The 3 Key Tools to Keep Your TEFL Class Managed
The way a teacher manages the classroom has a profound impact on the success of the class and the ability for students to achieve their learning potential. Successful class management is made up of multiple different facets that all work together to achieve a positive learning environment. When executed correctly, the use of body language, the way the class is arranged and the maintenance of discipline work together to create a successful class.
This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Michael F. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.
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1. Body Language
In the classroom, the use of body language is incredibly important in effectively managing the class. There are several different ways a teacher can utilize body language to manage the class. One of the most obvious of these is the use of eye contact. Eye contact can be used to show students they’re involved and encourage them to contribute to the class. This, in turn, helps hold their attention, as well as allowing the teacher to ensure that everyone is participating. Conversely, it can also hurt the class if used inappropriately, such as during not teacher-centric activities. Like all classroom management techniques, it is important to strike a balance to manage the class effectively. The same can be said of the use of gestures in the classroom.
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Gestures can be very helpful as they help convey meaning visually whilst reducing the need for verbal explanations. The addition of visual gestures is something that naturally helps keep students in the class attentive. Similarly to the use of eye contact though, unclear gestures can have a confusing and negative impact on the class so to maintain a well-managed class it’s necessary to make sure they’re used correctly.
The final major tool a teacher has at their disposal in this area is the use of their voice. A teacher with clear speech who sounds enthusiastic is going to have a much easier time holding a classes attention than a teacher who speaks in a dull monotone and isn’t visibly enjoying being in the classroom. When used effectively, all these techniques can come together to provide major help in managing the classroom.
Another incredibly important way a teacher has control over the management of the classroom is through the grouping of students in the class. There are numerous ways in which this can be done and they all have their pros and cons, depending on several different factors such as class size and the students English level. For example, whole class groups can help build rapport amongst students and all the teacher to easily monitor the whole group.
However, on the other hand, these large groups can reduce individual student talk time and also be intimidating for shy students. So it is important to take into account the class dynamics before deciding on a preferred method of grouping students. As a ground rule though, a mixture of whole-class grouping, pair work, and individual work helps maintain students interest and a well-managed class. Once a teacher has gotten to know a class well more effective groups can be made, such as seating strong students with weaker students. This allows students to help and learn off each other, rather than solely relying on the teacher's input.
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Possibly the most important form of classroom management is the maintenance of discipline. A poorly disciplined class is incredibly hard to manage and has the potential to quickly descend into chaos. Whilst some factors that lead to poor disciplines, such as issues at home, are outside of the teacher's control there are several ways that a teacher can create and maintain discipline within the class. The first of these is to establish rapport within the class, both between the teacher and the students as well as amongst the students themselves. If the class is comfortable with each other then the students are much more likely to be confident and willing to contribute to the class, as they are within the safety of a positive and comfortable environment.
The appearance and presentation of the teacher are also very important in this. Always being on time to welcome the students into the class and maintaining a professional appearance goes a long way to helping maintain discipline within the class. Always providing simple and clear instructions that students understand is also of vital importance, as obviously they will not be able to complete tasks and are likely to get distracted if they’re unaware of what it is they’re supposed to be doing.
In every class, no matter how well managed, there is always likely to be at least occasional problem behavior. In these situations, it is critical that the teacher remains calm and is fair and consistent in their response. This, along with all of the preventative measures, helps to minimize any problem behavior and provides an example of a well-managed classroom.
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Effective management of the classroom is one of the most important factors in a teacher being successful with a class. Through the use of body language, class grouping, and discipline the teachers give themselves the greatest chance of achieving this. An effectively managed class through the use of these methods provided the best possible learning environment for students and gives them the chance to maximize their learning potential in the classroom.
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