From tourists to citizens

Jerome Freiberg describes an approach to classroom management that is rooted in person-centered psychology

THE EDUCATIONAL LANDSCAPE IS IN disequilibrium. Society has become more complex and this complexity is reflected in the micro-societies of schools and classrooms. Historically, young people have been sustained and nurtured by five pillars of support (family, community, culture, religion, and school). Four of these five pillars are in flux as they redefine themselves. Schools, the fifth pillar, are expected to carry an ever-increasing social-emotional and academic load. Schools are also in transformation, becoming more bureaucratic and rule-based. Subsequently, parent–school and community relationships are more formalized, with students and parents becoming educational tourists who are passing through rather than engaged citizens. Adding to this, technology shifting how and where information is obtained creates uncertainty leading to both distractions and opportunities. Student behavior and classroom management become flashpoints in our micro-societies of education.

What we know
● A review of 800 discipline/management programs by 14 external organizations found few had research to support their program outcomes.
● Time gained or lost to behavior directly affects student achievement.
● Meta-analyses conclude:
-Elementary school mathematics achievement is enhanced by classroom management that affects daily classroom practices.
-Person-centered classroom management improves both socialemotional and cognitive development.
-Classroom management is the first of the top five factors influencing school learning.

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October 2012