Classroom Management Classroom management is a foundation of
Classroom management is a foundation of structure that students need for an environment that fosters learning. A solid foundation of classroom management is largely dependent upon the teacher's abilities to set clear class expectations with the students and to address students' needs as they arise throughout the course while providing a structured learning environment.
Communicating a frame-work of basic guidelines and expectations for the class is an important aspect of classroom management in order to create structure and stability for the students from the beginning of the course. In order for the students to feel invested in their course, it is advisable for the teacher to invite her/his students to co-create the rules and expectations that they would like to have. A class may set a standard on the first day of class by discussing their expectations for a basic level of respect for peers and students alike. The teacher may facilitate this discussion by making a list of expectations that the class agrees on and writing it on the board, or better yet, electing a student to write it on the board so that the guidelines can be under the students' ownership more. Expectations a teacher should add to the class list if not already suggested by students are not interrupting a person while s/he is speaking, not using 'put-downs' or hostile words with one another, to have assigned homework completed by the start of the following class period, and coming to class on time every day.
Another primary aspect of classroom management is the teacher's ability to address students' needs throughout the duration of the course. The teacher must take care to manage student activities by giving equally divided attention to all students rather than preferential treatment to some students. To effectively manage the class the teacher must monitor the students throughout the duration of each class, observing patterns of behavior and participation in activities.
In every class there are some students that shy away from speaking while other students seek to be the center of attention. The teacher should be aware of her/his students to ensure that the quieter students are included and participating in group activities, and that the attention-seekers aren't taking up too much airtime. Implementing timed partner activities in which each partner has an allotted time to speak allows for all students to practice speaking and creates a more intimate environment that encourages shy students to speak up. Choral recitation is another method that the teacher may use to enable all the students to participate without the pressure of speaking alone.
In managing a class of students the teacher may have to deal with students' needs by dealing with disciplinary problems. The teacher will more effectively manage students' needs by being prepared for appropriate disciplinary interventions to keep the class on task and in order. The teacher may be able to help a disruptive situation by first using discrete means of interventions, such as pausing the activity and making eye contact with the interrupting student in order to queue her/him to settle down. The next step may be to remind the class as a whole of the expectations of respect they set for themselves at the beginning of the course so that they may return to these standards. Rather than scolding disruptive students if there is an ongoing behavior problem in class, the teacher may talk to them individually and privately after class to determine the nature of the problem (family issues, low self-esteem, grieving a loss, boredom in lesson, etc) and to see what, if anything, can be worked out together. Often times students just need a little more individual attention or to be personally challenged in order for them to be more motivated and respectful of the class order.
In order for the teacher to manage a classroom in which the students maintain order, the teacher must provide a foundation for order by creating a structured learning environment. Inattention, disruptiveness, and general chaos among students are heightened in a classroom setting when the teacher is unable to provide a consistent standard of class expectations as well as lesson preparedness. The teacher must be true to her/his own rules. If the students must not be late to class, the teacher must be reliably on time. Students will feel more secure in the classroom, and consequently more open to learning, if they feel the teacher is reliable and committed to upholding and managing class expectations. Structure is reinforced by following a consistent method of teaching, such as the ESA format, (Engage, Study, Activate). By providing a general procedure for learning while varying the activities within each stage of the lesson plan, the teacher creates a consistent teaching pattern that the students can depend on and simultaneously keeps each lesson fresh with alternative activities to engage the students.
Managing a classroom requires preparation. The teacher's readiness to set clear class expectations with the students and to address their needs with a sense of structure throughout the course will provide a healthy learning environment. Keeping the students engaged will enable management to run more smoothly from start to finish.
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