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Methods for Managing Your ESL Classroom

Methods for Managing Your ESL Classroom | ITTT | TEFL Blog

Classroom management is a term teachers use to describe the process of ensuring that classroom lessons run smoothly without disruptive behavior from students compromising the delivery of instruction. The term also implies the prevention of disruptive behavior preemptively, as well as effectively responding to it after it happens.

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

What’s classroom management?

Classroom management is a term teachers use to describe the process of ensuring that classroom lessons run smoothly without disruptive behavior from students compromising the delivery of instruction. The term also implies the prevention of disruptive behavior preemptively, as well as effectively responding to it after it happens.

It is a difficult aspect of teaching for many teachers. Problems in this area cause some to leave teaching. In 1981 the US National Educational Association reported that 36% of teachers said they would probably not go into teaching if they had to decide again. A major reason was negative student attitudes and discipline.

Classroom management is crucial in classrooms because it supports the proper execution of curriculum development, developing best teaching practices, and putting them into action. Classroom management can be explained as the actions and directions that teachers use to create a successful learning environment; indeed, having a positive impact on students achieving given learning requirements. To ensure all students receive the best education it would seem beneficial for educator programs to spend more time and effort in ensuring educators and instructors are well versed in classroom management.

After we know about the definition, this is the most important part that we will talk about the methods.

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Firstly, let students help establish guidelines.

Encourage all students to help you build classroom rules, as you’ll generate more buy-in than just telling them what they’re not allowed to do. Near the start of the year or semester, start a discussion by asking students what they believe should and shouldn’t fly. At what points are phones okay and not okay? What are acceptable noise levels during lessons? This may seem like you’re setting yourself up for failure, but — depending on the makeup of your class — you may be shocked at the strictness of some proposed rules. Regardless, having a discussion should lead to mutually-understood and -respected expectations.

classroom in India

Secondly, don’t let your mutually-respected guidelines go forgotten.

Similar to handing out a syllabus, print and distribute the list of rules that the class discussion generated. Then, go through the list with your students. Doing this emphasizes the fact that you respect their ideas and intend to adhere to them. And when a student breaks a rule, it’ll be easy for you to point to this document. If you’re feeling creative, you can include the rule list in a student handbook with important dates, events, and curriculum information.

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Thirdly, avoid punishing the class.

Address isolated behavior issues instead of punishing an entire class, as the latter can hurt your relationships with students who are on-task and thereby jeopardize other classroom management efforts.

Fourthly, Encourage initiative.

Promote growth mindset, and inject variety into your lessons, by allowing students to work ahead and deliver short presentations to share take-away points. Almost inevitably, you’ll have some eager learners in your classroom. You can simply ask them if they’d like to get ahead from time-to-time. For example, if you’re reading a specific chapter in a textbook, propose that they read the following one too. When they deliver their subsequent presentations to preview the next chapter on your behalf, you may find that other students want a bit more work as well.

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Fifthly, offer praise.

Praise students for jobs well done, as doing so improves academic and behavioral performance, according to a recent research review and study.

When it is sincere and references specific examples of effort or accomplishment, praise can:* Inspire the class* Improve a student’s self-esteem* Reinforce rules and values you want to see

Perhaps more importantly, it encourages students to repeat positive behavior. Let’s say a student exemplifies advanced problem-solving skills when tackling a math word problem. Praising his or her use of specific tactics should go a long way in ensuring he or she continues to use these tactics. Not to mention, you’ll motivate other students to do the same.

young students in the classroom

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Sixthly, use non-verbal communication.

Complement words with actions and visual aids to improve content delivery, helping students focus and process lessons. Many differentiated instruction strategies and techniques are rooted in these communication methods. For example, running learning stations — divided sections of your classroom through which students rotate — allows you to deliver a range of non-spoken content types. These include videos, infographics, and physical objects such as counting coins.

Seventhly, hold parties.

Throw an occasional classroom party to acknowledge students’ hard work, motivating them to keep it up.

Even if it’s just for 20 or 30 minutes, they should be happy with snacks and a selection of group games to play. Clarify that you’re holding the party to reward them and they can earn future parties by demonstrating ideal behavior, collectively scoring high on assessments and more.

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Eighthly, give tangible rewards.

Reward specific students at the end of each lesson, in front of the class, as another motivational and behavior-reinforcement technique. Let’s say a few students are actively listening throughout the entire lesson, answering questions, and asking their own. Before the class ends, walk over to their desks to give them raffle tickets. So others can learn, state aloud what each student did to earn the tickets. On Friday, they can submit their tickets for a shot at a prize that changes each week — from candy to being able to choose a game for the next class party.

Ninthly, Make positive letters and phone calls.

Keep students happy in and out of class by pleasantly surprising their parents, making positive phone calls, and sending complimentary letters home. When the occasion arises, from academic effort or behavioral progress, letting parents know has a trickle-down effect. They’ll generally congratulate their kids; their kids will likely come to class eager to earn more positive feedback. This can also entice parents to grow more invested in a child’s learning, opening the door to at-home lessons. Such lessons are a mainstay element of culturally-responsive teaching.

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Tenthly, build excitement for content.

Start lessons by previewing particularly-exciting parts, hooking student interest from the get-go.As the bell rings and students settle, go through an agenda of the day’s highlights. These could include group tasks, engaging bits of content and anything else to pique curiosity. For example, “Throughout the day, you’ll learn about:”* How to talk like you’re a teacher (sentence structure)* Why you don’t know anyone who’s won the lottery (probability)* What all the presidents of the United States have had in common (social analysis)The goal of this classroom management technique is to immediately interest students in your agenda and thereby dissuade misbehavior.

Last but not least, offer different types of free study time.

Provide a range of activities during free study time to appeal to students who struggle to process content in silence, individually.You can do this by dividing your class into clearly-sectioned solo and team activities. In separate sections, consider:* Providing audiobooks, which can play material relevant to your lessons* Maintaining a designated quiet space for students to take notes and complete work* Creating a station for challenging group games that teach or reinforce curriculum-aligned skills* Allowing students to work in groups while taking notes and completing work, away from quiet zonesBy running these sorts of activities, free study time will begin to benefit diverse learners. This should contribute to overall classroom engagement.

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As we all know, when it comes to sharing an effective classroom management strategy, there are lots of different ways of thinking. Most educators believe things should be done a certain way and many of these ways are vastly different. Many of these methods have also enjoyed years of success—after all, if it works then it works. As a group, students and teachers are a complementary relationship. Students who work with each other inside and outside the classroom also might develop more respect for each other. Also, teachers will develop leadership skills while others will learn to be more responsible about completing assignments.

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