|Voice Level Chart|
|4 – Create and Maintain Supportive and Safe Learning Environments|
|4.2 – Manage Classroom Activities|
The voice level chart artefact was chosen as it demonstrates my growth in the area of classroom management. Before using this artefact my class was noisy, inattentive and at times confused as to what they were supposed to be doing. This artefact is important as it inspired me to conduct research and think creatively about how to improve my teaching practice. It is a pertinent example of how I have developed my teaching practice in line with the AITSL Professional Teaching Standard 4 by creating and maintaining a “supportive and safe learning environment, [through] managing classroom activities” (AITSL, 2012, p.1).
While on practical experience I observed a lesson whereby the classroom teacher utilised an effective classroom management tool called the voice level chart. Being aware that I needed to improve my classroom management, I was in awe of the way this teacher controlled the class. The chart consisted of six escalating noise levels, which the class adhered to according to the requirements of each activity throughout the lesson.
Analysis / Reflection / Research:
Observing the implementation of this classroom management tool made me aware of the importance of setting the learning environment for students. The classroom teacher established this by constantly reminding students of the requirements of the voice level they were to work to. I realised that I lacked this component in my classes, believing that the students were to blame for being noisy, and disruptive. Englehart (2013, p. 103) supports this statement arguing that “teachers encountering difficulties with classroom management focus only on the students rather than critically examining the influence of their own approaches on student behaviour.”
Prior to implementing the voice level chart I did not explore the reasons behind my classroom management issues and rarely conducted research into how to improve my teaching practice. This resulted in failing to set up the learning environment and provide clear instructions to students. I noticed students were confused, unruly and disinterested which led to a frequently noisy classroom. This made the achievement of individual tasks difficult for most students. As Riley and McGregor (2012, p. 325) point out “excessive noise has a detrimental effect on children’s speech perception, attention, reading, spelling, behaviour, and overall academic achievement.”
After implementing the voice level chart into my classroom management my co-operating teacher commented on improvement in providing clear goals for students, achievement of smooth transitions from one activity to the next, as well as increased confidence in my delivery. I learnt that providing basic and clear instructions to students is important because students will know exactly what is required of them. Students will become engaged, enthusiastic and will cease to wonder around the classroom or call out.
This is in line with the AITSL National Professional Teaching Standard 4, focus area 4.2 which requires teachers to not only organise classroom activities but also provide clear directions (AITSL, 2012, p.1). I realised that a lack of clear instructions and organisation in my classroom was one of the reasons why I was having difficulty managing the class.
This artefact has assisted me in improving my teaching practice, in line with the AITSL National Professional Teaching Standards, as I am now able to set up the learning environment and provide clear directions to students. This has had a significant impact on classroom dynamics, as well as boosting my confidence in the classroom. The success of the use of this artefact has also inspired me to conduct research into effective teaching practice and think creatively about how I will organise my classrooms in the future.