"WHERE KNOWLEDGE IS WEALTH"

Thursday, September 4, 2008

EFFECTIVE MANAGEMENT OF CLASSROOMS

ABSTRACT

Classroom Management is a cause for concern for teachers. With the rapid changes in technology and the major influence of media on the students there are certain behavioral changes, which are at variance with the accepted standards and norms. As a result, teachers find it difficult to manage the students in the classroom. The research paper highlights about the concept of classroom management, the Six Cs that is essential for teachers, innovative tips for teachers and tools and techniques for conducive classroom management are dwelt at length. The research paper also focuses on sandwich feedback and how to handle question and answer session in the classroom in detail. In the conclusion, it has called upon the teachers, students, parents and administration for effective coordination and synchronization for ensuring conducive learning environment in the classroom.


KEY WORDS: Introduction, What is Classroom Management? Six Cs for a Teacher, Teaching Methodologies, Innovative Teaching Tips, Action Exercises, Tools and Techniques for Conducive Classroom Management, Giving Feedback, Handling Question and Answer Session & Conclusion.

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INTRODUCTION:

According to Skinner , “We are on the verge of a new educational method a new pedagogy in which the teacher will emerge as a skilled behavioral engineer. He will be able to analyze the contingencies, which will arise in his classroom and design and set up improved versions. He will know what is to be done and will have the satisfaction of knowing that he has done it.”

For every teacher the problem ahead is how to manage the classroom. It looks and sounds easy to maintain discipline the class. But in reality it is tough task for the teacher to ensure the same as no teacher can afford to incur the ill will of their students. At the same time it is essential to maintain discipline and decency of the class so as to impart the knowledge. In this context, let us look at the meaning of classroom management.

WHAT IS CLASSROOM MANAGEMENT?

According to Wikipedia, Classroom management is a term used by many teachers to describe the process of ensuring that classroom lessons run smoothly despite disruptive behavior by students. The term also implies the prevention of disruptive behavior. It is possibly the most difficult aspect of teaching for many teachers and indeed experiencing problems in this area causes some to leave teaching altogether. In 1981 the US National Educational Association reported that 36% of teachers said they would probably not go into teaching if they had to decide again. A major reason was “negative student attitudes and discipline”. (Wolfgang and Glickman)

From the above it is very obvious that classroom indiscipline has become a major concern for the teachers. It is astonishing that just because of classroom issues teachers do not like to opt for teaching as a career.

In a nut shell, classroom management can be defined as the process of disciplining, interacting, educating, entertaining, eliciting and integrating the students in a constructive and creative class environment for providing knowledge, skills and abilities. The sole objective of classroom management is to provide conducive learning environment for the students. It basically revolves around three factors like discipline, motivation and respect. Only when the students are disciplined, motivated and respected then can we ensure effective classroom environment. All the three are interwoven in such a way that one without the other has no meaning.

SIX Cs FOR A TEACHER:

Every teacher should have sic Cs such as courage, competence, confidence, communication, commitment and concern. The ability to face good number of students requires courage and at the same time the teacher should have managing, controlling, commanding skills. Teacher not only teaches but also plays several roles in the class. For all this, s/he should have courage. Competence is one of the core areas and it is one of the major characteristics of any teacher. Competence comes only when the teacher is thorough with the subject knowledge. And the competence in turn leads to confidence. Students can pose any number of questions and the teacher should display confidence levels to respond the same. However the competency the teacher posses s/he should be able to communicate the same to the students effectively. What is the use of having extensive knowledge when you do not know how to communicate? The teacher should have commitment towards his/her professional roles and responsibilities. It is the commitment towards teaching that brings out great respect towards the teachers. And regarding the final sixth C – concern, the teacher should have concern about the students whether they understand the topics being taught in the class. It is possible to know by observing the body language of the students. Therefore, all SIX Cs are crucial for all teachers. It is right quoted by Anon , “A good teacher is like a candle – it consumes itself to light the way for others.”

TEACHING METHODOLOGIES:

Edgar Dale said, “People remember 20% of what they hear, 30% of what they see, 50% what they hear and see and 80% of what they hear, see and do.”

Every teacher has unique way of teaching, as no two teachers are alike. However there are certain teaching and training methodologies that can be adopted which are common in nature. After following the same one can evolve one’s own way of teaching methodology based on experience and expertise and convenience and comfort.

Any teaching should have combination of audio, video, interaction, questioning, case studies or examples or short stories and summary. All these ingredients are essential more or less in any classroom teaching and the same may be customized based on the profile of the students and the domain one covers. Every teacher speaks in the class, which can be called as an audio, and at the same time the teacher should use black board or power point presentations or cue cards to support the audio version of teaching. Only when these two are effectively coordinated and synchronized with case study or short story with active interaction and questioning the teaching would be complete and effective. At the end encouraging the students to summarize what was discussed will make the teaching process highly effective.

INNOVATIVE TEACHING TIPS:

· Maintain a diary exclusively for collecting motivational and inspirational quotations and pass on one quote for one class to the students regularly. It helps in motivating and inspiring the students.
· Maintain a diary exclusively for collecting short stories and the same can be used in the classroom to fill the gaps if any during the classroom teaching. We humans love to listen to stories and any small story which is message oriented will arouse the interest among the students and it also helps in character building.
· Daily teach one new word or concept other than the domain, which indicates your interest in teaching and also encourages the students to learn new terminologies or concepts on regular basis. It also helps in widening the knowledge base of the students.

The above innovative and creative tools will help the students to think broadly thus helps teachers commanding respect from the students.

ACTION EXERCISES:

Below is the action exercise that triggers students into action. First pose a question like “What gives you 100 per cent result?” and then invite their answers and probably students may come out with words like discipline, knowledge, experience, commitment, intelligence ……

Then give the answer as “ATTITUDE” and justify by telling students as below: Number the alphabets of English from 1 to 26 with A assigning with number 1, B assigning with number 2 and at the end Z assigning with number with 26. Then assign each number against each letter in the word “ATTITUDE” and then sum it up then it comes to 100. Therefore, ATTITUDE gives 100 result.

Likewise design your own exercises that enthuse and excite the students that will help in providing knowledge to the students and also helps in better classroom management.

TOOLS AND TECHNIQUES FOR CONDUCIVE CLASSROOM MANAGEMENT:

“First, understand that behavior and classroom management are two different things. Behavior has to do with discipline. Classroom management has to do with procedures and routines.” Harry Wang .


· If the teachers possesses competency in their subject then the students would fall in line of discipline and they respect their teachers.
· Teachers should command rather than demand respect from students.
· It is necessary to have proper rapport with students. It minimizes any gap in understanding between the teachers and students thus promoting classroom harmony and peace.
· According to Emmer and colleagues, assertive behavior is the ability to stand up for one’s legitimate rights in ways that make it less likely that others will ignore or circumvent them. (2003, p.146) Teachers need to be assertive right from the beginning as it conveys right attitude towards them thereby having longevity in understanding and maintaining relations accordingly. There should not be any aggressive or submissive behavior in the initial stage as it conveys wrong signals to the students.
· Teachers should memorize the names so that they can address their students by their names and that strengthens the bond between them.
· Teachers should set personal example in their behavior. If the students find any gap between what the teachers preach and practice then the teachers would lose their credibility. In the long run, it leads to classroom indiscipline.
· Knowing the students psychology will help the teachers behave amicably and it helps in furthering better relations between the teachers and students.
· Teachers should be very good time managers and should not waste their time in unproductive and meaningless discussions. They should be punctual to their classrooms.
· All efforts should be initiated to avoid classroom politics and all students should be treated equally irrespective of their merits, ranks and social positions.
· If the students misbehave then the teachers should use their body language with serious facial expressions, eye contact.
· To control the commotion in the class until then it was unattended by teacher then start giving notes to the students as they keep themselves being busy with notes and diversion from snafu to silence.
· As soon as the teacher enters the room if two or three questions are written down on the board and ask and the same is posed to the students to respond then the students will get engaged in answering the questions. This can control classroom commotion easily.
· The teachers can also crack jokes and direct the classroom from commotion to normalcy as students enjoy the jokes.
· By asking the students what was discussed in the previous class it not only engages the students in constructive thinking but also provides lead to the present session by threading.
· In the larger interests of permanent classroom management, the teachers should list out their expectations from their students and at the same time they should find out the expectations of the students. If there are any gaps between the expectations and realities and the efforts should be initiated to bridge the same. This democratic style of discussion and interaction between the teachers and students will bring healthy relations. And finally the objectives of teaching can be met effectively and efficiently.
· Teachers should be packed with adequate material in order to engage the students effectively. There should be material like practical activities, role-plays, short stories, case studies etc., which can be utilized as per the situation to fill the gaps in the class. These things will help especially when the topic is totally covered and teacher gets dry with the topic material.
· In extreme cases, when the student does not fall in line with the established discipline despite repeated reminders for correction of behavior then the last resort would be to bring the issue to the parents for their immediate action and correction. This weapon would be used as a last resort when all the options failed to pay off. Such an action will send strong signal to other students in the class as well, and they would be set right automatically.

GIVING FEEDBACK:

Give feedback to the students is a very challenging and tough job. It has to be given without hurting any student personally. However if it is praise it is necessary to praise in public and it is criticism then it is advisable to call to cabin and criticize privately. While giving feedback it is necessary to attack the behavior of the student not the student as it brings out behavioral improvement.

While praising it should be objective and specific. That means pinpoint the specific act that resulted in positive outcome result and praise. Or otherwise it results into flattery and the other person does not take seriously. Any pat has to be timely. At the time of good behavior it has to be noticed, addressed and applauded, as praise will have more immediate impact. Such a pat must be in the presence of all students as other students would learn the positive behavior and would try to imitate to get recognized and noticed for pat. In this way, the teacher not only praises the behavior of a particular student but also encourages others indirectly to emulate best practices.

Sandwich feedback is another tool that can be employed effectively in correcting the students as it helps in effective classroom management. In this feedback initially the teachers offer the positive compliment and highlights about the negative behavior for correction and finally concluding with positive remarks. In this way, the students do not get hurt and take the feedback constructively for effective improvement. For instance, let us take the below sentence which is an example of sandwich feedback.

“Dear Robert, you always get good marks in the examinations. But in the recent examinination you did not score well what went wrong with your preparation. Put more efforts and energies in your preparation. And I am sure you will definitely improve your score.”

HANDLING QUESTION AND ANSWER SESSION:

“A teacher’s purpose is not to create students in his own image, but to develop students who can create their own image”, Anon .

Honesty is the best policy. When any student poses questions related to the subject the teacher should be in a position to reply the same up to the satisfaction of the student. It is possible only when the teacher is very strong in the subject. If the answer to the question is not known, then it is better to say that the answer would be addressed in the next session. It is not possible to know everything under the sun in the earth. And it is mandatory to prepare fully the answer from various dimensions so as to respond to the student. It not only enhances the credibility of the teacher but also it helps in enhancing the knowledge base and the same can be utilized in the next class. Another way of responding the answer is to ask any of the students to reply the question and the due credit has to be passed on to the student. Even if the answer is known to the teacher then also the same question to be passed on to other students to respond and if any student replies partially correct than the teacher can summarize the answer totally to the satisfaction of the student. It enhances interaction level among the students and it also helps in effective classroom management.

CONCLUSION:

William Arthur Ward quoted, “A mediocre teacher tells, a good teacher explains, a superior teacher demonstrates and a great teacher inspires.”

A student spends an average of 25000 hours in the campus. It means considerable amount of time is spent in the campus only. It makes obvious that we need to make the conducive learning environment for the students. When best practices and procedures are adopted it is very easy to manage classrooms effectively thereby making learning process easier. There has to be openness, right coordination and synchronization among the teachers, students, parents and administration to make it happen.

T H E E N D

1 comment:

ProfSeeman said...

You make some good points above.
However, I also think that this can be helpful to you:
Go to: http://www.panix.com/~pro-ed/

If you get this book and video: PREVENTING Classroom Discipline Problems, [they are in many libraries, so you don't have to buy them] email me and I can refer you to the sections of the book and the video [that demonstrates the effective vs. the ineffective teacher] that can help you.

[I also teach an online course on these issues that may be helpful to you at:
www.ClassroomManagementOnline.com ]

If you cannot get the book or video, email me and I will try to help.
Best regards,

Howard

Howard Seeman, Ph.D.
Professor Emeritus,
City Univ. of New York

Prof. Seeman
Hokaja@aol.com
www.ClassroomManagementOnline.com