Classroom Management ?Classroom management is the skill of

'Classroom management is the skill of organising and managing the class, having a friendly, relaxed manner and maintaining discipline.'

There are many different factors that contribute towards making a classroom successful, the main factor being the ability to establish a comfortable learning environment for the students. A comfortable learning environment encourages students to participate in class and also makes them more willing to learn. Students who are eager to learn are much more likely to absorb information, stay attentive and are less likely to cause problems in class.

To develop a comfortable learning environment the teacher needs to be able to build a rapport with the students. This can be achieved in several ways one of which is the way in which they address the students. The teacher should pay special attention to his or her voice when speaking making sure that they speak clearly and slowly. This ensures that the students understand what is being asked of them. They should also know when it is appropriate to speak to the class in a friendly and relaxed tone and when a more firm approach is required, this way the students know when they are required to pay attention and concentrate, and when they can speak out and engage with the rest of the class.

Making eye contact with the students also encourages participation in the lesson and can be used to ensure that the students know when they are being spoken to. It also gives the teacher an indication as to whether the students understand the instructions being given and helps the teacher to maintain discipline in the classroom.

Another factor that enables the teacher to build a rapport with the students is where they position themselves in the classroom. If the lesson requires a more formal atmosphere the teacher should stand in front of the class so that the students can all see them. If a more relaxed atmosphere is required the teacher can choose to sit down, this then relaxes the control on the class which encourages participation and a more comfortable environment for the students.

In addition to the positioning of the teacher it is also important that the position of the students is taken into consideration. They should make themselves aware of which students get on well together and which ones don't as well as taking the time to arrange the seating appropriately according to the lesson plan.

There are several arrangements that can be used to maximise the functionality of the lesson. Orderly rows are a more formal way of teaching which allows the teacher to see all of the students and at the same time the students can see the teacher. This seating arrangement is particularly useful for large classes that are 'Teacher Talk Time' orientated, concentrating more on board work or pair-work. It can also be very effective for particularly disruptive classes allowing the teacher to keep the students under control easily from the front of the classroom.

Circle or horseshoe seating arrangements are a more informal way of arranging the class and are good arrangements to use for the whole class to work together as a group. The teacher can also use these arrangements to move away from the 'Teacher Talk Time' focus and allow the students to participate more in the lesson, providing a more relaxed environment.

Separate tables are suitable for group work. Students are able to communicate with each other easily and working in smaller groups provides the less confident students with a more comfortable environment in which to work.

'The practitioner needs to plan an environment that encourages a positive attitude to learning through rich and stimulating experiences.'

It is imperative that a teacher takes into consideration all of the points raised in this article when managing a classroom as well as ensuring that the lessons are both interesting, informative and stimulating. Achieving the correct balance of all of these factors will in turn manage the students' behaviour and allow the teacher to manage the classroom successfully. This will promote a good working relationship with the teacher and develop an environment in which the students can learn and participate comfortably