Effective Classroom Management - Part 3
Part 3. Key Elements of effective management
Sufficient teaching and learning, are the two components that constitute the effective management within a classroom. Taking our research to a further level, it can be argued that beside effective teaching and learning, there are various other factors that complete the concept of classroom management. As Elton’s Report indicates, certain key elements of good discipline are raised, which are considered to be substantial factors in achieving good standards of classroom management.
First of all, planning is always considered to be a valuable start for school’s organization. In addition, a positive environment, which assures enjoyment, praise and motivation for students, as well as the precise evaluation and feedback, always demonstrates effective management and control within the classroom. Furthermore, a stimulating organization in the schoolroom, like the arrangement of the desks, the cleanness of the room and other physical factors, contribute to an interesting and constructive classroom. Finally, as Elton’s Report indicates, basic rules and measures provide opportunities for respectful and fair relations in the classroom.
‘A lot is going to happen on the spot in the classroom - you can’t ever completely predict how learners will respond to anything - but the better prepared you are, the more likely it is that you will be ready to cope with whatever happens.’
A dynamic way for teachers to avoid crisis management is to prepare their lesson in advance. Before teachers go into the lesson, it helps them to know exactly ‘what they wants to do’.
There are various forms of planning (formal and informal plan, a brief ‘running order’), which teachers use, since they find it very helpful during their careers. Some experienced teacher have the ability to enter into the classroom without a planning lesson. However, the majority of teachers plan their lesson in advance, so that they can find themselves more prepared and familiar with the subject matter in question.
Following Scrivener’s argumentation, whenever the teachers plans their lesson, they should consider if their learners would enjoy the lesson as well as if they are going to benefit from it. Furthermore, the teaching point, thus the topic of the lesson, should be the director of the plan. Beside this, the activities that are going to take place, the procedure of the session and the materials used, should also be part of their planning. Timing and room organization, are additional variables included in the concept of classroom management and therefore in the process of planning.
However, above all, the whole plan should be based upon its initial aim, which is the reason why the seminar runs. The aim directs the lesson since it defines what your learners ought to have achieved by the end of the lesson.
It is true that planning enables smooth running of the lesson. According to Jeremy Harmer, ‘planning strongly suggests a level of professionalism and a commitment to the kind of preparation [students] might reasonably expect. [However], lack of plan may suggest the opposite of these attributes.’ Inevitably, effectiveness is associated with planning and vice versa. Nevertheless, teachers should follow a general rule:
‘Prepare thoroughly. But in the class teach the learners not the plan.’
Promoting Positive environments
A teacher should always be able to generate a pleasant atmosphere within the classroom. It has been mentioned above, that a teacher should always try to involve students into activities that are not extremely difficult so that progress can be achieved.
Providing conditions for successful work, the teacher ought to give clear and immediate feedback. By recognizing success and by giving public recognition of achievement to students, individual self esteem is highly promoted.
Effective communication is also a factor of great importance, which builds the foundation for effective classroom management. A teacher ought to face his learners as different, nevertheless, equally respectful individuals that have ‘a voice’ within the community of school. This is the reason why they should ask for students’ account in every decision that is required. Needless to say, humiliation, sarcasm and insult should be excluded from teachers’ memorandum.
Another aspect of classroom management that contributes to effective learning is the way which students are evaluated. In order to give written feedback, a teacher should always consider some basic rules. A student’s progress very much depends upon his encouragement that is reinforced through his remarks. Feedback should always include positive as well as negative comments, which should indicate how a mark could be improved. The teacher should ensure that he/she links the given grade to the comments, as well as that his/her feedback does not convey any personal judgment. Getting his feedback, the student should also be aware of the criteria and the expectation for the standard of future work.
In general terms, the purpose of written feedback is to provide information to students about their performance and progress, to give guidance for improvement and to encourage them for prospective success.
For many teachers, the organization of the classroom is not a predominant factor to consider, when planning their lessons. Nevertheless, it has been stated that the atmosphere, in which teaching takes place, could have an influence of great importance in students’ performance.
Firstly, the arrangement of the desks is very effective within the classroom. Changing seating arrangements can help students interact with different people, change the focus from the teacher when appropriate, allow a range of different situations to be recreated within the classroom, as well as simply adding some variety to the predictability of sitting in the same place every time.
In a circle or horseshoe arrangement, learners can very much interact with each other. Therefore, it is worth taking time to arrange the seating in the classroom, since this is a factor that effects students’ interaction and helps teachers to monitor the learners effectively.
Secondly, besides seating, a pleasant and welcoming environment can be a pole of attraction rather than repulsion for learners. Consequently, an effective teacher should also consider the seating within the classroom, whether he/she wants to approach perfection with his/her planning.
Whatever the teachers plan and consider for their lesson, they should follow the curriculum context. Having the curriculum in mind, the activities in combination with the demands of the lesson, will be realistic, meaningful and achievable. Moreover, monitoring and assessment, feedback and correction should closely follow the general held instructions so that justice within the school community can be approved.
Another aspect that ensures students’ rights is the proper division between teacher ΤΤΤ-(Τeachers’ Talking Time) and student STT-(Students’ Talking Time). As the definition of the effective teaching describes, ‘teaching is only one factor in the learning process’ and therefore, students should equally have the opportunity to participate in discussion during sessions.
It is necessary for the teacher to consider the value of fairness and hence to be consistent with an individual student and fair in working with all learners. This is the reason why ‘punishment’ has to be carried out so that the wrongdoer will not fall out of line again.
‘Successful classroom management involves not only responding effectively when problems occur, but preventing the frequent occurrence of problems.’ Therefore, the teacher has to be proactive and take preventive measure in order to anticipate problems. The teacher should stop unacceptable behavior before it escapes, and thus, spotting incidents in the making. Whatever trouble he/she has to face, they should not lose their temper, however, they should stay calm and take the control of the situation in their hands.
As far as teachers’ expectations are concerned, teachers ought to be clear and precise over their expectation as well as to communicate them accordingly. It has been argued that the rules and the standards that direct classroom community have to be agreed from both sides, with the intentions to promote an appropriate and acceptable climate in the classroom, which will be a motivating factor for students’ performance.
Finally, the setting of the communication boundaries is a prerequisite over which the positive atmosphere can be sustained. This is why they have to be clear and unambiguous so that everyone will be able to correspond to the classroom community effectively.
It can be concluded that the concept of classroom management is a very complex one, which demands sophisticated approach and focus. A gifted teacher has the capacity to consider multiple variables that could affect his/her lesson, before entering into the classroom. However, in the same way, a good teacher could also be trained to achieve excellence by learning basic aspects of classroom management. A teacher always plays an influential and determinant role in pupil’s lives. A teacher becomes the prototype of the students from their early age and this determines the boundaries of obligation on individual teachers, to base their lesson on morality and perfection.
We need to know the principles of classroom management, if we want to design courses effectively. It is not a matter of optional choice, it is a matter of requirement.
Perhaps the overriding consideration to keep in mind is that schools are there for the benefit of children, and if they choose not to avail themselves of this benefit, we must look not only at children themselves, but at the way in which this benefit is being packaged.
Scrivener, J.( 1994), Learning Teaching, Oxford, United Kingdom, Macmillan Ltd.
Cohen, L.Manion, L. and Morrison, K. (1996), A guide to teaching practice 4th Edition, Great Britain, Bell and Bain Ltd.
Fontana, D.(1995), Psychology for Teacher, Great Britain, Palgrave Publishers Ltd. And PBC Books.
‘Small Group Teaching and Marking’, Centre for Staff Training and Development, Paper, 2001
Director of Studies & School Owner
BA in English Culture and Language Studies
MA in Organisation Planning and Management In Education
 A formal lesson plan often contains two parts: an outline of the procedure of the lesson (activities, timing) and background information (aims, material, predicted problems).
An informal lesson plan is mainly based on notes about the procedure that the teacher plans to follow.
A brief 'running order’ is the simplest type of lesson, used by many teachers, ‘a running order’ of the activities, perhaps with a note of specific language points or materials that will be used.