TEFL Classroom Management

Classroom Management is a vital skill involving various aspects, which are to be judiciously used for effective and successful teaching. The skills will definitely be honed as the teacher gains experience, but there are few guidelines which can be followed, which a teacher can refer to, in dealing with different situations and challenges which the teaching profession is abound with. Body Language is important, and it can be effectively used in any situation irrespective of availability of resources, materials, irrespective of place, the number of students, the age of students and so on.

Eye Contact is very effective in maintaining discipline, in holding their attention while teaching, or while addressing someone else, to monitor the whole class, and to ensure participation. But care should be taken to avoid excessive eye contact especially when they are asked to perform or make a presentation, as it would make them uneasy under constant scrutiny.

Gestures can be effectively used to make the class interesting and lively, and ensures minimal usage of vernacular language. It also saves time as it avoids repeated long winding verbal instructions. Care should be taken to use only Gestures, which are familiar to both the teacher and the students. Especially in the case of teaching children, gestures become a more effective way in communicating ideas, impressions, suggestions and so on. Using one?s voice optimally can ensure success, in managing an unruly classroom or a very large one. Clarity and modulation in voice is very important. In accordance to the activity and the number of students in the class voice variation should be constantly exercised.

In taking classes, there will be many instances when the students need to be broken into smaller groups, so that they are able to bring out their best, and also given a chance to perform on their own without the interference of the teacher. The opportunity also gives them the required confidence and self-satisfaction of having done their task well.

So instances when they need to be grouped for activity purposes, they can be either paired up or thrown into larger groups. In pairing the responsibility is more on the students to perform or come up with their own ideas, and which they do, with the support of their partner with whom they pool in their resources, and come up with a commendable performance in their given task. But the teacher has to keep in mind, while choosing the pair, their general compatibility, their skill levels, and so on, so that they make a good working pair. The same would apply when forming groups too for any activity.

Classroom Arrangement is another important factor which will help in setting the right tempo or the mood for the class. In most cases the oldest but most effective one is the orderly rows arrangement. Here the teacher has a full view of the students in the classroom, and vice-versa. And it is generally favoured when the number is more and no other arrangement is possible. Other more informal seating arrangement would be Circles or Horseshoe seating arrangements. Here the students feel that all of them are on the same level and general eye contact between the students themselves, and with the teacher tends to be more. There is more room for constant interaction amongst the students, related to the lesson going on.

Establishing a rapport with the students is very vital as this would determine the milieu in which the class is to function henceforth. Both the students and the teacher need to be at ease with each other so that the class becomes more interesting and rewarding too. Simple but basic rules like Having a positive attitude and a smile will help in going a long way in winning their confidence and support. There are always some problem students or situations that can be resolved, by just focusing on the problem and not on the student, consulting colleagues for suggestions, and dealing with the problem while being as calm and objective as possible.

Classroom Management is essentially an art where one juggles factors like discipline, good rapport, communication, results, incentives, and when they all fall into place, it can make the entire learning/teaching process highly rewarding and gratifying.

Author: Vaidegi Jagaraj

Date of post: 2007-04-18