3 Ways to Develop a Healthy Classroom Management Strategy
To answer the question of what is effective classroom management it is firstly important to define what is meant by “classroom management”. ITT defines classroom management as: “the skill of organizing and managing the class, having a friendly, relaxed manner and maintaining disciple” (page 2, unit 5, ITT course content – which is also referenced throughout the below essay)
To best answer this question, we shall now break this definition down into 3 parts before providing an overall conclusion at the end of the essay.
This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Joe S. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.
1. Organizing and managing the class
Classroom organization and management are critical to overall effective classroom management. Classroom organization starts before the lesson has even commenced via effective lesson planning and selection of course materials. However, for this essay, organizing and managing the class will be interpreted to mean the things within the classroom that the teacher can influence to increase the effectiveness of classroom management. This includes, but is not limited to: (I) grouping students (II) classroom arrangement (III) writing on the board (IV) giving individual attention
Grouping students – teachers can choose to run activities for the whole class; working in pairs, or alone. All groupings are useful and the teacher should adopt a varied approach to make lessons interesting as well as ensuring that lesson content is tailored to the specific grouping being used (some activities for pairs would not be appropriate for the whole class, for example).
Classroom arrangement – the way the physical layout of the room is organized can impact the effectiveness of the class – for example, whether to choose a semi-circle seating structure or traditional rows. However, the teacher also needs to consider the constraints when selecting classroom layout – for example, classroom size.
Writing on the board – teacher efficacy is reduced when they have their backs turned to students so this should be minimized. There is no way to avoid this happening when doing board work, however, so teachers should instead adopt methods to reduce their backs being turned when doing this type of activity. Methods to minimize include: using OHP, prepare cards with vocabulary, ask students to write for you, have work ready before the class starts.
Giving individual attention – an effective manager of the classroom is a teacher who knows the names of all of their students; who spends longer with students who don’t understand topics; don’t teach exclusively to strong or weak students; don’t use a regular, predictable order for questions.
2. The friendly and relaxed manner
Teachers can use a friendly and relaxed manner to assist with effective classroom management. Techniques that can be used here involve eye contact, gesturing and use of voice
- Eye contact – this can be used to establish rapport with students and hence can assist with effective classroom management
- Gesturing – use of an open hand, and other elicitation techniques involving body language can also support in effective classroom management. Teachers should not point at students
- Voice – Varying speed, volume, tone, and modulation of the voice can aid classroom management – the voice can be a powerful tool in managing students
3. Maintaining discipline
The extent to which discipline needs to be maintained depends on:
- Student age
- Reasons / motivations for learning
- Class size
- The atmosphere of the school
- Respect between students and the teacher Effective classroom management regarding maintaining discipline can be broken down into two parts: (1) how to prevent problem behavior arising in the first place (2) responding to problem behavior.
Also Read: What does TEFL mean?
(1) Preventing problem behavior: effective teachers can prevent problems arising by
- Being punctual
- Being well prepared
- Being consistent and fair
- Being objective, not subjective or emotional
- Not making threats that cannot or should not be carried out
- Returning homework promptly
- Never losing your temper
- Respecting students as you would expect to be respected
- Making lessons interesting, varied and relevant
- Being enthusiastic and passionate about what you’re teaching
- Establishing a rapport with students
Also Read: "Helping ESL Students to Cope With Stress"
(2) Responding to problem behavior: effective teachers respond to problem behavior by
- Acting immediately
- Focusing on the behavior, not the student
- Changing the classroom layout
- Keeping calm
- Keep the problem student behind after class to reprimand in private
- Keeping in line with the schools’ disciplinary code
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