Key Tools for Effective Classroom Management
Throughout the last 20 readings, there has been a consistent theme of classroom management. To teach a class effectively a teacher must have the floor and have control of the dialogue in the group. To do so it does not matter what activities they present now their mastery of the language that they are about to teach, what is paramount for every teacher is their ability to manage the classroom so that all students all have access to the information about the language that is being presented. Without proper classroom management, a teacher cannot teach, however, with excellent classroom management a teacher will be able to become much more efficient in their teaching and further help their students attain their language goals.
This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Alexander C. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.
The first example of how much classroom management can affect a group and a lesson is the video lesson that was presented. In this video lesson, there was one teacher with the same group of students going over the same subject. However, in the two lessons, he acted drastically differently. In the first lesson he did not smile, he did not speak clearly, he did not explain activities well, and would sometimes improvise in a way that it was obvious that he didn’t care. This first lesson showed a lack of investment and a lack of enthusiasm for the class. Along with this, it showed that there was a lack of management. Though the teacher went through his lesson, step by step, he did not manage the classroom properly.
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In the second video that was presented we see the same teacher but much more engaged in the class and their activities. He smiles and engages with the class. He manages the classroom before he ever starts the lesson. An excellent example of how he prioritizes classroom management over the lesson is in the very beginning when he goes around and asks for each student’s name. They all present themselves in English which is a small practice in language but not necessarily a practice of the language needed for the lesson. He strays just a little bit at the beginning of the class to establish a rapport with the class and set the tone. By asking all the students for their first name he establishes many things necessary for a classroom to function. He establishes who he is, he establishes that they must speak in English, and he establishes that one person speaks at a time and only when they are asked. In such a subtle way, he can set up this class for success with a few small moves in classroom management skills.
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Another excellent way to manage the classroom is to follow the lesson structures proposed in these readings. By making sure that each lesson starts with an engaging activity followed by a study and finally an activator (with a variety of other ways to order those) the teacher can structure their classroom dynamic and manage the classroom properly. It is hard to imagine a lesson going well when a teacher walks into a classroom and has their students start with a study activity. That sets them up for a quiet class where students are not as engaged. If a teacher starts with an activator and tries to get too much out of the students early on, information that they just don’t know, they will be intimidated and will not want to participate later and maybe get bored with the lesson. It is important to structure the lesson properly so that the teacher can manage the classroom. Otherwise, if the class has no motivation, is fearful, or confused, it will make the teacher's job a lot more difficult to manage.
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In closing, we are teachers and we are teaching students how to use a language. Language is a tool we use to communicate. A teacher must make sure that the students are correctly using that tool and by setting up a solid classroom routine with norms and a certain culture students are much more likely to succeed in a well-managed classroom than the poorly managed classrooms. By managing the classroom well, a teacher allows all students to participate and feel safe. When students all feel safe in a judgment-free zone then they are way more likely to participate and succeed in their academic quests. Classroom management is paramount, and it is the keystone habit of a successful classroom.
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