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The meaning of classroom management is the skill of organizing and managing a class whilst maintaining a friendly relaxed manner and maintaining discipline.
I am going to begin by sharing my experiences of being on the receiving end of classroom management and stating what I found effective and what I didn't find effective.
I think as a teacher you have to adapt to the level and age of the students you are teaching. When I was in first school I was treated very differently to when I was in high school. During middle school and high school especially, we could analyze and estimate what our limits would be with certain teachers. I found that the teachers who maintained discipline from the beginning had a lot more control over a class as opposed to a teacher who didn't. I found that if a teacher made a lesson interesting and kept me captivated it showed in my work. If a teacher was boring and did not maintain discipline I would switch off and start whispering to my friends as I new I could get away with it, this was an ineffective manner to conduct a lesson with.
I think in high schools especially if you treat your students like adults, inspire confidence in them whilst still maintaining authority you are more likely to get good results from them.
Some key factors of classroom management are as follows:-
Eye contact - this is an important key because if you don't look the students in the eye when speaking to them, it may show a lack of confidence in yourself hence you are more likely to have problems with discipline. On the other hand if you are glaring at the students all the time it may make them feel uncomfortable, and therefore have an effect on their work if they feel like they are being watched all the time. So as teachers we must maintain a balanced level of eye contact.
Gestures - are good for explaining methods and trying to get a point across. I think the more visual you can be the better it is for maintaining the attention of your students. It can also help with keeping a good pace to lessons.
Voice - it is important to have variety in the voice when lecturing a class of students, it is more interesting to listen to a teacher who is choral than a teacher who speaks in monotonous form. You can adapt the manner of your voice to suit various factors, for example: ability of the students you are teaching, age of students, to gain control of a class, size of a class etc… your voice should overall stay natural and approachable.
Classroom arrangement - is very important in the sense that when you pair students up you may feel it is better to put a weak student with a strong student. You need to be able to use your own judgment in these situations. I think it is also a good idea to keep moving students around so they can interact with different people and not just their best friends.
Overall, I think as teachers we must be able to differentiate when to be firm and when to leave the students alone, we must be flexible and be able to mould into a role according to the activity and situation without being domineering or leaving the students uncertain.
Teaching is truly one of the most important of all professions. Educational mentors have the opportunity to bestow knowledge and open young minds. Education and knowledge empower people to improve their surroundings, and quite literally to change the world. Frankly, all teachers have the intrinsic goal to make our earth a better place to live. TESOL teachers are in the fortuitous position to have a profound influence on humanity. English is the most important language in the world since it creates a common tongue for business, technology, research and diplomacy.
Since most TESOLinstructors will be plying their talents in developing nations, they may be granted the opportunity to share the language of English with less developed people who may then understand technologies that provide improved medical care, clean drinking water, more effective use of tillable lands, better housing, more efficient energy use, and improved international relations. It is conceivable that a TESOL instructor might have in their class a future doctor, engineer, or leader of a country.
Even though teaching may be fulfilling, it does require much dedication, preparation, and concentration. It may be frustrating to teach students who are not committed to learn. This is why classroom management is so important. A well run class with a caring teacher, interesting lesson plans, engaged students and few disciplinary problems will go a long way toward improving the students academically and creating a satisfying career for the teacher.
Classroom management is implementing a strategy, which addresses the overall responsibility in promoting student development. The teacher plays the central role in establishing a proper course to follow but the strategy must also involve the school and other faculty, the students, and their parents. A teacher first needs to know what the school expects, and school guidelines for teacher behavior. The teacher will have to know the physical layout of the school, where to find the principal’s office, the school nurse, the school counselor, the library, the cafeteria and restrooms. The teacher will also have to know where to locate the copy machine, overhead projector, television, cassette player and other instructional aids. Then the teacher needs to know what type of students will be in the class, for example, are the students new to each other or have they have prior classes together, and their approximate level of understanding.
Successful classroom management begins with a well-prepared teacher who demonstrates self-control, and applies a consistent fair set of classroom rules. Since students cannot behave properly and misbehave at the same time, it is far easier to foster acceptable student behaviors than to correct misbehavior.
Before the first day of school, the teacher must have developed a long-term goal specifically targeted to this class. These long-term goals can then be broken down into daily lesson plans. Starting the first day, the professionally dressed teacher should arrive early and greet each student, and parent if present, at the door. There is never a second chance for a first impression, and an initial warm greeting will set the tone for the rest of the school session. After seating and introductions, the students should complete a questionnaire listing information about themselves. This will allow the teacher insight about the students and create topics for future lesson plans, as well as alert the teacher to any special needs children. Then follow up with a diagnostic test so the teacher can assess the student’s knowledge and further tailor the long-term course of instruction.
Everyday, before class starts, an interesting assignment relating to that days lesson should be waiting on the student’s desk. A crossword puzzle, a story about a current event with questions, or an art activity for younger students, to establish the idea that learning begins as soon as the student arrives not just when the bell rings.
In order to encourage desired student behaviors, the teacher must establish a good rapport with the students. The teacher must smile. Smiles are contagious and brighten a room. Each student’s name needs to be quickly and accurately learned. Using the student’s name correctly will make them feel integrated and important. Within school guidelines, it would be valuable to send home a letter to the parents, in their native language, thanking them for the opportunity to teach their child, and welcoming them to discuss any concerns they may have. It is important to have the parent’s involvement at home.
It is essential to establish classroom rules and procedures. This gives definition to acceptable classroom behavior. Class rules should be written and determined as a group, of course, with the teacher leading the discussion. Rules will include both academic, for example, complete all assignments on time, and social, do not talk when another is talking. All members of the class should agree to these rules, as this secures the students acceptance, and makes them feel inclusive of their own class workings. Class procedures are needed to carry out the daily routine and frequently repeated acts. Such things as pencil sharpening, restroom breaks, handling out and collecting papers, fire drills, exiting the class are routine items that need to have a common procedure to complete. Logical rules and procedures will establish consistent good behavior.
Even after a teacher creates a warm, caring atmosphere, with interesting and challenging course work and engaged students, there still may be disciplinary issues to overcome. In order to have a class that functions effectively, behavior in the classroom needs to be managed for productive learning. Applying positive reinforcement toward appropriate behavior is far more productive than repeated negative attention toward misbehavior. Even still, misbehavior needs to be addressed immediately and consistently. A teacher cannot be too lenient and excuse or ignore misbehavior. Students look to the instructor to be in charge, they expect the offenders to be properly addressed if they are distracting the class. Discipline has many forms and degrees, and since the teacher is regarded as the leader, most times a stern look or moving closer to the offenders will stop inappropriate behavior such as talking. Teachers must remain calm and composed when addressing bad behavior. Discipline should be delivered in the least abrasive manner that will curtail the behavior and addressed in a manner that will produce positive results and not degrade or humiliate the student. If the behavior is intolerable then the principal should be notified.
Classroom management can be summed up as a system in which a well-prepared teacher promotes positive student behavior by keeping the students interested and involved, and manages unwanted behaviors by using positive intervention, to create a suitable environment in which creative and dynamic learning can occur.
Long, James D. and Williams, Robert L. (2005) Making it till Friday, Your Guide to Effective Classroom Management. Highstown: Princeton Book Co.
Murray, Bonnie. (2002) The New Teacher’s Complete Sourcebook. New York: Scholastic Inc.
Traynor, Patrick PH.D. and Traynor, Elizabeth M.D. (2005) Got Discipline? Research-Based Practices for Managing Student Behavior. Irvine: EduThinkTank Research Group.
As a beginner teacher, my worst fear is an uncontrollable class! But with the help of some various materials, I think I have come up with some clear, helpful information to avoid discipline problems by using effective classroom management.
Plan! It is always best for the teacher to over plan than to be under prepared. Plan the lessons as thoroughly as possible, with enough activities to fill in free time. In his/her planning, the teacher needs to factor in any problems that might arise from particular activities and how to deal with them. Is the activity appropriate for the size of the class, or will it be too difficult to maintain with a large class size?
“It’s easier to get easier” It’s better to start of with strong disciplinary rules and gradually relax them, than it is to start too relaxed and later try to install some discipline! From the very first lesson, the students quickly assess the situation and classroom dynamics and work out what they can get away with.
Make rules understandable. The teacher needs to be selective in the rules that the students are to follow, so that they are clear and easy to remember. Students should then understand what is and isn’t acceptable, especially if the teacher is consistent with enforcing these rules. If one day the teacher ignores misbehaviour, but the next day becomes angered by the smallest disturbance, the students will loose respect for the teacher.
Be fair- students of all ages have a sense of what is or isn’t fair, and the teacher needs to maintain respect towards students. Treat all students equally, and in turn the students will respect the firm but fair discipline rules and not become resentful towards the teacher.
In the case of a disruption, try to deal with it as quickly as possible so that the class doesn’t loose its momentum and become distracted. If students are talking amongst themselves, ask one of them a question to try and get them to focus on the topic at hand. In fact, if you regularly ask the students random questions, this will keep them on their toes and less likely to lapse into chit-chat with the friend sitting next to them.
If a pair of students continues to be disruptive, it’s best to separate them- it will be more difficult for them to continue their antics at when placed at opposite sides of the classroom.
Sometimes a troublesome student is often seeking attention. The teacher should give the student the attention he/she wants by distracting them with a useful task. Ask the student to hand out papers, or write on the board, or become a group leader in an activity.
It is best to avoid confrontations in front of students. It is much better for the teacher to talk to the troublesome student alone so that the student is forced to talk one-on-one with the teacher, and not have the opportunity to show-off in front of class members, or be humiliated in front of fellow classmates.
Keeping students interested by the teacher’s enthusiastic nature will help to prevent boredom and misbehaviour. By maintaining eye contact with students when speaking or listening to them, the teacher is asserting that he/she expects conversation and is interested in what the student is saying. Walking around the room (if possible) is a good way to keep an eye on students, and when at the front of the classroom, the teacher should be visible by everyone.
Start fresh everyday! Begin each lesson with a positive attitude and a friendly demeanor. Always have the highest expectations of your class, and make it clear that you expect great things from them every lesson. Constantly praise students for their good effort, give every student some attention and opportunity to be involved.
ITTT course unit material on ‘Classroom Management’ and ‘Lesson Planning’.
' Top 10 tips for Classroom Management' by Melissa Kelly
‘Classroom Management That Works: Research-based Strategies for Every Teacher’
R.J.Marzano, J.S.Marzano & D.J.Pickering.