Teaching is a noble profession. However, it is not an easy one. Individuals may have numerous degrees to their name, but to impart this knowledge to others is not as simple and itself is an art.
Somebody rightly said that Classroom Management equals taming the Chaos. There have been many instances when new teachers have left half-way because they lacked skills to manage the class effectively. An excellent student can become a good teacher only if he possesses classroom management skills to steer him towards the path of knowledge.
Common Classroom Management problems
As Classrooms are full of different types of personalities, they do not run like efficient machine lines. There are many Classroom Management issues that can disrupt normalcy or situations to make imparting knowledge a difficult task.
The beginning of a classroom session
The starting of a session is itself an onerous task. Students are busy socializing and settling down. The teacher can efficiently bring every body’s attention by setting routines. This will give students discipline and a routine thereby make learning more efficient.
Bathroom Break requests
This is not a problem only at the Junior school levels. Experienced teachers have seen heard so many requests per session that more than 10-15 minutes is wasted and the class has to be brought to order before the session is continued. Rules can be set by a teacher to control these disruptions.
Quarrel, Ego Clashes, Fights
High school students are a heterogeneous mix of individuals who come from different backgrounds both economical, social and environmental. There is always constant bickering, fights, personality clashes et al. that erupt now and then causing breaks in the ongoing sessions. This disrupts the learning process and reduces the attention span of the students.
Private discussions among students
Some students indulge in talking private matters even as a very important lecture or session is going on. Other students engrossed in the session may find this disruptive and lose track of what is being taught. Also, this makes the teacher’s task to explain even harder.
Different levels of Understanding
Students all have different levels of understanding. Even if one student is not able to follow and wants clarification, the class gets disrupted. Teachers should have effective strategies to face challenges like these. Perhaps the questions are necessary but the teacher can leave some room at the end for some questions so that the flow is not interrupted.
There may be other problems that interrupt a session. Absentees may seek the teacher’s attention for missing work. The class size may be huge, and managing can be a bit difficult. Some students might want to see support staff like counselors etc. All these issues have to be dealt with even while ardently following the Lesson Plan for the day.
Experienced teachers handle classes easily, but new ones always need time and strategies to adjust. With so many issues that challenge classroom Management, the survival of the fittest holds good here too. Teachers should also use Classroom Behavior Management strategies to combat misbehavior Management in class.
Importance of Classroom Management
The importance of classroom management of High school and college students cannot be over-emphasized.
The students at this stage have their own problems of growing up. They have many issues in their life from social pressures to maybe the atmosphere maybe and students are often in constant strain to live up to expectations. All these issues and others are ones that the teacher has no control of or cannot do anything much about in class. So it makes learning harder and when their curriculum is heavy, they are not able to cope up which disrupts the class.
Classroom Management is important for the following reasons
As it is the duration of the class is limited and the curriculum heavy!. Disruptions mean a loss of precious time that could have been used by the teacher to complete a part that he had planned for the day. Teachers with effective Classroom Management skills are able to complete their session in the given time even while subduing these disruptions to a minimum.
Setting of Routines
Good Classroom management skills help a teacher to set routines. For example, some teachers startup with a warm-up session and then start their lecture. They may complete the session asking students of their opinion on the subject. Some teachers may directly start their lecture and complete with a quiz session. Once routines are established students can know what is expected of them next. They can follow them accordingly as soon as they enter the class.
Effective teaching is achieved
The main aim of teaching is to promote student learning. While students have their own problems, ultimately they want to reach their goals through studies. It is seen in most cases that children expect teachers to gain their attention in spite of their overdramatization skills.
Reduction in behavioral issues
Taking a class full of teenagers just out of childhood and stepping into adulthood is a highly challenging job even for experienced teachers. Discipline is an essential part of Student Life. However, young adults find ways to evade it. They find less than hilarious ways to go about disciplinary rules and routines. Classroom Management Strategies can help combat misbehavior and garner attention for the session at hand.
An effective teacher can thus promote learning, reduce misbehavior, save time and set routines when he uses various Classroom Management Strategies.
Classroom Behavior Management
One of the toughest challenges a teacher faces in the classroom is Classroom Behavior Management.
Listed below are some good tactics for classroom behavior management:
A.) Be fair but strict
B.) Create a sense of belonging to all the members of the class
C.) Use low key responses like the look then pause, comment and proximity to achieve classroom behavior Management.
D.) Reward good behavior
Effective Classroom Management Strategies
Most inexperienced teachers and students who have just joined the teaching profession feel that classroom management skills are an inborn trait. Experienced teachers, however, contradict this opinion. Their experience in successful classroom management is ample proof to highlight this point. So how do they manage? Their secret is a few strategies that they use efficiently to bring the Class to Order.
Here are a few Classroom Management Strategies that have been utilized by renowned and experienced teachers:
Make a positive connection with your students
There is always a set of students misbehaving or disturbing the class. To get the whole class under control, the teacher should have a connection with the students. Student engagement could be achieved in many ways albeit with a positive approach.
Isolate students who misbehave instead of accusing the whole class of misconduct. Resolve the issue at the same moment through mild punishments and continue with the session.
Use praise and lift the students’ self-esteem in front of the class. This could be used as a tool even for small achievements as well. Also praise misbehaving students for behaving well on a particular day will encourage them to do better in the following days.
Encourage questioning in the classroom. This will help you understand how much students have grasped what has been taught.
Get feedback from your students on a regular basis. You can give out feedback forms with various questions like whether the session was clear. For example ask, “What can I do to make my points in sync with your learning style?”
Also having a policy of giving respect and taking respect in the classroom will work wonders to discipline the students. This can be stated directly to the students and demanded from time to time.
Establish rules and routines
Some teachers provide students with booklets or a handout rule sheet at the start of the academic year. This booklet or handout sheet may contain details of how the teacher is going to take up sessions for completing the curriculum by the end of the year. Teachers can mention how every session will be paced - teaching part, exchange of ideas, quizzing, projects, tests, assignments, etc. Some basic rules like punctuality, classroom organization, bathroom breaks system, a credit system for good behavior can be established.
Once you establish rules and routines students will be wired to do, certain things start of a class period and can prepare for tests and assignments when they expected to.
While establishing rules, teachers should ensure that they are not confusing or complicated. The critical point is that they should be followed consistently. Of course, they should be flexible when particular situations arise. Let even substitute teachers be aware of the rules so that they implement them when you are away.
Create a safe environment for learning
Ages ago when there were no student counselors, teachers took upon themselves to counsel students if they faced problems. Nowadays there is a particular department with psychologists and counseling specialists who look into student’s issues and help them in many ways.
Even so, since it is the teachers and professors who meet students on a daily basis. It is important to know all your student's names. Spend time to understand their strength and weaknesses. Encourage them whenever possible will help a lot.
Spare some time to listen to what the students say. This will bring students closer to the teacher, and he or she would be able to manage the classroom more effectively.
Teachers should also be strict with students who mock, be impatient or be cruel to any of their classmates. Have a pre-existing Behavior Management Plan to address serious behavior issues.
Lectures should not be Monotonous. Students have been seen yawning or even going to sleep during lectures of boring teachers and professors. To spice up, teachers can hold debates, skits, quiz programs, projects, games sessions, and humor to attract students towards the curriculum and hold their attention longer.
Likewise, the use of technology and the Internet can bring in more “Likes and Comments” as they say in Internet Terminology for your lectures. Web quests, newspaper reading sessions, blogs, and website viewings can be included during lectures to make the session more interesting.
You can also induce humor into your lectures to make them lively and have them interact. Research has proved that humor induces the production of good feeling hormones which improve alertness in all students in the Classroom. When students are alert towards the lecture, then classroom management is easier.
Involve Everybody’s Participation
Give a chance to every student to participate in the class. Even students with bad grades should be involved in the classes. Check if all students follow your instructions.
Bring the whole class in tandem by employing early finishers for other tasks and waiting for others to finish.
Opinions may be sought and positive feedback given to even the smallest ideas. Establish learning goals and see to it that they are achieved by all the students in the classroom. This self-learning concept will not only free teachers of anxiety but also make the students more independent.
Let Them Lead
Students can be given a free reign to conduct sessions sometimes. This may be pre-planned so that students can come prepared for such sessions. Give them 5 minutes' time or more for presentation depending on their confidence levels. After the submission, they can review by asking questions and seeking feedback. Likewise, students can also write short papers on the topics that have already been covered or to be taken up.
Teachers can set-up a reward system to encourage more students to come up with such projects.
Group Projects Are A Great Idea
A good classroom strategy is to give group projects to students. Human beings have always worked in groups. Divide students into groups and give them tasks where every student would have to involve himself in the completion of tasks.
Students usually gang up to play and socialize online or offline. Why not use this basic nature to make them work together on academic projects. This could help build teamwork and leadership skills. This would ensure that they are not distracted or cause disruptions in the class. Academic jobs are also completed as students share ideas, gain and give respect and learn from each other in the process.
The use of formative assessments can be used as a successful classroom Management Strategy. Formative assessments measure a candidate’s progress and indicate the next phase of instruction that the teacher will have to take.
These tests also help students understand their strengths and weakness. Teachers can provide differentiated teaching for students who need to improve in order to help them and boost their confidence.
Formative tests can be in the form of discussions, student reflections, quizzes, and collaborative activities. You can always give positive and encouraging feedback at the end of these formative tests so that the students are encouraged to do better.
Adapt to changes in every classroom is different
Every class is different. Every academic year brings new challenges and teachers have to adopt new strategies to manage the new class efficiently. Teaching strategies should change along which changes each year with different students and new technologies. For example, this generation is tech-savvy. So the need to use technology. Aids to grab attention.
Enlist Parents Support
Teachers should have parent-teacher meetings at regular intervals. Give parents positive feedback about the progress of their children. Inform what stage a student is in the pursuit of knowledge. Enlist their help if you need to address behavior problems or academic concerns. Most parents are helpful, and your job becomes easier.
Finally below are some tips for Teachers from Veteran Classroom Managers:
- Start preparing for the academic year during the holidays itself
- Understand students needs and establish parameters
- Keep school policies in mind too.
- Plan sessions giving room for flexibility
- Be proactive, not reactive. Never go into defensive mode
- Have a Behavior Management Plan
- Keep written records for attendance, grading and class behavior of each student
- Never lose control of your class. Do not yield to bullying. Take action in case of deviations in behavior. If control is lost, then note down names and approach the principal and parents for corrective action.
- Listen to your students now and then to establish a good rapport
- Be responsible and automatically you can maintain decorum in class.
- Routines and Rules are important even for bathroom breaks and these routines and rules go a long way in effective Classroom Management.
- Prep lectures with humor, activity and interactive sessions to keep it lively and to engross students in the topic under question.
To conclude, experienced teachers have an idea of how to efficiently handle a classroom. New teachers should not be afraid of the chaos in the class. They can use a combination of these strategies both Classroom Management strategies and Classroom, Behavior Management strategies along with the tips mentioned above so that they become competent teachers.