Sunday, 12 February 2012

WBT & Manitoba's "Towards Inclusion" Document Part 1

     I spent the better part of this weekend working on filming a video with a group for our Classroom Management class. Our film is supposed to demonstrate a specific classroom management model and will be used to teach the rest of our classmates about said model. With my last post about "The Scoreboard" and this project on my mind, I started thinking about how WBT strategies would fit into different classroom management models. While I enjoyed the model we were working on (Rudolf Driekur's Social Discipline Model) I decided to do some research on how WBT would fit in with the criteria set out by the Manitoba Government specifically.

manitoba curriculums, whole brain teaching, positive classroomsWhat I found was the Towards Inclusion: Supporting Positive Behaviour in Manitoba Classrooms document. I found our Classroom Management class schedule follows the contents of this document quite closely (go figure huh) so it was an easy read. While I believe that the entire document is important to teachers, I want to focus on Section 6: Positive Reinforcement (pg. 53) and Section 7: Fair & Predictable Consequences (pg.58) specifically because they fit into our project model as well. I was going to talk about both of these in one post before I realized just how long it would be. With that in mind, today's post will summarize Section 6 and tomorrows post will summarize Section 7.

The document summarizes that for a reinforcement to be effective and positive it must be age-appropriate, at the student's level of functioning, has administrative and parental support, and is genuine. When I posted on Wednesday about "The Scoreboard" I mentioned that at the beginning of each class with my Grade 10's we would discuss what the reward would be for that day depending on what we were doing. During my time in the classroom our rewards were anything from more time to complete an assignment to the opportunity to go watch the in-school volleyball tournament. I feel that this set-up was age-appropriate because at Grade 10 they enjoyed being able to be a part of the decision process. On that same note, since they were involved in choosing their reinforcement I felt that it was always at the student's level of functioning and they knew that it was genuine. As a student teacher I did not have a lot of contact with parents except at the end of my placement during parent-teacher conferences but I did have the support of my cooperating teacher, faculty supervisor and principal. In general, I feel that my use of this WBT strategy fit in with what was summarized at the first part of Section 6. The document then goes on to explain three important factors of positive reinforcement which are social reinforcement, building anticipation and interdependent group contingencies. Social Reinforcement is vital for many students and it can be as easy as a simple comment or a smile. I feel that WBT definitely encourages social reinforcement in many of it's strategies.

Examples: During "Teach-Ok" teachers are encouraged to walk about the room to gauge student's comprehension of the material; this is the perfect opportunity to provide positive feedback to your students. The "10-Finger Woo" and "It's Cool" reinforce positive behaviours and assist in building a culture of respect in your classroom. "The Scoreboard" provides countless opportunities to provide your student's with positive comments and feedback.
The document states that Building Anticipation assists in building both motivation and excitement (sounds a lot like my scoreboard post already)! What we need to remember is that we need to be clear about what type of behaviour we are looking for, discuss what will happen if we see that type of behaviour, and give positive feedback and a reinforcer immediately following said behaviour. I feel that, again, this fits perfect with my use of WBT strategies. With the use of "The Scoreboard" we would discuss what our goal would be for a specific day based on what we were doing that day. If I had prepared a lesson around the "Teach-Ok" strategy followed by an activity we would discuss that I was expecting full participation (and explain what that looked like). My class knew that if I saw that behaviour they would receive a student-point on the scoreboard and if I didn't I would receive a teacher-point on the scoreboard. If my class had a positive number of points near the end of class they would receive their goal which may have been the opportunity to work on their activity in partners or small groups as opposed to individually.
"Interdependent Group Contingencies require the entire group of students to reach a designated goal in order to receive reinforcement." While the "Teach-Ok" strategy , "10-Finger Woo, and "It's Cool" provide opportunities for individual reinforcement like a positive comment, "The Scoreboard" requires all students to reach a goal as a group. I feel like I have repeated myself quite a few times in regards to "The Scoreboard" already so I will let you look back on it rather than boring you with yet another explanation. What I want to touch on is how this factor encourages cooperation and encouragement among our students because they are all working towards a common goal. I definitely felt that this was the case with my Grade 10 classroom and I think that it is a positive thing in regards to creating a team environment in our class.

     After summarizing Section 6 I felt very positive that my use of different Whole Brain Teaching strategies was fitting in with what was laid out in the Towards Inclusion document, which I was very happy about! Tomorrow, in addition to posting some Resources To Start Off Your Week, I will summarize Section 7 of the document.

- To Be Continued -

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