Beginning Teachers' Master's Initiative  

Management of the Classroom Learning Environment

Dr. Charles J. Rop,   University of Toledo

Welcome to CI 5980, a course designed as an introduction to the BTMI


This Syllabus is divided into 6 parts. Follow these links

I.    Instructor Information

II.  Course Description

III. Course Overview

IV. Course Requirements

V. Grading

VI Tentative Schedule

Scroll down to read syllabus

I. Instructor Information

Dr. Charles J. Rop

338 Snyder Memorial

College of Education

(419) 530-2887

Office Hours: Wednesdays, 9:00-11:30AM or by appointment

II. Course Description

This course examines classroom management strategies and the related roles for teachers. We will critically investigate different instructional models and successful management styles for creating classroom learning environments conducive to optimal learning. Effective management of the classroom learning environment is critical to positive student achievement and extends beyond traditional "classroom management" or "behavior management" strategies. Students will explore issues that influence the learning environment, that address different forms of student diversity including developmental abilities, and that affect the efficiency and value of classroom learning activities. As part of this set of experiences, students will develop a professional- development plan that will help them apply what they learn to their actual classroom practices and career goals. Our focus will be firmly placed on student learning outcomes.

Course Goals:

1. To help beginning teachers to critically analyze and reflect on action and how action affects learning and achievement of diverse learners

2. To assist beginning teachers' in making decisions based on both learning and child development theory

3. To help beginning teachers develop "best practices"

4. To provide collegial support and a professional network through group dialogue and communication

5. To assist participants in using technology for curriculum applications, organization, record keeping and professional development

6. To provide opportunities for self-selected learning through specialized presentations

7. To assist participants in learning the domains and criteria of successful teaching as articulated on the Praxis III framework developed by Educational Testing Service.

Course Objectives:

1. Participants will identify a range of effective instructional and management strategies appropriate for the age and grade level of the children they teach as well as the curriculum goals addressed in their classroom.

2. Participants will develop and implement plans for using a range of instructional and classroom management strategies appropriate for the students they teach.

3. Participants will discuss problems and challenges that their peers encounter when implementing effective instructional and classroom management strategies. Participants will keep a reflective journal.

4. Participants will engage in small group and individual problem-solving processes designed to address challenges they face as beginning teachers.

5. Participants will identify appropriate professional organizations that offer a range of opportunities for professional development.

6. Participants will explore ways to use technology to improve student learning and achievement.

Preparing to teach: Comprehension, transformation, instruction, evaluation, reflection

You probably already know that much of what a teacher does in his/her professional life happens before and after actually teaching lessons to students. During a lesson you will be constantly making decisions about the subject matter content, about your own talk and actions, about student interactions and behaviors, perceptions and misperceptions.  After teaching a lesson, you will need to spend time in careful reflection and assessment of not only student learning but also of the effectiveness of the lesson just taught. Then, there are all the contextual issues to deal with--like social factors at work in the classroom, or what might have happened in a student’s home or in the neighborhood this week. In this course, we will describe those activities using the terminology Suzanne Wilson and Lee Shulman use when describing teaching as a cyclical process of five steps:

1. Comprehension. Teachers need to understand the content as well as how the individual student might relate to it. It surprises some people that the content understanding that a teacher needs for teaching is most often deeper and more complex than the understanding needed to know a subject for one's own benefit. Teaching is further complicated by the fact that students come to the classroom with many complex and interesting ideas about the subject that can both aid and interfere with their learning.

2. Transformation. The second step involves presenting the subject matter content in honest forms that still make it understandable, interesting, and meaningful for students. In this way, teachers help students master the language and practices of the subject.

3. Instruction. The third step, instruction, is the one that you are most familiar with from your experience as a student. Beneath the surface activities, though, instruction has a "hidden structure" that is more cyclical than linear. The teacher must master this in order to promote student engagement and understanding.

4. Evaluation. The fourth step includes giving tests, assigning grades, and a lot more. There are many different ways to assess what your students understand and how their understanding is changing. You need this information as much to evaluate your own teaching as to evaluate student learning.

5. Reflection. Becoming a really good teacher depends not as much on what we can teach you in this course as on your ability to learn from experience. Learning from experience depends on the reflection that you do before, during, and after you teach. If you do it well, reflection leads to new and deeper comprehension and you are ready to begin the cycle again, doing all this better than you did before.

Developing Your Own Understanding of Subject Matter

During your academic career, you have received a huge volume of academic knowledge. You were quite successful in school and probably saw school as your ticket to bigger and better things in the future. Much of what you had to learn and do involved pleasing teachers and parents and was centered on getting good grades for your high school transcript. Although you know a lot about subject matters and about schooling, your understandings should and will deepen throughout the years you teach. For example, what you know about literature now is much different from what you will know a few years from now. Deepening your understanding will be one of the major challenges you will face during your teaching career. Whether you are an elementary or secondary teacher, having a passion for lifelong learning in the academic disciplines will be one of the things that makes you an excellent teacher.

Preparing for the number and diversity of your students

Teaching will be made more complicated by the increasing diversity of students. Diversity will also be make it more interesting if you see diversity as an asset instead of a liability. How can you teach each of your students equitably? In this course, we will try to build on what you have learned about diversity and place those lessons into the context of classroom practice. This will include learning to manage your classroom and choose the best teaching strategies so that each of your students is engaged and improves his/her understandings.

Choosing strategies that promote engagement and understanding in your students.

As teachers, two of the basic goals that we have for all our students are engagement and understanding. Engagement means more than excitement or enthusiasm; it involves students’ psychological investment in learning. Engaged learners are responsible for their own learning, energized by learning, strategic, and collaborative (NCREL, Plugging In, p. 1). We want our students to be convinced that the subject matter and skills they learn in our classrooms are important. We also want them to be personally committed to learning it. Understanding means more than "knowing the content;" it means being able to use ideas for their intended purposes. It also means making viable connections between academic disciplinary ideas and personal ideas about the world.

At another level, engagement and understanding are complex and difficult goals. As we try to help our students achieve these goals, we encounter many difficulties and dilemmas including:

III. Course Overview.

One of our major goals will be to develop your own personal philosophy of education. You will learn how to make that philosophy inform how you teach and help you decide which teaching strategies you choose to use. I also hope to engage you in discussions and activities that will promote a professional cohort that will help you as you develop your professional career. These processes include gaining an awareness of the nature of professional responsibility, establishing a technical vocabulary, and developing professional collegiality.

During this course, I expect to:

• model effective teaching.

• help you further develop a philosophy of education.

• raise pertinent curriculum, policy and instructional issues.

• assist you in choosing sound, practical, instructional strategies.

• provide leadership in discussions and delegate responsibility appropriately.

During this course, I expect you to:

• come to all the class sessions on time.

• participate in all discussions and class activities.

• be prepared each day to discuss readings and be punctual with all assignments.

• be positive and reflective about your learning experiences.

• in general, work as hard as possible to extend your own thinking about subject matter, teaching, and learning in preparation for your future in teaching.

III Assumptions about Computer Technology

Since an important theme for this course is learning to use computer technology to influence student engaged learning, we will make some basic assumptions about your familiarity with or access to computers. If these assumptions are not valid for you, please contact the instructor during the first week of class. We will negotiate some way to make sure you can fully participate in all the course activities.

  1. You have access to a computer that is linked to the internet
  2. You are familiar with basic word processing
  3. You have done email, can attach documents, etc
  4. You can negotiate your way through the WWW

IV Course Materials

Web Sources

Required Books

MacDonald, R.E. & Sean, D.H. (1999). A handbook for beginning teachers. New York: Addison Wesley Longman, Inc. (At the UT bookstores soon)

Choose one of these: (You can purchase any of these at your local bookstore or on the web @

1.) Kindlon,D.K & Thompson,M. (1999) Raising Cain: Protecting the emotional life of boys. NY: Ballantine Books ISBN 0-345-42457-3

2) Pipher, M. (1994) Reviving Ophelia. NY: Putnam

3) Hayden, T.L. (1995) One Child NY: Harpe ISBN 0380542625

Suggested Books

Burden, P.R. & Byrd, D.M. (1999) Methods for effective teaching. Boston: Allyn & Bacon ISBN 0-205-29193-7

Cangelosi, J.S. (1988) Classroom management strategies: Gaining and maintaining students cooperation. NY: Longman ISBN 0-582-28638-7

Canter, L.(1992) Assertive discipline CA: Canter & Associates. ISBN 0-939007-45-2

Moore, K.D. (1999) Middle and Secondary School Instructional Methods. NY: McGraw-Hill ISBN0-697-24432-6

O'Neil, J. & Willis, S. (Eds) (1998) Revitalizing the disciplines. VA: ASCD ISBN 0-87120-309-X

Orlich, D.C.; et al.(1990) Teaching strategies. Lexington: D.C. Heath & Company ISBN 0-669-20160-X

Wiggins, G. & McTighe, J. (1998) Understanding by design. VA: ASCD ISBN 0-87120-313-8

V Course Requirements

Due to the nature of this course and the relatively short time we have to learn together, it is essential for participants to attend, actively participate in all class discussions, and successfully complete all assignments on time. However it is recognized that occasional professional and personal responsibilities may hinder attendance. When this happens, (a), if possible, please notify me and a pre-designated learning partner ahead of time, (b) obtain any class session notes and handouts from your learning partner, and (c) contact me about any aspect of class content that is not clearly understood after talking with your peers.

You will read the textbook and write about what you read. I will also bring a limited number of photocopied articles to class on or before the day they are assigned. Although I will give you very limited reading time in class, you are expected to read all of these carefully, thoughtfully, and before they are due. Bring them to class and actively participate in our discussions about them. I will occasionally ask you to write briefly about these readings.

Write and present a 3-page book report on either of the choices listed under required books

Keep a reflective journal of your first-year experiences (Specific requirements to be negotiated)

Requirements Summary: Here is a list of all the things you will need to do:

a. Complete Module 1: Electronic Collaboration (You don't have to complete any other www Modules)

b. Write a Philosophy of Education (About 1/2 page typed). This will become part of your Professional Plan

c. Keep a Reflective Journal (We decided on weekly entries)

d. Write and present a Book Report: (A 3-page written book report and an oral presentation of the book)

e. Prepare a Professional Development Plan (More details about this later)

f. Complete the Lesson Planning Activity (Writing goals and objectives and writing lesson plans)

g. Participate in the End-of-the-Year Conference

H. Attend and participate regularly

Follow This Link to the Learning Modules

Learning Modules   Dr. Charles J. Rop, The University of Toledo

For a schematic of available course modules and requirements, follow this link. Remember that we are only doing Module 1 during this class.


V. Grading

Grading will be based on Satisfactory/unsatisfactory learning outcomes. To earn a satisfactory grade, students will be expected to meet all course requirements.

As in any mastery learning situation, you will have opportunities to continue to develop your work and deepen or extend your projects without grading penalty until both you and I judge them to be at least satisfactory. You are expected to draft and revise your work in order to gradually polish your course projects. As part of this process, you may wish to interact with your peers and other group members for feedback as you proceed toward the final product. Please make use of the Writing Center on campus for obtaining good feedback on written assignments. I will also meet with you and/or provide written feedback about your work in process as you request.

General criteria:

Congruence with the course outcomes, session outcomes, and project criteria as given

Accurate, clearly organized, interconnected and contextual understandings of course content

Accuracy, organization, and clarity of oral and written communication

Attendance and participation

Note: Specific criteria will be provided for each of the course assignments and projects


 VI. Tentative Schedule

Session # Theme Activity X= Due
1 Agenda Introductions

Part 1: Foundations

Creating a learning community

Good teaching--Our stories of good classroom management


Begin Module 1, Organize e-groups and send a message

What is engaged learning ? Read the NCREL engaged learning essay

Begin your reflective journal

Read Hole & Hall-McEntee, (1999) .Reflection is at the heart of practice. Educational Leadership. May, 34-37



Part 1: Foundations

Good teaching--What do our government and the professional organizations have to say?

What is my personal philosophy of education?

Reflection in Action

Case studies

How to focus on student learning. What is engaged learning?

Explore State and National standards in your subject area

Begin writing your philosophy of education



Part 1: Foundations

Best practices and reflection

Goals and objectives

Tour NCREL Pathways

Access the Electronic Discussion web site, join our class by adding your name to the class roster. Post your question or make a contribution. This is part of Module 1



Part 2: Best Practices

Pathwise Training

Management and Strategies for inquiry.

Bring a draft philosophy to class

Bring in your reflective journal





Part 2: Best Practices

Managing a classroom, strategies for inquiry and engaged learning

Linking strategies to my own philosophy

5-E Model

KWL Strategy

Setting up the best classroom environments for all

Guided practice

6 Part 2: Best Practices

Direct and indirect teaching methods

What does research have to say about different learning styles?

More case studies

Book Reports are due

Oral book report presentation

7 Part 3: Parents and community

Classroom and school culture

School-home connections

The art of asking questions

Case studies  
8 Part 4: Assessment and evaluation

Managing for creative assessment

Linking assessments and philosophy

Bring a 2nd draft of your philosophy

Bring in your reflective journal



9 Part 2: Professional Development

Assessment and evaluation continued

Teaching as a profession

Setting goals and developing a professional development plan

Collect and examine district and school policies and goals

Lesson Planning Activity

10 Part 2: Planning

Developing a curriculum management system

Curriculum alignment

Lesson Plans, goals and objectives

Lesson Plan Forms

curriculum activities

11 Part 3: Implementation of Instruction

Guided practice

Lesson Planning Activity X
12 Part 3: Implementation of Instruction

Compensatory programs and children with special needs

Bring your reflective journal X
13 Part 3: Implementation of Instruction    
14 Part 4: Resources Presentation of Professional Plan including philosophy of education X
15 Part 5: Professionalism


End of the Year Conference  

Back to Home Page

Back to Modules Overview

Back to Modules Descriptions