Teach English in Fuhe Zhen - Chifeng Shi

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An instructor’s mastery of and experience with the English language are great indicators of their potential success in teaching English as a foreign language. However, a teacher cannot reasonably expect student success without possessing effective classroom management skills. This essay will argue that successful classroom management is comprised of three main actions, each of which contribute to student engagement and progress: these include (1) striking balances in the classroom, (2) executing useful classroom gestures, and (3) preventing, identifying, and acting on problem behavior. The following paragraphs will address all three components and will provide examples regarding how these key elements aid student success. The first component of effective classroom management is striking important balances. This can include a myriad of topics. For example, a successful instructor should be able to maintain class discipline while establishing friendly rapport with his/her students. In this way, students will have the confidence to speak up in class but will maintain a degree of distance and professionalism within the classroom. Another example of striking balances in the classroom is establishing a healthy degree of TTT (i.e. Teacher Talk Time) while still allowing students to engage and experiment autonomously in class. In other words, teachers should appropriately limit their speaking time while still addressing any input, encouragement, or clarifications necessary. A third example of effective balancing is ensuring a variety in classroom groupings and participation exercises. While classroom-wide group activities are certainly helpful and engaging, pair and individual exercises can allow teachers to note individual growth and improvement, which can allow them to tailor their lesson plans accordingly. The second component of effective classroom management is engaging in subtle classroom gestures which have been proven to maintain student engagement and interest. An example of this is maintaining a healthy amount of eye contact with students (during a teaching-centered activity) to demonstrate a teacher’s confidence and interest in the subject matter. By maintaining eye contact, students subconsciously feel more involved in the lesson are more likely to pay attention and participate. Another example of this is the usage of student names throughout a lesson. Because a student can expect to hear his/her name in class, he/she is more likely to stay focused throughout the class and will thus retain a greater degree of information. Subtle gestures, in this case, can also include acts beyond a teacher’s individual movement. For example, the act of organizing a classroom in a specific way, such as moving students’ desks into a circle or horseshoe formation, can create a more intimate environment where student will feel more invested in the classroom and will engage more with their classmates. The third and final component of successful classroom management is effectively preventing, identifying, and addressing problem behavior so it does not adversely affect student progress. While teachers may not be able to control every reason behind problem behavior (for example, family problems or low self-esteem), they can make sure to avoid disciplinary problems through actions including the following: being punctual and well-prepared for each lesson, returning assignments promptly, treating all students fairly and with respect, and ensuring they themselves are enthusiastic about the classroom material. Even in the event of problem behavior in the classroom, a teacher can ensure this behavior does not have negative effects on the classroom by acting on the problem before it worsens and successfully changing the classroom dynamic if necessary. Effectively addressing problem behavior can allow students to refocus their attention to classroom materials and their own progress. In conclusion, while familiarity with and mastery of the English language (its grammar, vocabulary, etc.) is certainly necessary in order to be a successful English teacher, effective classroom management is equally crucial. Unless there is a functioning and healthy classroom environment, students cannot and should not be expected to succeed in making progress. As such, classroom management skills should not be overlooked when studying to be an effective English teacher.