EFFECTIVE TEACHING AND CLASSROOM MANAGEMENT FOR PRIMARY SCHOOL TEACHERS BY (MRS.) OMOLADE F. O. AKPA
Who is a teacher?
A teacher is a person who helps others to acquire knowledge, competences or values. A teacher’s role may vary among cultures. Teachers may provide instruction in literacy and numeracy, craftsmanship or vocational training, the arts, religion, civics, community roles, or life skills. Formal teaching tasks include preparing lessons according to agreed curricula, giving lessons, and assessing pupil progress. A teacher’s professional duties may extend beyond formal teaching. Outside of the classroom teachers may accompany students on field trips, supervise study halls, help with the organization of school functions, and serve as supervisors for extracurricular activities. In some education systems, teachers may have responsibility for student discipline.
Teaching is one of the most important jobs in the world. To make a difference in a child’s life is a huge privilege. There are many key attributes to being an effective teacher but for me some of the key attributes are effective communication and establishing good relationships, guide children’s behaviour, setting up a good environment for learning and being well organized.
Who is an effective teacher?
Everyone knows that when it comes to making a difference in a child’s academics and life achievements, their teachers play a large role. A teacher’s ability to relate to their students, and teach them to achieve both socially and academically contributes to how effective they are, therefore, an effective teacher is one who strives to motivate and engage all their students in learning rather than simply accepting that some students cannot be engaged and are destined to do poorly. They believe every student is capable of achieving success at school and they do all they can to find ways of making each student successful.
Tips for Effective Teaching
- Be specific about what you are teaching
- Understand who you are teaching
- Make clear links to the broader course/program context
- Identify the best ways to teach this particular content
- Plan the teaching sessions in detail including the resources and support you will need
- Communicate clearly to students
- Determine how effective the teaching has been and make improvements
Qualities of effective teachers
- The ability to develop relationships with their students
- Patient, caring, and kind personality
- Knowledge of learners
- Dedication to teaching
- Engaging students in learning
What is Classroom Management?
Classroom management refers to the wide variety of skills and techniques that teachers use to keep students organized, orderly, focused, attentive, on task, and academically productive during a class. When classroom-management strategies are executed effectively, teachers minimize the behaviors that impede learning for both individual students and groups of students, while maximizing the behaviors that facilitate or enhance learning. Generally speaking, effective teachers tend to display strong classroom-management skills, while the hallmark of the inexperienced or less effective teacher is a disorderly classroom filled with students who are not working or paying attention.
Classroom management is crucial in classrooms because it supports the proper execution of curriculum development, developing best teaching practices, and putting them into action. Classroom management can be explained as the actions and directions that teachers use to create a successful learning environment; indeed, having a positive impact on students achieving given learning requirements and goals. In an effort to ensure all students receive the best education it would seem beneficial for educator programs to spend more time and effort in ensuring educators and instructors are well versed in classroom management.
Effective classroom management:
- Establishes and sustains an orderly environment in the classroom.
- Increases meaningful academic learning and facilitates social and emotional growth.
- Decreases negative behaviors and increases time spent academically engaged.
Factors to consider when choosing a classroom management system
Effective classroom management can often be the difference between a classroom that’s focused and attentive and a classroom in which students struggle to achieve their educational objectives. Teachers face a variety of choices when it comes to classroom management. While some teachers take a direct approach to managing and directing their classrooms, others focus on building a friendly, collaborative relationship with their students.
What are the advantages of classroom management?
Effective classroom management is extremely important for ensuring students can learn in an environment that’s free of disruption. Good classroom management is a vital component of ensuring students reach their full academic potential. When teachers can effectively control the direction and behaviour of a classroom, students are likely to achieve improved academic results. This makes an effective classroom management system essential for teachers and students alike. High quality classroom management lets teachers control the direction that their classroom takes while preventing students from causing disruptions to their peers and setting back their potential to learn.
What are the challenges of classroom management?
Teachers face a variety of classroom management challenges. These can include disruptive students that slow or interrupt the pace of learning and ineffective or poorly thought out management techniques that worsen student behaviour. The most effective teachers typically understand a variety of effective classroom management techniques and use the most appropriate solution to keep their class free of disruption and focused on achieving its educational goals.
What should you know about classroom management?
Classroom management can often be the difference between a focused classroom that achieves its educational goals and a classroom that falls behind the average in its category. As a teacher, having an understanding of classroom management and the ability to apply classroom management techniques gives you the power to keep your entire classroom focused on achieving its objectives and academically productive.
Classroom management in primary schools
Show No Fear
Children can literally smell fear from a mile away. If they enter your classroom and know that you are scared, then they will take full advantage of that fear. If you are new to the job and are feeling anxious, then go by the motto of “Fake it until you make it.” Put on a fearless face and pretend that you are not scared of anything and that you are in complete control. By presenting a tough exterior (not too tough, though — you still want to come off as likeable), then you will have the students right where you want them.
Always Be Firm
Besides having no fear, you also want to present yourself in a firm manner. From the moment the students enter the classroom door and you see them, you need to present yourself as strong and tough. By being firm from the start, then you are ensuring that your students will not only behave properly, but they will also respect you more. Now, being firm does not mean you have to look and act stoic, it just means that you need to present a tough front so that the students know that you are not a pushover.
Use Positive Reinforcement
Positive reinforcement can go a long way with younger children. For instance, if you are a substitute teacher and the students do not know you at all, you can have students earn points or letters for good behavior. For example, every time that you see the students are behaving well, they can earn a letter. At the end of the day, if they spelled the word “School,” then they can earn free time. This is a great trick to help keep students in line all day. Some older primary students can benefit from positive reinforcement as well. Allowing students to earn the opportunity to finish their homework in class can also go a long way with this age group.
Plan for the Unexpected
To ensure that you will not have any classroom management problems, then you must plan for the unexpected. There will be times when students will finish early or a class may run late. There may be an unexpected assembly or fire drill. You need to have back up plans prepared for these moments. If a student finishes before their classmates, this student may disrupt the whole class, so it’s wise to have a plan for early finishers. Art class may have run a few minutes late and now you can’t do the lesson you planned because it no longer fits into your schedule. So, you must have a backup activity at your disposal. Try creating a backup activity folder where you can always go to when you are in a bind.
Plan for the Whole Day
One of the most important things that you can do as a primary teacher is to plan for the entire day. When you run out of things to do in class, that’s when the chaos will ensue. When you are organized you can ensure that you will have a successful day. Plan for at least a week ahead of time. This way if you have to call in sick, then you will have plans already set and ready to go. An easy way to do this is buy a five-drawer plastic tote. Label each drawer the day of the week and place all of the materials that you will need for that day inside. Then, when you get to class in the morning, you will have everything you need for the day.
Classroom management in secondary schools
Although positive behavior support systems are producing strong results for increased pro-social behaviors and decreased negative results in elementary schools, these systems are less often implemented in high schools.
Sometimes, secondary schools have tried to resolve behavioral issues by:
- Repeating and restating consequences.
- Increasing the averseness of consequences.
- Establishing a bottom line or zero tolerance level policies.
- Excluding students from the “privilege” of attending school through out-of-school suspensions and expulsions.
- Offering alternative ways of completing the high school experience someplace else (e.g., alternative school, community college).
These frequently enforced consequences:
- May lead to overly controlling environments.
- Could trigger and reinforce antisocial behavior.
- Can shift accountability and educational responsibility away from the school.
- Can devalue student-teacher relationships.
- Might weaken the link between academic and social behavior (Sugai & Horner, 2002; American Psychological Association [APA] Zero Tolerance Task Force, 2008).
When implemented in secondary schools, prevention-based classroom management systems:
- Create and promote a positive school climate.
- Enhance student commitment to school.
- Teach and reward individual student social skills.
- Disrupt and monitor antisocial behaviors and interactions.
Effective high school classroom management adjustments
Due to developmental differences between elementary and high school students, adaptations to classroom management strategies must be made. The following are some examples:
- Allow students to be involved in the development and implementation of goals. Students will be increasingly engaged in classroom management strategies if you give them collaborative responsibility in the creation and implementation of expectations.
- Teach behavior expectations as you do in elementary school; do not assume that high school students understand social expectations.
- Remember: not all high school students are motivated by academic success or social success. Have students individually assist in identifying what they would find reinforcing.
The first and most basic obligation of an effective teacher is to see the beauty that exists within every student. Every child is infinitely precious. When we start from this vantage point, classroom management — and its flip side, student engagement — comes more easily. It’s an outgrowth of students feeling loved and respected.
Recommendation for teachers
- Do not use vague rules.
- Do not have rules that you are unwilling to enforce.
- Do not ignore student behaviors that violate school or classroom rules (they will not go away).
- Do not engage in ambiguous or inconsistent treatment of misbehavior.
- Do not use overly harsh or embarrassing punishments or punishments delivered without accompanying support.
- Do not use corporal punishment.
- Avoid out-of-school suspension whenever possible.
- Do not try to solve problems alone if you have serious concerns about a student. Refer to your school psychologist or special education professionals
(MRS.) OMOLADE F. O. AKPA
DEPARTMENT OF SCIENCE LABORATORY TECHNOLOGY, SCHOOL OF APPLIED SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY, AUCHI POLYTECHNIC AUCHI, EDO STATE.