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Classroom Management Classroom management. A phrase found
Classroom management. A phrase found everywhere throughout the teaching profession, yet there are numerous opinions as to what exactly 'classroom management' actually entails. One way to look at it is to concentrate on what the teacher does to manage or respond to students' misbehavior when it takes place. This is what I found to be the most widespread understanding of the term: how the teacher disciplines and 'keeps students in line.' Preventive discipline/management is one approach used by teachers where the needs, rights and expectations of both the students and teacher are assessed, clarified, and communicated to one another. A clear, fair and consistent set of rule and consequences should also be jointly established, understood, and agreed upon by everyone in the class. Another step that the teacher should take is to create a warm and nurturing classroom atmosphere where students feel welcome and comfortable. For this, the physical environment of the classroom should be clean and pleasant, each student should be treated with dignity and respect, and self-esteem should be developed. The daily routines, lesson plans and assignments should make learning attractive, stimulating and fun for the students. Teachers should make every effort to make the curriculum relevant, appropriate, interesting and enjoyable, as this will help result in active participation in the learning process. Students also respond well to the idea of genuine incentives. Although the incentives should be both stimulating to the students and educationally valuable, it is possible to maintain student interest and participation if an incentive is attractive and available to all students. Teachers should vary the way they present their lesson from day to day, in order to 'change things up' and add variety and not fall into a rut, as this can be devastating in maintaining student attention. Demonstrations, discussions, group and individual activities should all be utilized in the classroom. Yet, no matter how organized, interesting, relevant or engaging a lesson may be, misbehavior is often unavoidable and should be dealt with quickly, consistently and respectfully. Since the time spent dealing with unnecessary disruptions would be much more productive spent teaching, the class defined consequences should take as little time as possible. Teachers may use non-verbal communication means such as body language, facial expressions, gestures, and eye contact in order to promote self-control by the student. It is also possible that a verbal reminder of the classroom rule and consequences will be all that is necessary to stop student misbehavior. Another method may be for the teacher to describe the action to the student and suggest an acceptable alternative action. For example, 'Instead of you reading that magazine, I would like you to work on your homework for the next 10 minutes, you can read the magazine later.' At times, there is an attention-seeking student in the class, and if ignored, their misbehavior usually escalates to a level that cannot be overlooked. Therefore it is best if the teacher redirects the student's behavior through giving him/her special tasks or appointing him/her as the teacher's helper. It is important for the teacher to avoid 'power struggles' with students and again, it may be best to offer some position of authority or decision making. Although it is very important for the teacher to delicately handle misbehaving students, as the power to build up or destroy the student's self-concept is in their hands. Therefore, the specific behavior, and not the student's character, should be the focus. Yet, what I have found to be essential to successful classroom management is the development of rapport with students. This should be formed as early as possible and nurtured and built up throughout the year. As one teacher said, 'Earning the trust and goodwill of students is like building a bank account. On occasions when things aren't running smoothly, we can draw on that account; students may be patient with us because of the small, daily efforts (deposits) we have made to build rapport with them. Of course, if we don't pay enough attention to connecting regularly with students, if we don't see this as an important part of our work, we'll quickly find that, in their eyes, we're bankrupt.'