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2. CLASSROOM MANAGEMENT
Any average person in this country can tell you what teaching is about: a teacher speaking in front of a large number of pupils who sit in rows at their desks; the pupils listen or not. If the teacher knew how to make her pupils listen to her, education would be better. In reality, what happens in the classroom is not so simple. The teacher is trying to achieve several objectives at the same time. Her first task is to provide a range of learning experiences to her pupils. Then, she needs to cater for individual differences by organizing activities that make use of various learning resources and different tasks. She needs to provide opportunities for the pupils to take responsibility of their own learning, while still managing the classroom activities. In one word, she manages classroom learning. The skills of creating and managing a successful class may be the key to the teacher‟s success. An important part of this is to do with the teacher‟s attitude, intentions and personality, and with her relationships with the learners. Another important part is the organizational skills and techniques that the teacher uses, often grouped under the heading of „classroom management‟. Classroom management emphasizes the complexity of classroom life and focuses on the managerial skills that the teacher needs to have and on the systematic way in which she coordinates classroom variety and complexity. The teacher is the coordinator of a varied and complex environment; she sets objectives, plans activities, attends to communication and motivation and evaluates performance. Classroom management involves both decisions and actions. The actions are what is done in the classroom. The decisions are about whether to do these actions, when to do them, how to do them, who to do them, etc. The essential basic skill for classroom management is therefore to be able to recognize what options are available, to make appropriate decisions between these options and to turn them into effective and efficient actions. As the teacher grows in experience her awareness of possible options will also grow. The aim of this lecture is to help you become aware of the lesson management skills that you need to develop. After you have completed the study of this unit on classroom management, you should be able to: explain what makes a lesson effective classify patterns of interaction explain the advantages and disadvantages of various patterns of classroom interaction use various patterns of classroom interaction to involve all the pupils in your lessons
1 Classroom Management: Strategies and Tactics
What is it that makes a teacher successful and respected? Why do such a teacher‟s pupils work with positive and constructive attitudes? Both teachers and pupils have their own characteristics and habits. These influence the effectiveness of the lesson. Like a taxi driver who knows every city street, a teacher needs to develop a good understanding of her pupils and of herself. Your physical presence, the way you move, sit or stand, the way you are dressed, all have an effect on your pupils‟ perception. To some extent, these may also affect the effectiveness of your lesson. You need to be aware of all these details, adapt your language and your voice, your gestures, your expressions, your mime, your movements, the frequency of eye contact with individual pupils, for all these carry a message for your pupils.
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Your lessons should be prepared thoroughly: materials, activities, and assessments. When the pupils feel that you are filling time, or when you have to change activities because you cannot find the materials, or if you are unprepared for the problems that may emerge, you may lose your pupils‟ respect and confidence. A good idea is to prepare for each lesson more than you need. It is always good to have a reserve activity ready in case of extra time. As you are planning a lesson, note in advance which component(s) of the lesson you will sacrifice if you find yourself with too little time for everything. During the lesson, keep a watch or clock easily visible, and make sure you are aware throughout how time is going relative to your plan. It is difficult to judge intuitively how time is going when you are busy, and the smooth running of the lesson depends to some extent on proper timing. Try to create a serious impression of purpose by your contributions and by the demands made on your pupils. This means attention to detail, and an assumption that your pupils will take their work seriously and with a sense of responsibility. At every point in the lesson a teacher has options. To say one thing or to say something different; to stop an activity or to let it continue, to take some time to deal with difficult questions or to move on with what you had previously planned. There is no single correct answer, no single route through a lesson – though some routes may in the end prove to be much more effective than others. Different people and different situations will create different solutions. The lesson is created by these choices. Long-term strategies can help you build up good standards of personal relationships that result in good classroom atmosphere. Nevertheless, pupils are not always capable of coping with all the stresses of their lives and they may react by laziness, insubordination, defiance, aggression, or destructiveness. Such pupil behaviour will undermine the building up of good classroom practice, and the effectiveness of your classes. What can you do? Unfortunately, advice about classroom tactics is less reliable than advice about general strategies. The complexity of classroom life is responsible for many difficult situations. Classroom life is multidimensional, with many different kinds of activities, many different objectives, and many people having different needs and different styles. At any one time you need to consider what to do next, thinking ahead of the development of the lesson, watching the pupils‟ progress, looking out for what might disrupt the flow of the lesson. There may be numberless unpredictables, interruptions, unforeseen difficulties, or minor incidents. In such a context your action and reaction are driven by intuition more than by deliberate thinking about alternative courses of action. Moreover, advice from other teachers may not be reliable, as different teachers use different tactics with equal (in)success. Becoming an effective teacher is partly a matter of increasing your awareness of what options are available. It is also about the skilful selection of the most appropriate option at each point and efficiently, effectively turning these into actions. What informs and influences a teacher‟s decisions between different options? Here are some factors to bear in mind: (Scrivener, J. Learning Teaching, p. 11) what is the aim of the activity? What is the objective of the whole lesson? Is what we are doing useful? What is hindering the effectiveness of what we are doing? What have I planned to do? What would be the best thing to do now? Is it time for a change of mood or pace? Are we using time efficiently? How do the students feel? How do I (the teacher) Feel? What are the possible outcomes of my actions?
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with windows open or shut (as they suit you and your pupils) and the board Anca Cehan 3 . or sending pupils to fetch forgotten items breaks the continuity and gives an opportunity for the pupils‟ minds to wander. This helps the pupil to accept the arrangement. using equipment. etc. a finger to beckon. distributing materials. asking her/him to report what progress has been made or what problems have been encountered. a head shake to signal disapproval.1 Getting Organised Some of the options the teacher needs to take come at key moments: the beginning of the lesson. All gestures and signals can be effective: a finger to the lips. for regular organizational tasks such as taking the roll. If you are uncertain of the cause of a disruption (which is very common). c. what is important for her in learning. Avoid confrontation. 1. You need to develop clear routines for monitoring and controlling. not to disturb the rest of the class. approach the disruptive pupil in a noncritical way. Anticipate discipline problems and act quickly and decisively. the start of an activity. making it clear that s/he may return when s/he has finished the task. Where the misbehaviour is overt. which is public and emotionally charged. Teacher decisions and actions Teacher attitudes and intentions Teacher beliefs and values What teacher beliefs and attitudes might underline the following classroom activities? a. Adopt a supervisory role at regular intervals throughout the lesson. forming pairs and groups. beliefs and values: what she thinks about learning. clearing away at the end of the lesson. a nod to approve something to happen. what she genuinely feels towards the students. when a discipline problem occurs in the lesson.2 Getting Started A first impression is always important. Set the pupil to work in a different part of the room. Pupils tune in to the image which you present to them from the first appearance. In every lesson the teacher includes at least one game that involves students moving around the classroom. If it is really necessary to speak. Glance around to make sure the classroom and resources are in a state of readiness. 1. intentions. Make sure you arrive in time and with everything you need for the class. the end of an activity. remove the pupil from any possible audience. and can result in conflict escalation. approach the pupil and say it quietly. The teacher uses tape recordings of native speaker conversations. The teacher includes a lot of student communication activities in her lessons. Your leaving the classroom. a hand signal to sit down. A decision taken at such critical moments has great impact.Classroom decisions and actions are influenced by the teacher‟s own attitudes. b.
Then look around to see where the pupils are sitting and if their seating arrangement suits you. e. particularly a large one. You may also need to ask pupils to put away things from their desks. sections of the coursebook) pupils completing written exercises individually pupils working in pairs to complete written exercises pupils doing oral practice in pairs pupils solving problems in groups pupils preparing material (stories. It sets up an atmosphere that is friendly but purposeful and conducive to serious and organized work. Arrange your books. We’ve finished…. For this reason. You can declare yourself ready by saying clearly and quite loudly Good morning / afternoon. if you intend to use a Anca Cehan 4 . and many of them will be based on material in the textbook. Today we’re going to learn…. using transition signals. papers. it is well worth checking and confirming that everyone has understood. Always try to move from one part of the lesson to another without allowing a gap to occur. It is important not to reveal all the idea for a lesson at the beginning of the period. etc. etc. This prevents you from being under pressure and also makes it clear that when you require silence the lesson will begin.g. The routine nature of this part of the lesson establishes a secure environment. so that you can pick them up easily as you need them.g. they may even get prepared for the lesson without you having to ask. I want to ask you… When your way of beginning will become familiar to your pupils. etc. while remaining in their seats. For instance. too… But first of all. so we’ll leave our books for today and go on to… I want you to listen to… and decide… There is little point in beginning a new activity while some pupils are still trying to work out what they must do. questions.3 Moving From One Activity to Another During a lesson. ask the pupils to help. Make sure you are ready before beginning the actual lesson.clean. There is a wide range of activities which you can use: all pupils listening to recorded material pupils repeating individually or chorally individual pupils responding to you pupils reading silently (e. Allow your pupils to continue to talk quietly.4 Transitions It is a good idea to mark transition moments. the class moves from one activity to another. until you announce that you are ready to begin the lesson. e. you can write something on the board). Keep calm and do not rush to start. a change of activity is motivating as it gives a new chance to those who have not enjoyed or not done well in the last activity. If not. Sometimes you can prepare for the next activity while the pupils are busy finishing the previous one(e. Then. 1. It is quite difficult to regain the attention of a class. Make a clear and definite start. For all pupils.: Right.g. I’ve brought… for you to… We’ll do some pair work.g. so that your pupils can be aware of the way they are progressing through the work. The activities you choose must suit the objectives you have for the lesson. The time you take to get organised may seem shorter to the pupils than you may think. so that for some part of the lesson pupils are working with each other. in pairs or in groups. 1.) in groups group discussion of a topic pupils completing tests individually. everybody and waiting for silence before going on. say briefly what the plan for the lesson is. but especially for the weaker ones. You may also want to change the pattern of interaction from time to time. We’ll be using Unit… in our books.
take time gathering up your materials and books. If you begin speaking at once. There are however. and you may have time to say a few friendly words (in English) to some of the pupils. clean it yourself. A number of handouts can be given to pupils at different points in the class. many pupils will simply not listen as they will be preoccupied with what they are looking at. Then wait quietly for a few moments so that the pupils have time to look at what they have received. asking them to take one and pass the rest on. correction. the pupils will have something fresh to focus on and their motivation will be helped. you must not delay pupils and make them late for their next lesson. Conclude the lesson. In the same way.5 Ending a Lesson Keep an eye on the time so that you are not in the middle of an activity when the lesson should be ending. It’s almost time for the end of the lesson. It is better to finish a little early rather than late. your pupils work better in some circumstances than in others: some pupils may prefer a collaborative and conversational style. Then. When you have handouts or other papers to distribute to a large class. there may be no time to sort out any difficulties. or between a pupil and the material. For instance. If it is given too late. It is often a good idea to tell the class what the homework is and then finish the lesson with an activity which helps with the tasks you have set. 1. if you are going to use handouts. do not put it on show from the beginning of the class: pin it up and cover it with a large sheet of paper that can be removed easily. The pupils will appreciate your courtesy in finishing on time. Overhead projectors are especially useful in this respect because you can prepare the material in advance and reveal it to the class bit by bit. and so on. 2 Patterns of Interaction Classroom interaction is central to effective instruction. Give the homework towards the end but not in the last few seconds of the lesson. You can ask the pupils to help you. Pictures and handouts should be made visible or available to all the pupils as quickly as possible. you should ensure that it is clean before you leave the classroom and. The most common type of classroom interaction is that known as „IRF‟: Initiation Response Feedback. refer to what has been done and to what you plan to do next. However. or comment). rather than just stop by saying something which indicates that you have finished. individual pupils have an opportunity to speak to you informally. When you are not in a hurry to your next lesson. if necessary. When you show it to the class. Others tend to be less active and yet others more independent. Of course. Do not forget that for most people the eyes almost always take precedence over the ears. with interruptions and more than one pupil talking at a time. some pupils may try to do it during the lesson. keep them until the time they are to be used arrives. then initiates the next question. The teacher initiates an exchange. even if you have to say We’ll have to leave this exercise until another day.picture. Even if it is normal in your school for a pupil to be asked to clean the board. Interaction may be between pupils. If homework is given too early. alternative patterns: the initiative does not always have to be in your hands. usually in the form of a question. Leave the classroom in good order – as you would expect to find it. the teacher gives feedback (in the form of assessment. Here are some interaction patterns ordered from most teacher-dominated to most pupil-active: Anca Cehan 5 . This gives an opportunity for any problems to be raised and helps to make the pupils feel confident that they will be able to do the homework. do not try to give every paper yourself to each pupil. one of the pupils answers.
teacher answers: the pupils think of questions and the teacher responds. Individual work: the teacher gives a task or set of tasks. The teacher may or may not intervene. Network Educational Press. but work together. Self-access: the pupils choose their own learning tasks. The teacher walks around monitoring and assisting where necessary. The teacher walks around listening and intervenes little if at all. 2. conveying information or making decisions. or gives a cue which is responded to in chorus.1 The components of classroom management (after Philip Watehouse. Collaboration or pair work: the pupils do the same sort of tasks as in „individual work‟. The teacher decides who asks the question.Teacher talk: the teacher is talking or reading aloud with all pupils listening. and the pupils work on them independently. Classroom Management. The range of activity patterns is infinite. There is no initiative on the part of the pupils. and work autonomously Varying groupings is one way of enabling a variety of experiences for the learners. but we can group them into two main categories: 1. Group work (done in small groups of three to eight pupils): the pupils work on tasks that entail interaction. Pupil initiates. The teacher may intervene occasionally to stimulate participation or to monitor. Open-ended teacher questioning: the teacher asks a question to which there are a number of possible „right‟ answers. such as writing from dictation or making notes in notebooks. This is different from group work where the task itself necessitates interaction. usually in pairs. the pupils debate a topic or do a language task as a class. There may be some kind of silent pupil response. pupils‟ independent activities whole class Teacher-led activities tutorial briefing reviewing discussion library work course work project work homework private study discussions collaborative projects private reading use of audio/video/IT technology teacher presentation class dialogue pupil activities individual work Independent activities pair work small group work Fig. Such an interaction pattern can be found in guessing games.13) Anca Cehan 6 . They may also mix together as individuals. Five types of student grouping are common in the classroom: Whole-class interaction: the whole class is working together with the teacher. Closed-ended teacher questioning: the teacher asks a question which can get only one „right‟ response. Stafford. whole class teacher-led activities 2. so that more pupils answer each cue. p. 1990. Choral response: the teacher gives a model which is repeated by all the class in chorus.
Individual work is a good opportunity for the pupils to work entirely alone. they also need their own time and space. While they need your guidance and help. and they are often referred to as traditional teaching. but it is not easy to manage. simply getting the pupils to work on their own is no guarantee of a high level of motivation.1 Whole Class Activities Whole class activities play an important part in classroom management. to activities where pupils take charge of their own learning in self-access centres or out-ofclass activities. for instance. as is the need to give additional support if it is required. Such an opportunity should be given frequently to all pupils. That is why you need to offer constant care and monitoring of the group progress. It is easy to use the pair as the normal unit for independent work and to break for individual work occasionally. Anca Cehan 7 . Although traditional. Or you can hand out different worksheets to different pupils depending on their skills. What are. Paired work is very popular and usually the classroom seating decides the pairing. class dialogue and student activities.2. and they can be an opportunity for you to show your charisma. 3 Teacher-Led Activities 3. whole class teacher-led activities (also called „lockstep‟ teaching) can be very powerful. the advantages of whole class teacherled activities? Write your answer in the space provided below and compare it with that given at the end of the unit. Working well as a member of a small group is an advanced activity which even adults may find hard to handle. if they are well done.2 Pupils’ Independent Activities Independent activities can be done individually. A teacher’s presentation can be very effective if it is done for short periods and with sparkle. You can give them worksheets with several different tasks and allow them to choose which tasks to do. needs or tastes. or you can ask them to complete worksheets with different tasks or to write tasks by themselves. These activities include: teacher presentation. you can. 2. Such independent activities are a vital preparation for the development of the pupils‟ learning autonomy. in pairs or in groups. and some freedom in making decisions of their own. They can be very attractive and powerful. in your opinion. However. or combine with other pairs for small group work. Independent activities can range from pupils doing exercises on their own. Good prior instructions are essential. ask them to read a text privately and then answer questions individually. When you wish your pupils to work on their own in class. The pupils can be inspired and stimulated by the charisma of a teacher with good presentation skills. Many young pupils may run into difficulties when they are left on their own. You can allow your pupils to do some research on their own or choose what they want to read or listen to. Pupils enjoy to be given some degree of independence.1 Whole Class Teacher-Led Activities These are the best known of teaching arrangements. Small group work can be very productive.
at the end and at critical points in the lesson. They need to have a vision of the new knowledge. as they can report back. At personal level your pupils may need help in order to see how they may personally identify with the new topic. that is giving the pupils something to do. in pairs or in small groups). 3. and to explore issues and ideas together. Working in a small group. A good presentation will stimulate your pupils‟ intellectual curiosity. Class dialogue is best when it is lively and motivating for the pupils. your pupils will be prepared to work again together as a class for the consolidation of their work. possible problems or standards. organize and consolidate their previous knowledge of the topic. as it can lose its vitality and become mechanical and repetitive. especially if a new topic is introduced. it can give guidance to the pupils about the styles and techniques to be used in doing work on the new topic. The teacher remains in control of what is happening. you should encourage pupil contributions. how it fits in with their previous work and knowledge. Whole class presentations are particularly valuable at the beginning. Pupil activities. By skilful questioning. after a period of time of independent activities (individual. they may take notes. However. and to assess it. or to allow you to help them overcome their difficulties. If you want the presentation to achieve its objectives. Tutorials can make a real difference to the quality of the pupils‟ learning. It should be informal and spontaneous. or where the concepts that need to be taught are difficult. revise and consolidate. They may feel the need to share the excitement of the discovery with their classmates. discuss the issues raised during independent work. Also. you can help the pupils to prepare for their next assignment.2 Tutorials Not as common as whole class teaching. give them guidance. It is always helpful to present at the very beginning the structure of the exposition. such as a dialogue or individual tasks. mostly used in private schools. Such a presentation should not resemble a higher education lecture.3 Teacher Presentation Whole class teaching is especially favoured when making a presentation meant to inform.Class dialogue (also known as the “Socratic method”) is a very useful method. then say it. to describe or to explain. Alternatively. you can give them a handout with a gapped structure of your presentation. Also. During tutorials. or write after dictation. during the presentation the pupils may want help. or respond to a cue. Such an exposition can be interrupted by other short activities. and ask them to complete it as you are presenting. but the pupils are given opportunities to be active. it may review. to understand why it is important and relevant. assess the quality of the work done and evaluate the topic. how it will contribute to their mastery of English. and then tell them what you have said! A way of involving the pupils is to ask them to take down notes. Reviews can also be organised during tutorials to look back at the work which has been completed. tutorials (extra-class small group work) are also teacher led. it needs to have a clear structure that the pupils can grasp. A thorough. Tutorials can be organised to encourage the pupils to talk about their work. At this stage. help to bring variety into whole class teaching. and as short as possible (no longer than 10 minutes with younger pupils). you can lead the thinking of the class. indicate resources. during tutorials it is easier to identify problems and to offer pupils more personal and individualised support. or it can make the new learning more personal. it needs firm and careful handling. The pupils may all repeat something in the chorus. However. Tell your pupils first what you are going to say. such as topic changes. how they can build clear „images‟ of what the topic is about. Anca Cehan 8 . 3. high quality presentation can motivate and inspire your pupils.
as the questions need to be adapted to the responses which are received. Getting the best responses from the pupils calls for patience and skill. A question is a teacher‟s utterance which has the objective of eliciting an oral response from the pupils. prompting and occasional summaries as to where the discussion has reached. where and how you stand. opinions) Anca Cehan 9 . you lead the thinking of the class by asking questions and building on the responses received from the pupils. teacher questions are not always realised by interrogatives. writing a title. However. You might start with familiar examples. A low voice creates a feeling of expectancy. Gradually you help them to recognize general principles or rules and finally give them opportunities to demonstrate their understanding by applying it. how you move are all observed and registered by the pupils. as their span of attention is limited. Either insist on their paying attention to you or give them something to do (e. and making contributions when you invite them to do so. During presentations. It is better to introduce variety and more pupil participation. listening. ideas. Be simple. mainly within the IRF pattern. We’ll describe what is going on in this picture. Here are a few suggestions: Get the attention of your class before you start. you cannot use it for lengthy periods. a recording. how you look. Questioning is a universally used activation technique in teaching. But there are other various reasons why you might ask a question in the classroom: to provide a model for language or thinking to find out something from the pupils (facts. gives a sense of importance to the occasion. playing a number of related roles: organizer. be brief and be human. 3. This will bring the class into the work frame of mind. an introductory example or statement). and builds a sense of mutual confidence. e. Then your questioning can help the pupils to build upon their existing knowledge and understanding. a serious and trusting atmosphere. surprise them. Build in pauses in which you invite the pupils to summaries what you have said so far.Teacher roles. Your motive in questioning is usually to get your pupils to engage with the language material actively through speech. Your first sentences must be attention holding.4 Class Dialogue In class dialogue. a drawing. you are the focus of attention. The pupils are relatively passive. Pupil contributions must be encouraged with reinforcement. Appeal to their curiosity.) which has the aim of rousing the pupils‟ curiosity.g. A pregnant pause in a presentation can be effective. Offer silence to your pupils so that they can reflect and consider their responses.g. Remember that much communication is non-verbal. Do not forget that there is virtue in silence. The most common way of doing this is by using class dialogue. rather than an authoritarian style. etc. In the role of discussion leader you need to exercise a democratic. It is often hard to prepare the exact wording of the questions in advance. Vary the volume and pace to give variety. Keep your voice level to the minimum necessary. information source. Occasionally. Temper your projections of personality with sensitivity. Tell me what you can see in this picture. etc. a map. or discussion leader. a piece of text. Start with plenty of examples and then gradually introduce new vocabulary or more complex statements. make appeal to feelings and use a more theatrical language. Remember that no matter how good your presentation is. responding to questions. Class dialogue should be carefully prepared. following instructions. intrigue them or move them emotionally. with the presentation of a stimulus (a picture.
The pupils should immediately grasp what the question means. 3..A. If your questions result in long silences. analysis. Editura Univers. relevant and full responses. Anca Cehan 10 . 4. 2.to check or test understanding. Say to which of the category suggested above do the following questions belong? Some questions may belong to more than one category. clear and unambiguous.. The key word is What? What are the people in the picture doing? What is the difference between these two animals? What surprised you in this anecdote? What is this? Interest. It shouldn‟t be irrelevant. The question should stimulate thinking and responses that will contribute to further learning of the target material. reflective or imaginative) and to make them probe more deeply into issues to get pupils to review and practise previously learnt material to encourage their self-expression to communicate to them that you are genuinely interested in what they think. U. motivated.. or is she simply checking if the pupil does?) whether they are closed.S. What is the number of Richard’s house on Linden Street? ……………………………………. 1. Is there a subway in your country? ……………………………………. Questions can be classified according to various criteria: the kind of thinking they try to elicit (plain recall. Family Album. stimulating. 5. The pupils should find the question interesting. 1993) An effective questioning technique is one that elicits fairly prompt. and what kind of answer is required. Do you like staying in a hotel? …………………………………….or open-ended (do they have a single right answer or many?). unhelpful or merely time-filling. bore the class. challenging. or elicit only very brief or unsuccessful answers. Learning value.. The language must be simple. What topics do you usually talk about with someone you meet for the first time? ……………………………………. The questioning should start with an invitation to observe or identify. How do most people travel to work in your city or town? ……………………………………. are answered by only the strongest pupils. Effective questioning should follow a few criteria: Clarity. then there is probably something wrong. or evaluation) whether they are „genuine‟ or „display‟ questions (does the teacher really want to know the answer. (questions from Howard Beckerman. knowledge or skill to get the class to be active in their learning to direct attention to the topic being learned to inform the class via the answers of the stronger pupils rather than through your input to provide weaker pupils with an opportunity to participate to stimulate their thinking (logical..
What would happen if…? Grading. use non-verbal communication. You may also try a short prompt. which may be more or less inspiring and motivating. Can you now list a few disadvantages of whole class teacherled teaching? Whole class teaching is an important part of a teacher‟s repertoire of methods. During the silence. The questions should build up to higher levels of thinking. That is why. such an answer deserves praise. Encourage respect for the contribution of others. The way you respond to your pupils‟ answers will affect the way they perform at the time but also the way they will perform in the future. courtesy and constructiveness and then expect it of the pupils. If there is no answer at all during questioning. or which are bold and imaginative. How…?. allowing a few seconds‟ wait-time before accepting a response can make the question available to a larger number of pupils. Set a good example of respect. However. Here are a few suggestions for managing your pupils‟ answers: Be prepared to wait for an answer. prompt them forwards. Do not tolerate sarcasm. Encourage answers which express the pupils‟ personal thoughts or feelings. Most of the pupils in the class should be able to answer the question. and has a lot of potential. A reluctant pupil can be helped by being nominated to answer an easy question. and the rules for discussion should be clearly established.Availability. Questions likely to get fuller answers often start with Why…?. Extension. The pupils should be sure that their responses will be treated with respect. Discussion techniques are particularly useful for topics involving personal attitudes and in problem solving. Refrain from filling the gap immediately if the question is met with initial silence. The question should invite and encourage extended and/or varied answers. Signal that you are actually enjoying the silence and are not in the least embarrassed or annoyed. Responding only to the bright and eager tends to focus attention on them at the expense of the others. or by any single word. that they will not be put down or ridiculed if they say something inappropriate. give encouraging nods or raise your eyebrows. Encourage pupil answers. an average class may be too big to operate as a successful discussion group. This kind of help has to be offered gently. You will need to respond to content not only to the language form. Try to get answers from as many pupils as possible.5 Class Discussion Effective questioning leads to class discussion. That is why you have to be in firm control. Praise the good answers and preserve the self-esteem of those who give wrong answers. during class teaching the pupils may become passive as individual Anca Cehan 11 . In the role of discussion leader you need to be neutral and to exercise a democratic style. Give help if you see it is needed during an answer. It relies on teacher talk. However. Try to eliminate questions which can be answered simply by Yes or No. with tact and discretion. aggression. 3. Even if it is incorrect. if your pupils cannot think of what to say. or destructive criticism. A class discussion must be brought to a satisfactory close by summarising the main points made and the conclusions reached.
Classroom Management. Independent learning is characterized by the pupils‟ active and responsible participation in the lesson: the pupils show study skills (personal organization and learning skills) they take active steps to prepare for work they show initiative in finding the resources they need for the work assigned they show initiative in getting help from their classmates before seeking help from the teacher they offer help to classmates they contribute to the task in a responsible way they are often organized in teams they often follow up classroom work with further investigation they are so involved or absorbed in their work that the teacher is able to step back. Stafford. 56 4. Independent learning can take place in various groupings: individual.differences are ignored and their motivation may decrease. During such an activity. making suggestions. Network Educational Press. Your role is to monitor – to move around the class. paired or small group). checking that everyone is on task. Mode Supervised learning Supported independent work Pupil grouping individual or paired individual paired or small group Briefing for task whole class Teacher circulating group Monitoring and control Teacher circulating Adapted after Waterhouse P. Anca Cehan 12 . However. and b) supported independent work (individual. class teaching has its place in the repertoire of a teacher.. the individual pupils or pairs then proceed with their tasks. provided it is not the only method in use! 4 Pupils’ Independent Activities Before reading the next section. try to think of a few important advantages of pupils‟ independent activities. you can find opportunity to talk to individuals or small groups. 1990. After you give the explanation of what to do and how to do it to the class as a whole. helping with problems. supervising work and behaviour. giving advice.1 Supervised Learning In supervised learning. p. The pupils need to be thoroughly prepared and briefed for independent learning tasks and they should be constantly monitored and controlled. the teacher sets a task or a series of tasks to be done individually. pair or team / small group. Two modes of independent learning can be distinguished a) supervised study (individual or paired work). This system helps the pupils to be more active and this can be an important move towards real pupil independence. or in pairs.
in groups or in pairs. or a full self-access learning programme. where everyone in the class is expected to do the same thing. Topic: the pupil will be able to select tasks that vary in the subject or topic.However. reading. Try to summaries the disadvantages of pupils‟ individualized learning.2 Supported Independent Learning The concept of supported independent learning or individualized learning is sometimes identified with the provision of a self-access centre. These offer various kinds of materials. while all are based on the same language skill or teaching point 4. try to get the same pupil to answer the question or get another pupil to join in intervene by asking questions of your own to find out how well they have understood the task do not revert to class teaching.g. Procedures that allow for individual choice include: 1. although this may seem an economical way of solving problems keep a low profile. Individualized learning is the opposite of „lockstep‟ learning. too: the pupils are given a measure of freedom to choose how and what they learn at a particular time. Tasks and materials are adapted or selected to suit the individual. grammar. encouraging them to expand on their difficulties and their problems refrain from answering a pupil‟s question directly. monitoring quietly and unobtrusively 4. or they may find out that they are unable to make decisions and are still dependent on your directions. at the same time. Here are a few suggestions for how you can reduce the pupils‟ dependence on the teacher: brief thoroughly before the task allocate enough time for the task make sure the task is at the right level and the pupils can cope with it and the resources necessary for it encourage the pupils to seek help from each other spend time listening to individual pupils. Level: tasks may be presented in easier or more difficult versions. Individualized learning may have a more modest sense. and the pupils may participate in the choice of materials. in the same way. so that the pupil can choose the one that suits his/her level 3. the pupils may feel deprived of the stimulus of working with other people. Anca Cehan 13 . Language skill or teaching point: each pupil may choose to work on a different aspect of language (e. Individualized learning is a serious attempt to provide for different learner needs and to place a higher responsibility for learning on the learners themselves. and then work on their own. This implies less direct teacher supervision and more learner autonomy and responsibility for learning. when working individually. etc). listening. Speed: how fast or slowly each individual may work (everyone being engaged in the same basic task) 2.
2 Group Work Organisation Group work tends to occur less frequently but pupils who have got used to pair work can easily be put into groups. Pupils soon get used to the idea of pairing. say what resources (books. To organise pair work. etc. Also. A preliminary rehearsal or „dry run‟ of a sample of the activity with the full class can help to clarify things. The pupils can sit either facing each other for conversation or side by side when looking at the same book or paper. handouts. e. the Dream team. so you three pairs make Group 1. if this can be done without it being too obvious. Before you fix the group size. you need to give a clear directive. At first you will probably want to name the leaders. Every group member should have a job and be answerable to the group. One way is to organise them as if for pair work. precise instructions about what you want them to do. Anca Cehan 14 . 5. So take your notebooks and pens and get into groups of six. However. Young learners tend to prefer to make pairs with their special friends and this is often perfectly satisfactory. and lack of effective practice. They have the added advantages of fostering learner responsibility and independence.5 Pupil Groupings: Pair Work and Group Work In pair and group work pupils perform a learning task through interaction. With a class which is used to group work you may say We’re going to do the next activity in groups. This has the advantage of not interrupting the flow of the lesson too much. give examples of what you expect and indicate how much time they will have to complete the task. Pair work can be done simply by some pupils turning round or moving along a bit to sit with a partner. and then say We’re going to work in bigger groups. etc. give clear. Group B. of improving motivation and contributing to a feeling of cooperation and warmth in the class. confusion.) the pupils will need. A few moments of chaos may follow. and a simple We’ll do this in pairs prompts them to sort themselves out quite quickly and quietly. or the Wonder team. but in time each group can choose its own. Once the groups have been formed. For quick snippets of oral practice. Also. A group of 4 – 8 pupils is large enough to produce a variety of opinions and responses. The jobs should be rotated frequently. and so on. it will not be much trouble. We can do this as pair work.1 Pair Work Organisation The amount of practice each pupil gets is greatly increased by the use of pair work. but small enough to give each pupil a sense of belonging. it is a good idea sometimes to vary who sits with whom. 5. use random pairing which occurs as a result of seating. Both pair and group work are forms of learner activation that are of particular value in the practice of oral fluency. you three Group 2. this allows you to set activities for pairs or for the whole team. please. and perhaps difficult for some pupils. every member of the group should know that help for another member of the group is encouraged. but once group work has become a normal part of the class routine.g. Will the front row please turn round and work with the people behind them. A common approach is to start an activity with paired work and to take the results of pair work to the whole group. You may wish to try to pair a „good‟ pupil with a less able one.) helps to make the session run smoothly. The instructions given at the beginning are crucial: if the pupils do not understand exactly what they have to do there will be time-wasting. Pair and group work can mark a transition from one stage of the lesson to the next. It is sensible to be more selective about pairing if you are planning an activity which is long. Some teachers find that having group leaders (different ones on each occasion) and/or giving each group a name (Group A. If each group consists of an even number of pupils. etc.
you should try to finish the activity while the pupils are still enjoying it and interested. this will help you to draw the activity to a close at a certain point. some will be happy to just wait for the others to finish. and monitor what is happening. but it Anca Cehan 15 . If you have set a time limit. Also. Pair and group work which goes on for too long causes problems as the pupils get bored. you have two options: either to go from group to group. ask and contribute. or go round the class observing. or a set signal for stopping. You can be acting as monitor or as prompter. In the table below tick the advantages that characterise pair work. If the groups simply stop when they have finished. you may ask them all to stop the activity after the first pairs or groups have finished. and will want or need to do something else. or keep out of the way. at the back or anywhere else in the classroom. When they are tired. What can be your contribution during pair and group work? During pair and group work you have an opportunity to work with individual pupils whom you feel would benefit from your help. You should be able to foresee what language will be needed. You could stand at the front. This solution removes the problem of boredom. group work or both: pair work increases the amount of pupil speaking time allows pupils to work and interact independently promotes pupil independence allows the teacher time to work with one or two chosen pairs helps the classroom to become a more relaxed and more friendly place helps pupils to share responsibility can be easily organised personal relationships are less problematic more opinions and more contributions are made public encourages cooperation and negotiation skills more private than whole class work promotes learner autonomy pupils can choose their level of participation group work both 5. In principle. or only just beginning to flag.3 Pair and Group Work in Progress While the pupils are working in pairs or groups. A frequent problem is that some pairs or groups will finish earlier than others.Select tasks that are simple enough to describe easily. In other circumstances. then you should tell them what they will have to do next. Sometimes it may be costeffective to explain some or all in Romanian. Do not spend too long with one pair or group as this sometimes leads to other pupils losing interest in the task as they feel you have lost interest in them. you should tell the class what the arrangements are for stopping: if there is a time limit. resource or tutor. before giving the sign to start. and have a preliminary quick review of appropriate grammar or vocabulary.
This overcomes the main disadvantage of the class dialogue which can degenerate into a succession of short questions. and you need to provide assessment and make corrections. By comparing solutions. There is no doubt that collaborative work can lead to a lot of noise if it is not controlled carefully. and problems. or that some weaker pupils are lost. the pupils can reach a better understanding of the task or topic. that one pupil dominates the group. and the teacher jumping from one student to another in Anca Cehan 16 . Rewards (and minor sanctions) should be given on a pair or group basis. The achievements of the group members could be publicised and recorded either individually. you should be especially firm in dealing with noisy or troublesome pupils. which are the result of group deliberation. Feedback on the task may take many forms: giving the right solution (if there is one) listening to and evaluating suggestions pooling ideas on the board displaying materials the groups have produced having a few pairs or groups to demonstrate the language they used. While the pupils are working in pairs or groups. Could you now summarise the disadvantages of group work?. and so on. or as sum totals for the group. ideas. or provide the focus of a separate lesson later. For this reason. The pupils need to discuss what occurred during the activity. Feedback on language may be integrated into the discussion of the task. On the first one or two occasions when you organise pair or group work. Some thinking needs to be given to the life-span of the group. you need to ensure that it was completed successfully. Your main objective is to express appreciation of the effort that has been invested and its results.may de-motivate those who have not yet finished.4 Feedback to Pair and Group Work When pairs and groups stop working together. either. While permanent groups may not be the best solution. Constructive feedback on pupils‟ work will enhance their motivation. Where the task had definite right or wrong answers. 5. It is wise to have a reserve task planned to occupy the members of groups who finish earlier than expected. Questions directed at the pairs or at the teams can anticipate longer. you need to observe how well they interact together. A group should start with a clearly defined task to be done within a defined time. The advantages of pair and group work soon become apparent. a feedback session usually takes place. You will need to change the pairs to groups in future if you notice that some pupils cannot concentrate on the task and talk about something else (usually in Romanian). Some teachers may be hesitant about using pair work and group work with very large classes. This helps the pupils build a sense of team identity but also removes the fear of being locked into a grouping which an individual may feel uncomfortable with. They fear that they will have difficulty in controlling the pupils. with one-word answers supplied by the bright and eager. you may find it useful to explain why you want to do pair work and group work and to impress upon the class the need to behave in a responsible way. Feedback on language mistakes is only one part of the process. constant changes are not advisable. more thoughtful answers.
Allow students to finish their own sentences. Use gestures to replace unnecessary teacher talk. 6. In the collaborative work approach. walk further away. Put them in situations where they need to make decisions for themselves. and explore the possibilities of silence. Maximizing student interaction in class Here are some ideas. When you want the pupils to discuss something. Encourage co-operation rather than competition: we learn from others and from working through our own mistakes. and pupils can learn to justify their arguments to their fellow group members. Anca Cehan 17 . rather than the teacher. Work on listening (1) to the student. supportive rapport among the learners and between learners and teacher leads to a better chance of useful interaction happening. Work on seeing things from their p[perspective as well as your own. Problematic class management Here are some common ways in which teachers unintentionally hinder or prevent learning. Try out seating arrangements that allow the whole class to be the focus. TTT (Teacher talking time) English teachers tend to believe that silence is horrible and fill it with their own talk.search of the right answer. to prepare what they are going to say and how they are going to say it. Encourage interaction between students rather than only between student and teacher and teacher and student. positive. Allow time for the pupils to listen. When possible. Allow students to become more responsible for their own progress. (2) the meaning as well as (3) the language and (4) the mistakes. the less opportunity there is for the learners. Allow them the time and the quiet they need. process their answer and then speak. give explanations to each other rather than always to you. Get students to ask questions. Allow thinking time without talking over it. However. Respect the learners. 7. rather than closer to them. Ask questions rather than giving explanations. selected from Scrivener‟s book: Create an effective learning environment. Allow silence. ask open questions. Don‟t feel the need to fill every gap in a lesson. They need time to think. A trusting. think. The result of an activity may be less important than how the pupils are getting there. Encourage a friendly. arrange seating so that students can all see each other and talk to each other (in circles. the more a teacher talks. relaxed learning environment. Make use of pairs and small groups to maximize opportunities for pupils to speak. Be as honestly yourself as you can be. Let what they say really affect what you do next. different solutions can be explored. Really listen to what they say. squares or horseshoes rather than parallel rows). Use gestures and facial expressions to encourage them to speak and listen to each other. Encourage the quiet speaker to speak louder so that the others can hear. Increase opportunities for STT (Student Talking Time). If a student is speaking too quietly for you to hear.
This kind of „doing the hard work‟ for the students is counter-productive for them.. If she can open up to pupil feedback without selfdefence. because they know the teacher will repeat everything. how they feel. by giving examples. and that she can work on responding appropriately to that. the students will get more talking time and they will start to listen to each other more. Many teachers believe in the importance of open. Fear of genuine feedback In an active. A teacher should try to keep Anca Cehan 18 . or will defend herself against perceived attack when she gets feedback.g. material. In this way you satisfy yourself that the task has been understood. So. is a sign of natural authority. if you feel that’s OK) can be a way in which teachers undermine themselves. Insufficient authority and over-politeness Too much politeness (e. by repeating an instruction. what they think. start to control this.Echoing If you tend to echo what the students say. Not checking understanding of instructions Even the clearest instructions can be difficult to understand foe some students. A teacher needs to be clear and say directly what needs to be done. it would be nice if you could just. partly to the questions asked. Complicated and unclear instructions Unplanned. A Yes may mean “I don‟t want to seem stupid”. justifications or arguments. If the teacher sees feedback as a threat to herself or her position she will avoid feedback. The best way to get clear information about what students have taken in is to get them to demonstrate their understanding. she will find that she can start to find out what the students are really thinking. or “I don‟t want to waste the class time” and not necessarily “I think I understand”. activity. etc. after you‟ve given them. check that they have been understood. a question such as Do you understand? is often useless. Work out what is essential for them to know and tell them only that. Helping the students with sentence completion Often the teacher is so desperate for the students to say what she wants them to say that she predicts the words the student will produce and often adds „tails‟ to sentence after sentence. Pupils need to learn to finish off their own sentences. They understand a small percentage of what the teacher is saying and guess only from one or two words they catch what the teacher is trying to say. if you don’t mind. An imperative like Stop now. by explaining their interpretation of an idea. learners. and mainly to the teacher‟s attitude and response to feedback received. honest feedback but find it hard to get. unstructured instructions are extremely confusing to students. This is partly due to classroom atmosphere. Asking Do you understand? When you want to check the pupils‟ understanding. what they need. Lack of confidence in self.. please. using their own words and their own ideas. When you echo they will learn that they don‟t need to listen to anyone except the teacher. A simple way is to ask a student or two to repeat them back to you. This provides real evidence rather than possibly untrue information. A common cause of boredom in the classroom is when the material used is too difficult and hard to recognize or too easy and unchallenging. forward-moving class the learners give constantly their teacher feedback on what they have understood.
the level of challenge right. The cornerstone of effective management is a clearly understood and consistently monitored set of rules and procedures that prevents management problems in all stages of the lesson. Summary Effective lesson management needs careful planning. the point in learning a foreign language is to be able to communicate and receive messages. No really listening (hearing language problems but not the message) We can easily become overconcerned about the accuracy of what is said and to fail to hear the person behind the words. it‟s often best to let them get on with it. Remember that a teacher should be authentic. However. Until the relationships are good within the class the learning is .likely to be of a lower quality – so it‟s worth spending time on this. collaborative learning activities (pair work and group work) rely on interaction to promote cooperative knowledge construction. Flying with the fastest If you only listens to the first pupils who speak. if only we have the courage to trust them. These take into account both the characteristics of the pupils and the physical environment of the classroom. Try directing questions at individuals and sometimes actively „shh!‟ the loud ones – or simply don‟t „hear‟ them. increased motivation and interest. Make sure you get constant answers and feedback from many students. Lesson rules and procedures are the steps for the routines the pupils follow in their learning activities. be demanding and believe that her pupils can do more than they are aware of being able to do – and help them to do it. Over-helping and over-organizing When you give pupils a task to do in a group. This can lead you to fly at the speed of the top two or three students and to lose the rest completely. it‟s very easy to get a false impression of how difficult or easy something is. and the mechanical production of correct English should not blind us to the message conveyed. Weak rapport – creation of a poor working environment If rapport seems to be a problem. For teachers it can be a difficult lesson to learn – but sometimes the students will do much better without us. While in whole class teacher-led activities opportunities for pupil participation are limited. respectful and emphatic. Key Concepts lesson management patterns of interaction whole class teacher-led activities pupils‟ independent activities class dialogue questioning Anca Cehan 19 . Teachers frequently fail to hear what the learners say. control and help. A lot of teacher help. As long as you are around they will look for guidance. then plan work designed to focus on improving the relationships and interaction with the class. although well-intentioned can be perceived as „teacher interference‟ and gets in the way of students working on their own. When you are not there they are forced to do the work themselves (and learning may happen!). You may find that the strongest and fastest students dominate and you get little idea of how the majority of the class finds the work.
Longman Scrivener. Practice and Theory. Penny (1996) A Course in Language Teaching. Longman Ur. Heinemann Underwood. Cambridge University Press Anca Cehan 20 . Mary (1987) Effective Class management.teacher feedback supervised learning supported independent learning pair work group work Further Reading 1. 2. A Practical Approach. J. 4. (994) Learning Teaching. Harmer. Jeremy (2001) The Practice of English Language Teaching. 3.
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