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Conducive Classroom Environment 2009

What is conducive classroom environment? Conducive classroom is a pivotal linchpin in promoting a favourable mood or atmosphere in a classroom to ensure an effective teaching and learning process to take place. Fraser ( 1994, 1998a.) found that results of studies conducted over the past 30 years evidently showed that students learning is significantly determined by a quality classroom environment ( as citied by Dorman, 2002 in an article Classroom environment research: Progress and possibilities). This supports the fact that students learn better in a positive classroom environment in the school. One of the integral feature in creating conducive classroom environment is a good classroom organization and management. First and foremost, teacher plays the role of a manager in the classroom. Effective management skills is important to manage a primary school classroom properly. Aijaz Ahmed Gujjar in his article Role of teacher as classroom manager, states that; Classroom management is the orchestration of classroom life: planning curriculum, organizing procedures and resources, arranging the environment to maximize efficiency, monitoring student progress, anticipating potential problems. Hence, the teacher as a manager should seriously take into account classroom organization such as planning the lessons as well as the classrooms physical arrangement. Wong and Wong advocates that organization helps teachers to keep on schedule and eliminates chaos in the classroom( as citied in Charles, 2011, p. 106). During the school based experience, I found out that one of the teacher whom I observed lacked proper planning in terms of lesson planning. During lesson, the teacher drew some pictures on the blackboard to give a clearer picture to her students regarding a particular subject. However, I realised that drawing on the blackboard consumes time and the student grew restless while waiting for their teacher to complete her drawings. Hence the students were talking to their friends and made commotion in the classroom. The teacher took some time to settle her class. Therefore I would like to suggest that, before entering the class, the teacher should be well prepared to teach the lesson by preparing relevant teaching aids such as charts, visual aids, and many more. Preparing lesson plan is important as it gives the teacher the opportunity to weigh the various options available and to make his or her choices before the lesson is carried out in the classroom ( Chitravelu, Sithamparam & The, 2005, p.26). In a study report on the factors contributing to classroom effectiveness found out that a high number of respondents agreed that lessons should be planned adequately because it helped them to teach better ( Ministry of Education of Thimpu, 2001). In light with the above findings, I think that it would be better if teachers prepare beforehand teaching materials such as charts, flash cards, picture cards and even make full use of overhead projectors installed by the Malaysian government ( if there is any). Besides that, I would strongly recommend the teachers to prepare a wide array of interesting materials because it will help to keep the student engaged in the lesson. When the students are engaged in the lesson, there would be less behavioural problems and thus this will warrant to a conducive environment in the classroom. This point is supported by Kounin who believes that smooth lesson flow keeps the students attention without frequent interruptions or distractions, there is a less opportunity for off-task behaviour to occur ( as citied in Larrivee, 2009, p. 39). In addition, organizing a classroom requires a good time management skills. Jones found that massive time wasting was the main characteristic of less-productive classes ( as citied in Charles, 2011, p. 121). As mentioned earlier, it is oblivious that lesson plans plays a
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Conducive Classroom Environment 2009


vital role. Smooth flow in teaching or transition periods during activities will ensure that precious time is not wasted as the time allocation for each subject in primary schools are limited to 30 minutes minimum. Brophy (1979) and Good ( 1982) believe that there is a positive correlation between engaged time, appropriate academic activities, and high achievement ; thus classrooms must be structured to promote student engagement in learning ( as citied by Chai, 2005 in an article Classroom management issues in information and communication technology ( ICT)- mediated learning environments: back to the basics). When planning an activity, the teacher should take into consideration the right amount of time required. For example, if too little or too much time is allocated for a particular activity, the lesson therefore would not achieve the desired objective and worse the situation might create chaos in the classroom. This shows the importance of time management in planning a lesson. The second aspect in creating a conducive classroom environment is by having an attractive physical classroom environment. During the school based experience, I observed that most of the classroom are equipped with notice boards where the teachers displayed their students works and also put up some colourful charts, posters, diagrams, theme-based displays and materials that are informative and attractive. Chitravelu, Sithamparam and Teh ( 2005) opine that physical environment is important as an attractive classroom will foster effective learning ( p. 289). I recommend that the teachers prepare a small reading corner in the classroom so that the students could benefit from it by reading books or relevant material during their leisure time. Moreover, we could instil reading habits in the students indirectly. Besides that, I also realised that the climate of the classroom I observed are very hot and there were noise that affects the learners concentration to the teaching and learning process. I would suggest that the teacher device activities that does not require the students to shout loudly. Besides that, if the noise level interferes with neighbouring classes, the teacher should consider interspersing student-centred activities with phases of teacher-centredness ( Chitravelu, Shithamparam & Teh, 2005, p. 294-295). In addition, physical layout or seating arrangement in the classroom is key feature in creating a conducive classroom environment. The number of students in Malaysian classroom can range from thirty to fifty students, therefore due to the large number of students, majority of the classrooms are setup in rows. Lewis and Sugai (1996) points out that; Changes in the organization and the physical arrangement of a classroom can have a dramatic effects on students behaviour. ( as citied in Darch & Kameenui, 2004) Hence the teacher could rearrange the desk arrangements into an open U-shaped arrangement or a circle which encourages greater interaction ( Chitravelu, Sithamparam, & Teh, 2005, p. 290). However, the teacher should arrange and adapt the seating layout according to the activity and not stick to one seating plan throughout the year. For example, if the activity requires group work, the desk could be arranged in groups or pods or even ask the students to turn their chairs so that they face the students behind them in rows (Chitravelu, Sithamparam, & Teh, 2005, p. 290). Other furniture in the classroom such as rack and cupboard should be arranged properly in a way that it does not obstruct the students view to the blackboard or t o the teacher teaching in the front of the classroom. This point is supported by Nitsaisook and Anderson ( 1989) where they believe that furniture should be arranged so that the students are oriented to the primary source of information such as the teacher or audio-visual materials without disturbing the classroom ( as citied by Aijaz Ahmed Gujjar ). I strongly believe that the government should seriously take into consideration in reducing the number of students in a class and the classroom space should be increased to permit effective teaching. Another
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aspect that I would like to bring to light is the position of the teachers desk. Teachers desk are usually placed in front of the classroom in majority of Malaysian primary school classrooms. I in the opinion that placing the teachers desk in front of the classroom is not very suitable as the teacher could not monitor students behavior who are sitting far behind. I think that placing the teachers desk at the back of the classroom is more suitable as the teacher could keep an eye on everything that is happening in the classroom without the students knowledge. This is supported by Aijaz Ahmed Gujjar who advocates that teachers should be able to see the students at all times. Based on the points above, it can be seen that physical layout of a classroom do play an important role in ensuring a conducive classroom environment that fosters effective learning. Classroom organization and management are pivotal features in producing a conducive Malaysian primary school classroom. Creating a good classroom ambience or atmosphere is not an impossible thing to do. Teachers should take the initiative to strive to create a conducive environment for the benefit their students. 1466 words.

References.

Aijaz Ahmed Gujjar. Role of teacher as classroom manager. Retrieved on September, 21, 2010 from http://www.eslteachersboard.com/cgi-bin/articles/index.pl?read=3491Charles, C. M. ( 2011). Building classroom discipline. ( 10th ed.). Boylston Street, Boston: Pearson Education.

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Conducive Classroom Environment 2009


Chai, C. S. ( 2005, December). Classroom management issues in information and communication technology ( ICT)- mediated learning environments: back to the basics. Journal of Educational Multimedia and Hypermedia. Retrieved on September, 20, 2010, from http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Classroom+management+issues+in+information+and+commu nication...-a0142339826 Chitravelu, N., Sithamparam, S. & Teh S. C. ( 2005). ELT Methodology: Principles and Practice.( 2nd ed.). Shah Alam, Selangor: Oxford Fajar Sdn. Bhd. Darch, C. B. & Kameenui, E. J. ( 2004). Instructional classroom management: A proactive approach to behaviour management. ( 2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education. Department of School Education, Ministry of Education Thimpu ( 2001). Factors contributing to classroom effectiveness: a study report. Retrieved on September, 20, 2010,from http://www.education.gov.bt/Publications/ClassRoom%20Effectiveness.pdf Dorman, J. (2002, December). Classroom environment research: Progress and possibilities. Queensland Journal of Educational Research, Vol.18 No. 2, p.112-140. Larrivee, B. ( 2009). Authentic classroom management: Creating a learning community and building reflective practice. ( 3rd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education.

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