Classroom Management in the Digital Age: Tips and Tactics
Classroom management encompasses all facets of what occurs in the classroom throughout a lesson. It includes components of classroom discipline, but it focuses on providing a peaceful learning environment that is comfortable, structured, engaging, and respectful of both the students and the teacher. Classroom management takes into account not just how the instructor or facilitator presents the curriculum, but also how students interact with the teacher and others in the classroom, as well as the learning atmosphere in which students learn because students cannot learn in a disorderly setting.
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Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this blog post are solely those of the author, an alumni of ITTT (International TEFL and TESOL Training). They do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of ITTT. The content provided in this post is for informational purposes only and should not be considered as official endorsement or representation by ITTT.
It is the classroom teacher's responsibility to delegate the required discipline. Classroom management strategies help define the tone for cordial relationships and collaborative learning, as well as provide a strategy to ensure the lesson proceeds smoothly in the face of any problematic student conduct. Suppose we do not take the necessary measures and make the appropriate attempts to actively engage students in the teachings that we are facilitating. In that case, they will actively engage in something else. It is no wonder why we must devise robust classroom management strategies to have a productive lesson.
Disruptive or problematic behaviors are less likely to occur when students are engaged, connected, and on task as much as possible. This is accomplished through the implementation of classroom management strategies.
Commence each lesson on time, going over the material on the agenda in an appropriate amount of time with the class. As the lesson progresses, cross off agenda items as they are achieved to give a sense of attainment, and communicate with students to know what is coming up next. This demonstrates to pupils that you follow an established pattern and that there is a sense of predictability about what is coming up next.
Xu et al. (2023) suggest that encouraging participation from the class's students is the most crucial component. There are tasks and exercises throughout almost the entire lesson; therefore, to pique pupils' interests, they ought to be motivating and varied. However, they should neither be too simple nor too complex. In a similar study, Prieur (2021) is also in agreement, proposing that teachers should create some excitement around the class content to establish intrigue in the lesson; this helps dissuade students from participating in anything other than what the lesson was designed for. He argues that this tactic works at any grade level, be it elementary school, middle school, or high school.
It is critical for students to understand what is appropriate and inappropriate in the classroom, and to comprehend the expectations, therefore, it is imperative to develop a classroom management plan. This is where defined standards are established, desired outcomes are stated, and consequences are determined. The classroom management plan is somewhat of a contract you create with your students; it does not need to be extensive, complicated, or intricate. All one would need is a list of instructions or class norms and consequences written down on something as simple as a manila paper.
It emphasizes meeting studentsâ needs in the classroom and attempting to aid their study without interruptions and disturbances. In addition, by allowing students input on developing the classroom management plan, they are motivated to follow the rules but also understand the repercussions should they breach one. Once the classroom rules or norms are established, the contract is delivered to the class and serves as the document that specifies the classroom norms.
Far too often it may be challenging to contain students, especially when energies are at an all-time high, perhaps because of breaks, holidays, or it is one of the studentsâ birthdays; in moments like this, giving incentives may just come in handy, especially when dealing with elementary school students. Such incentives do not have to cost money, but as an example, a teacher could give students 5 minutes to talk to each other only if they spend 45 minutes working hard and focused on the lesson. Offering small incentives like this can propel students to concentrate and pay attention in class. This gives students something to look forward to and develops the skill of delayed gratification (a life skill).
Far too often having a rigid or straight face can scare students, it can make them feel uncomfortable, it keeps the especially shy ones in their shell, and as a teacher, that is not something we must desire. It is important to smile, use humor to break the ice; this fosters safety in the classroom, grabs studentsâ attention, and further motivates students to engage in class.
Circulating the classroom is not only effective because it keeps students engaged and attentive, but it also affords the teacher a chance to check student work and if they are on task, all the while being conscious not to get too involved as this may disrupt or even discourage them. In my experience of tutoring students, I found that it is always best to avoid being stationary the entire session and that moving around keeps students on task and focused.
If EFL teachers can genuinely cultivate close relationships with their students while managing the classroom and show a greater concern for their students, the students' opposition to studying English will fade away since they will genuinely enjoy their teachers and feel safe and free to express themselves; this is what teachers should strive for, to create an atmosphere where students respect you, not fear you.
In the words of Dr. Carolyn Everton from Vanderbilt University, âSupporting and developing orderly and productive classroom environments is the foundation of good classroom management.â Perfection is not the goal, teachers are only human, however, a well-oiled plan can go a long way, it improves the quality of teaching, and a lesson has a higher chance of being successful.
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