or beneficiaries of the institution.
It is the work of to address and control any undesirable behavior that arises. Behavior management, especially in school, is essential because every student should be protected from any form of bad behavior, whether mental, physical, emotional or verbal. Every student has the right to be treated in a just and fair manner. Schooling aims to raise students who are so disciplined so that they can become better and productive citizens of a country in the future. We all know that without discipline success becomes very difficult. This is because it is the discipline that keeps the school going and keeps people focused towards their goals (Dubois, & Eyckmans, 2015). Regulation is the one that enables people to go an extra mile, and that is the way to success. Secondary students are still young and need to be guided continually to the right paths as far as discipline is concerned. This is now the importance of behavior management policies in a school. Behavior management in schools is a process and has policies and strategies that are usually adhered to when implementing it.
First, I decided to start my research by analyzing various aspects of student life when in school. The reason for this was to establish the many practices set by the behavior management policies to see whether the methods support inclusive student participation and engagements in class and student activities (Maag, 2016). I first started by analyzing how students are taught in classes to see whether the practices used to ensure student participation and engagements in the ranks. I did this analysis through observation of ongoing lessons and by talking face to face with various students from different levels. In Whitehill secondary school, one method that teachers used in classes was by first giving direct instructions to the students. Here, the teachers came to class and introduced the various topics and taught the students first. This is to provide them with an understanding of what is being shown so that they can grab the content first (Luthans, & Doh, 2018).
The teachers here have all the authority in the class where they coach and facilitate the students learning and the overall understanding of materials being used. The teachers then gave room for the students to ask any questions concerning the content or the topic taught. Not only were they to ask questions but also the teachers gave them an opportunity to make any comments concerning what the teacher had taught (Spies, Scheller, & Bolte, 2018). I also noted that the teachers gave the students various instructions at the beginning of every lesson. For example, one teacher instructed that if one had a question, he or she should raise his or her hand or uses phrases like ‘excuse me, sir or madam.' The teacher also instructed that no student should speak while another student was speaking. This to me was an impressive thing as it showed that proper behavior management policies were being implemented in the school. The practice of allowing students to ask questions, comment and not interrupt one another was one way of promoting inclusive student participation and engagements in class. The teachers also formed students discussion groups where the teachers gave questions or various topics to each group to discuss. This helps every student to get a chance to contribute and learn more from each other (Allison, Farmer, & Spradling, 2016). However, the teachers did not have a decision, or instead, they were indifferent about the types of punishments that they should give to the students.
Secondly, I looked at how students at our school, Whitehill secondary school took part in sports activities ( Kerzner et al. 2017). The school timetable for every class has a time scheduled for games every single day. When students are physically fit, they tend to succeed and achieve more academically. The different sports activities help the student to develop a sense of friendliness among them because they get to interact with those of different classes. Sports activities also help the students to build their team spirit (Kellner et al. 2017). This is very important as students can learn how to work together not only in the field but also when doing class work. Sports improve the wellbeing of the students as well as their blood circulation. This improves their mental toughness that is essential for their class work as it promotes their participation and engagement in school activities.
The school also allows the students to take part in an inter-school sports competition, where our students get the opportunity to compete with students from other schools. Winners of different sports are given various awards. This serves as a motivation for the students to actively participate in the school activities (Lewin et al. 2016). When students take part in sports activities, it helps them to reduce stress and pressure that helps improve the student's behavior as they are thinking well. This is because sports help develop the student's mental health. In addition, teams are usually penalized for any indiscipline and can be disqualified from the tournament. This behavior management policy allows the students to maintain discipline and ethical conduct. This practice of encouraging the students to take part in sports activities has not only improved the student's behavior but also has supported student participation and engagement in school activities (Adamek, Darrow, & Jellison, 2014). The only problem was that there were no strict rules that required every student to be in the field or to take part in a sports activity.
Thirdly, another practice that takes place at our school, Whitehill secondary school is the availability of special classes for various classes on Thursday evenings. In these classes, a professor or an expert comes to talk to the students about the importance of adherence to school rules and routines. Routines are usually the backbone of daily school life. They ensure proper teaching and learning goes on in school (Bottino et al. 2016). Methods help the students to not only be good time-keepers when in school but also when they are at home and even in the future when they will be grown-ups. Routines also make student life more comfortable and help them achieve more.
The individual classes also teach the importance of adhering to school rules. This enforces the virtue of obedience among the students that is a significant aspect of a person's life. The purity of obedience to rules shows that you have respect for the governing authority and hence you are labeled as a respectable person (Bourke-Taylor et al. 2018). Willingness shows that you have trust in those making decisions. Obedience, respect, and trust are excellent behavior that every institution especially schools always aim to instill in their students. They usually advocate for respect among each other and also respect or teachers and all members of the school. Adherence to the set school rules and routine here in Whitehill secondary school is a practice that has supported inclusive student participation and engagement in class and school activities.
In Whitehill secondary school, we have counseling programs for students. In these counseling programs, various issues are discussed. Mostly, the age between 7-9 is when the young people are in the period of change where they are transitioning to young adults. The transition brings about many changes in the young student's life, and therefore the counseling services are meant to support the development. Some students struggle to cope with those changes ( Shahidullah, 2018). Encouraging the students during this crucial time is helpful for their wellbeing and emotional health. Managing these transitions successfully helps the young student’s transition into adulthood with confidence.
During the counseling programs, one counselor told me that they encourage the students to develop self- awareness that is, trying to concentrate on them to understand their self in a better way. They are also urged always to know their beliefs and have their own opinions about many topics from a relationship perspective. This helps the student to be open-minded and improve their reasoning capabilities (Kaufman, 2018). They are also advised to always learn from their own and others experiences. This is very important because it helps the students always to reflect on how their behaviors affect other students and hence they can act in a manner that does not negatively influence other students. The practice of learning from others experiences is that it supports inclusive student engagement in their activities.
The method of counseling students is one way that helps to reduce and stop indiscipline cases more especially among students. Counseling promotes dialogue, where a student can air out their problem, and the counselor helps to solve it unlike in some cases where a student does not have anyone to share with their difficulties hence end up involving themselves in indiscipline cases. This also enhances the student's performance and participation in both class and school activities. Counseling helps one understand the consequences of one's behavior. My analysis should that ever since the introduction of these counseling classes, the cases of bad behavior that have been reported have reduced by a significant percentage. This is the main aim of this practice that was introduced by the behavior management policies of this school. When student’s behavior improves, they become keener on the activities that take place in a school that means that their participation and engagement levels in class and school activities generally increases (Haas et al. 2014). Counseling helps one understand the consequences of one's behavior. However, the counseling programs did not involve one to one conversation with a counselor, but the counselors offer their services to the students as a group.
Another practice that has supported inclusive student participation and engagement in class and other school activities is the fact that in Whitehill secondary school, you are responsible for your conduct and behavior. The administration of Whitehill secondary school believes that any form of expression is a choice. One decides to act this way or that way. We know that some students are easily influenced by their peers, and that is why any form of behavior is viewed as a choice to reduce the lousy peer influence. Students, therefore, have to accept the responsibility for their behavior (Hajer, & Van Dijk, 2016). Behavior expectations of students here at Whitehill secondary school are usually set and are always consistent to avoid any confusion and promote ethical conduct among the students. When all students are disciplined and own up to their mistakes, then participation and engagement in school and class activities become more comfortable.
The introduction of a classroom management plan has also helped to support inclusive student participation and engagement in class and school activities significantly. The teachers of Whitehill secondary school came up with a rule where at the beginning of each semester they all have a meeting with their students and set specific rules with their students. The aim of these meetings is usually to increase the student’s level of involvement, commitment, and connectedness to the learning process. It is through good behavior, however, that the students' desire and commitment to learning increases (Read, & Papka, 2016). The teachers discussed with their student's rules governing lateness to classes, missing of classes, sleeping during lessons and many other things that concern the conduct of students in the class. The teachers and the students then agreed to follow the decisions that they had made without.
They also agreed on the consequences of violating those rules that they had set. I asked one of the teachers the importance of this classroom management plan, and the teacher said that the mutually set rules were very good in regulating the student's behavior as it helps them to know very well what they are supposed to do and the consequences of their actions. It is difficult to go against the principles that you have set for yourself especially if you are aware of the adverse effects of not adhering to the set principles. For example, in one class the teacher and the students agreed that every week each student should have said something in class whether it is asking for questions or answering questions. Failure to do this had its consequences too.
Inclusive education involves supporting the efforts of all the students, making all of them feel welcome in school despite their various challenges. Whitehill secondary school accepts both students with and those without disabilities. This is because those students with disabilities can still do what those students without disabilities can do. The students in Whitehill are all taught to accept all students just the way they are. They are shown that no one is superior and the virtue of equality is highly emphasized. Students with disabilities can gain more academically; their communication skills also improve because they are free to talk to other students without fear of being discriminated unlike in other places where the disabled students are discriminated. They are also able to make more friends as everyone is taught to be friendly and courteous (Farmer, & Floyd, 2016). This improves their self-esteem that is essential for one's growth. Other students who are not disabled also benefit by learning with the disabled students as they get to interact with them and change some of the stereotypes that exist about the disabled students. They can have positive attitudes through their interactions with disabled students. They increase their learning capabilities and knowledge also. This practice supports inclusive student participation and engagement in class and school activities (Mort, 2017).
This behavior management policy of teaching equity to all students is a very lovely policy that encourages all students to take part in school and class activities actively.
I noted that the teachers taught their classes well while emphasizing the values of appropriate behavior. For example, they gave them instructions on what to do and the rules to adhere to while in school. However, the teachers did not have a specific form of punishment to give to the students the various mistakes committed. I talked to some students, and some of them complained that they were being punished unfairly unlike others who had committed the same errors as them (Mort, 2017).
The teachers also did not know what specific punishments to offer for specific crimes committed. I, therefore recommend that we as a leadership team sit down and discuss the various particular disciplines to be administered to appropriate penalties to avoid the many complaints by the students.
Another recommendation I would like to make is that private sessions with counselors be introduced. Most of the students that I talked to wanted the counseling programs, but they said that they would love individual counseling where they can speak to counselors one on one because there are some issues that they cannot address in public during the counseling sessions. The students also would love the introduction of various sports activities so that they can all take part in sports activities. I would recommend that the school purchase more sports resources that would include the funds for indoor games so that every student can take part.
In general, behavior management policies in school refer to the acceptable code of conduct that the students are required to adhere to while in school. Some appropriate behaviors that the students are supposed to follow such as being obedient, respectful, the trustworthy students not only helps the student while at school but also are fundamental virtues that will help the student as they look for work in the future and during their interaction with many people after school. Being taught how to live with the disabled students is also very important as it helps them from an early age to learn how to live and associate with everyone. The above practices discussed above have supported inclusive student participation and engagement in class and school activities.
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