Classroom management is a very important as of learning environment to can improve or mar students learning process if not well managed. When there is noisy, disruption and unhealthy scenario, students can hardly concentrate and study. Beside most students might end up deviate from the core reasons why they are in school.
Is there any special personal magic to quiet an excited class by merely appearing before them, quell misbehaviour with a glance and make them bustle with activity? There are indeed some teachers who can get the class to be quiet and get busy by just standing in front of them. But what if the teacher is not around?
Naturally the class is rowdy and disorganise and the teacher has to scream at the top of his voice to get their attention. There may indeed be some kind of charisma in classroom management but studies have shown that effective teachers learn and apply specific skills to gain such control over the students. These four rules of classroom management (Mc Manus 1989) have been tested by successful teachers which are like a math that you can assimilate and apply more than one classroom scenarios.
RULE ONE: Get them in
This rule implies that a lesson that does not start well will definitely take time to start. When a teacher gets into the class and gets himself busy with setting up displays, distributing materials and searching for equipments then there is a tendency that the class will be idle and start chattering leading to distraction and delay in the beginning of the lesson, should the teacher decide to punish. So effectively managing your class should involve:
Being there and prepared before the class arrives
Age and nature of activity may affect this, but it is important the teacher decides where each student sits. You may either encourage them to sit with friend or separate them from their friends.
Starting the lesson should be a smooth and quiet process which depending on the age of students should be something they can do without any assistance, most likely start with a recap of previous lessons to help them relax
RULE TWO: get them out
It is most common that most disciplinary problems in classroom management occur during the start of the lesson, it is also important that you carefully plan your exit and end of lesson to avoid opportunities for trouble making. Gray and Richer (1988) puts it, the structure at the end of the lesson is all too easily lost in a sigh of relief that is nearly over. Every interested lesson or pleasant developing relationship during a learning experience can be spoilt if the end of lesson turns into a chaotic noisy finale.
As the teacher, carefully use these two phases to end every lesson;
To stop work, especially if the students are still busy writing and gathering materials give an early warning e.g. ‘writing stops in two minutes’ or whatever time will help the students finish writing. It is important that all work must stop in due time, to enable them gather materials, put away and settle down for revision which should include brief question and answer.
Dismissing the class, would follow different methods, depending on the age of student, students should be cued into the next activity if below ten of age. E.g. ‘children is time for sports everybody get ready, first row line up to the door, second row follow, third, okay lets move to the field in a single file’
RULE THREE: Get on with it
This is the nature and manner of lesson to be presented; teachers often encounter problems during lessons, when the nature of structure of lesson do not matches the age and ability of students. Before lessons, all materials and aids should be examine to ensure it is not too low or high for the students.
The teachers’ manner in addressing the students goes a long way to establish a friendly understandable relationship with the students,
it is important to get the children focused on you before speaking, use a calm but stern tone and a friendly facial expression, if a teacher frowns persistently it creates anxiety and fear in the students.
Make use of eye contact with each student in the class.
The teacher’s eyes should sweep through the classroom like a beam and the teachers’ brain should pick up the ‘feel’ of the classroom and adjust to it if need be.
RULE FOUR: Get on with them
Teachers develop good personal relationship with the students by fostering mutual respect and trust, to do this you need to be aware of the mood of individual child and the class as a whole.
Awareness of individual difference and classroom management begins with learning the names and faces of each child, once you know a child’s name you can easily personalised rebuke or requests, instead of ‘stop the noise class, sit upright the boy at the back’ you say ‘john keep quiet, damilola sit up’ keeping of daily attendance register will help you master their names.
Before every storm, there are signs; the difference is the teacher can do something to stop and incoming class storm by being sensitive to the class’ atmosphere. A teacher should be wholly involved in activities whether you are marking, talking to a student or addressing a group of students ensure you glance round the class often to identify trouble spots and makers.
If you are a teacher, we will like you to share your own classroom management style with other teachers in Nigeria and abroad.