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WHY IS CLASSROOM MANAGEMENT IMPORTANT? What is classroom management? And why is it important? For a class of students to be taught effectively there should be some sort of organization within the classroom or a structured system. This can include the manner in which the teacher teaches and interacts with the students, the way the students are grouped or seated in the classroom, the way the actual classroom is arranged, instructions given to students, and establishing rapport with students. It is important for the teacher to establish and maintain a good relationship with his/her students. There are several ways in which this can be done. First, the teacher can have eye contact with them. This can show the students that they are involved in the lessons, will encourage them to make contributions in the lessons, hold their attention when they are not being addressed and ensure everyone is participating and maintain discipline. Second, the teacher can make gestures. A few ways gestures can be effective: they can express the meaning of the language being taught, reduce a verbal explanation, make the lesson more visually appealing and give instructions. Third, the teacher can use his/her voice. Using the correct tone and pitch can affect the way the students perceive instructions or explanations. The voice should be changed according to the proper circumstance. For example, when teaching a large, noisy classroom the teacher’s voice should be loud enough so everyone can hear. The voice of the teacher can also lead the class by raising or lowering the volume. Also, the tone of the voice should have a variety as to not bore the students. Fourth, the teacher should address the students by their names. This can be very useful when organizing activities, acknowledging students, indicating who will answer a question and getting the students’ attention. The teacher should not start a sentence or ask a question with the student’s name first. This way the attention of the class can be kept because they will not know who the teacher will call on until the end of the question. There are several ways to group students, with each way having a positive and negative aspect. There is also factors that can affect the way students are grouped, such as size of the class and the furniture inside the classroom, certain activities that are designed for the whole class, students working alone, or activities meant for pairs or larger groups. One way of student grouping is the whole class. A positive aspect of this grouping is that it will be quicker and easier for the teacher to organize the students. A negative aspect would be that it may be difficult for shy students who may not want to participate in front of the whole class. Another way to group students is individually where they will work on their own. On a positive note, it puts less pressure on the student to speak in front of the whole class. But negatively, it can restrict student to student talk time and feeling part of a group. A third way to group students is by pairing them. There are several positive aspects to pair work: pairing gives the students a greater opportunity to talk with other students, the teacher can focus on other pairs while others are working, students can feel more confident with their ideas before sharing with the whole group, and it allows a stronger student to help out a weaker one. A few negative aspects of pair work are: the class can become noisy, the students may try to speak in only their native language and avoid English, some shy students may not want to communicate with other students and may feel comfortable talking to the teacher only, and finally the student may not like his or her partner. The fourth and last way to group students is by group work. It is similar to grouping students in pairs and can noticeably increase student talk time and student to student interaction. Positive aspects include: student encouragement to work together and negotiate in English, students can choose their level of participation. A few negative aspects are: can make the classroom noisy, may take longer to organize and start activities, and stronger students may want to control the group, whereas shyer or weaker students will not be able to participate as much. The way teachers arrange the classroom is very important and depends on several factors: how much space is available in the classroom, how many chairs or tables there are, students ages, national origin, and personalities of the students. One arrangement can be in orderly rows. This is a traditional form of seating. The teacher can see all the students clearly and vice versa. It is effective for the teacher and the whole class. Another arrangement is the circles and horseshoes. This is often used in smaller classes. This allows more focus on the lesson and the teacher is less dominant. This gives the classroom a more intimate feeling. Grouping students in separate tables is another arrangement and makes the classroom an informal setting. This can make working with groups easier for the teacher. He or she can work with one group while the other groups are working. The way teachers give instruction is also very important to classroom management. It must be effective to attract the attention of the students and make sure the class is paying attention. This can be done by using simple language, consistency with instructions, using visual clues (mimes, gestures), and checking for an understanding of the instructions given. A final thing to consider and is equally important in successful classroom management is establishing a rapport with students. Students will be more likely to participate and contribute when they feel relaxed and comfortable with the teacher. Smiling and being positive can help establish rapport. Showing a personal interest in the students and displaying the right manner will definitely play an important part and ensure success for the classroom, teachers, and students. References: International TEFL and TESOL Training course material. Unit 5 Managing classes