Describe and evaluate ways in which teachers manage the classroom effectively.
A group is a social structure where the members have a common goal, form relationships between them and have clear stratification and roles within the group A classroom is obviously a group once the students and the teacher, who are its members, form relationships between them and they are equal with the teacher as their leading figure. They all have responsibilities towards the attainment of a goal which is the students to learn and in the case of language classes, to learn a language. (Koskina,2018) Classroom management is a separate skill and responsibility of the teacher, which ensures the smooth operation and coordination of the classroom with the use of methods attested for their effectiveness, the prevention of disruptive behaviour and the effective reaction to it when it occurs so that the learning experience becomes productive and pleasant for the students. Classroom management involves subjects such as the position of students or assets in the class, the grouping of the students, the interaction between the students, the maintenance of discipline etc. (Roger et al,2000)
Initially, managing the classroom actually begins when the students enter the classroom; the teacher should start the lesson positively with a warm greet and a very brief classroom discussion about the student’s daily life and interests in order to reinforce the idea that the classroom is a friendly, non-threatening and caring environment and a short introduction to the lesson. This introduction involves short warm-up activities to stimulate the interest of the students and bring out any existing knowledge on a topic, such as a describing a picture or a video in the L2. (Rhalmi, 2014)
It is very important for the teacher to decide for how long they are going to talk in a lesson and how long the students will be talking in the class according to the duration of the lesson, meaning that they need to manage Student Talking Time(STT) and Teacher Talking Time(TTT). One thing the teacher must keep in mind is not to maximize their talking time because it can end up disengaging for the students and actually, student talking time is far more important than teacher talking time, since the teacher is already proficient in the language and doesn’t need practice during the lesson, so they should be barely modeling, giving instructions and feedback and delivering the lesson; but students need to use the language so that the acquisition process can occur naturally, such as the experience and use of the L1 was increasing much earlier in their lives. As for the L1, if it is common between the teacher and the students, its use must be increasingly replaced with the use of the target language as the experience level of the student's advances (Roger et al,2000). During TTT the teacher will need to provide the students with input; the input from the teacher could have the form of instructions related to tasks and appropriate classroom behaviour, delivering a lesson and providing feedback. The input, especially in the case of the delivery of the lesson, should be audible, clearly articulated and with rises in the intonation of the voice to highlight important keywords and elaborated with gestures. The teacher should use language belonging to just a level above the level of the students when providing input in order to make the lesson challenging for the students but not as challenging as to make the students feel stressed. Instructions should be given when the teacher is sure that the attention of the students is focused on them and at this point it is important to note that if any handouts are supposed to be given to the students, the teacher shouldn’t hand them over until full instructions on the topic are delivered, since the handouts will completely distract the students. As for the instructions, they should be divided into short, direct and comprehensible utterances, breaking down larger steps into smaller ones and checking back after each step. The instructions should be elaborated with demonstrations of a small portion of the task, visual elaborations, such as gestures and eye contact and the instructions written on the board. The feedback should consist of correction of errors, suggestions for studying and praises for improvements, always based on actual observations of the work of the students, those will be used as examples to elaborate the feedback. Furthermore, the feedback should be specific to the language that is being practised and provided as soon as the practice is finished so that the students have time to correct their errors. (Roger et al,2000)
One of the hardest aspects of classroom management must be the maintenance of discipline during the lesson, mostly because the easy and obvious negative discipline methods such as shouting, or punishments rarely keep the students disciplined and more than often tend to backlash. Positive discipline involves the teacher earning the respect and discipline of the students through their professionalism, positive attitude and efficiency in both the learning experience and problem-solving. In other words, the students need to feel safe that the teacher is working towards their own benefit and cares about them in order to discipline to the rules and regulations of the classroom and be open to receive information from the teacher, allowing the teacher to manage the classroom and the lesson material a lot more effectively. (Roger et al,2000). Small in-class activities would also serve this purpose adequately. Initially, the activities need to be planned, calculating the length of the lesson and aiming to a specific learning outcome, which the teacher should make clear to the students. The activities can be divided into controlled activities, where the teacher decides what linguistic items will be practiced with the activity and such activities include drillings, students to teacher dialogues, guided activities, where while the teacher still decides the linguistic items those will be practiced, students sill have a degree of freedom and creative activities, were the only restriction of the language use is the context of the given situation. Students can work individually, meaning to do solo work such as solving gap-filling exercises alone, which can give students the chance to reflect on their own personal needs, work at their own pace and discover their own learning processes and patterns (Harmer,2010). In the long run, though, it makes students feel isolated since they don’t really interact with their classmates and as a consequence, it decreases student talking time and use of the target language within a context significantly. Students can also work in pairs, meaning an interaction between two people in the class, directly related to the practice of the target language. Whole classwork involves the interaction between the whole class as a group and the teacher, directly tied with the practice of the target language such as the teacher drilling new words into the students or nominating students during practice. Groupwork and pairwork can get pretty noisy and time-consuming and also some of the more confident and talkative students may block the other members of the group in terms of target language production. Also, during groupwork and pairwork students may not make decisions on their own free will because of peer pressure. Whole class work, in the long run, may make students feel that their own thoughts, needs and opinions are suppressed by the rest of the group, which can be really disengaging for them. Concluding, we could say that activities and groupings should vary from lesson to lesson so that they don’t end up disengaging for the students. (Harmer,2010)
It is crucial for the teacher to keep in mind that students are people of self-worth who demand to have their needs and problems revolving around the classroom addressed. The teacher should always pay attention to the events happening in the classroom in order to be able to control and regulate potential problems, provide linguistic input if it is required and finally assess the language production of the students. Ideally, every student should be able to contribute to the lesson and receive a personalized feedback and error correction but as the size of the class increases, the less the teacher is able to address the personal needs of the students. The teacher must provide individual attention wisely by paying more attention to students who make more errors and avoid teaching exclusively the most or the least competent student and by no means leave a student absorb all of the attention from them. The teacher should also allow students to contribute in the lesson by making questions and nominating students who are willing to answer. Eye contact can be an optimal tool for spreading attention, it indicates confidence, control, authority and awareness on behalf of the teacher and allows teachers to monitor the classroom for behavioural issues, such as students talking or academic issues such as nominations or questions. While eye contact gives a sense of control and security to both students and teachers it should not be fixed to the students since it can appear as the teacher is controlling the students all. Walking around the classroom, monitoring the students is an optimal tool for spreading attention during activities in the classroom. Before the teacher begins monitoring they must make sure that the students had enough time to work on a considerable part of the activities and when they monitor the students they must be subtle in their approach with students and try to encourage the students and make sure that they spread the attention to all students and they are accessible to the students. During monitoring, the teacher may give corrections to the students and these should be done discreetly by crouching to the level of the students to make them feel safer. But in no case, the teacher should be hovering around a group or a student for a long time since this can become stressful for them and reduce attention to other students who may need it. the time. Students need to feel freer at times and especially during group work or pair work. (Roger et al,2000)
The teacher should also be able to effectively arrange the seating of the students during the activities for the convenience of the students. The students can sit in orderly rows, facing the teacher, which is an ideal sitting arrangement for solo work and receiving input from the teacher, the students can also sit in a circle with the teacher in the middle, which is optimal for whole-class work as it provides a sense of equality and proximity between the students. The students can also sit in separate tables, which is an optimal sitting arrangement for group work, as it allows a clearer group form and allows the teacher to monitor the groups better. The same goes for the horseshoe sitting arrangement, but it could be applied better to classes with a large number of students. Besides the position of the students, the teacher should also assume an appropriate position according to the activity taking place in the classroom if the teacher needs to monitor some group or pair work they should be walking around the classroom, when they interact with the students it is better to stand in front of the classroom in order to portray proximity to the students so that they can relax and feel free to ask questions and produce language. (Harmer,2010)
Finally, during the last minutes of a lesson, the class can engage in cool off activities, such as reviewing the lesson and sharing thoughts on the lesson with the teacher before the teacher dismisses them in a warm and friendly manner, in order to further reinforce the idea that the classroom is a friendly, non-threatening and caring environment. (Farmer,2010).
- Quote paper
- Georgia Foskolou (Author), 2018, Describe and evaluate ways in which teachers manage the classroom effectively, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/458031