Centers TESOL

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This is how our TEFL graduates feel they have gained from their course, and how they plan to put into action what they learned:

J. N. - U.S.A. said:
Discipline in the Classroom
Discipline in the classroom is more than a set of rules or a code of conduct. It is not a punishment, but the development of self-control and teamwork. Discipline is a set of tools that a teacher uses to create and maintain a calm and orderly, yet dynamic and lively, climate where teaching and learning can occur. This climate is based on a deep understanding of the characteristics and needs of students; recognition of how they learn; a relationship of caring, respect, and trust; use of effective instructional strategies; and a solid repertoire of management techniques. The goal of discipline should be to change students’ understanding of themselves and others, as well as their behavior, so that problems do not develop. Many of the behaviors that students exhibit (particularly young students) are perfectly normal—a result of their developmental level, their lack of social experience, and their normal brain function. Students and teachers should work as a team to stop problem behaviors that might become disruptive. The foundation of good discipline rests on positive personal connections to students. When students feel a connection to their teachers in an atmosphere of trust and respect, they learn more and behave better. Simple practices can establish the beginnings of this connection. For example, teachers can welcome students as they enter the classroom, and stand at the door between classes to greet students moving in the hallway. Teachers should also show an interest in students’ personal lives and backgrounds by incorporating activities into their instruction that draw upon students’ experiences. When teachers understand the characteristics and needs of their students, they are able to manage the classroom, effectively reduce discipline problems, and enhance meaningful learning. Recently, researchers studying neuroscience have suggested that teachers can and should implement discipline practices that are compatible with the brain’s natural operational principles. Recognizing these brain-compatible practices can help to prevent discipline problems. • Brain researchers report that stress or threat can impair learning. So effective teachers must establish a classroom that is safe. They should strive for the absence of physical and psychological threat, real or perceived. Students need to know that the teacher is in charge of the class, and that the classroom is a safe place for all. • The brain seeks to find and construct meaningful patterns. The implications suggest effective teachers must follow consistent school and classroom practices and provide opportunities for forming good habits. These teachers emphasize classroom management the first few days of school. • The brain is naturally driven to find and make meaning. So effective teachers make sure their rules and procedures are fair, clear, purposeful, and enforceable. It is important that students participate in forming these rules and understand the reasons behind them. Research shows that clearly stated rules and procedures, formulated in dialogue with students, improve both student behavior and academic achievement. • The brain needs a rich environment. Effective teachers arrange and decorate their classrooms to support effective management. Teachers who create a visually appealing classroom in which they are able to see all students easily eliminate some management issues. Students should also be able to see the teacher easily. All materials should be readily accessible and it should be easy to organize students into pairs, triads, or groups with minimal disruptions. • The brain needs immediate feedback. So, effective teachers are proactive. They identify and quickly act on potential behavior problems. They scan the classroom, walk around, make eye contact, and make private comments when appropriate. They have a plan of action in mind and use appropriate language, voice tone, and facial expressions. They don’t take a student’s behavior personally. They redirect attention and give a student something meaningful to do to interrupt the escalation of misbehavior. • The brain needs novelty, variety, and meaningful content. Effective teachers design lessons for student success. The form, quality, and appropriateness of instruction have a major impact on student behavior. Effective teachers keep discipline problems from ever developing by engaging students’ minds in appropriate, meaningful activities that lead to excitement and feelings of accomplishment. Teachers and students need and deserve an orderly environment in which to teach and learn. Discipline in the classroom is critical to this orderly environment. For many, the mention of discipline conjures up images of rowdy students isolated in the principal’s office, lists of rote messages written as homework, and “staying late” after class. Today, effective teachers work with students to implement brain–compatible techniques that create and maintain a calm, orderly, dynamic learning environment where all students prosper—that is the modern face of discipline in the classroom.