Classroom Management is a subject that worries young novice teachers. As a consequence of overcrowded classes, reduced budgets and No Child Left Behind testing pressures, the stress in classroom management continues to intensify. However, unruly and impertinent students, varied learning abilities, and digital diversions only make it worse and the teacher has to face a difficult task. This has led to a general frustration and dissatisfaction among the teachers who may be good in their academic subjects and skills, but are unable to be effective educators because of poor skills in classroom management techniques.
Abraham Lincoln said, “The philosophy of the school room in one generation will be the philosophy of government in the next”, said Abraham Lincoln. In other words, the future of nations lies in the classrooms of today. However, to bring about a progressive environment for learning the teacher has to be good in classroom management. Some classroom management strategies being followed by most teachers are: formulating class rules, instituting a routine, framing well-defined expectations, penalties and rewards.
One of the most important requirements in good classroom management is the relationship between the teacher and the taught. Effective teachers realize this and tailor their teaching to the different needs of the individual student. This will be able to nullify misbehavior as all students are satisfied with the lesson. However, when there are disruptions, experienced teachers resort to “restorative justice practices” (Wilkinson, Meiers & Knight, 2008) that deal with the problem of misbehavior from another perspective: the blame game is avoided and the focus is shifted to the result or the harm caused by the misbehavior and how the disrupter can remedy it. This also teaches responsible behavior in an indirect manner as the student’s responsibility in catering to the needs of the other students (Wilkinson, Meiers & Knight, 2008).
Fiona Crawford (2006) argues that most teachers are generally more occupied with the academics and neglect the development of positive social skills in their students. The disruptive behaviors usually seen in classrooms include: talking out of turn, idleness, slowness, and holding back the others in the class. When a student is disruptive, most teachers treat it with a negative attitude that only makes the matter worse. What they don’t realize is that treating misconduct in a negative way has an emotional impact on all the students in the classroom. The experienced teacher’s classroom management strategy would be to focus on the positive behaviors and bring these to the attention of the class as being the desirable ones. Thus, the teacher would be able to engender a more congenial atmosphere in the classroom.
Lastly, it is to be noted that effective classroom management can only be achieved through the co-operation between all the stake-holders – the management, the teachers, the community of parents and of course the students. By adopting a caring and helpful relationship with the students, the teacher can make a difference. Ultimately it is left to the teacher to decide whether to be “a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration” (Haim Ginott) for the students.
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