Guidelines needed for classroom management

I agree with Mr Ng Qi Siang ("Improve teacher training"; last Thursday).

The year-long diploma programme I underwent as part of my teacher training was too academically inclined and grade-focused.

About 90 per cent of the curriculum was about how to teach literacy, numeracy, sports, art and music.

I was surprised that crucial and essential subjects, like behaviour management, child psychology and observation of young children, were missing or just lightly run through.

We need to teach our teachers how to manage children, how to spot misbehaviour, how to pre-empt potential breakdowns, classroom management and, more importantly, effective discipline.

Behavioural theories taught to teachers would remain theories and be ineffectual if not practised in real classroom situations.

In the school I taught at, there were inconsistencies in classroom and behaviour management.

While it is true that there is no single solution as children vary in character and background, there should be guidelines to managing misbehaviour and effective discipline.

Principals too have a crucial role in ensuring that teachers deliver their best in the centre as they are the ones at the heart of all the action.

They need to be more proactive in monitoring teachers by making their presence felt more often and doing impromptu observations.

In the light of the unfortunate incident of alleged child abuse, the whole system needs reviewing; teachers, principals, teacher training, pre-school operators and even the lecturers engaged to train teachers.

While having impressive learning corners and a stellar curriculum help to boost enrolment numbers, they are as good as redundant if teachers do not know what to do when children misbehave during curriculum time.

When discipline is established, stability of environment flows in and learning will be more conducive for children.

It really has nothing to do with qualifications but is all about developing the right mindset and attitude in teachers.

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