Essay Example about Critical Incidents in the Classroom

Published: 2022-09-23
Essay Example about Critical Incidents in the Classroom
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Teaching Pedagogy
Pages: 7
Wordcount: 1864 words
16 min read

At all times, the role of the teacher is to facilitate a smooth learning environment where learners can feel free to associate with others and raise their concerns. In such a case, there is comfort both for the teacher and learners and the outcome is positive. In spite of that, depending on the class composition, activities taking place in a lesson, and the student characteristics among other elements, it is possible to experience critical incidents. As such instances, the intelligence of the teacher comes into the equation since he/she must provide a solution that is suitable to all. Indeed, it is right to deduce that one cannot teach different grades without experiencing such challenges at some point.

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In my classroom observations, a critical occurrence that I observed is conflict during discussions. In this scenario, the main feature is that some students refuse to cooperate or form group discussions with others. After examining the same, the reasons vary too. They include family connections where some do not associate in a friendly way, attitudes where some students rank themselves higher than others, and the fact that some students hate discussions naturally. In some situations, moods of the time affect cohesion in the classroom as well: if students are sick or stressed, they are likely to disturb others when working together.

From this occurrence, one of the striking observations was that if a teacher fails to respond instantly, there is a higher possibility of the problem becoming severe. Reason being, students learn by copying behaviors from others. Indeed, it connects well with Bandura's theory of social learning that suggests that young people learn day to day concepts by observing what others are doing (Engler, 2009). If the behavior is repeated as well, it becomes conditioned, and the student might perceive it as a norm. Accordingly, the scenario concurs with Skinner's theory of operant conditioning which assumes that learning occurs through behavior change and reinforcing some aspects (Bowden & Greenberg, 2010). Regarding that, if a teacher doesn't respond in time, it is akin to behavior reinforcement which may develop to unmanageable levels.

Apart from conflicts during discussions, the other critical incident that I have observed is the change in temperament. Young children are a sensitive category to manage, and their moods change often. In this scenario, an abrupt change in the student's feelings and concentration levels would emerge. With no doubt, this is a serious issue since the lesson's activities cannot continue when some sections aren't at ease. The main problem with this occurrence is that it is disruptive. When a teacher shifts the attention to the affected learner, the rest get disrupted too.

After close examination, changes in temperament stem from several factors. For instance, the teacher might accidentally touch on a topic that affects the mental condition of the learner. For example, when giving a story on family violence, a child can be a victim of the same and become uncomfortable. More so, a change in the teaching strategies may affect them too. For instance, an abrupt change from group discussions to lecturing might make some segments to be moody, and the effect might be detrimental to the entire teaching process.

Up to this point, the obvious case is that classrooms are full of issues that require active management. Since they are diverse and the students come from different backgrounds, the teacher must assess the possibility of critical incidences and establish mechanisms to solve them when they emerge. Disruptive behaviors are no doubt a serious issue in the teaching-learning process since the output is high when everyone concentrates. Therefore, it is vital to examine the students' characteristics and apply learning strategies that are suitable to all. If not, they should suit the majority.

How Things Progressed

Learning is a combination of emotions, physical comfort, and positive attitude. In this case, the student must feel at ease and interested in what is taking place in a lesson. As such, the teacher must use the strategies that capture the interest of the learners as a way of enhancing concentration (Stronge, 2018). When critical incidents occur, the teacher must be the first to identify and offer an instant response. In doing so, the potential impacts reduce in size and learning can proceed as the education systems and institutions recommend.

In the case involving conflicts in discussions, the lesson would start usually. At this point, the teacher assesses the objectives that need to be achieved and gives the students an assignment. As it happens in most cases, question and answer moments would start as the teacher collects different opinions that the students provide. As a way of enrichment and to ensure that diversity is promoted in the classroom, the teacher gives an assignment that requires group discussion, and this is where the problem starts.

In the classroom setup, students come from different family backgrounds, cultural and religious affiliations, and ethnic categories among other aspects. Attitudes and preferences are also significantly diverse. The other element that makes them unique as they study is that they are not at ease to work with everyone at any given situation. In group discussions, the teacher usually disorganizes the usual arrangement of students and put them randomly in various groups. After that, the assignments can be similar, or each group handles a specific case. From this disorganization, some students feel uncomfortable and might start disturbing others. In other cases, others might get an opportunity to stay close with their friends and concentration declines.

In both cases, it is highly possible to affect the intended productivity. When some students aren't comfortable when grouped with others, their esteem declines. In the same case, they might destabilize others and affect their self-esteem too. In such a scenario, they are not likely to contribute to the discussions as the situations necessitate. Accordingly, the discussion may not be productive as the teacher expects. On the other hand, students getting a chance to associate freely must be disruptive too since noise-making is highly probable in such scenarios. However, with effective control, it is possible to get the best out of such groupings.

In the other case involving changes in temperament, the process starts in the same way. The teacher would begin by arranging the students in different formats so that they can handle a given task. After that, the mood changes negatively such that the outcome is minimal since there is no interest in what is taking place. An abrupt change of moods is also possible when the students are not in discussion groups too. At this point, the teacher changes the teaching strategies, and the student switches off. Other possible causes include a change in lesson content or the teacher's mood, tone, or behavior that can make the learners feel unease.

From the different incidents as observed above, it is apparent that the classroom isn't immune to disruptive activities. They are termed as critical since their probability of affecting the entire class' concentration is extremely high. In such instances, teacher is required to be adequately aware of the students' characteristics. In doing so, it becomes less challenging to group them in a way that enhances active engagement while minimizing conflicts. Also, changing learning strategies is vital to ensure that the students' concentration levels remain at the desired range.

Managing Similar Situations in the Future

Conflicts in the classrooms start when opinions and situation seem unsuitable to some students. When they go through mood switches, they are likely to ruin the concentration of others, and the teacher may fail to achieve the lesson objectives. In agreement with Stronge (2018), it is the role of the teacher to provide the required learning environment where concentration and comfort are at the recommended levels. In doing so, there is a possibility of ensuring that all students work towards a common objective. Therefore, there is a need for classroom policy that regulates general behavior and specific conduct at all times.

Apart from classroom policy, the other lesson that comes from the critical incidents above is the need for the teacher to be a neutral facilitator. In this scenario, they are required to weigh the impact of their opinions on an issue before sharing them. If the discussion is about a controversial issue, it is possible for the teacher to silence students who hold other views when he/she gives an opinion before the students. More so, whenever a teacher provides an idea, it is crucial to elaborate it as well. In group discussions, it is vital to collect opinions from all sides while avoiding favoring anyone.

The other essential consideration is the provision of resources. In this scenario, the teacher should strive to promote diversity as much as possible. The suggestion, here, is that the learning resources that students use in their day to day activities should reflect on diverse issues that make them understand and embrace diversity. For instance, there should be adequate learning materials with illustrations about different cultural events and features, gender roles, and abilities. The part of capabilities is critical as well so that the students can appreciate the crucial role of the disabled and differently gifted in society.

In the classroom, abilities, interests, and ages of the students among other factors vary in diverse ways (Clauss-Ehlers, 2006). Since they are potential causes of conflicts, a critical analysis of the same is essential before the teacher starts any class activity. Whether it involves discussion, question and answer sessions or role-playing among other aspects, no strategy can work effectively if the teacher doesn't understand the students' characteristics. When issues are critically examined, the teacher can have adequate knowledge of lesson planning and arrangement which as well helps to minimize possible conflicts that can detrimentally affect learning.

Importantly, the teacher should be in a position to defer the conversation or the topic if it turns divisive. From the above analysis of critical incidents, it is apparent that they stem from a misunderstanding between the teacher and the students or primarily within the students. Regarding that, when a discussion topic seems unsuitable for a significant number of the students, a teacher should be in a position to change the subject matter as fast as possible. Indeed, this ability typifies dynamism: teachers need to be dynamic enough so that they can help the students to adjust to different conditions as they promote inclusive teaching (Bondy & Ross, 2005).

In conclusion, my discussion examined some of the critical incidents that I have observed in the classroom. They vary and include conflicts during discussions and abrupt change in students' temperament. As analyzed above, the causes of the same vary significantly and include discomfort among the students when their sitting patterns change, mood swings, and change of teaching strategies among other reasons. The cases teach valuable lessons that can apply to the management of similar situations in the future. The recommended ones include establishing classroom policies, neutral facilitation, critical analysis of the scenarios and students' abilities, and the provision of resources that reflect on different issues such as culture, occupations, and roles along ages as well as the importance of embracing diversity.


Bondy, E., & Ross, D. D. (2005). Preparing for inclusive teaching: Meeting the challenges of teacher education reform. Albany, N...

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