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Unit 5 covered effective classroom management. I found it helpful for learning to be able to assess the management needs for the class at any given moment for the sake of maximizing effective learning. For instance, considering the ways I interact with the class in teaching new material, practical work and discipline. I can also change the physical arrangement of the students, change if I'm doing most of the talking versus the students talking and interacting with me or each other.
This unit covered the following aspects:
The teacher's use of eye contact, gesture and voice to maintain a good teaching environment and discipline, to reduce talk time and to increase student participation and attentiveness
Pros and cons of different grouping possibilities for a class of students
> A class can be grouped as a whole, individuals, pairs or groups
> Most effective is to be able to change groupings as needed
> Whole class grouping allows the teacher to be in better control for teaching new material, etc.
> Students working on their own provides a quiet atmosphere where a student can concentrate on written and reading tasks
> Students working in pairs can be a safe interactive environment for shy students. In my experience, this can work well if there are students who tend to hog classroom time. Usually in pair work, there is an expected back-and-forth so that they can learn certain things about the material and each other
> Group work is great for discussions and brainstorming, however - in my opinion - the groups are more effective if they have some explicit instructions by the instructor, such as "each one try to give one example of a particular grammar structure being studied, etc", so that all students are equally included
This unit also gave a good overview of the pros and cons of different seating arrangements
> The effectiveness of the different arrangements can be affected by the students' age, nationality, personality, space and furniture available, as well as the personality of the teacher
> Orderly front-facing rows give a teacher more control, especially for giving instruction and introducing new material. This can be more helpful for big classes, younger students and beginner level students who don't yet have enough English to effectively work with other students
> Circles and horseshoe classroom arrangements give a more intimate atmosphere and work well for smaller classes and classes where student interaction is important, such as those at a higher level of English
> Small groups can give students opportunity to participate more than the class as a whole, while being able to listen to a greater variety of input as compared to pairs
> A teacher should change position - i.e., sit or stand, be the center of attention or off to the side, etc. - based on the activity
The use of a white/chalk board or a projector is usually a vital necessity to any class for the sake of visual explanations of words, spelling, grammar and even examples. However the teacher should use the board or projector for the sake of augmenting student interaction; otherwise the teacher will be interacting with the board and the students will be interacting with their phones or each other.
A teacher can effectively teach a group of students and still give individual attention by using eye contact, calling on students by name and addressing an understanding issue in a way that the whole group can benefit. I have found that when I am working on proper pronunciation, the student feels very awkward trying to put the mouth in the right position when it's not a position used in a native tongue. This is true both one-on-one and in a group. I have the best luck when I have all of the students do it together. Then those who are shy about the new mouth position see the other students doing it and tend to feel more confident to try the strange mouth position too. Also, this keeps all of the students attentive, and usually everyone needs practice anyway, to maintain proper pronunciation.
Teacher talk time vs Student talk time
> A teacher has to talk to give correct pronunciation and examples, instructions and rapport.
> A student needs to practice communicating. Even if students speak incorrectly and/or with poor pronunciation in pair and group work, the effort to recall the material can really help the students learn more effectively.
Teachers can be more effective at giving instructions by
> Using simple language
> Being consistent
> Using visual clues
> Asking questions and monitoring the work to ensure students' understanding of the assignment
Students establishing rapport with the teacher and other students is vital for effective learning. Teachers can help establish rapport by
> Encouraging student interaction and participation in class discussions and activities
> Showing students that you respect them and want them in your class
> Showing students that you love to teach by smiling and showing personal interest
> Rearranging students' seating arrangements so that they can interact with a variety of classmates
> Use ice-breaking activities, and have students get to know each other
Maintaining class discipline is super important for the sake of creating the most effective learning environment. However this is affected by many different factors.
> Age, learning motivation, culture, class size and teacher respect all have an effect on class discipline
> Students can have personal situations that affect how disciplined they are
> A teacher maximizes respect and can better maintain class discipline by being self-disciplined and yet easily approachable, as well as consistent in correction and expectations
> In my opinion, it's good if a teacher consistently expects attention with quietness from the students when he/she is teaching new material or giving instruction; then conversely have times when the teacher allows the students to interact freely as long as it is in English (if they have enough). Some of my most enjoyable moments in the classroom have been sitting back listening to students talking freely in English about some current event. Even when their English is broken, often they don't even pay attention to the fact that they are speaking in English because they are focused on discussing the interesting subject. I only interject to say, "English!" when they have reverted to their native language.
> Also in my opinion, a teacher with a gentle nature will be quickly run over by the students, especially younger ones. However, I think that a gentle nature is still the best. If the teacher is quietly but carefully consistent and gives correction in a way that allows the students to save face, the students will learn to love and cherish the gentle teacher, to the point that they will not want to disappoint him/her. The classroom can become a haven of inspiration from the confusion and chaos of life.