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Ross, Texas TESOL Online & Teaching English Jobs
Classroom layout, the teacher-student relationship, and the way one speaks, writes and presents oneself to the class are important parts of the classroom "ecosystem". The way that these parts come together ultimately determines the value of the class for the student. It is up to the teacher to determine which combination works best for their class. This will most likely vary wildly from semester to semester. Teachers that make the best use of the space available to them may find that otherwise difficult classes become more manageable and productive. The amount of students, the size of the room, and the students age/nationality can all affect which setup is best. Orderly rows are a classic arrangement best utilized with larger classes. Separate tables or "islands" allow for a more informal environment where the teacher can give attention to groups more easily. Circle/horseshoe arrangements make each student feel as if they are in the front row of the class, improve eye contact between students, and allow the teacher to take less of a commanding position. Your voice, gestures, and the way you make eye contact with students contribute to your rapport with them. Eye contact encourages students to contribute, helps maintain discipline, and makes it easier for the teacher to see exactly who is paying attention. Your voice dictates the energy of the lesson and the classroom. It will be important to project at times, and a quiet boring voice will result in losing the students attention. Gestures assist with communication when reduce the need for explanation at times. Moving your hands, miming and gesturing can help keep the class engaged. Determining the best way to group students ultimately relies on the teacher's knowledge of the class and how they interact with each other. Students will probably spend most of their time either working on their own or as a class. Groups of two allow for more student talk time, but it can make the class harder to manage as the volume increases. An important aspect of group work if that you can place students that are having difficulties with more adept students. All of these parts of the classroom come together with the relationship between a teacher and their students, or the rapport. How you layout your class, how you group them, and how you communicate with them are all determined by (and contribute to) your rapport. Be positive, fair, and have a good attitude. Group students according to how they interact and perform. Be personal, and ensure everyone feels comfortable. This will make the class easier to conduct, and more enjoyable for both the teacher and students.