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Classroom Management Strategies

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Members of Ontario College of Teahcers have a knowledge of teaching practice. They establish classroom management strategies that support learning and respect the dignity of students.

Teachers come across various problems in the classroom. A skilled and trained teacher can handle these problems well and she uses classroom management strategies that support learning and does not harm the dignity of students. The teacher applies positive motivational strategies or appropriate consequences to make the student understand and realize the importance of classroom discipline and respecting others. At he same time, the teacher helps the students to develop their social skills and make them capable of resolving a social problem themselves.

One of the artifacts of my portfolio is an assignment where I enlisted the common problems that a teacher may come acroos in a classroom and tips to deal with these problems in a positive way.

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Here are some tips to deal with the common problems that teachers come across often.

Incomplete Homework:

The teachers often find that the students are not doing their homework in time. To address this problem the teacher can take the following steps:

a) The homework policy of the school should be made clear to the students. They should be informed about the amount of time they have to devote for homework everyday (depending on the grade level) and the parents should also be informed about it. The homework should be of the appropriate level for the students (not too much of homework that they devote too much time for the homework).

b)The importance of homework should be discussed in the class. The classroom rules must include the consequences of not completing homework in time.

The students who do not submit their homework in time should be reminded about the classroom rules. They should be reminded that completion of homework carries marks and they are graded. A form/slip may be filled up by the students and sent home for the parents' signature.

c) The teachers should encourage students to start their homework in class whenever they have time in the class (if they have finished their class work early) so that if they have difficulty undersatnding a task, the teacher could be of help.

d) A common consequence used by teachers is to finish the pending work during recess time. This is a common and effective way to deal with this problem, but this should not become a regular practice as the students get used to this practice. The underlying cause of the problem should be found out and dealt with.

e) The teacher should be approachable to the students. If the student is unable to undersatnd the homework, he/she must feel free to ask the teacher about it. The teacher should also be more attentive to the students who have hard time finishing their work in time.

f) I have seen teachers who have created web blogs and they post the daily homework for that class in their blogs. The school, parents and students should be notified about any such blogs on the internet. The blog should be updated daily without fail.

Bullying:

Bullying is another common problem. It can create an atmosphere of fear in the class and a negative impact on other students.This problem can be taken care of by the following methods:

(a) In the beginnning of the year while discussing the classroom rules it should be made clear that any sort of bullying will not be tolerated and the students have to face hard consequences.

b) If the teacher sees somone bullying, he/she should not ignore it but talk to the child right away to explain his/her behavior. He should be made to understand that bullying is not tolerated in the class (zero tolerance). Consequence may include detention etc.

c) In a repetitive case (second time) the parents should be involved and talked about it. The student may sign a contract not to involve himself in such behaviour again.

d) All the students should be encouraged to take part and be a part of the class. All the students should be encouraged to work as a team. The students who are isolated are the victims of bullying so they should be encouraged to be the part of the class.

e) Positive motivation always helps. Encourage the students by praising when they are kind to any other student.

 

Not paying attention / Talking out of turn in the class (during independent work/a lesson):

This problem may be faced by many teachers and unnecessary talking in the class out of turn during work may distract other students. Some of the tips to resolve this problem are:

(a) While discussiong the class rules at the begining of the year, classroom rules must include that no one would unnecessarily talk out of turn. This rule must be followed rigidly or the students face consequence (getting a red card etc). When a child raises hands to wait for his turn the teacher must appreciate it for example by saying " I really like how John is raising his hands and waiting for his turn. I am happy to see that he follows the class rules" This encourages other students to follow the rules.

(b) If there is one child who talks during class or distracts others, and is unable to control himself, he should be talked to separately about the issue. The teacher would encourage the student by saying that he is a good child, a good student but could do better only if he was more attentive. Talking to a child separately helps to solve a problem. Such student could be made to sit close to the spot from where the teacher can have an eye on him/her.

(c) The teacher must go and stand near the child or may make eye contact with the student who is talking while continuing with the lesson.

(d) In case of serious consequences, he could be made to sit at a separate desk close to teacher's table.

 

Noisy Classroom:

A normal working classroom cannot be completely noiseless. The group discussions, group work etc do create some noise which should be tolerated. The teacher must be able to judge the level of noise and the reason. Yelling and giving instructions all the time makes a more noisy classroom.

 

Multicultural Classroom/ Inclusion

a) The classrooms in Ontario have students from multicultural background. Some students may be ESL students. To help students accomodate different cultures and differences, the teacher should discuss the importance of paying proper respect to everyone's culture and religion in the class.

b) The students in the class should be encouraged to speak in English with the ESL students and the ESL students should be encouraged to reply in English only.

c) Social skill lessons should be done by the teacher where inclusions and respecting everyone is discussed. Project work on different festivals etc. could be given to the students where group work is involved.

The latecomers:There are students who come late to the school on a regular basis. To address this problem

a) The teacher must investigate and find our the root cause for coming late. If it is the parents who drop the student then the parents should be conferenced.

b) The good habits of sleeping early and getting up early should be discussed in the class.

Some students finish work earlier than others:

a) All the students should have a binder with relevant extra sheets of work. (they may be call it a review binder rather naming it as additional sheets or extra work) As soon as the students finish their work, they should start working on the review binder. The teacher should check the review binders often.

b) Students may also start working on their homework if they finsh their classwork early.

c) Some days can be alloted to the students to finish their incomplete work or read silently (but the rule must apply to the whole class, not that one student works on binder and other is reading)

d) This is a good time to work at the learning centres. The Science centre could be utilized at this time doing simple and short experiments.

Arguementative student:

Sometimes, a student may be arguementative. This could be to draw attention of the teacher or on purpose. What could be done to handle such a stduent

a) If a student is rude and arguementative, he/she must be made to recognize his/her unacceptable behaviour. The teacher may talk to the students separately.

b) The teacher must not continue arguing with the student. The teacher doesnt ignore the student but say something like "we can discuss it later, honey" and move on. If the teacher keeps arguing and keeps responding, the arguement will continue on and instructional time will be wasted. The teacher may discuss the topic and solve student's doubts by talking separately to him later in the day some time.

 

There may be many other problems which a teacher may come across during his/her teaching life. A wise teacher uses his/her common sense and professional skills to solve these problems. Patience and not losing cool are the key factors to handle behavioural or any other problem in the class. By giving respect one gains respect. But at the same time too much liniency may be mistaken as a weakness too. The students must have faith in the teacher and the teacher should be fair. It should not be forgotten that not everything is a teacher's responsibility.Not only should parents be constantly involved in students activities, but in case of such problems where the teacher feels that other students are at threat or the problem is severe, he/she should take help of the administration of the school.

 

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Manoshi Chatterjee