TEFL Discipline in the classroom

Classroom management is very important, especially for new teachers, because with it a teacher can gain the respect and attention of their students. Without good classroom management students may lose respect for a teacher and put less effort into their learning. For new teachers, classroom management can be a daunting task, but with the right tools and some advice from experienced teachers it can be easily accomplished.

Melissa Kelly lays out a few tips for teachers needing a little advice on how to handle behavior problems and establish good classroom management from day one. Her first tip is to present a discipline plan on the first day of class so that the students know what is expected of them. Kelley explains that ?Once you set a precedent of allowing a lot of disruptions it can be very hard to start better classroom management and discipline techniques? (Reference 1). Once a teacher has set a discipline plan it is very important to stick to this. If you do not represent yourself as fair, students will not take you seriously and you may lose their respect and trust. Once you punish a student for misbehavior you must do the same for other students when they have misbehaved in the same way.

A more serious problem teachers must sometimes deal with is bullying. This can be an issue that involves teachers, students, the larger school faculty, and parents. Therefore it takes a little more effort to deal with properly. Kathy Noll and Dr. Carter, in their book ?Taking the Bully by the Horns? discuss various methods to take when dealing with the complex issue of bullying. They suggest that teachers try to be aware of who is being bullied by watching body language and student interaction. When a teacher becomes aware of a bully situation they can arrange for a student to student mediation session. If that does not work or the problem persists they can discuss the situation with other teachers, the PTO, and the parents of the students. ?The teachers should also allow the students to give "their" ideas on how they would like situations handled. For younger students, role playing of "victims" and "bullies" in the classroom will help them understand the cause and effect - how it feels. Another idea for younger kids getting picked on could be to have an older student assigned as a type of mentor that he could talk to, and who would step in to settle a conflict or dispute? (Reference 2).

Classroom management is even more effective when it comes in the form of positive reinforcement for good behavior rather than just punishment for bad behavior. There are lots of ideas and comments for teachers who want to come up with a rewards system or allow their students to play games when they have behaved well. ?Having a system in place is key because it means you and your students have something you can count on. The basics are simple - good behavior of some form on behalf of the students = reward for the students given by the teacher? (Reference 3). One idea is to give students coupons for good behavior which they can turn in for certain privileges. ?My kids really loved the classroom coupons I used when I taught in Las Vegas. The coupons where for special privileges based on behavior during the day. I used coupons like "No homework for a day" (Reference 4).

A way to encourage good behavior and increase students being on task is to play classical music while they are working. ?I have used Mozart (and occasionally some Bach) regularly as a background to group activities in the classroom. While my experience is anecdotal and unquantified, I have had the distinct impression that the students stayed on task more effectively, and the ambient noise level in the classroom was more manageable? (Reference 5).

Although classroom management may seem like a challenge it can turn into something fun and creative for both the teacher and the students. More importantly classroom management is more effective in the form of rewarding good behavior rather than punishing bad behavior. Even with this goal in mind, there will be bad behavior that can be addressed with a few tips from experienced teachers.


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Author: Vanessa Avery

Date of post: 2006-09-26