Creating a Comfortable Learning Environment: Classroom Management Strategies
The teacher’s role is to catch the interest of the students and to give them confidence. Getting the students involved in the lesson will also help to prevent most of the disciplinary problems.
This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Marie Alice C. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.
1. Get to know your students
The first thing is for the teacher to try to know his students. Knowing their name is, of course, necessary to get their attention or indicate who is to answer the question, but the teacher should also try to know their surroundings. The students will be more willing to participate if the topic has been carefully chosen to fit their interests. Making sure that the relation between the students is also goodwill creates a good working dynamic. The students will be more motivated to communicate if they know each other, more comfortable to answer questions in front of the class, and they will be able to help each other in group works. The teacher could use an ice-breaking activity at the beginning of the course. Just make sure that the students are using the English language and not their mother tongue to communicate.
2. Non-verbal communication
Managing a class is also making sure that you are listened to. To convey messages, eye contact gesture, and voice are important. The teacher should be aware of how his attitude is essential to established good rapport with the students. Eye contact will help him to encourage participation, ensure the student’s understanding, or help maintain discipline. The teacher should always remember to encourage the students, using eye contact, gesture or voice, because confidence is a very important factor in a good learning process.
Gesture can help to explain the meaning of language, as well as to add visual interest. Voice is naturally changing according to the size of your classroom or the numbers and ages of the students, but a greater variety of your voice will also help to prevent boredom and misbehaving. The teacher’s position will also have an impact on how the students are listening. To give instructions, it is always better to stand, while sitting is preferable for reading activities.
3. Using equipment
The teacher should be careful when using the whiteboard as it is easy to lose the student’s attention. To reduce the time spent turning his back to the student, the are many ways. The teacher could use an overhead projector instead, write when the students are focusing on a different task, make them write on the board for you, prepare the board work in advance, etc
4. Proper directions
All this will help the teacher to give clear instructions, and therefore, help to keep the lesson on tracks, and avoid losing the student’s attention. When giving instructions, the teacher should use a lower language than the one taught, speak loud, slowly, and clearly; use the same set of words for the same instructions; give on instruction at a time, and give a demonstration of what is asked. Finally, the teacher has to make sure the instructions have been understood, by making them explain it back to you.
5. Teacher talking time
To keep the students’ attention, the teacher should find a good balance between teacher talking time and student talking time. Listening to the teacher is essential to be exposed to the English language, but the teacher should always try to maximize the students’ participation. To avoid unnecessary teacher talking time, keep it simple, don’t over-elaborate, use gestures, mimes or pictures.
Sitting arrangements can also take part in the classroom atmosphere. Orderly rows are the traditional sitting organization, it is also the best choice for big groups as it helps maintain eye contact with the teacher and prevent misbehavior. With smaller classes, circles can be a good option as it helps students to be in contact and communicate while keeping the teacher in a central and leading position. Separate tables can be used for group activities and allow the teacher to walk between tables, monitoring the students without disturbing them.
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The teacher should always remember to be polite, punctual, enthusiastic, treat the students with respect, stay flexible, and make varied and interesting lessons. Students will learn better if they enjoy the lesson.
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