Classroom management guidance for the inexperienced teacher There are many different practices that

There are many different practices that could be used for good classroom management and as with all techniques these need to be adapted to your own classroom, taking into account the age, culture, and personality of the class as a whole, and of you as a teacher.

'Maintaining good order in classrooms is one of the most difficult tasks facing young inexperienced teachers. The task has become more difficult over the past few decades as young people´s attitudes to people in authority have changed dramatically. Some of the changes have led to greater self-confidence in students. Others, such as the acceptance of violence to achieve ends, attitudes to substance abuse and an increasing lack of respect for authority have made classroom management and life in school generally more difficult, and more demanding, on those who are charged with maintaining a positive learning environment.

Many disruptive behaviors in the classroom can be alleviated before they become serious discipline problems. Such behaviors can be reduced by the teacher´s ability to employ effective organizational practices. Such practices are at the heart of the teaching process and are essential to establishing and maintaining classroom control.' -

There is a pressure on new teachers to maintain control in the classroom, this is because:

'Teachers are instructed that the mark of a good teacher is that the teacher is in control of the class. (Taylor, 1987) The amount of control that teachers have in the class is often seen by the administration as a measurement of the quality of a teacher. Administrators are usually happy if a teacher never sends a student to the office and interpret this as proof that the teacher is in control and must be doing a good job. (Edwards, 1994)' -

There are no rules to follow to guarantee the inexperienced teacher good classroom management. However, over the years there has been a lot of research into and guidance provided as to the type of teaching practices that could be adopted to help teachers establish effective control of the classroom. Below is a summary of a few of these:

''Have a genuine interest in your students. Greet students at the door. Learn about students´ culture(s)' Offer praise and encouragement frequently. Attend to students as individuals, not just to the class as a whole.'

''Communicate classroom rules clearly. Enforce rules fairly and consistently. Consider each incident´s unique circumstances while making discipline-related decisions.'

''Be objective, not judgmental. Try to adopt the students´ perspective. Look at issues from a variety of perspectives.'

''Show that you are human. Be prepared to admit your mistakes. Use humour, when appropriate.'

''Minimize the power differential in everyday communication. Sitting behind a desk or standing behind a podium can send the message that you want to create some distance between yourself and the students.'

''Address problem behaviour directly and immediately. Unresolved conflicts and issues often resurface. Addressing a problem early lessens the chance that it will expand.' -

I have focused in this article on a few practical techniques of classroom management. There are also many complex theories: Assertive Discipline, Theory X and Theory Y, Control Theory, Behaviourism, Transactional Analysis and the Ginott Model to name a few, I have no doubt that this is an area which will continue to evolve. I conclude with the words of Fran Mayeski:

'Classroom management is undergoing a metamorphosis. The focus is becoming more and more centered on the student and on creating the environment that encourages the butterfly to emerge' - ling/franm.asp