Monday, June 22, 2009

Classroom Management

As teachers, we seem to spend a lot of time worrying about the behavior of the students we teach, but what exactly is the importance of classroom management? Well, in my opinion, effective classroom management strategies and skills are the most important abilities a teacher can have.
You can be the most effective communicator, who is adept at getting across often even the most difficult concepts, but unless you can influence the behavior of the students that you teach in a positive way, then the teaching and learning within your classroom will never be as good as it could be.
If you want to see the importance of classroom management, spend some time observing the work done by students in a lesson where thy behave in an inappropriate way. It's likely that they work that has been completed by the student in this lesson is less than desirable.
Classroom management cuts right to the heart of everything that we do as teachers, and without effective classroom management strategies we are left unable to deliver the curriculum effectively. A safe and positive learning environment must be created within your classroom, or pupils will not be able to access and benefit from the curriculum that you teach.
Effective classroom management is of critical importance to the success of the students that you teach. But promoting a positive learning atmosphere, and minimizing the poor behavior of the students that you teach doesn't have to be just something that you are born with. Classroom management strategies and techniques can be taught, and they can be learned.
Even the most experienced and effective teachers experience poor student behavior in their classroom on occasion. And you will do too. It's how you face up to, and learn from, these challenges that separates the best teachers from the rest.
One question that’s often debated is the effect that dress code has upon classroom behavior.  Some argue that dress code has a direct impact upon classroom behavior, and is one of the key drivers of inappropriate student behavior.
So does dress code impact upon classroom behavior and to what extent?  In my opinion, what the dress code of a school is, is much less important that whether the dress code is enforced.  Failing to enforce a high standard of dress code is often the first step towards inappropriate student behavior.
Enforcing the school’s dress code really is that important.  If pupil’s see that you are weak in this respect, then it will only be a matter of time before they push the boundaries in other areas too.
Forget the hype that a school uniform is an essential component of good classroom management in the classroom.  The consistent enforcement of whatever dress code is already in existence is far more important when it comes to preventing inappropriate student behavior with so many teachers struggling with inappropriate behavior it is hardly surprising that more people are coming online to find classroom management ideas.  Effective classroom control is hard, and coming up with classroom management  ideas is difficult when you are swamped by ever increasing piles of work.
One of the best sources of effective classroom management ideas, is also one of the most overlooked.  In every school, in every part of the world, there will be a few teachers who have superb classroom control.  No matter how much student behavior has deteriorated in the wider school, these teachers can control even the toughest students.
These teachers manage to demonstrate excellent classroom management skills, day in and day out. Each teacher will have a different range of effective classroom management techniques and strategies, but they will all be effective. 
I’m often amazed how few teachers actually commit the time to go and watch these teachers in action.  If you’re struggling with student behavior in your classroom, and if you’re desperate for some top quality classroom management ideas and tips, then go and watch these teachers tomorrow.
You will be surprised by how much you can pick up by watching them at work.  I frequently have other teachers, especially new ones, come and ask if they can observe one of my lessons. 
And each and every time, I’m delighted to say yes. Having your peers ask to observe your lessons is second only to seeing your excellent classroom management strategies start to yield results.
So if we’re desperately in search of effective classroom management ideas, then go and watch a fellow teacher tomorrow.  You never know, you might

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