TEFL Classroom Management

I?m sure ?Classroom Management? holds many different meanings for many different people. For me, it is the way in which your students behave and act during any given class and how you, as a teacher, deal with the differences in student demeanor, actions and behavior.

Thai culture is different in so many ways from the culture I was brought up with in England. Being incredibly patriotic, it is difficult for me to say that I prefer the outlook that nearly every Thai I know holds ? but for me it is true.

The Lonely Planet guide to Thailand sums up the hierarchal structure which is still prevalent all across Thailand in one of it?s opening Chapters ? ?The Culture?.

?All relationships in?(Thailand)?are governed by connections between phuu yai (?big person? or senior) and phuu nawy (?little person or junior). Phuu nawy defer to phuu yai following simple lines of social rank defined by age, wealth, status and personal and political power.?

There are a number of ?automatic? phuu yai statuses, but the one most relevant to me and you is - teachers (versus students). As a teacher you will instantly and almost uniformly be held in a position, by your students, above any of the class. This is different to many western countries, especially England, where most students are just waiting for a chance to make the teacher look stupid.

As far as ?Classroom Management? goes this makes your job relatively easy. In order to keep your position of granted elevation one must only follow a few simple guidelines.

The most important thing is smiling ? I know it can be hard for some but when confronted with 10 smiling faces looking at you ready to hear what you have to say, it?s hard not to smile back.

This is an extract from an article by Marsi Paribatra entitled ?Smile, smile, smile - Asian characteristic of smiling even in adversity - People at Play?.

?Visitors to Thailand often remark on the smiling faces they see all around them. Air hostesses, children in the streets, market traders, wealthy businessmen ? everyone seems to be smiling.?

I have done a number of communication courses over the years and have found one of the most important attributes of any teacher is their ability to make sure the students knows when he is heard and acknowledge him suitably when he is correct. When a student gets a particularly difficult task completed well, make sure you tell him ?Well done? or ?Perfect?. This not only makes him smile and feel good but makes him want to achieve ?well done? or ?perfect? results in the subsequent classes.

A couple of other points to bear in mind is, not to expose too much skin (especially for female teachers), cover up any tattoos, try not to point at students (it?s considered extremely rude in Thailand ? and even ruder to point with your feet, which are considered dirty) and dress in an appropriate manner (collared shirt and trousers).

If all of the points above are followed, to at least some degree, then ?Classroom Management? will never be an issue for concern.

Teaching here is fun and, given correct training, is easy too.

Author: Duncan Stokes

Date of post: 2007-03-29