Classroom management is the focus of unit 5. Classroom management is the skill of organizing and managing the class, having a relaxed manner and maintaining discipline. All of this helps teachers to be more successful in the classroom. The major points which unit five focuses on are the methods and skills which teachers should use in order to maintain control, and make his/her classroom more interesting and easier to follow for his/her students. These include: Eye contact, gesture and voice, grouping students, Classroom arrangement, writing on the board, giving individual attention, Teacher talk time and student talk time, giving instructions, establishing rapport, Maintaining discipline
Eye contact is important in the classroom as it establishes a good rapport with the students. However, too much eye contact may cause some students to feel uneasy or nervous, whereas as lack of eye contact may give students that a teacher lacks confidence, thus discipline problems may arise. Eye contact can help maintain discipline, check that everybody is participating and to signal students to stop or start or get a move on, just to name a few. Minimal eye contact should be made during activities where focus is on fluency, or working in groups or pairs.
Good use of gestures can be effective and useful when the teacher wants to convey the meaning of a language, when they add visual interest etc. Teachers should use gestures which are obvious in meaning or has already been established with the students. For example: putting your hands behind your ears to let your students know you want them to listen to your explanation.
Teachers should also make sure they use enough clarity, range and projection when speaking in the classroom. Failure to do so, students may find it difficult to understand the teacher. Teachers voice should change depending on the size of the class or noisy nature of a class. Also, the complexity of the teacher’s language will depend on the level of and ability of the students. Note should be taken that a monotonous voice may cause students to become board of your classes.
Organizing whole class -Grouping, pair work or having students work on their own is another aspect of class management. It is not always easy organizing students in a group, pairs or having students work alone as it has its advantages and disadvantages. Whole class group work or pair work creates a sense of belonging among the group and allows students to share ideas and thoughts respectively. The downside of grouping and pairing is that it reduces opportunities for students to speak and can rather be noisy etc. Getting students to work on their own allows the teacher to respond to individual differences in pace of learning ability while on the other hand it restricts the possibility for students to student interaction and group belonging etc.
Classroom arrangement plays its own role in classroom management. The organization of the class (chairs, tables) along with teachers and students depends on the space available, type of chairs/tables, age of students, nationality and student personality. The way in which a teacher arranges his classroom also depends on the activity and what suits him/her. Teachers may arrange their class (seats and tables) classroom in an orderly row, in a circle/horseshoe or by separating the tables. Teachers positioning and movement is also of importance. During the engage and study stage, teachers should stand up so as to get the attention of all the students. However, in the situation where the students are reading the teacher can sit down. In the activation stage, teachers should do more of sitting, and monitor as this stage for student talk time.
Writing on the board while facing your back to the class poses a lot of problems for some teachers. Managing this problem can be done by preparing cards with some vocabulary, using overhead projector if possible or invite students to write on the board for you etc.
Giving individual attention and at the same time trying to manage the whole class can be tricky. Teachers should endeavor trying to know all the students’ names, so as to avoid picking only the names of those you know. Don’t teach exclusively to weak or strong students, don’t allow individual students to hog your attention or limelight etc.
Again, the balance of teacher talk time and student talk time in classroom management depends on the type of activity or lesson and on the level of the students. Teachers will talk more when giving instructions, setting up activities, presenting, checking or modifying etc. The advantage of teacher talk time is that students become more exposed. Teachers should be able to provide the students with a source of natural and correct English that will help in the progress. Too much talking or explanation by the teacher reduces the talk time of the students along with active participation. In order to avoid unnecessary teacher, talk time, teachers should avoid over elaboration, use gestures, mime or pictures, use language that is below what is being taught etc.
Giving instructions may not always be easy as some students may find it difficult or confusing. In order to make giving instructions more effective, one has to using simple language, being consistent, using visual clues, and checking to find out if the students have understood your explanation of the lesson. By doing this, teachers attract their student’s attention.
Establishing rapport between teacher and student plays an important part in class management. It helps to determine the lively nature and success of the class. When student participation is high and lively it can encourage and stimulate the general attitude and approach of the teacher. Several ways to establish a good rapport between the teacher and student is to look as if you enjoy teaching, be positive in every thing you do, get the students to help each other, make sure you know the students that go along together when making seating arrangement etc.
Finally, this unit helps us to be able to manage discipline within the class. Teachers should be able to identify the reasons of poor or bad behavior in the classroom (ex: family problems, boredom, class size, peer pressure etc.), how they can be prevented and how to respond to such problems. There are many things a teacher can do to prevent behavior problems: being well prepared for class, make lessons interesting and varied, establish rapport with the students etc. although it is not always easy to redress students with behavior problems, if it still arises teachers can focus on the behavior and not the student, avoid shouting, keep clam, follow school rules strictly etc.