However big or small, managing a classroom full of students is indeed a task for the teacher in charge. Sometimes, it turns a teacher into a taskmaster or then it inculcates more patience in him/her. Every teacher ultimately finds or adopts methods to manage students and get them to do what they are expected to do. The modern classroom presents enough challenges for today’s teachers. Establishing a climate for learning is one of the most challenging aspects of teaching, and one of the most difficult skills to master.
Given below are some sure-shot tips that teachers could adopt to make the classroom more effective without burning out.
- Involve students in decision-making: Be it setting a rule for the class or deciding homework, make sure you give an opportunity for the students to express their opinion on it. Your learners are much more apt to follow guidelines they helped create. Rather than handing out a set of rules, let them join in the discussion. The rules need to be fair and practical as well. The rules can be finalised by taking a majority consensus. You also need to be consistent with the guidelines once the rules are put into practice. Many students hate it when troublemakers get away with bad behaviour just because the teacher is reluctant to take action every time. Such inconsistency should be avoided.
- Encourage questioning: Students should get over their fear of asking questions in class. The teacher should make sure that he/she does not talk solo for more than five minutes by encouraging the class to ask questions. The main goal of a teacher should not be to convey all that is there in the textbook. Instead, it should be to make the class more interesting so that there is a discussion on the topic being taught. The teacher needn’t answer all the questions asked. Another student can be encouraged to answer as well. Students often learn better when information is conveyed by another student. A discussion can also improve their critical thinking skills.
- Encourage group projects: Working in groups can build teamwork and leadership skills. Especially now that everything has gone digital, children love to work in groups and collate information. Collaboration fluency skills are a huge asset for life after school. The working world is being affected by new communication technology and one’s ability to function in teams that are both real and virtual is important. Students also learn to agree and disagree and respect others’ views when they work in groups.
- Make sure to praise good work: Praise is a powerful tool that can spread positivity and transform the image of a student. It can uplift the entire class. If you praise a child for good behaviour, he/she will make sure to repeat it and that is precisely what you want from your student.
- Create a positive relationship with the class: When a student misbehaves, it is important to isolate that particular student rather than distancing yourself from the class. Even a simple statement like “You kids are so undisciplined!” gives a very negative vibe. You might be referring to just a few students who would be undisciplined but labelling the entire class so is a wrong thing to do. This gives an impression to even the disciplined students that he/she is not impressed with them. Put-downs or purposely hurtful comments or actions are a no-no.
- Give and take respect: Teachers should treat students the same way that they would want to be treated. A warm greeting and a farewell at the beginning and the end of a class will be well appreciated by students. Take time to know each student personally. This may take time but it is an effort that will go a long way.
- Get feedback: It is important to know how your students feel about your teaching method. With feedback from your students, you may even be able to modify your teaching style and make the classroom more effective. If students are convinced that you are open to comments and criticism, they will open up.
- Provide more visual content: Visuals are easier to comprehend and students retain the information longer than verbal lectures. With digitization of knowledge and classrooms being equipped with projectors and screens, it is a lot easier to present knowledge in the form of charts, diagrams and pictures. It is also easier to capture your students’ attention this way.
- Balance friendliness and authority: It is important to be friendly with your students but it is also imperative that they understand that you are the authority and they cannot step over the guidelines you create for them. It is indeed a fine line and it is tough for a teacher to balance the two but once the understanding is clear, then you are set.
- Involve them in extracurricular activities: With tight schedules and extensive topics to cover, the subject teacher often fails to find time for some fun in the classroom. However, rather than sticking to your subject throughout the duration of class, engaging your students in some extracurricular activity can help them understand that you are there to encourage them. It can be as small as drawing a picture or writing a limerick. It is a medium of expression for the student and spreads positivity in the class.
It is quite possible to manage your class and turn it into a well-oiled machine using some of these techniques. Each teacher is different and students will ultimately adapt to the kind of teacher you are. Effective classroom management is much more than simply administering corrective measures when a student misbehaves. It is about developing proactive ways to prevent problems from occurring in the first place while creating a positive learning environment.