As the New Year enters its first week, I feel it’s imperative that I be the first one to share these classroom management tips with our teachers. Well, did I just say “the first one”? I’m simply bragging. I’m definitely sure many of our wonderful teachers have already mastered the teaching strategies that make their classroom flow like a shining brook. However in education, perfection is a relative term. There is always room for improvement, especially when it comes to tackling the classroom management issue.
Less teacher talk and more students’ interactions
In the old days, conventional teaching required classrooms to be teacher-centered. The logic behind this was if a teacher provides continual guidance–through sustained reminding and micromanaging–then he or she will be more effective. However, many studies have proven that excessive teacher talking will produce the reverse effect. It can:
a. Cause students to tune you out.
b. Lessen the meaning and impact of your words.
c. Communicate to students that you don’t trust them.
d. Cause tension, distraction, and rebelliousness.
Brevity is the key
I have been visiting classrooms for a number of years, and one thing that never deviates from the truth is that being more selective about how often a teacher addresses his/her students makes the classroom environment quite more conducive to learning. Here what it does:
a. It gets students engaged and interactive.
b. It creates a thrilling attentiveness.
c. It empowers the teachers’ words and meanings.
d. It fosters a cordial rapport with students.
How can teachers get to this point?
Talk less and facilitate more are key to getting a productive, calm and peaceful classroom environment. In order for a teacher to get to this point of his/her instructional delivery, he/she has to follow these tips. So, how can Talk Less do the trick? Here is what the experts say:
Study the classroom management plan
When a teacher lets his/her classroom management plan do the talking for him, he/she can easily do away with lecturing, pleading, yelling, scolding, arguing, and the like from his/her school day. This liberating experience improves classroom management almost immediately.
Stick to the procedures and be thorough
Do not deviate from the teaching procedures. If a teacher stays true to his/her rules and his/her classroom culture, the students will eventually know exactly what to do during every minute of the school day–with only modest direction from him/her. “Well-taught procedures allow you and your class to transition and move through the day like a well-oiled machine,” says Michael Linsin, a specialist on classroom management.
Do not emphasize repetitively
Many teachers repeat everything they say–sometimes three and four times. “When you repeat yourself, you weaken your words and encourage students to ignore you. And why shouldn’t they? They know you’ll always give the same direction again…and again…and again.” A teacher should speak only when he/she needs to. He/she should never feel like he/she has to “fill up every minute of the day with support and guidance. If your students are giving you what you want, then leave them alone.” Do not pamper the students. The key to developing a mature, independent classroom lies on students’ cognitive development and their authentic engagement.
Observe the class
It’s always hard for a lot of teachers to simply take a step back and just watch their class. In reality, the more a teacher does this, the better teacher he’ll become. “When you hover and offer unsolicited opinions and reminders your students don’t need, you create greater and greater dependency on you.” In addition to this, the more a teacher observes, the less likely he’ll encounter behavior problems.
Finally, it is quintessential to knowing your students. By reducing the talking time, a teacher will undoubtedly gain more time to get to know his students; “and when your relationship becomes more than simply what you need from them, then you can develop the kind of mutual admiration, rapport, and influence that changes behavior.”
Teaching is fun, but only for teachers who are willing to put the effort necessary to prepare for his instructional delivery.
Note: Dr. Ardain Isma is the chief editor for CSMS Magazine and the executive director of the Center For Strategic And Multicultural Studies. He also teaches Cross-Cultural Studies at the University of North florida (UNF). He is a scholar as well as a novelist and the author of several essays on multiculturalism and Caribbean politics. He may be reached at email@example.com