Hello Exam Seekers,
When talking about schools, students, and lessons, an important topic comes to mind: Classroom Management. But teachers are not always sure about the aspects of managing a classroom or what involves classroom management. So before digging into the topic, we, as teachers, should ask ourselves a question: “What is the role of classroom management?“
This was actually one of the topics I studied in the ICELT. Even though Cambridge English ended the ICELT course, the content stuck with me, and I’m here to share it with you all.
What does Classroom Management entail?
Much more than making your students sit down, Classroom Management involves “effective discipline”. It means that everything you do thinking about a lesson so that it goes smoothly and achieve its goals is classroom management:
- It’s being prepared for class;
- It’s motivating your students;
- It’s providing a safe and comfortable learning environment;
- It’s building your students’ self-esteem;
- It’s being creative and imaginative in daily lessons.
Why is Classroom Management important?
Many teachers worry about this issue. However, it is of the highest concern for beginning teachers who are still getting the grips of how to lead a lesson successfully.
These teachers worry because satisfaction and enjoyment in teaching are dependent upon leading students to cooperate.
Moreover, it directly affects teachers’ teaching capability in a classroom and students’ ability to learn. A well-managed classroom highly impacts students’ academic success.
Principles for successful Classroom Management
If classroom management is that important, how can you do it properly?
We have to keep in mind three principles:
- Deal with disruptive behaviors but also manage to minimize off-task non-disruptive behaviors;
- Teach students to manage their own behavior;
- Teach students to learn to be on-task and engaged in the learning activities you have planned for them – it is more natural to be off-task than on-task.
Factors that influence Classroom Management
On paper, these principles are ideal, but some factors influence the classroom management decisions we teachers make, they are:
- Teachers’ beliefs;
- Teaching Styles;
- Personality / Attitudes;
- Group Profiles.
Due to these factors, Donald Freeman, Director of Teacher Education and Associate Professor of Education at the School of Education from the University of Michigan created a framework to help teachers work on classroom management called KASA:
This means that teachers need to have knowledge, be aware of what is going on in the classroom, have/develop the skills to know how to deal with the situation, and have the attitude to do what is needed. To learn more about his framework, check out the text “What is the KASA Framework?“.
What does Classroom Management involve?
- Active Listening;
Transition X Allocated Time
There are two aspects of time which we should consider when planning our lessons:
- Allocated time: the time periods you intend for your students to be engaged in learning activities;
- Transition time: time periods that exist between times allocated for learning activities
- Getting students assembled and attentive;
- Assigning reading and directing to begin the reading task;
- Getting students’ attention away from reading and preparing for class discussion.
Group Dynamics is the study of the life and functioning of groups (forming, consolidating, performing, problem-solving, ending).
When talking about Group Dynamics, a question comes to mind “Why do some groups work while others do not?”. As teachers, we really need to pay attention to be aware of some situations while forming groups because many problems can prevent groups from working properly:
- The problem of mixed language levels;
- The problem of social & cultural norms;
- The problem of the gender divide;
- The problem of dominant individuals;
- The problem of leadership;
- The problem of competition vs. collaboration.
If we are aware of the issues above, we will provide students with a pleasant environment to share and learn:
- Attentive, relaxed students learn better;
- An emotionally secure atmosphere encourages students to speak;
- For effective interaction, it is important for students to get to know each other;
- Group Dynamics influence how we feel in the classroom, and that influences what we learn.
Active listening is different from listening. Most of the time, teachers listen to the students’ speech focusing on possible errors, so that they can correct them. Active listening, on the other hand, is a valuable technique that requires the listener to thoroughly absorb, understand, respond, and retain what’s being said. By thoroughly listening, I mean:
- Empathize, don’t judge;
- Avoid overusing display questions;
- Listen for content and language;
- Stay with the speaker;
- Don’t interrupt;
- Allow for genuine interaction to take place;
- Show GENUINE interest and understanding;
- Listen with attention to what the speaker is saying, to both verbal and nonverbal language.
“Success as a teacher does not depend on the approach or method that you follow so much as on your integrity as a person and the relationships that you are able to develop in the classroom. The ability to build and maintain human relationships in this way is central to effective teaching” (Sowden, 2007 p.308).
As teachers, we develop an invisible web in the classroom by:
- Developing relationships with individuals & with the class as a whole;
- Valuing and respecting all students (including their right to retain a low profile if they so wish);
- Acknowledging the unique contribution that each individual can make to the learning and social well-being of the class as a whole;
- Being encouraging and drawing people out;
- Responding to student initiatives;
- Not behaving in repressive or authoritarian ways.
Some Classroom Manager Tips:
- Counting till 3;
- Reorganizing students seats (avoid free-riders);
- Giving points to Girls X Boys when students’ stand up;
- Routine + Board Routine;
- Give students roles;
- Build Rapport;
- Monitor, etc.
Besides all these, remember to keep your goals achievable. Reaching for unattainable aims also impedes good classroom management.
Even though I’m uploading this content under the ICELT category – because I’ve studied more extensively about this topic in my ICET classes -, Classroom Management is an essential topic to all classes and courses.
Make sure you use the comment section, to comment about this article and share your tips on Classroom Management.
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- Hadfield, J. (1992) Classroom Dynamics. Oxford University Press.
- Luk, J. (2004) The Dynamics of Classroom Small Talk. Issues in Applied Linguistics Vol. 14 No. 2, 115-132.
- Scrivener, J. (2012) Classroom Management Techniques. Cambridge University Press.
- Dornyei, Z & Murphey, T. (2003) Group Dynamics and the Language Classroom. Cambridge University Press.
- Long, M. & Porter, P. (1985) Groupwork, Interlanguage Talk and Second Language Acquisition. TESOL Quarterly. Volume 19, Issue 2, pp. 207-228.
- Sowden, C. (2007) Culture and the Good Teacher in the Language Classroom. ELT J (2007) 61 (4): 304-310..