Why Classroom Management Matters
This essay will focus on a few effective and ineffective strategies as well as my plan to incorporate these strategies to promote an organized classroom. My greatest fear is a large unruly class that interferes with my ability to teach. As the product of two parents who were public school educators, I understand the importance of integrating proven classroom management strategies. Without these tools, students will not be focused and may not absorb lessons as intended. As such, maintaining the attention of students will require skill and patience but once mastered, an effective learning environment will be the result. I look forward to working with students and maintaining an engaging space that is open, encouraging, and inspirational.
This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Jamila J. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.
Classroom management focuses on maintaining the behavior of students in a class setting so the lesson being taught is uninterrupted and students can absorb the material. There are a variety of strategies available that can help maintain a disciplined classroom. A few of them are eye contact, gesturing, the voice, and using students’ names which all help maintain a classroom free of unnecessary behavioral disruptions.
Balanced eye contact builds rapport, implies the instructor is confident, assists in minimizing disciplinary issues, and shows students that they are involved in the lesson. Gestures that are internationally known can help convey the meaning of language and reinforce instructions. The voice is a tool that can be used to manage a classroom through projection, adapting the complexity of the language based on the level being taught and variation. Finally, using students’ names will help in organizing activities, indicate who should respond, and gain the attention of a specific student.
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Ineffective practices and strategies include staring at students, using gestures that are not understood by all class members, and a monotone voice. Staring at a student when instructing is uncomfortable and may cause the student to retreat or feel singled out. Generally, staring in America is considered rude and a prolonged gaze may cause discomfort among the students. Further, another issue is using gestures that are not familiar to all students.
The instructor should focus on the common, known motion as many universal gestures can be used and understood by all students. Examples include putting your hand behind your ear to suggests listening; using both hands to show small, medium, or large; and flashing your palm to indicate that they stop. Many motions are not known by most and as a result, should not be used in the classroom. Finally, a monotone voice will put the class to sleep or cause them to become disruptive.
When to Implement?
The above proven effective classroom management strategies will be used when I begin teaching a course. I am especially excited to practice my eye contact skills and voice variation. Unfortunately, I tend to be monotone. I hope that I will begin to change as I get more practice in the classroom. Additionally, remembering and using students’ names will be a welcomed challenge. I expect many names will not be common American names so I plan to utilize memory games to help me recall and correctly pronounce names. Finally, I will begin to use these strategies during my one on one sessions with my new tutee whose first language is Korean.
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In conclusion, I provided a few reasons explaining the importance of classroom management, shared effective and ineffective strategies, and provided a plan of action to use once I begin to teach. Many of these tools are used in my daily life while with friends or at work. In particular, eye contact, gestures, and voice projection. My new contract as a campaign manager for a local political race will require me to remember the names of the dozens of volunteers I plan to recruit. This will provide me with an opportunity to practice this skill before entering the classroom as an instructor. All of these tools can help maintain an effective learning space that inspires students to participate and improve their English language skills.
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