The Complexity and Importance of Classroom Management
A smaller class size becomes more popular these days, especially for language courses, since it encourages students’ participation and interaction with teachers and peers. Different from a big class of 25 or more students, a small class requires less teacher’s instructions and more students’ discussions and cooperation, so effective classroom management strategies should be adopted and applied to the class. According to unit 5 of the course, classroom management is “the skill of organizing and managing the class, having a friendly, relaxed manner and maintaining discipline” (1). Focusing on the teacher’s role, seating arrangement, discipline maintenance, and rapport building, this essay will illustrate the significance and provide a summary of pragmatic methods of classroom management.
This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Rui Z. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.
The flexibility of seating arrangement benefits from the smaller class size, which ensures successful implementations of activities. According to the ESA (Engage-Study-Activate) model, activities play an important role in reinforcing the learning project and ensure students’ understanding of the knowledge. To serve different kinds of activities, seating arrangements, including orderly rows, circles and horseshoes, and separate tables, offer choices for whole-class grouping, individual, pair work, and group work. For example, when the teacher is lecturing, giving instructions or maintaining discipline before activities, orderly rows are the best arrangement since the arrangement forces students to pay attention to the teacher’s words and gestures. In another scenario, during the activation process, circles and horseshoes provide a more equal and intimate relationship between students and the teacher since there is no front or back of the classroom and students can conduct both verbal and nonverbal communications with each other. If students are asked to share their ideas and opinions on a certain topic, circles and horseshoes represent the best method for them to communicate without the teacher’s interruption.
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Discipline and behavior issues
Maintaining discipline secures an ideal environment for classroom instruction. A well-disciplined classroom allows the teacher to follow plans predetermined in coursebooks and create more opportunities for teachers and students to cooperate better throughout engage, study, and activate stages of a class. However, lessons do not always go well all the time, especially for young beginners who lack the desire and ambition to study. For most young beginners, learning another language is motivated by their parents’ orders instead of their own needs, so many students take it for granted and there is no pressure for them to get satisfying results. Besides, regarding language classes as daycares where children can somewhat learn something, some parents do not expect their kids to benefit much from it, which deteriorates the fact that there is no valid objective or assessment to propel students to learn another language. In this case, some students would chat during class, and distract the teacher’s attention by answering questions with non-related responses.
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To address the problem happened in the classroom, several preventive and responsive measures are ready to use. To prevent misbehaviors in class, high standards are set for the teacher: the teacher should be punctual and well prepared when he/she arrives in the classroom and should not be influenced by personal feelings. During class, the teacher should treat every student in the same way and not reprimand students in public. Instead, the teacher is supposed to be enthusiastic and encourage students to learn with interesting and varied materials. Whenever misbehaviors appear, the teacher should respond to them immediately in a calm manner. To address the behavior itself is more important than scolding the student. If necessary, the teacher should resort to colleagues for advice and reprimand the student in private according to the school’s disciplinary code. In this case, maintaining classroom discipline is made possible and the quality of teaching can be supported.
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Teachers should be able to establish rapport with students to encourage and promote students to engage themselves more in classroom studies and activities. As mentioned above, seating arrangements assist students’ cooperation and mutual understanding, which is a representation of successful rapport build between students. Apart from that, more methods to establish rapport are available. At the beginning of a course, an ice-breaking activity is the best means to establish connections between students, which allows everyone to know each other’s names and other interesting information. Then, plenty of paperwork and group work activities also invite students to develop a deeper understanding of and generate kindness towards each other. To get the best result, changing pairs frequently is recommended. Also, since it is more about students building rapport among themselves, the teacher is expected to give clear instructions without supplying everything himself/herself. After activities, the teacher should help students summarize and share their group’s opinions, and then provide feedback to them and ask for further comments. If possible, the teacher should allow students to evaluate and offer suggestions to the activities so that they will be improved in the future.
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In conclusion, classroom management is the basis of launching any programs or starting any stages during the teaching process. From seating arrangement to discipline maintenance, and the establishment of rapport among students, classroom management covers almost every corner of the classroom to ensure a positive and friendly atmosphere for studying languages. In this case, it is of vital importance that teachers and students should work together as a team to fulfill their duties respectively for the best teaching effect and learning outcome.
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