Classroom Management – The Key to Creating a Successful Learning Environment
For students to benefit most from their time in the classroom, they must feel at ease, focused, and engaged with what they are doing. Before any sort of lesson can begin or homework administered, I believe that creating an atmosphere where the students can feel like they are being set up for success is key. Managing a classroom, from the very first day of introductions, to when problems and issues arise and through to final tests, is key in creating space where students can feel comfortable learning.
This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Mary C. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.
This is one of the key units that I took from this course and will refer to later to maximize my potential as a teacher, and the environment I create in the classroom. It is the unit that resonated most with me as a former student as well. It had me thinking about the many, many different classrooms I had been in, from early primary school, all the way through to the completion of my undergrad. And it got me thinking about the different professors and teachers that I had, and how I felt going into the class on the very first day, the first month, and throughout my time.
Managing personalities is difficult in any setting.
In a setting where those personalities are unfamiliar with their surroundings, the material and in many cases, the country they’re in, can make things immeasurably more difficult. Especially when, in this context, learning is meant to take place. Taking time to make sure that the students know that the classroom is an environment that is friendly and welcoming, yet structured and learning-focused, is the most important first step to their path to learning. From how you engage with them, how you speak, where you hold your hands, and the pitch in your voice, can determine the sort of lesson students will have before a book has even been opened or a note written on the whiteboard.
The unit touches on many of these key points, from tone and gesture to the arrangement of desks to create a different feeling within the classroom.
It would take knowing how many students you are to have and their ages, but planning out the layout of the classroom is as important as the lesson plans for the first month. Adjustment is also key, understanding that plans can change, not just for the student’s learning path, but for the classroom itself. Maybe, after a month or so, it’s clear that the current seating arrangement is a detriment to the flow of work and a distraction to some students. Flexibility and structure go together. Knowing when something needs to change is equally as important as putting that structure in place, to begin with.
There are always going to be problems and issues that arise as well.
It’s rarely smooth sailing all the way through. Things will need to be adjusted and changed. Issues will also arise with students. There could be potential behavioral issues that could be related to things inside or indeed outside of the classroom. Creating a set of rules and classroom standards of conduct is important in managing a classroom, and ensuring students are aware of what the standards are. However, understanding the reason for problem behavior is crucial in managing it. Some of it may result from issues within the classroom, and therefore, largely under the purveyance of the teacher. In some instances, the issues may be rooted in problems outside of the classroom, at home, perhaps. It’s pivotal for the teacher to approach these with understanding and emotional intelligence. Rules need to be followed, and sometimes, discipline is necessary. Understanding the root of the issues will create a classroom where the students understand where the teacher is coming from and won’t be surprised by unpredictable responses to problems when they arise.
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Managing a classroom accordingly creates a space where students understand the rules and etiquette required to participate in the course. Having a good rapport with students, taking the time to get to know them, and understand their motivation for wanting to learn, creates a space where they will be engaged and empowered to succeed.
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