Islamic Republic of Afghanistan
Ministry of Higher Educations
Faculty of Letters and Humanities
Date: December 12
Classroom management, the key for getting better results in teaching. Unlike the past, managing classes is different today. Teacher should be prepared and direct students to do activities while he is monitoring. Sometimes students try to disturb the class, teachers should deal with this problem as soon as possible. Teacher should be closer to students with a considerable distance. Class formation and making rules for the class is another key element for managing a classroom.
As long as there was a class, there was management. Management is a very important element in teaching. Generally it means managing and supervising a class, but there is more to say about classroom management. In today’s world the meaning of management is beyond punishing the students or taking them out of the classroom; it is more complex. Today it means planning a syllabus, engaging students in studying, being prepared for any unexpected incidents, meeting students’ needs…and so on. A good teacher always has preparation to face with unexpected situations, and take decisions to encourage students to learn more and more.
Unfortunately in our country teachers still manage the classes in traditional ways. They spend the whole time behind the desk or in front of the board, talk the whole time, and if students speak or disturb the class, he’ll be punished for that. Students don’t dare to ask questions from their teachers because they’re not sure about their teacher’s reaction. The students apparently might obey the teachers and respect them, but inside they’ll stand against the dictatorship, and strictness of this type of management. Therefore, if we want to get better results in teaching classes in Afghanistan, we should learn class management and practice it. Psychologically in our country it will work better because they haven’t seen this type of management often.
I believe it is super important for teachers to know how to manage a class. Ms. Karima Rahimi junior student of English literature faculty in a personal interview said that she always dreamed of a teacher that is kind and professional who can manage the class in the best of ways, and students make the most out of it (November 5, 2012). Evertson and Harris notes that effective classroom management go beyond students control; teachers need to create a supportive learning environment (1992).
In order for students to accomplish good results in learning, we need to work on teachers’ classroom management. They should know about how to deal with students’ misbehaviors, how to involve students in activities, motivate students to learn and appreciate what they do, and others what to do and what not to do.
In this research I would like to discuss about some key elements, like teachers’ responsibilities, students as objects of classroom management, and class’ settings, in classroom management which provides a better learning environment for students, and facilitate the instruction for teachers.
Since there are too many points and strategies, it was somehow complicated for me to discuss all of them one by one; therefore I decided to classify them, so I can discuss classroom management from three angles teacher, students, and class. In other words, literary a triangle of teacher, students, and class forms a class. This way it is easier sort all the important issues in classroom management in an order.
Teacher is the most important element of a class. Unfortunately in our country the teachers are still obsessed with controlling the class traditionally. They emphasize more on forcing students physically rather than emphasizing on their teaching method. I learned more from a teacher whose teaching method was more like fun, and he liked us rather than the ones who were scolding us for not knowing an answer. I will never forget my teachers who always understood us and respected us. The things they thought me, I still remember. Therefore, I believe a good teacher is a teacher who motivate students, and treat them with utmost respect all the time, and his teaching is fun.
According to Harmer teachers learn what to do through a mixture of personality, intelligence, knowledge, and experience (2007). Teacher is a role model for students, so all his characteristics, the way he dresses, the way he talk, the way he move…and so on affect students.
In the past teachers used to stand next to the board and lecture students in a dictatorship manners, always control students, and if any of them misbehaved, they’ll be sent out of the class that session; this wasn’t enjoyable for students at all. Today teachers’ role in the class is more like a director and assistant. Vernon considers teacher as a mentor, not a friend nor a boss (n.d).
Standing behind the desk all the time creates space between the teacher and students. This makes managing the class difficult. Therefore, the teacher should move around whenever it is necessary. Teacher should be close enough to students, so the students can ask him questions (Vernon, n.d)That way he is able to solve students’ problems, listen to them, control and observe the class, and observe the activities that students are doing. Some teachers even set next to students, but this is not necessary because students may feel uncomfortable; however, in some cases it might be necessary and beneficial to be done (Harmer, 2007).
Without having a syllabus and preparation, teaching a class is impossible. Oliver and Reschly stress on teacher preparation; they consider it as the key element in classroom management (2007). As far as there is something to do for students, they will not try to disturb the class, or play around because they’re so busy with studying.
This is only possible if the teacher is fully prepared and use variety of group and individual activities, and games that make the class interesting for students. Vernon notes that all the activities should be according to the interest and intelligence of the students (n.d). In these activities students will learn in a cooperative environment, and share their level of understanding. They’ll learn to respect each other and feel like a member of a larger group. Socially when they grow up, they’ll continue behaving the same way in society, Says Evertson and Harris (2007).
Another issue in classroom management is teacher talking time (T.T.T), and students talking time (S.T.T). The more we have teacher talking time, the less we will have students talking time. It has been always a disputable issue. If teacher take more time to talk, the class might become boring and the students will not have any time to talk; the teacher must try to reduce his talking time unless it is important and useful (Harmer, 2007). Most of the current approaches tend to more students talking time because it is the students who need to learn, practice, and perform; teacher is only a director.
Once we all were students, so we know how students feel, and what they want. I believe if teachers think like students, they’ll be way successful than ever. Students do want to learn, but they want to have fun too; that’s why teachers should make the learning kind of fun for them. After being a student for almost 15 years, what we expect from a teacher are to treat us like smart individuals all the same, be a little friendly so we can ask questions, help us when we have problems, and appreciate our success in the class. We like to be proved capable and smart in the class.
The objects of classroom management are the students. Naturally the students will take control of the class if the teacher doesn’t manage the class (Vernon, n.d). In every class there is at least one student who misbehaves. This misbehavior is due to existing of some problems that student has. It is advised to control and deal with such kind of behavior in early stages (Haysman, n.d).
Students have special needs; teacher should understand their needs and find a way to meet their needs. A teacher should try to understand students problems and try to solve them, even their social, and out of school problems. If any student with misbehavior problem continue to do so, it is better to have a meeting with his parents, or whoever he is in custody of in order to discover the problem and try to solve it.
I think having students parents informed about their children status in the class and school is a very effective way for managing a classroom. Haysman suggests that keeping the children’s family informed about how they are doing in school, having meetings with parents in case of any problem, finding the reason of a problem and solving it in the first place are the best way to deal with all kind of misbehaviors (n.d).
Teachers should treat all the students equally. Some students might have problems in learning due to some outside problems that they have. This shouldn’t cause teacher to pay less attention to those students or scolding them. Social status of the students, nationality, tongue…etc must not interfere with teaching at all. The teacher should try to group smarter students with the weaker students, so the weaker students can level themselves with the smart ones. This makes the teacher’s job easier; the teacher can deal with their needs easier.
Motivation plays the main role in learning. It is motivation that makes impossible possible. Students love to be appreciated for what they do; they simply try to impress the teacher by showing that they appreciate him. Giving
them “A”s on their papers, or simply praising them is a good way of motivating them. Some teachers in other countries use drawing stars on the students hands every time they do good, or stick a star on their forehead. The students proudly show those stars to the other students. Subrahmanian proposes that praise for someone’s improvement is directly related to formatting the sense of success (Cited Ebata, 2008).
Haysman believes that a small reward can motivate students to accomplish better (n.d). Valuing the students’ achievement prove them that you care about them and value their efforts. Haysman adds that drawing a star on their hands, giving them a reward or a postcard, sending a postcard or a letter to their parents really helps them to move forward with more energy and motivation to learn (n.d).
For sure the class environment is also a part of the class management. The most important issue in class is the seating arrangement. There are different class-seating arrangements each can be utilized for a different purpose. The best seating arrangement is the one that teacher has access to walk around, and students have a better view of what is going on in the class.
The post popular seating arrangements in the class are (Harmer, 2007):
In these seating arrangements mostly orderly rows and horseshoe are used because of the amount of the students in the class, easy access for teachers to manage the class, and a better view of the front for students. Different arrangements are used for different approaches.
The next important thing is rules and regulations in the class. Oliver and Reschly believe that setting rules and regulations is a powerful tool for managing a classroom (2007). This way you give away the chance of any excuses from students in advance for disturbing the class, or misbehaving. If we ask the students to write the rules themselves, and keep them limited, students will not disobey those rules (Haysman, n.d).
Keep the rules limited, and use a commanding and respectful language. “Don’t fight” is not as powerful as “respect others”. Students wouldn’t like too many do and don’ts. You can generalize the rules and make them simpler like “Respect others” “Respect school properties” “Do your job”.
The class setting also can be important in classroom management. I myself prefer a colorful class with walls covered with pictures, postcards, charts…etc rather than a class with bare walls with only a board in front. I think students will be interested in studying more if the class setting is more lively and colorful. Haysman says that his class’ walls are covered with pictures and posters (n.d). Even if students are given the chance to post their picture-topics boards, and other things related to their studying on the walls, is super good.
In picture-topics students collect data about a subject with pictures, and then attach all the pictures on a board with the information about those pictures on the wall; for example, about Herat City students use pictures of Herat City with some basic information about Herat City. This is a good way to engage and motivate students to learn.
V. Class Management in Afghanistan
Classroom management in Afghanistan is so weak. Due to decades of conflict, there is a sever lack of professional teachers. Teachers aren’t usually familiar with modern methods of teaching; lack of materials and security are other problems we face with. I think there is a starting point for everything. Afghan teachers should learn and practice the new methods of classroom management.
There are some students in Afghanistan who leave school before high school. There is a reason for that, they don’t learn anything in school; going to school is just for having fun there. They disturb, destroy, and de-motivate other students. I’m sure that with a good classroom management, teachers not only can prevent these to happen, they can keep them in school and make some strong functional members of society. For those students there is no motivation to learn. The more they misbehave, the more they realize the teachers hate them, so they end up leaving the school.
A good classroom management can stimulate students’ creativity and makes them to be more responsible. Anyway, it is a long topic to discuss about; in short, classroom management is the key to a successful teaching and learning.
There are more in the words “class management” than we think. Class management is the golden key to have a successful teaching and learning environment. Today’s students can be controlled only with a good teaching method, and a good teacher-student relationship. The main reason for problems in our education system is class management which is weak. Class management causes to be better persons, try hard, and achieve their goals. If we use the above mentioned strategies, for sure things will be different then. These were all the important elements in class management; if put in practice, we’ll get the best results from the class ever.
Ebata, M.(2008). Motivation factors. The Internet TESL Journal,Vol.14, No.4. Retrieved October 17, 2012 from: iteslj.org/Articles/Ebata-MotivationFactors.html
Evertson, C. M. & Harris, A. H. (1992). What We Know About Managing Classrooms. Retrieved October 17, 2012 from: www.ascd.org/ASCD/pdf/journals/ed_lead/el_199204_evertson.pdf
Harmer, J. (2008).How to teach. P 34-45.(3d ed).Essex, UK: Pearson.
Haysman, C.(n.d). Classroom Management. Retrieved October 17, 2012 from: people.umass.edu/~afeldman/beingnewteacher/sampleplan.html
Helping Teachers Learn the Secrets of Successful Classroom Management. (1994).Retrieved October 17, 2012 from: www.gphillymath.org/resourcedisks/classroommanagement.pdf
Oliver, M. & Reschly, D. J. (2007). Effective classroom management. Retrieved October 17, 2012, from: www.tqsource.org/topics/effectiveClassroomManagement.pdf
Vernon, S. (n.d). The Five Golden Rules of Good Classroom Management. Retrieved October 17, 2012 from: www.teachingenglishgames.com/Articles/Classroom_Management.htm