In this chapter, we focus on classroom management. There are many ways a teacher can manage a classroom. It is believed that a good teacher will be able to control a classroom, however this believe is not true. This is because some teachers are low key while there are teachers who are lively and may be regarded as entertainers to students. Every teacher will have their own personality and style of teaching a class and their students concern. It should be considered, to have a successful class, a teacher should be depicted as someone who is confident enough to inspire their students. To manage a classroom, the teacher would need the skill to be organised and he/she would need to have proper managing skills, have a friendly and safe environment for their students.
Many of times, students tend to look away and they may be easily distracted by things around them. For instance, while the teacher is teaching in front, the student might be fidgeting with his hands or another student would be playing with his/her pencil. These problems are very common especially for students who are from the ages of 5-17. Even lecturers may find this similar problem amongst students of their own. However, methods can be used to gain the attention of the students, by eye contact. For instance, the teacher may show the students that they are all involved in the lesson, eye contact can also be used to encourage contributions, to hold the attention of students who are not being addressed, to signal the students, to indicate something that is right or wrong and etc.
The teachers’ voice plays a vital role in teaching. For instance, a teacher who speaks loudly and clearly would be able to get the students attention even more than a teacher who is monotonous. If your voice does not have the correct clarity, range, variety or projection, you will have difficulty in making your instruction/explanations to be understood to all members of the class. The greater the variation of the voice, the greater the effectiveness. Your voice should change naturally according to the circumstances. A dull monotone will only create boredom and lead to students not paying attention and misbehaving.
It is also very important for a teacher to know his/her students’ names. This would make the teachers live a tad bit easier, as the teacher can organise activities by calling out the names of his/her students. The students would feel that they are being acknowledged and respected by their teacher as the teacher has taken their time to know their names as this is the first step of getting to know someone and when a teacher knows their students, the student would feel comfortable to communicate with their teacher during class. Knowing a student’s name would allow the teacher to gain their attention during classroom activities.
There is no real limit to the was a teacher can group students as it is suitable for activities where the teacher needs to be in control/have the attention of the class as a whole. It is quicker and easier to organise. It allows students to interact with any other class members. However, there are its negative impact, which might reduce opportunities for students to speak as in a group, some students might choose to be silent while the alpha type of students might overpower the rest. Also, it would be off-putting to shy students who may not wish to participate.
Sometimes, students wish to work on their own, as it is less stressful for students than contributing in front of the whole class or the whole group. It also helps the students to become more independent on their own. It also allows the teacher to respond to individual differences. However, this method also has its cons whereby it would restrict the possibilities for student to student interaction and sense of group belonging. Students as such may find it difficult to communicate or grow with one another as they progress on further in the classroom. The student may find it difficult to socialise with one another.
Teachers may wish to pair students up for some of their lessons during class. Students that are being paired will be able to interact with one another. Pairing up students would allow the teachers to take their time to work with certain pairs first whilst the other continue working. Students who are being paired up would be allowed to share ideas and thoughts more effectively and, stronger students will be able to help weaker students through the sharing of ideas. The method of pairing up students will allow them to share responsibility for work and removes burden from the individually.
As a teacher you have the authority to move the students for the benefit of an activity, cohesion or discipline. This should be done firmly but politely. There are many factors that is to be considered such as, the space available in the class, types of chairs and tables that are being used, the age of students, nationality and the students’ personality. The teacher may arrange the chairs and table in an orderly manner and this has been a traditional form of seating for many years in most schools. The teacher will have a clear view of all the students and all the students can see the teacher. It makes lecturing easy. In a smaller classroom, the teacher may opt for a circle or a horseshoe arrangement. This arrangement often allows students to be more focused on the lesson.
Students are often sensitive to your position in the classroom and whether you are sitting or standing. It can tell them what kind of activity it is, what the teacher’s role will be and/or what the students are expected to do.
During class, the teacher is expected to position and move and some of the important tactics are language presentation, giving instructions, reading activities, activation stage, controlled practices and checking work in progress. For language presentation, the teacher will probably want the attention of the whole class, so standing is the best option. As for giving instructions, the teacher needs the attention of all students. Reading activities suggest, when students are reading there is no real need for the teacher to dominate so much. In activation stage, the teacher should relax control completely and be available if need. The teacher should remain at a distance from the activity, preferable seated. Teacher should also have the habit of controlled practice which means, occasional monitoring but otherwise the teacher should allow the students to focus on the activity. Lastly but not the least, the teacher will want to move from group to group but without intruding and stopping the flow of the work and this is known as checking the students’ progress.
Many of times, teacher opt to only use the writing board and this method is said to be good but the teacher may lose the attention of their students. There are ways to avoid this and teacher can opt for, overhead projector if possible, prepare cards with vocabulary, write on the board whilst students are engaged on a different task, write in small sections and turn around to face the class every now and again, invite the students to write on the board for you.
Teachers will have to take the effort to know their students’ names. If necessary, spend longer with students who do not understand or who cannot do the task, but try to keep the other students occupied by giving them a task to get on with. Students at times might try to hog for your attention so try to avoid this method of giving attention to individual students unless needed from time to time.
Rapport between the teacher and students plays an important part in determining if a class is successful and enjoyable. Students are more likely to contribute and take part in the lessons when the atmosphere is relaxed and they get on well with the teacher. There are some ways in establishing this, such as, when making seating arrangements, be aware of which students get on well together and which do not, make sure the students know each other’s names and a little basic information about each other, at the beginning of a course have an ice breaking activity, choose materials and activities that involve the students talking to each other and sharing personal opinions or ideas, use plenty of pair work and group activities, get the students to help and correct one another, do not let individual students to dominate the group, give clear instructions.