This is how our TEFL graduates feel they have gained from their course, and how they plan to put into action what they learned:
I have chosen classroom management as my research article as I feel this is the start of the whole process. This is such a large area to cover, so I have only chosen mostly the communication side of classroom management.
The first impression and the physical presence that you give to your students is lasting and critical. It's not just appearance, but the way that you move and stand is also important. What is most important is the way that we respond to what happens in the class. Being aware of what is going on often makes the difference between being successful and having a less than satisfactory lesson.
Being aware of your proximity to students is important, as when working with some students, they can find it uncomfortable if you stand or sit too close to them. On the other hand we have to be aware that being too far away can be seen as being cold and distant. Therefore being conscious of this and assessing your students reactions to your presence is necessary. Be prepared to modify your proximity to their behaviour.
Awareness is also important in order to manage the class, you have to be aware of what the students are doing and, where possible, how they are feeling. This will mean listening and watching just as carefully as teaching. We also have to be aware when we are assessing what students have said and what they are saying so that we can respond appropriately. We have to be flexible enough to respond to what is going on in the classroom.
Movement by teachers is also important, to be motionless in the class can bore students, however constantly moving around can have a negative effect as students heads keep moving from side to side. My personal preference would be to move to some extent to maintain the student's interest. You will need to do this when working with smaller groups. Developing a personal style that is comfortable to you and the students is important; this also links in with your proximity to the students.
I feel that the most important instrument that a teacher can use is his/her voice, there are some areas that we have to consider.
Using the voice in teaching is very important as we as teachers have to be audible. We must be sure that the students at the back of the class can hear us, as well as at the front of the class. Having good voice projection is more important than shouting; even so, the two are connected. The way that we talk to students and the manner in which we interact with them is critical. We must use this as a means to establish a good rapport with them. We must also use our voice when giving instructions, this can also be crucial. The best lesson you have created can be wasted because the students don't understand what they need to do.
We must be mindful when communicating with students that our body language and gestures are important; to some extent they are the same as speaking, that is why I have added it to the article. We all use our face and hands to clarify a meaning, such as shrugging our shoulders to say ‘who cares?' the use of facial expressions can show emotions, such as happiness and sadness, we can also use our hands to encourage more speaking or to stop something. We can use gestures with speech; by putting our hands up to gain attention and by saying, ‘please sir'. We can also use gestures in miming, this is very important when teaching students at the lower levels.
All of these aspects of communication are very important in the success of class room management. However, there are also other aspects that are of importance, these are simply what I feel are of greater importance in the success of good communication in class room management.
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