Musings of a classroom management guru, teacher and parent.

Chicken or the Egg: Which Came First?

Which came first – the chicken or the egg? This age old question will never be answered. Similarly, the question of which comes first your educational beliefs or your practices will never be answered. For example, if you believe something about how students learn or what is important for students to learn, that influences your educational practices, which supports the idea that beliefs impact practice. However, on the other hand, sometimes you are required to implement a practice that you don’t believe in, but end up seeing positive results, which impacts your original beliefs. Thus, supporting the idea that practices can influence beliefs. The bottom line is that there is a reciprocal relationship between beliefs and practices.

Based on my work with many, many teachers over the years, I have observed several common beliefs or misconceptions about classroom management that influence teacher’s classroom management practices including:

  • Classroom management is synonymous with discipline
  • Effective classroom management results in a quiet classroom
  • Effective classroom management relies on rewards and punishments

In my experience, these misconceptions can get in the way of implementing best practices with respect to classroom management. Think about your classroom management practices. Are they influenced by any of these common misconceptions? Have you tried a new classroom management practice that has challenged your prior beliefs about classroom management?

The first step toward implementing an effective classroom management approach is to reflect on these misconceptions and how they influence your practice. The bottom line is that changing your beliefs can change your practice!

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Meet Dr. Tracey Garrett

Dr. Tracey Garrett

Dr. Tracey Garrett is a professor in the Department of Teacher Education at Rider University in New Jersey and was recently awarded the University Distinguished Teaching Award. She earned her Ed.D. in elementary and early childhood education with a specialization in classroom management from The Graduate School of Education at Rutgers University. She is also a former elementary teacher with experience teaching at the 3rd, 4th and 5th grade level. Tracey’s unique combination of classroom management knowledge and 24 years of practical experience allows her to successfully facilitate teacher growth.

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