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The Importance of Classroom Management and Universal Strategies

The Importance of Classroom Management and Universal Strategies | ITTT | TEFL Blog

Classroom management refers to the wide variety of skills and techniques such as organizing and managing class, maintaining discipline, being friendly and relaxed manners that teachers use to ensure that their classroom runs smoothly, without disruptive behavior from students. Classroom management is also the techniques teachers use to maintain control and discipline in the classroom. Discipline plays an important role to manage the classroom. To maintain discipline depends on the respect between the students and the teacher, the student’s levels and ages, the environmental problems, etc.

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

Common problems

A lack of effective classroom management can cause chaos and stress, which can create an unsatisfactory learning environment for students and an unsatisfactory work environment for the teacher. A disorganized classroom without routines and expectations makes it difficult for the teacher to do her job. Students don't know what to do, so they might get off task or cause disruptions. When the teacher is constantly redirecting students or handling behavior problems, she loses crucial teaching time.

Many experienced teachers know that making meaningful connections with students is one of the most effective ways to prevent disruptions in the first place, and a new study set out to assess this approach. An effective teacher knows how to design their lessons so that students can reach their full potential.

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## Teachers’ Goals

Teachers always want their students to be successful. Knowing student capabilities can greatly enhance the teacher's ability to help each individual succeed. If we look at the term classroom management, it is usually used by teachers and serves to organize the teaching process. It describes the teaching process and also is used to prevent the disruptive behavior of the learners. If such behavior of the learners is missed at the lesson then lessons run smoothly. But the problems in this area and disruptive behavior of the learners cause some teachers to give up this profession.

Methods to Manage the Classroom

In the classroom the teacher should speak more when setting up activities, presenting some topics, and giving instructions. But sometimes teachers should allow the students to speak in some activities such as role-play, group activities, and work in pairs. Teachers should encourage the students in using the target language as freely and communicatively as they can. Students feel more invested in their learning if allowed to share their interests. Teachers can step aside, be supportive, and listen. Also, good eye contact in the classroom is very important to get the students' attention and to maintain discipline.

The other effective criteria of classroom management are the teacher’s personal knowledge regarding educational psychology. A large part of traditional classroom management involves behavior modification. Some teachers prefer to establish special rules of behavior at the beginning of the school year. These rules give the students concrete direction and guarantee discipline and effective classroom management.

Effective classroom management starts with relationship building. When students feel a greater sense of belonging, they’re more likely to be academically engaged and demonstrate positive behavior. To establish positive relationships, teachers can use positive communication techniques like open-ended questions, reflective listening, etc. Activities such as positive greetings at the door and icebreaker questions help create a warm classroom culture. By creating such a good speech atmosphere, the teacher gives the students a chance to express what they want to act freely without the fear of making mistakes and being laughed at by their friends. This involves them inactive conversations.

Classroom management strategies help teachers to create an organized classroom environment teaching in the classroom.

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Universal classroom management strategies:

  • Model ideal behavior: Demonstrate behavior you want to see by holding mock conversations and interactions with another teacher in front of your students.
  • Let students help establish guidelines: Ask students what they think is and isn’t acceptable behavior, encouraging them to suggest rules for the academic year.
  • Document rules: Ensure your guidelines aren’t forgotten by writing them down and distributing them as a list for students to keep and reference.
  • Avoid punishing the class: Address isolated behavior issues instead of punishing the entire class, to avoid hurting your relationships with on-task students.
  • Encourage initiative: Promote growth mindset by allowing students to work ahead in certain units, delivering brief presentations to reinforce your lesson material.
  • Offer praise: Recognize hard work by openly congratulating students, encouraging ideal behavior, and inspiring the class.

  • Use non-verbal communication: Complement words with actions and visual aids to improve content delivery, helping students focus and process lessons.

  • Hold parties: Throw an occasional classroom party to acknowledge students’ hard work, motivating them to keep it up.
  • Give tangible rewards: Reward specific students at the end of each lesson, in front of the class, as another motivational and behavior-reinforcement technique.
  • Make positive letters and phone calls: Make positive phone calls and send complimentary letters home, possibly encouraging parents to further involve themselves in their children’s learning.

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  • Build excitement for content: Start lessons by previewing particularly-exciting parts, hooking student interest from the get-go.
  • Offer different types of free study time: Provide different activities during free study time -- such as group note-taking -- to help students who can’t process content in silence.
  • Write group contracts: Help student group work run smoothly by writing contracts that contain clear guidelines, asking each group member to sign a copy.
  • Assign open-ended projects: Encourage students to tackle open-ended projects to allow them to demonstrate knowledge in ways that suit and appeal to them.
  • Give only two marks for informal assessments: Consider avoiding standard marks on informal and formative assessments, simply stating if a student did or didn’t meet expectations. If they didn’t, give them a task to improve competency.
  • Use EdTech that adjusts to each student: Give students who struggle to process content opportunities to use adaptive learning technology, such as Prodigy.

  • Interview students: Interview students who aren’t academically engaged or displaying prosocial behavior to get insights about how to better manage them.

  • Address bad behavior quickly: Don’t hesitate when you must address bad behavior, as acting sooner rather than later will ensure that negative feelings don’t fester.
  • Consider peer teaching: Use peer teaching activities -- such as paired reading -- if you feel your top performers can help engage and educate disruptive and struggling students.
  • Gamify personal learning plans: Motivate students on personal learning plans by gamification of those plans, through tactics such as awarding XP (experience points) throughout a unit to quantify skill mastery.

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