Towards an Agenda for Understanding Classroom Management
Managing classrooms is normally something we do rather than analyse. Like many teachers I have spent the bulk of my waking life in and around classrooms, as a teacher and as a student, and the classroom has become my natural habitat. One consequence of this is that much of my knowledge — both active and stored — about classrooms is tacit. This accumulated knowledge enables me to manage my classroom without too much conscious thought. A lot of my practice is thus routine and automated, even instinctive and intuitive. It is how I handle the complex reality of the classroom world I work in — if I paused during teaching to consciously address what I was doing, and everything that was at that time involved, I would probably be overwhelmed. Therefore, in order to comprehend the classroom fully or to articulate my experience to others, I have to make a particular effort to detach myself sufficiently from the everyday reality of classrooms. Without this distancing, the classroom can appear too ‘obvious’ and even humdrum for all of us who spend long periods of time there. By detaching myself, I hope to make sense of my experience, to understand better why classrooms are like they are. This process is akin to untying a very complex knot with many strands. The knot is classroom management itself.
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