What does “Classroom Management” actually mean?
Classroom management is the most important factor affecting student learning.
It is the effective discipline in the classroom that provides a safe, comfortable learning environment, motivates your students, build their self-esteem and encourage them to be imaginative and creative in daily lessons.
It is having control of the class by organizing students and resources so that teaching and learning can occur effectively.
Reasons for disruptive behavior in the classroom:
Students misbehave for several reasons:
- They are bored.
- They don’t know the purpose of your presentation.
- They are not aware of the importance of the information that you are delivering.
- Activities are not interesting.
- The pace of the teaching is too fast, or too slow.
Principles of classroom management:
- Dealing with disruptive behaviors.
- Minimizing off-task behaviors.
- Engaging as many students as possible in learning activities.
Six General Tips to Manage a Class:
1. Over plan your lessons:
If you don’t plan, the student will plan for you.
The more you plan, the more effective the lesson and delivery will be and the less problems with discipline will occur.
- Ensure that you fill each minute of the period with learning activities.
- Be prepared and organized well.
- Minimize transition time among tasks.
2. Arrange the seating:
- Rearrange the desks — both for your language lessons and sometimes even for a particular activity so that it is both easier and more natural for students to see and talk to each other.
3. Look at the students:
- If you are standing, and your eyes are constantly moving over the class, everyone feels involved.
- Your eyes help your students’ concentration.
- The easiest way to check whether your students understand what you have said or what they have read or heard, is for your eyes to look at theirs.
- Any incomprehension or confusion will show in their eyes long before they tell you that there is a problem.
4. Use your hands to encourage and direct students:
- A simple gesture can indicate who is going to answer a question or which pair of students should now read a dialogue.
- Simple gestures can also indicate that something is wrong.
- Use a collection of gestures to avoid unnecessary language which can distract students.
- Gestures can indicate what is required from individual students, or even from the whole class, with a minimum of fuss.
5. Vary your voice:
- Pauses, stress and changes of voice when you change from comment to instruction and from statement to question will mean that it is much easier for students to follow and pay attention to what you say.
6. Gain attention:
- Gain student’s full attention before giving instructions.
- Provide instruction with simple and clear language.
- Provide one instruction at a time – do not provide too many different instructions.
- Make your lessons relevant and interesting to your students.
- Use examples that interest students.
Classroom management is mainly based on attracting and keeping your students’ attention. If you succeed to do that, you will be able to achieve your learning objectives easily. Here are some tips to attract your students’ attention
- Use a signal for zero noise (e.g. if I raise my hand, you all should keep silent.)
- Come close to two students chatting and surprise them.
- Give clear instructions for each activity telling students what to do exactly.
- When making transition from one activity to another, ask for your students’ attention.
- Eye contact with as many students as students to monitor the entire room.
- Differentiate and vary your activities during each lesson to break monotony.
- Ask questions to check students’ comprehension.
- Keep silent for some moments while looking at students until they pay full attention.
Do you allow students to chew gum or use mobiles in class? Why?! Simply because we have rules in our schools. As we have rules, we have to follow them. The first one who must follow these rules is YOU. If you don’t, you will lose respect for yourself and for your rules. The point is that you should be a model for your students. Once you tell them a rule, you have to stick with it. In addition, I learned from experience the effectiveness of the following tips for students to follow your rules in class.
1. Use a reminder:
If you see a student chatting a bit with a classmate, ask: “Do you have a question? Is there something you want to tell me about? Have you finished yet?” This serves as a reminder. The key point here is that you remind the student and the whole class with the rule agreed upon that was not followed by someone. This kind of situation may not need a consequence. Just a reminder for that student to stop and return to follow the rules.
2. A consequence has to follow:
Not all rules can be treated the same. For example, when you see a student using a mobile, you can’t just say: “I remind you not to use your mobile.” In this situation, students will not expect a reminder but a warning and then a consequence. You have to say then: “This is a warning and a consequence will follow.” And then, a consequence has to follow if the same student or any other one does not stick to this rule. All students watch and expect the consequence. If you just sigh or neglect what happens, students will not see any rule to follow in this situation.
3. Be transparent and fair:
Be respectful to all and set your rules nicely and clearly but don’t be selective in your reminders or warnings. Give the rules to the class collectively. As a result, a consequence for not sticking to a rule has to be the same for all students.
4. Talk more about objectives not rules:
Always put in your mind, the ultimate goal of your teaching in class is not enforcing students to follow rules but teaching effectively to help students achieve certain learning objectives. Don’t talk much about rules but spend most of your time talking about effective teaching and the objectives that you are charged to help students to achieve, and don’t forget that students from a time to another need to feel a sense of accomplishment.
For teachers who return to teaching in the schools, I know that the most difficult thing to do is to master classroom management. But, you know, classroom management is not to be strict but it is simply to be organized. If you want to have a classroom run smoothly, you should set up a structured learning environment where certain behaviors are praised and others are discouraged.
I think the following five procedures will help you teach in a quiet classroom with students attentive and observant to you.
- Create a friendly but respectful relationship with your students.
This kind of relationship is very important to create learning opportunities. Start at the door with a smile, greet your students and shake hands with some of them. Use your students’ names and actively praise them. Know them and their needs and use this knowledge to adjust your teaching methods. If you have a good relationship with your students, you will be able to push them harder and further to learn because they will trust you.
- Train your students on how to understand and learn in the classroom.
You should have a learning philosophy that guides your teaching methods in the classroom; tell it to your students. Tell them that you don’t expect them to be at the same level in learning but add that you have some steps if they follow they will learn. Write these steps on the board in the first period or spread over a printed copy of them. Don’t forget at the end of each period to summarize what students should learn to give each student the opportunity to practice self-evaluation.
- Prepare your mind and materials well.
Managing the classroom includes managing the time minimizing lost time in activities like handing out papers, taking attendance and announcements. You should protect your time and increase the time spent on learning. You will not be able to do so unless you are well mentally prepared. You should know how to transition students from one activity to another without wasting time in order not to give them any time for side talks.
- Anticipate your students’ behavioral problems.
Anticipation is not enough, but you should put in your mind the solutions. Don’t go ahead directly to punishment but build activities or ask questions that can lead students to return to the lesson and attention.
- Establish behavioral standards from the first day.
These standards should hit the main points regarding showing respect, communicating correctly and coming prepared to learn. Explain the standards of performance, as well as the limits of behavior.
Practicing classroom management should begin at the start of school and throughout the year. It needs to be flexible, tolerant and smiling to manage your students. These are my priorities for managing classrooms, what are yours?