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Classroom Discipline And Management Classroom discipline and management
Classroom discipline and management causes the most fear and consternation amongst new or inexperienced teachers. However, classroom management is a skill that is not only learnt but I think must be practiced on a daily basis to allow the teacher to grow in stature and to build his confidence. The following are my own top ten tips based on what I have learnt through the TEFL course and by recalling on my own thoughts and memories of being a student in a large secondary comprehensive school. If followed I believe they will help a new teacher overcome his fear and reach his goal of achieving a better standard of classroom management and discipline. These tips can help a teacher cut down on discipline problems and leave him with fewer confrontations, interruptions and disruptions.
TIP ONE ' 'START AS YOU MEAN TO GO ON'.
Many teachers make the fatal error of starting the school year without a discipline plan. Students can quickly assess the situation in each class and realize what they will be able to get away with. Once a teacher sets the precedent of allowing a lot of disruptions it can be extremely difficult to reverse this trend and introduce better classroom management and discipline techniques, so start the year as you mean to go on, make sure you have a plan in place and stick to it.
TIP TWO ' 'FAIRNESS IS VITAL'.
All students will have their own thoughts and ideas on what is and what isn't fair. A teacher must act fairly and equally to gain the respect of his students. If you are seen to treat some students better or more lenient than others then you will be labelled as being unfair making students reluctant to follow your rules. Even if your most prized student does something wrong then you must punish him the same as you would with any other student. Fairness is one of the most important aspects of being respected and therefore essential.
TIP THREE ' 'DEALING WITH DISRUTIONS'.
It is unfortunate but inevitable that a teacher at some stage will encounter some form of classroom disruption. It is vital that you deal with the disruption immediately and with as little interruption to the rest of the class as possible. If for example, students are talking amongst themselves during a classroom discussion activity then direct a question to one of the group, this will get their attention and stop them talking. If you allow a disruption to stop the flow of your lesson to deal with it then you will be costing students who do want to learn precious classroom time.
TIP FOUR ' 'AVOID CONFRONTATIONS IN FRONT OF STUDENTS'
In any confrontation there will always be a winner and a loser. As a teacher it is imperative that you keep order and discipline in your class. When a discipline problem arises, the student involved will not want to lose face in front of his friends so it is important that the teacher deals with any such problems in private, in this way they will always get a better response from the misbehaved student. It is not a good idea to make an example out of a disciplinary issue, although other students will get the point, you will probably have lost any chance of teaching the student in question anything in your class in the future, the respect and trust will have been lost and is extremely difficult to get back.
TIP FIVE ' 'USE HUMOUR TO STOP DISRUPTIONS'
Sometimes all it can take to get things back on track in the classroom is for everyone to have a good laugh, but it is a very fine line between being seen to be funny and being seen to be sarcastic. Humour can quickly diffuse a situation whereas using sarcasm can harm your relationship with the student involved. A teacher must use his best judgement but must realize that what some students will see as being funny others may find rude or offensive, so be careful.
TIP SIX ' 'HAVE HIGH EXPECTATIONS FOR YOUR CLASS'
Always expect your students are going to be well behaved and never think that they are going to be disruptive. This thought process can be reinforced by the way you speak to your class. Start the day by taking five minutes to tell your students your expectations of them or before a group discussion tell your students that you expect them to respect each others opinion and to listen to what each person has to say. This can build trust and respect between fellow students and is good for moral and attitude.
TIP SEVEN ' 'OVERPLAN'
Student free time is something a teacher should try to avoid, students with nothing to do and time on their hands will quickly become bored and will inevitably find ways to misbehave. If your students are allowed time to just talk then you are sending them a wrong signal of how you as a teacher view academics and your subject, this can easily be avoided by over-planning. If you over- plan then you will never run out of activities to fill your lesson or class time. It is good practice to have several short 5 to 10 minute activities lined up to fill any spare class time.
TIP EIGHT ' 'ALWAYS BE CONSISTENT'
One of the biggest crimes a teacher can commit is to not enforce his rules consistently. A teacher cannot one day ignore a student misbehaving and then the next day jump on someone for the smallest misdemeanour. A teacher behaving in this manner will quickly lose the respect of his students. Your students have the right to expect you to basically be the same everyday. A teacher must avoid moodiness and learn to leave any personal problems he may be having at the classroom door. Once you lose your students respect, you lose their attention and desire to learn.
TIP NINE ' 'MAKE RULES SIMPLE'
A teacher must be selective in his choice of rule's, no one can follow two hundred rules consistently. Your rules must be clear and simple to understand. A student should be able to quickly understand what is and what is not acceptable. It is also useful to let your students know beforehand the consequences of misbehaving or breaking the rules, if a student does not like the consequences of misbehaving then surely he will think twice before doing so.
TIP TEN ' 'START FRESH EVERYDAY'
This does not mean that the teacher should cancel or discard all previous infractions but it does mean that a teacher should start teaching his class everyday with the expectation that, today all his students will be well behaved. Never assume that because a student has been disruptive everyday for a week then they will surely be disruptive again today, always expect them to behave. If a teacher does this then it means he will not be treating the badly behaved student any differently to anyone else and therefore not setting him up to misbehave again.
In conclusion a teacher must be trustworthy, reliable, honest and fair to gain the respect of his students. He should give lots of praise and encouragement and remember to smile. It is also very important to remember when dealing with bad behaviour to never underestimate the problems that can come from the home or other outside influences. It is very often the case that what appears to be normal classroom antics can be the disguise to some deep rooted home environment problems. A troubled student will take his time to establish whether he can trust his teacher or not, a kind honest teacher is much more likely to reach the student then an over aggressive teacher.