Classroom Management

When teachers are set to teach a new class, the biggest fear they have is the inadequacy in managing the classroom. Despite the various studies completed, the problem of managing students persists. Effective teaching mandates that a teacher can manage the various situations that occur in a classroom as well as the variety of tasks that come with it. To conquer this problem, teachers frequently devise new methods of managing students’ behavior. However, children of different ages, abilities, and social backgrounds require different management techniques to be employed. To make sure that the employed strategies work, the teachers should always have ways of testing their success.

Classroom management refers to developing the maintenance of good conduct of children in a class (Kratochwill, DeRoos, & Blair, 2016). According to Emmer and Sabornie (2015), the main purpose of classroom management techniques is to elevate the students’ learning process as well as enhance their social conduct. An ESL classroom is a place where the students learn English as their second language. It is a specialized approach to language instructing designed for those who have a primary language another than English (Carrasquillo, 1994). Frequently, ESL teachers face various challenges including students’ individual differences, motivation, and classroom management (Courtney, 2008). In reference to Ruiter and Dang (2005), having a career as an ESL teacher requires a gradual learning progression in attaining a high level of expertise. The ESL teacher, therefore, has to study various teaching techniques to recognize which strategies work best.

Discipline

In an ESL classroom where English is taught to students of different levels, ages, mixed ability, and large class size, different class management strategies should be performed. Generally, young children are hard to manage in class. They are more playful in class than the older students are. This is attributed to the fact that the former do not yet understand the role of education in their lives. Nevertheless, when it comes to correction of mistakes, young children are easy to correct because of the little influence of the first language on their English. In addition, there are students who have different paces of learning: some are fast learners while others need more time to understand the material. The problem is equally urgent for students of all ages.

To be able to manage the class effectively, teachers needs to ask themselves several questions: is the right code of behavior in a class set; do students understand what is taught; what troubleshooters exist in the classroom. Moreover, a teacher should set the behavior code in class and make students fully aware of the consequences of their behavior. This code should be written somewhere and contain at least five points. Besides, the teacher should add what they will do for the student, for example, be patient and never yell. According to Scott et. Al. (2005), functional behavior assessments determine the purpose of student misbehavior and develop proper interventions. Positive behavior support is a behavior management strategy that is structured for students who need more support (Robinson & Griesemer, 2006).

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The main reason why students misbehave in class is they do not understand the given material and perceive teacher’s talk as noise. The bad behavior in students is accredited to academic failure meaning that the students have missed vital information. A teacher, therefore, should make sure that students are enjoying the learning process. Knowing the class’s troubleshooters, a teacher should devise certain strategies to deal with troublemakers. For instance, for the attention seekers, a teacher should ignore minor behaviors but have a limit to minor behaviors, be consistent and always appreciate a good behavior. For the power seekers, a teacher should never argue although be firm about their behavior. For those who seek revenge, a teacher should never act as if they have been hurt although find the student doing something good and commend them. Finally, for the students who are depressed, a teacher should always ignore their failure and regularly counsel them. Moreover, the teacher should always change students around the classroom. An example is having students with bad behavior sitting at the front for easier monitoring. The teacher should also use soft reprimands: acknowledge good behavior and ignore bad behavior if it is minimal. All students should be encouraged, even the worst ones.

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In addition, non-verbal communication might be helpful for keeping disipline in a class while teaching ESL. Using eye contact, different facial expressions, body movement, and good dressing is a good place to start. Using actions helps to draw students’ attention and, therefore, they better concentrate on what a teacher is saying. For instance, for younger children, a teacher can use a strategy of clapping hands.

Moreover, pair and group work are essential in class management. The reason why they should be used in classes is to maximize the students’ communication in English. If all students are to talk during a lesson, then not enough practice will be achieved. This is exactly where group work comes in. The teacher should be patient with the students since it takes time for the habit of communicating in English to develop. If the tasks given in the groups are in English, then communication in English is inevitable. For students to communicate in English outside the class, the teacher should explain the benefits that come with it. Naturally, not all students will use English but if some of them do, then this will be a critical step in promoting greater use of this language.

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Correcting mistakes, especially in ESL classes, is particularly important aspect of classroom management. Most students make mistakes while communicating in a foreign language. Thus, correction should be made as a part of learning process but a teacher should always remember that poor correction techniques and over-correction demotivate a student. Errors usually occur either as a result of the learner’s lack of knowledge or be caused by inadequate learning, stage of language development, over-enthusiasm. Learners should be corrected to make sure mistakes do not become permanent. In this regard, teachers can use good learners to correct the rest of the class. These learners are the representatives of the class as a whole and teachers should have them speak aloud, then correct them and ask the whole class to repeat. Some of the techniques one can use to correct students include students’ cheering and booing depending on a correct or wrong answer, manually passing written conversations, and using students to correct each other.

Mixed-Ability Classes

As it is mentioned above, students have different learning speeds, which often leads to the formation of mixed-ability classes. Considering that, teachers always have to balance the learning needs of the students. The most common technique is to present the issue as a class problem. In this case, the mother tongue of the students is best used since it brings cooperation among the class members. Then, the teacher should use pair and group work to ensure that all class members are involved. Pairing stronger students with weaker ones can help ensure participation among the two: the stronger students serve the role of helpers to the weaker ones. In addition, questionnaires and interviews are the strategies that can be employed in the learning process.

Projects is another area of activity the teacher can use during the learning process. Groups should be formed according to the students’ abilities, and then each group should have a different task to accomplish. Such adjustment for the tasks’ complexity makes sure that bright students have challenging tasks while weaker students do not feel demotivated. Homework is another part of the learning process. If a teacher gives the same homework to all students, different results will be obtained. Therefore, a teacher should give homework according to the capabilities of each child. Finally, a teacher should be diplomatic in how they ask questions. The best strategy to follow is the culture of attentiveness. To exemplify, a stronger student is asked to answer a question and a weaker one asked to repeat this answer.

Large-Size Classes

In a modern world, most children are to be taken to school, and this has a toll on the classrooms’ size: most classes have a large number of children. Such large classes, consequently, cause various problems to teachers and students: each student cannot participate in class equally; teachers struggle to work with students of different abilities; learning resources can be not enough; teachers cannot make eye contact with each student; students can be unable to follow all instructions effectively; finally, teacher can simply forget some student’s name.

Some strategies can be used to solve the problem of a large classroom. The first technique is to break the class into groups enhancing the management of the class. Resources can also be shared with the groups, and teachers can remember students based on every group. In addition, instructions should be presented in a short manner with many visual aids. Afterward, teachers can randomly ask questions to check whether students have understood the material. Teachers can also use attention grabber technique to make sure that students are concentrated on a subject: for example, a teacher may ask a student to perform in front of the class. Finally, teachers should check for assessment completion instead of a detailed check of every exercise.

Measuring Effectives of Strategies

The main way to test the success of the teacher’s classroom management strategy is the overall output on the learning curve. In a well-managed class, students score good grades in various assessments and tests, which raises the overall grade of the class. Moreover, a teacher can use observatory skills to test the success of various strategies employed. This includes seeing how students answer questions in class; observing how group tasks are done; listening to students’ conversations in or out of class to check whether children use English there. Lastly, the teachers can ask the students to use non-verbal cues while completing some tasks to show the understanding of the material.

In conclusion, for the learning process in a classroom to be done efficiently, various management techniques have to be applied. Primarily, teachers should make sure that good behavior is maintained in a classroom. Moreover, various issues such as the large size of classes and the grasping ability of students should be tackled. In essence, whatever the tactic used, the teacher should devise the ways of checking whether it bears fruits or not.

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