How Can Teachers Effectively Manage Their Classrooms?
“A good teacher can inspire hope, ignite the imagination, and instill the love of learning.” The previous quote as said by the American lawyer Brad Henry highlights the effect of a teacher. The latter whether it is positive or negative can last a lifetime. Teachers move lives, inspire creativity in their students, and enhance their confidence. For the teacher to meet its learning objectives and supersede, managing a classroom could be challenging for some. This is because any teacher needs to have the right balance between being firm and friendly, entertaining but controlling, creating a relaxing atmosphere, and setting discipline. Students nowadays, regardless of their age group, are continually distracted by many factors such as social media, online resources, life demands.. etc. They come to the classrooms with certain expectations and failure to meet those expectations by the teacher may result in chaos within the learning environment. Therefore, classroom management is a vital factor in successfully meeting the learning objectives. It is the skill of managing a classroom, having a friendly and relaxed attitude while maintaining discipline.
This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Amira A. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.
This can be achieved in several ways.
Firstly, by building a rapport between the teacher and the students and between the students themselves. Establishing a friendly rapport in the classroom affects the students’ level of participation. Some of the ways a teacher can establish rapport with are:* Make sure students get to know each other during the very first days as well as they share some information about one another. This can be done through interesting ice-breaking activities such as asking each pair to share 3 common things between them or prepare a questionnaire and ask students to take responses from others.* Seating arrangements should be carefully done, making sure there is a sense of cooperation and coherence between the group members.* Carefully choosing activities that involve students talking to each other and sharing opinions/ideas.* Getting students to help each other and always feel a part of the classroom.* A teacher’s positive attitude is a must! This is achieved through always keeping a smiley face, acting like they love their job, and showing personal interests in the students.
Secondly, the instructions given by the teacher play a big role in managing a classroom.
Instructions are effective when:
- a simple and clear language is used.
- the teacher is consistent with the words and with the consequences of breaking them.
- the teacher uses visual tools to help convey them such as pictures.
- the teacher makes sure students fully understand the instructions and can recall them effectively.
Thirdly, the grouping of the students, which highly affects the teacher’s ability to manage the classroom. There is no ultimate way to group the students and it depends on the classroom size, furniture, and students’ number.
Among the ways used to group students:
- Whole-class grouping: This creates a sense of belongingness among the classroom and is easier to be managed by the teacher. However, it could be a put-off to students who are too shy to participate in front of the whole class.
- Students working on their own: This has long been the traditional way to group students. However, it does not enhance any kind of team spirit between the students.
- Pair work: This way creates a secure environment for shy students to share their ideas with their pair first. It gives a chance for the teacher to work with certain pairs while others are busy doing something. However, students may find themselves working with pairs they do not like.
- Group work: This is the most commonly used way nowadays, especially with young learners. It is a good chance for students to share their ideas, express themselves, and communicate in English. On the other hand, it can get noisy and it can end up with one student dominating the others.
Next, the teacher’s eye contact, use of hand gestures, and voice level affect their ability to manage a classroom.
- Eye contact helps the teacher to establish good relations with her students. It shows them that they are all involved, it encourages contribution and holds the attention of the students without the need to speak.
- The use of gestures reduces the need for verbal expression, adds interest to the lesson, and helps to emphasize instructions. Gestures can be used to ask students to listen, be quiet, get in groups, and so on.
- The voice is about clarity, range, and variety. An effective teacher should make sure her voice is clear, varied based on the activity done and heard by everyone. A monotonic voice leads to loss of concentration and interest.
Then, creating the right balance between teacher talking time TTT and student talking time STT is crucial to effectively manage a classroom. The TTT is expected to be more during the study phase, establishing instructions, giving a language input, or establishing a rapport. Although students need to learn English to listen to the teacher, TTT should still be kept to the minimum, and STT should be increased.
Maintaining discipline is key to effective classroom management. Accordingly, a teacher should prevent behavioral problems by:
- addressing the problem immediately and stopping the negative behavior.
- focusing on the behavior and not the student.
- always keep the students busy to avoid any disruptive attitude.
- make sure the learning environment is interactive and enjoyable to lessen any kind of negative behavior.
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Classroom management is a key factor in the effectiveness of the learning process. A good teacher with a poor ability to manage his classroom will fail to meet the learning objectives. An effective teacher should set a clear, feasible plan at the beginning of any teaching course on how he/she is going to manage the classroom. When effectively managed, the classroom won’t just be a learning place but will also be a relaxing, enjoyable resort to all the students.
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