Classroom Management Classroom management is the skill of organising and managing the class, having a friendly, relaxed manner and maintaining discipline.
is the most widely used second and learning language in the world used for international communication, this article focuses on the optimal management of teacher-student style in a TEFL classroom. However, it is also useful in other classrooms.
For a class to be able to learn effectively the teacher must be able to inspire confidence in the students. A teacher must know when to be firm and when to leave the students alone. It is much easier to relax control at a later stage than at the beginning, especially with children and teenagers. In other words the teacher must be flexible and change his/her role according to the activity and situation without being dominant or leaving the students uncertain. However, it is very difficult for inexperienced teachers to be able to be as flexible as this would require.
TEFL has some very good suggestions that will help teachers to manage a class. With those suggestions and a lot of practice in the classroom a teacher will find his/her own style of teaching. It’s not true that a teacher has to be an extrovert to be a good teacher in the classroom. Some good teachers are very low-key, while others are regarded as pure entertainers.
The degree to which a teacher will have to maintain discipline will depend upon a number of factors like the age of the students, their reasons for learning (motivation), the class size, the respect between students and teacher and/or the principles and the atmosphere of the school. Some of these factors can be influenced by the teacher while others cannot.
Rapport between the teacher and students and between the students themselves plays an important part in determining if a class is successful and enjoyable. It can be encouraged and stimulated by the general attitude and approach of the teacher.
A good use of gestures, especially commonly understood international gestures if a teacher teaches abroad or if he/she has multilingual students, can be effective and useful to manage the class.
Eye contact in the classroom is essential to establishing good rapport with the students. A teacher who never looks students in the eye will appear to lack confidence and could then have problems with discipline. On the other hand, staring at the students is not very productive either. A teacher should try to find a balance in order to maintain discipline. During any activity which is not teacher-centred eye contact should be avoided.
The voice of a teacher should change naturally according to the circumstances. If the voice does not have the correct clarity, range and variety or projection, the teacher will have a difficult time in making his/her instructions or explanations understood to all students. The greater the variation of the voice, the greater the effectiveness. It also helps to give clear instructions and to use students’ names to get the attention of a student. The name of the student should be used at the end of the question as this keeps the whole class alert, as they don’t know who will have to answer.
Class size and classroom furniture can be problematic to group students. Activities geared to the whole class, students working alone, pairs and larger groups are all appropriate and each has its own place in the classroom. Also the way in which a teacher organises the position of the students and him/herself is of great importance for the benefit of an activity or discipline. A teacher should use plenty of pair-work and group-work activities if possible and change pairs frequently so that students have a chance to work with a variety of people, but when making seating arrangements teachers should be aware of which students get on well together and which do not. Students are also often sensitive to a teachers’ position in the classroom as whether a teacher is sitting or standing. It depends on the activity and what the students are expected to do. By moving around a teacher can control the class, but the students shouldn’t feel dominated.
For a teacher it is important to reduce the amount of time he/she spends with the back to the class. Creating a balance between teacher talking time and student talking time is important too. To help establish rapport and class spirit a teacher should show personal interest in the students and personalize activities to students’ surroundings and interest and also make sure that students know each others’ names and a little basic information about each other. Let students help and correct each other.
Various reasons may cause disciplinary problems occurring in the classroom. We can think of family problems, low self-esteem, boredom, peer pressure, lack of respect or class size. As mentioned before some of these problems are out of a teachers’ hands but many disciplinary issues can be prevented by the teacher. To prevent behaviour problems a teacher should be punctual, well prepared, consistent and fair, enthusiastic, never lose his/her temper, show respect and make lessons interesting and varied. Teachers should be positive in everything they do and they shouldn’t forget to smile every now and then! If problem behaviour still arises then act immediately. Don’t wait for the problem to worsen. Always focus on the behaviour and not the student.
It is important that the teacher finds the right balance between exercising control and encouraging a relaxed, friendly atmosphere conducive to learning.