Sunday, March 27, 2011

Principles of Teaching and Learning: Classroom Management

     Since my very first post, I am not quite aware about the comments that I have received from some of the readers who came across this blog. And I am glad to know that there are a lot of comments especially from my posts about principles of teaching. I personally believe that once an education student have mastered all the principles of teaching, he/she doesn't need to memorize all the facts (Well, if we are only talking about the courses Principles of Teaching 1 and 2...hehehehe. Memorizing some important facts is also very vital especially in Content Courses. If you'll ask and "idealist", he might say that facts are important building blocks for higher thinking skills.) In this regard, I am now going to discuss some principles in teaching particularly in managing the class (Actually this is a more comprehensive discussion of my previous post about this topic. In short this is just a repost. hehehehe)
     It is a cliche to say that a teacher must also be a good manager. Although we have heard this how many times, this is really so true (really and so...redundancy...hehehe...for emphasis's sake). What we have prepared for a day's lesson will be useless if our class is uncontrollable. Below are some of the principles of effective classroom management.

1. Proactive discipline over counteractive discipline. This means that we must do certain actions before disciplinary problems will occur. We must impose rules and policies inside our class and consistently implement these. We must not wait for troubles before we will take solutions. If pupils will be cleared with all the rules they need to follow, disciplinary problems will  least likely to happen.

2. Routines are best ways of minimizing disorders inside the classroom.  It is good to start the school year establishing routines with the students/pupils. These routines, like passing of the paper, reading textbooks, checking of answers, etc, can lessen interruptions and can save a lot of time. If the students/pupils are made to know what they have to do, the flow of the class will be more smooth and orderly.

3. Avoid having "dead air" in the class. The class must run smoothly so as not to give a chance for students to do unnecessary things. This makes the class's attention focused on the lesson and not making them restless.
4. Make the activities interesting and challenging. Perhaps this is one of the primary principle in minimizing mismanaged class. If pupils/students are provided with various challenging and interesting activities, they will never think of doing things that may interrupt the class. These do not make them bored, because if pupils/students are bored, then expect chaos inside the classroom.

5. Teachers must have "with-it-ness" (LET alert...this always comes out in the exam...remember this..."with-it-ness"). When we say "with-it-ness", a teacher must be aware of what is going on inside the classroom. He/she must be vigilant and sensitive enough with his/her pupils/students. If the students/pupils feel that their teacher is watching over them, they become more conscious with their actions. As teachers, we must have eyes in our backs and make use of the whole classroom space while teaching.

6. Respond and resolve minor problems before they become a major one. We must not wait for our classroom to be out of control before we make a move. Let us put a small spark out before it becomes a fire.

7. Provide positive reinforcements for good behavior. Token management (giving of rewards) can be used. This is far better than giving punishments. However, positive reinforcements do not necessarily mean giving of material things. A praise or an approval is sometimes enough to do this. One thing to take note is that to make this more effective, it must be appropriately and sincerely given. Give pupils/students what is due to them. Don't underpraise nor overpraise students/pupils.

8. Treat minor disturbance calmly. Don't spend the whole class giving "sermons" because of an inappropriate behavior. (Some teachers are so guilty with this. They will give a long sermon and if it is time already, pupils/students will say "The mass has ended".hahahaha). If this can be settled even by just giving of a stern look or gesture, then it's over, done, finished, etc...hahahaha...

9. Check the physical environment. Sometimes, the main reason why the class is restless and noisy is because of the physical feature of the classroom. Perhaps the class is too congested, overcrowded, disorderly or hot. Fix these things and the class will be far much better.

10. The last but not the least, minimize discipline time to maximize instructional time. Avoid long sermons...period. hehehe...very self-explanatory, need to discuss...