Classroom Management Half the class is dying of boredom, the
Half the class is dying of boredom, the class clowns are taking over, and the teacher is trying to scream over it all. What went wrong!'
At some point every student experiences a 'bad' teacher. In reality, the teacher may not be 'bad,' just unprepared. Practicing good classroom management and planning ahead holds students' interest, keeps behavior issues under control, and creates a positive learning environment. It is especially important for teachers of a foreign language to have a solid grasp on this topic, since language students will only succeed if they are properly engaged.
Teachers cannot procrastinate when it comes to preparing to manage a classroom. Preparation begins long before even one student enters the room. Planning out seating arrangements and how wall space can be utilized effectively can dramatically improve the learning experience. Also, planning out how to handle particular problems can be helpful for any future situations.
Class rules and expectations also need to be well thought out and communicated to the students right away. A clear explanation of these rules needs to be the cornerstone of any first class. Once control is lost, it's hard to regain. It may be necessary to remind the students of these expectations every so often, as issues arise.
After rules are in place, the teacher needs to follow through with them consistently and fairly. Rules mean nothing unless they are enforced equally and at all times. Problems must also be dealt with quickly. Letting a problem fester will only make it worse. If a student realizes that he/she is capable of 'getting away' with something, the problem is likely to occur more than once, and other students might catch on! Acting quickly is crucial for eliminating a problem and preventing it from happening in the future. On the lighter side, establishing a good rapport with students will make the classroom a more inviting place. No student will enjoy dealing with an overly strict teacher. A fun, happy teacher is much more engaging than an angry disciplinarian.
A well-planned and organized lesson plan is probably the most important part of classroom management. If students are engaged they are less likely to cause disruptions.
'Well-planned lessons with a variety of appropriate activities support the positive learning environment that your carefully considered management decisions have begun to create. Interesting, well placed lessons are a key to holding students' attention; unimaginative or confusing lessons with limited opportunities for student participation are boring or frustrating to students, creating conditions for discipline problems to develop' (Emmer 87- 88).
Even with the best planning however, every teacher will experience problems. Sometimes students will get bored, others will be dealing with outside or behavioral issues, and classroom size seems to be getting larger and larger.
As with every problem, asking for help is a must. A good teacher will seek the wisdom and advice of his or her colleagues. Some of them have most likely faced similar problems and will be more than willing to share their experience. Classroom management is a skill that will take time to achieve; however, it is important to the success of any TEFL class. With an open mind, a positive demeanor, and effective planning, a teacher will be able to establish his/her own style of classroom management.
Emmer, E. T.; Evertson, C.M.; & Worsham, M. E. Classroom Managment for Secondary Teachers. 6th Ed. Allyn and Bacon, Boston, MA, 2003. Pp. 87-88.
International TEFL Teacher Training (ITTT) on-line TEFL course. Unit 5 Classroom Management- Introduction.
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