Yelling in a loud class filled with learners doing everything, but listening, is every teacher's nightmare. Ideally, for traditional learning to take place, there is a need for a conducive environment, usually referred to as a classroom. However, beyond a conducive learning atmosphere, other factors must be considered for a wholesome learning experience.
This process is what is referred to as classroom management. In this article, we'll review what classroom management means, its components, and how you can create your own classroom management plan. Let us dive straight in.
Classroom management is the steps a class teacher, takes to ensure that their learners have a wholesome learning experience across all the student's touchpoints in the learning journey.
These touchpoints cut across the students' social, emotional, physical, mental, academic, moral well-being and positive growth.
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It takes a skilled teacher and a variety of techniques to keep students organized, focused, mentally balanced, academically responsive, and productive. Classroom management can be classified into effective or ineffective classroom management.
Hence it is not just about having a class intimidated into orderliness in an atmosphere fraught with the fear of failure. This is because the process of managing the class is even more important than the results.
Effective class management is when the teacher creates an atmosphere that promotes effective learning and celebrates good values. It is also when students with deviant behavior skillfully conform to the existing learning structure.
Most teachers and school administrators say one of the most challenging parts of managing a classroom is addressing students' behavior. According to Richard Ingersoll, in a study of 6700 teachers in the US (2001),30% of teachers who ditched the teaching profession were due to difficulties faced in student management.
Classroom management is a prerequisite that impacts learning in the life of the students. Beyond this, effective classroom management would make sure your job as a teacher is much more manageable.
Let us highlight some importance of classroom management for teachers and students below.
Nothing boosts a teacher's confidence like the ability to carry out learning activities without disruptions. In such environments, the class is characterized by meaningful contributions and intelligent questions that show that learning is taking place.
The satisfaction derived from this process is an excellent tool for increasing confidence levels in teachers. A more confident teacher builds trust in the students, as they can tell who is in charge through the non-communication cues picked from their teachers. It is also essential as students end up mirroring the behavior of their teachers.
Poor classroom management is time-wasting. Teachers could spend the whole day ensuring class orderliness, settling the conflict, and generally just struggling to take control. A proper classroom management plan would eliminate the waste of time and resources as it would include a provision to manage issues even as they arise.
Classroom management would ensure a responsive learning environment, where students feel accepted and are free to express themselves within the standards set for performance and behavior in the class.
Effective classroom management emphasizes other values that ensure that students exhibit values that build character. A classroom management strategy also focuses on values like respect for all that lives, honesty, taking responsibility, kindness, fairness, and patience, to mention a few.
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All these together form the building blocks for a character that would enable them to integrate seamlessly into the larger society when the time comes.
“Research suggests that all students are motivated to learn as long as there are clear expectations, the tasks and activities have value, and the learning environment promotes intrinsic motivation (Wlodkowski & Ginsberg, 1995; Eccles & Wigfield, 1985; Feather, 1982; Kovalik & Olsen, 2005).”
Classroom management triggers the desire to learn because students respond better when they have set goals and guidelines to shape their behaviors or responses. More so, classroom management practices include setting SMART goals(Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic & Timely) to motivate students to work toward a common goal. Also, with this, students are aware of their responsibilities and steps to take to succeed.
Classroom management is key to achieving meaningful learning. No matter how skilled or knowledgeable an educator is; a classroom that is not well managed can undermine every other learning effort.
To effectively manage a classroom, 3 approaches have been developed and applied to get maximum results. This approach is fondly referred to as the 3C’s of classroom management, and they are:
In managing a classroom, what a teacher is working on is not just the building, ambiance, or infrastructure. The teacher is driving relationships with the students, and a wholesome connection to all the stakeholders within your reach in the student's life, such as parents, sports coaches, counselors, and other teachers.
The connection helps form a formidable team that supports the student's total well-being.
Consistency in how you manage your students and consistency in the students are treated. Following the rules and an appropriate classroom management strategy will help your students understand what is expected of them. In managing behavior in the classroom, you and your students will always have to lay down rules, routines, and standards to govern behavior.
With this, your students know exactly what to do in various situations. There will be no confusion regarding the responsibilities of every student in the class. Standard created, should be adhered to, and not tweaked for any learner. The truth is the students are watching, and any attitude or treatment not consistent with values or standards would water down every other effort.
Ever heard the phrase “speaking the truth in love?" Compassion is perhaps an essential tool in classroom management. Compassion is simply showing that you care about the well-being of your learners, and this tool can transform the most challenging student into the best performing student.
It is essential to show that you care and communicate with your students. When teachers show compassion, even the most stringent standards would be adhered to as the students would believe wholeheartedly that any decision from their teachers is in their best interests.
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Teachers can show compassion by forgiving past errors and believing the best even of the worst students. Even when they err, they should not be humiliated in front of the whole class to instill correction. Values like respect, honor, privacy, understanding, and empathy should be applied when dealing with issues.
Speak the truth, enforce discipline, create standards, and deal with your students along these boundaries as humanely as possible.
The interior design or physical environment where your class takes place is perhaps an essential element in classroom management. A classroom space's physical atmosphere and setup can either enhance or discourage learning.
A study from the University of Saltford reveals that a classroom setup can boost learning by up 16%. A well-structured plan, placing the desks, stationeries, and storage in an orderly, safe, tidy, and welcoming way, would make learners eager to return to school every morning.
Good hygiene, health and safety practices, along with general etiquette should be part of the classroom design.
Apportioning areas student work and play area, lunch area, and the teacher section would help set clear but friendly classroom boundaries.
With this, students know what behavior is appropriate in each location within the class. Beautiful display tags specifying what each place is meant for would help. For instance, no student would want to play in the study area or have lunch in the teacher's station.
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Rules should be made and communicated to students, and discipline enforced when these rules are broken. Rules provide guidelines for students; without them, students would exhibit unacceptable behaviors and, when not put in check, could catalyze trouble.
Students need to be shown that they have the power to make choices. However, they cannot choose the consequences of their actions. Discipline also serves as a deterrent; even when students are being influenced to err, the knowledge that discipline is consistently carried through would help put them in check and help them imbibe good behaviors.
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Creating a schedule for the class would help create a pattern that students would get accustomed to. Scheduling can be done by creating a study plan and a schedule for every event in class. This level of organization would make classroom management a seamless process.
This is a teaching technique that puts into consideration each student's unique way of learning. It takes notes of materials and methods that help students achieve their learning goals. Assessments usually follow it in order to determine if learning has taken place.
For instance, 2-grade students could learn better through play and gamification, while 8th-grade students might respond better to a discussion-style form of teaching.
This method would ensure that all your students are learning, and you can quickly pinpoint areas that need special attention long before the general examinations are administered.
Collaborate with students to set guidelines and standards expected from the class. This way, you will get a higher level of conformity to guidelines with little resistance.
Mirroring behaviors you want your students to emulate is the best teaching method. Showing instead of telling works every time.
Consider this like positive pressure in a very subtle manner. The truth is that students spend most of their time with teachers. It is easier for them to pick up behavior cues from verbal and non-verbal communication signals.
This can be taught during role-playing and real-life interactions as well.
For instance, let us look at a few;
Pairing top performers with students who need attention as buddies or reading partners is peer teaching and can encourage improvement in struggling students. They will begin to pick up attributes and behaviors from the top students that would result in success.
Ever heard the saying,” do not throw away the baby with the bathwater”? Yes, while it is easy to transfer aggression to others, teachers need to isolate the problem, fix it, and not let the whole class pay for one student's mistake.
When a student errs, address the problem and do not allow it to impact your mood, as it would affect the atmosphere of the whole class.
Previously planned events should not be canceled or postponed because of the actions of a few students.
Consider this to be a form of providing personal attention to students.
This would breed trust and encourage a strong bond as the student would realize that you are interested in them enough to pay attention.
During the interview, seek to under their preferences, dislikes, and personal issues they might be facing that could affect their ability to learn. Make sure it is a friendly chit-chat, nothing formal; that way, you will get the best results.
More like a carrot and stick approach, it is crucial to give tangible rewards to students when they do well. Children are very easily impressed, and a reward system that includes gifts to celebrate performance or actions would cause other students to aspire also to get such rewards.
Complimenting and acknowledging positive behavior or good student performance is an effective tool for classroom management. It is also referred to as positive reinforcement, and this would encourage students to keep up whatever behavior that earned them praise in the first place.
Looking for ways to align subjects or topics to something exciting is a great way to ignite curiosity and a desire to learn. For example, this can be done using visual aids, storytelling, or simply creating activities around topics that are usually considered bland.
For instance, in teaching about inventions, teachers could start with how ice cream was invented and how the rise of technology made refrigeration accessible and is one of the reasons anyone can buy ice cream.
Intermittent parties during the session are fun and considered a big deal by students. Having parties to reward students for being so responsive during the term is an ideal way to encourage positive results.
The parties do not have to be expensive; for instance, you can have a candy-only party, pizza party, and the like. Just consider it a small way to have fun and encourage learning in your students.
Sometimes the process of teaching and learning can be overwhelming. It is okay to get a feel for the atmosphere in the room and encourage breaks when it seems like it is getting too much.
Encouraging and having quick game breaks during the class is a great way to keep the morale high.
A classroom management plan is some sort of road map which would serve as a guide to managing your classroom along the parameters already established in this plan.
Let us look at the 5 steps to creating a classroom management plan.
This is usually determined by your philosophy; would you be authoritative and conversational.
Most schools already have policies and procedures that guide their administration. So while creating the plan, take note of this and incorporate it into whatever management system you would create for your class.
You may not have to adopt it precisely as it says; there is room for creativity; however, it must align.
Teachers must seek a personal relationship with each child to enable them to understand each child personally. What motivates them, what are their preferences, and what is their learning style. This step would foster a connection and bond with your students.
Based on this, your plan would be created to suit the unique makeup of your class. It is like creating a product to meet the pain points of a client, and such products would usually meet with acceptance and success.
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Positive reinforcements to reward and encourage good behaviors. Secondly, make sure the choice of rewards for reinforcements is sustainable and consistent with each student. There should be no room for favoritism.
On the other hand, negative reinforcements discourage bad behavior. However, whatever means to discourage or punish erring students must be consistent with the offense level. The consequence or discipline for bullying should not be the same as the discipline for carelessness.
Have guidelines that govern behavior in your class, and write out these rules clearly for students to read, understand and refer to each time there is a need. Having a class management plan would leave no room for ambiguity and ensure you are consistent in how you manage your class affairs.
Classroom management is the art of combining techniques, processes, and structure to encourage learning and promote positive behavior. The process of managing a classroom is as important as the results. The students' well-being on all levels is the focus and goal of classroom management.
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