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Dos and Don’ts in an ESL Classroom Management

Dos and Don’ts in an ESL Classroom Management | ITTT | TEFL Blog

Discipline often comes to the mind at the mention of classroom management, but the crucial component is much more.Classroom management creates a set of expectations used in an organized classroom environment. This will include routines, rules, and consequences. Effective classroom management paves the way for the teacher to engage the students in learning. Classroom management is important because it allows learning to flow effectively some important elements can be considered such as Effective teaching, Efficient use of time, fewer behavior problems, community building and many other elements when a class is managed well by the teacher. Just to elaborate more on the elements mentioned as to why classroom management is important I will outline each of them briefly.

This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Vivian M. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.

Effective Teaching

It is often said that a classroom managed without routines and expectations makes it difficult for a teacher to do her job perfectly well. In most cases, children will not be sure of what to do and might end up causing problems for the teacher and in wanting to handle the behavior problems, she ends up losing crucial teaching time. Effective teaching, however, creates an organized classroom environment that is conducive to teaching. Kids will know the expectations in different types of learning situations example when working the lesson in pair’s children will know they need to talk in quiet voices and give chances to them as they discuss the topic and they know that each child knows he/she has a task to do in the group.

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Efficient Use of Time

Taking time before class starts to create routines, activities, and procedures will always help the teacher to save time during the lesson. When the children have done the routine continuously after a few weeks it won’t be the duty of the teacher to tell to be telling the kids what they need to do as they will have gotten used to doing the routine and procedures in simple terms when you train the children how to do each part of the school day, there is no need for the teacher to spend much time giving instructions/direction.

On Task/Off Task Behavior

About Marsh, C.(2000)Handbook for Beginning Teachers Longman. It stated that classroom management aims at providing effective learning opportunities for students on planned activities –that is, on-task activities. The more time spent on these on-task activities the greater the learning will be. The time students spent on off-task activities are less productive and reduces opportunities for learning. Off-task behavior can be divided into two disruptive and non-disruptive categories. Disruptive behavior occurs when a student interferes with another student during an activity given while as the non-disruptive, off-task students who do not appear to be motivated or concentrating.Developing a positive classroom environment can be done in many ways. The following Ideas come as in reference from Gilmour et al (1990) Six of the best Nelson.

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Setting Up The Class

  • The physical setting of the classroom reflects the teaching style e.g if the activity is on the board the teacher will have his desks/tables put in rows to face the board if it’s a group activity the desks/ tables will be arranged in groups. Students learn well by being active participants, as a result, the way the teacher arranges the desks/tables will encourage the students to work together. Whatever the arrangement it should be
  • Inviting
  • Permit easy movement around the room for the student and teacher.
  • Allow easy access to the equipment and materials.

Preventing Practice

It is important to promote a learning environment that prevents /minimizes problems. Barry and King (1998) discussed several ways of how management problems may be prevented.

Through Planning and Organisation

It is important the lesson plan is well prepared and that the teacher knows what the students will do in the series of lessons. The lessons should match the age and ability and there should be plenty of productive and interesting work for all students. The materials and equipment must be checked before classes start the teacher should make sure to have a time plan.

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Establishing a good relationship with the students

The teacher-student relationship is a very important ingredient in successful classroom management. Some points to consider:* Personal qualities-being warm, natural, pleasant, approachable and tolerant.* Quickly learn names, share yourself evenly, get to know the students, set limits and apply them consistently and fairly .In the case of inappropriate behavior, focus on the behavior and not the student.* Actions to help the students feel good about themselves -value each student’s interest and special skills.

Non-Verbal Communication

The dos and don’ts of the non-verbal communication


  • Make eye contact
  • Face the class when you are talking
  • Direct your body to the student you are addressing
  • using several positive expressions and gestures
  • Move systematically to students in different locations in the room

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  • Look away when talking to students
  • Adopt ‘sloppy’ positions in the classroom, for example, sitting on tables or leaning against a door when talking to students.
  • Make all your directions from a single location in the classroom.
  • Maintaining lesson pace and variability
  • It is important to maintain the interest of the students throughout the lesson pace and variation of movement and activity. If the teacher has prepared thoroughly, the lesson should keep moving, flow smoothly and finish on time.
  • Vary your voice level and communication patterns
  • Questions should be distributed among the students, but in a way that they can’t fail to answer.

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Teaching does not just about know the content and methodology.It’s about finding ways to connect with students and helping them to grow and develop curiosity and a love for learning. Skilled teachers develop ways to do this to create the best classroom environment possible. Of course, classroom norms vary this is why teachers must consider how to put these elements into practice in ways that work for them and their students.

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