04 Oct 2009

Simple Essay: Classroom Management

Rogoff et al., (1996) believes that children can develop their thinking as they participate in cultural activity with the guidance and challenge of their teachers, parents and friends. Children could benefit through learning as an apprenticeship; a social activity that is mediated by parents and peers who support and challenge their child’s understanding and skills. She argues that cognitive development involves much more than the accumulation of skills and knowledge. Cognitive development is better characterized as the growing sophistication with which a child employs cognitive processes such as thinking, remembering, and perceiving in his or her collaborations with the other children and teachers who share in the learning process at school. In other words, learning can be a process of ‘guided participation’ shared between the child and others in contexts of participation. Guided participation helps bridge the varying perspectives and thought process among the more and less experienced participants, and helps in involving every student in class activities (Rogoff et al., 1996).

Classroom management and managing students are skills which teachers acquire and hone over time. There are no short-cuts and teachers must learn to master this art through years of experience. The topic of classroom management has been researched by many and quite a few methods and ideas have been solicited. However, unless a teacher develops the ideal teaching skills in managing the myriad of tasks and situations that occur in the classroom each day, they will find teaching difficult and monotonous. Effective classroom management is central to teaching and it requires patience, common sense, consistency, a sense of fairness, dedication and courage. Since this practice mandates imparting training, teachers need to understand the psychological and developmental levels of their students. Now this may sound simple, but the fact remains that not all students have the same level of intelligence, and so teachers have to dedicate and teach their students in a manner that reaches out to them. In a classroom, teachers come face to face with varying challenges, be it intellectual or behavioral, and to manage such a situation requires them to portray a sense of amusement, understanding, caring and belonging. It is here that the qualities of consistent practice, patience, and willingness to learn from mistakes, bring effective classroom management into play. Sadly, this is often easier said than done. The problem lies not in the methodology, but in the unpredictability. No two classes are similar, and not two students are alike, and therefore there can be no standards to impart learning strategies. This presents a Herculean task for teachers as they have to adjust and implement programs that change with each situation. As mentioned above, personal experience and research has illustrated the magnanimity associated with teaching under testing times. Teachers, especially those who begin their career, have difficulty in managing their classrooms. While there are no fool-proof solutions to problems or classroom setting, the following principles may be helpful in bringing about a more controllable situation to classroom management:

Room Arrangement

Setting Expectations for Behavior

Managing Student Academic Work

Managing Inappropriate Behavior

Promoting Appropriate us of Consequences (Kizlik, 2008).

Teachers need to understand the difference between teaching and learning. Teaching is just about what all teachers do in their class, but learning is the process through which students get to know what is being taught. This is where motivation comes into play. Unless teachers can motivate their students to learn, the whole exercise in class is lost. Students need to be educated and for that, they need to develop the art of learning with pleasure and fun. Teachers can observe the students in class and recognize what actually motivates these kids to studying and behaving properly. Classroom management is not just about teaching and learning, but also about conducting oneself with dignity. When it comes to teaching, children learn best:

When they take responsibility of learning on their own

When they become actively involved in what they are learning

When learning becomes interesting and is interactive

When they see themselves as successful learners (Watkins et al., 2007, p.4)

This is why teachers must ensure that their topic is stimulating and enduring, and has enough substance to make it worth the effort. What must be understood is that teachers need to continuously evaluate their amendments, shift their strategy often, and pay more attention to a few children who are weak, or redefine their teaching procedure to make it worthwhile. But this does not mean that a teacher can abruptly terminate a subject or topic without careful consideration, the teacher must be able to create an interest in whatever he/she does to impress the students to follow. In hindsight, the move should elicit a positive response from their wards and make learning an interesting art. The following points show what may be necessary to instigate participation from students in classrooms:

creativity

contextualization

realism

flexibility

rigor

illumination

Creativity allows teachers to choose a topic which is intriguing and challenging and has scope to allow students to participate in it actively.

Contextualization allows the teacher the freedom to plan their modus operandi; allowing teachers to identify the possible plan of action wherein they are at liberty to identify the student (s) who are to be targeted, and the classroom setting to draw more interaction. This way, the classroom session becomes interactive and the teacher will have full control of the class.

Realism allows the teacher to gauge the needs of the class and plan a program accordingly to avoid pressure to perform.

Flexibility as the word says, is allowing the teacher the power to respond to unforeseen circumstances; for all said and done, there is always the possibility of a plan going haywire, which could lead to the disruption of classes. If by chance some teachers find their students tired or restless, they should see this as a sign of lack of attention or interest and push on with other activities that will generate interest.

Rigor refers to the scrutiny of the plan. Whatever the motive or result of one’s action, a teacher will have to measure his/her initiative against its reliability and validity at all stages of its implementation before making recommendations.

Illumination of the practice will allow the teacher to judge his/her theory and make changes if necessary, to make the exercise most productive (Macintyre, 2000).

References

Rogoff, Barbara, Matusov, Eugene and White, Cynthia, 1996, Models of Teaching and Learning:

Participation in a Community of Learners, Oxford, Blackwell, UK, http://java.cs.vt.edu/public/classes/communities/readings/Rogoff,Matusov-1996.pdf

Kizlik, Robert Dr., 2008, ADPRIMA: Classroom Management, Management of Student Conduct, Effective Praise Guidelines, and a Few Things to Know About ESOL Thrown in for Good Measure, http://www.adprima.com/managing.htm

Macintyre, Christine, 2000, The Art of Action Research in the Classroom, David Fulton Publishers Ltd, London

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