ELT Traveller box

about teaching English to young learners, web tools and iPad teaching

Reflections on classroom management

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If you teach young learners and teenagers, you’ve probably considered to attend a classroom management workshop at least once in you career. So, a few weeks ago I had mine :-).  I think many practical aspects of this workshop will be very useful.

I really appreciated the overview on the wide range of meanings of “Classroom management” and I loved the “deal with people” approach, being a teacher means manage things and manage people at the same time.

But overall there are two main topics that particularly captured my attention and that I will always bring with me in the future.

One is the focus on the different learning styles. I like the idea that we deal with them in our everyday classes and we should be able to give our students proper activities. Creating the conditions to make pupils able to express themselves is interesting and motivating.

The second topic is the idea that there will always be good and bad moments and that we should always continue to learn from each situation. The balance of uptime and downtime and the learning-to-learn message helps me to do this job with the right approach. I am now looking at it with both enthusiasm and criticism, fully aware I am a long-life learner.

I have also made myself a summary of the six key points I should consider in managing a class:

  1. My role: knowing myself and my students; always be ready and aware of my abilities; do not stop self-development.
  2. My class: remember the main rules on grouping and seating; create a positive and purposeful atmosphere.
  3. My activities: setting up, giving instructions, managing time and space, how to end an activity.
  4. My authority: gathering and holding attention, decide who does what, getting someone to do something.
  5. Deal with critical moments: starting and finishing the lesson, dealing with unexpected problems, deal with difficult students, managing difficult behaviour in the classroom.
  6. Tools and techniques: using the board and  classroom equipment.

…and why do I teach?

Today I have many reasons that commit me to this job. Teaching is facing a new challenge everyday; it means being part of students’ development, acting as crucial and significant support.

When I think about me in a classroom, I have clear ideas about the climate I am seeking to set up. I always try to work hard to have a purposeful, positive and cooperative atmosphere in class. I think it is crucial for a teacher to be able to create a positive relationship and a positive learning atmosphere. After all, the way I will relate to my learners will have a significant impact in the lesson. At any classroom moment, I know there will be a range of possible situations to handle.

Respect – In any kind of environment showing respect to people is a building block for a cooperative and purposeful relationship. Especially in a teaching environment I find respect is a positive and non-judgmental regard for the student. My personal way to show students that I really trust them goes through responsibilities. At first, I focus on the more difficult pupils in the class and I give them small responsibilities to work on (i.e. small organizational work for the following lesson). The idea is to make them aware of their own possibilities; I would like them to develop self-confidence. I believe that a class where students feel that the teacher trust them is a more collaborative class.

Students’ opinions should be always taken into consideration; they should be an active part of the class. A teacher should never forget that her/his role is to make pupils able to work in a cooperative environment; to think that their personal contributions will help to reach the entire class goal. This is why I love role plays and group works: students have the chance to develop both personal and teamwork skills.

At the end of the day, I like being authentic and finding my personal approach to create empathy with the students. Probably having a good ability in setting a purposeful and happy climate is not everything, but it is a positive start.

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