The Importance of Effective Classroom Management
J.K. Rowling, the brilliant author of the Harry Potter series, is extremely talented and her writing encouraged young adults and children to enjoy reading. This, however, does not necessarily mean that she will be equally successful if asked to teach writing to a group of students. Teaching requires specific skills of its own. The way a teacher manages a classroom can undoubtedly affect how many students in that class learn.
This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Ana L. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.
A lesson will run smoothly as long as the teacher’s classroom management skills are strong. There are a couple of things to consider when thinking about classroom management: rules and expectations, teacher’s role in the classroom, teacher-student relationship, among others.
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Set of Directions
First of all, it is important to mention that having clear rules in the classroom does not necessarily mean having a long list of things that are not allowed. For this reason, it might be more effective to have a list of expectations instead. This means that they will be focused on behavior that is expected as opposed to behavior that is not allowed. In a young learner environment, for example, a common rule can be to not run in the classroom. Instead of saying: Do not run in the classroom the expectation can be: Remember to walk at all times. This, in a way, is similar to giving the student a clear behavior manual. Instead of a list of things that can’t be done, students have a clear idea of what they need to do to meet expectations.
These rules or expectations in the classroom can be discussed with students. In other words, this does not need to be a long list provided by the teacher to the students, but can rather be built by teachers and students together. This will give the students ownership, it will make them feel important because they were asked about what they think should be expected and they are more likely to follow. If this is done, it can be helpful to have some expectations for the teacher. For example, we expect our teacher to arrive on time, or we expect our teacher to be patient and able to answer our questions. By setting up expectations for the teacher as well as the students, an atmosphere of mutual respect is created that will feed the overall classroom environment.
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Some teachers have a hard time understanding the difference between setting clear expectations and being 'mean' and they fear they will not get students' respect. This is why it is common to see teachers who try to befriend their students to make them feel comfortable. Teachers need to understand their role in the classroom.
The most important element for successful classroom management revolves around one often-ignored idea, the relationship between teachers and students. This can be confused with befriending students however it is possible to have a good relationship with students and still maintain the teacher role. “Strong teacher-student relationships have long been considered a foundational aspect of a positive school experience” (Terada, 2019.) While this can be tricky when dealing with different cultures, some things are crucial:
- students must feel respected
- students should see that their teacher cares about them
- students should feel safe in the classroom to learn effectively.
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Some things that can start to create a good teacher-student relationship are:* knowing all students’ names* finding out something specific about each student* making eye contact* sharing something about yourself* being comfortable with your own mistakes and weaknesses* paying attention to body language
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The effectiveness of a teacher's classroom management skills can affect how many students get out of the lesson and course in general. When asked to remember a teacher who positively impacted your student life, most answers mention teachers who showed they cared about their students, who did not give them things easily but rather pushed to become better every day, therefore establishing a strong and appropriate teacher-student relationship and creating an effective classroom environment.
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