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The main question that goes through every teacher after each of his or her lesson would certainly be, "Have I done my job effectively?" Normally, I can tell whether a lesson has gone well or the opposite. As much as I love sharing knowledge with my students, my experience of merely two years of college teaching has taught myself that it must go hand-in-hand with good management of my classroom. Good classroom management translates into effective teaching which promotes healthy teaching and learning environment. This, in turn, will facilitate both students and teacher in achieving the main principle of learning. Although classroom management would generally be imperative to teachers, a research by Fowler & ÅžaraplÄ± (2010) found that it is also important to students. Therefore it is a significant skill that teachers should acquire (Stoughton, 2007).
Classroom management is important primarily in achieving optimal learning. Current teaching practices are more student-oriented where in due course the students will get the most out of the teaching and learning process. This is accomplished by creating a positive learning environment for the students. Students learn best when they are comfortable with their surroundings especially through the building of strong student-teacher relationship. In an article by Marzano & Marzano (2003), they highlighted the finding of their study which indicates that the teachers who had a good relationship with their students had 31 percent fewer discipline problems, rule violations and related problems over a years' time compared to those who didn't. This provides evidence that strong student-teacher bonding helps the teacher in dealing with problems and misbehaviour among students.
By building a strong relationship with students, the positive learning environment has taken place and so the teachers can expect active participation in class. The last thing a teacher would want is when he or she is hoping for a response from the students, but didn't receive any. I found it very useful to remember the names of each of my students and I would try my best to identify each of them by the end of first month class meeting. I discovered that it is an excellent way in obtaining students involvement in class. In a way, I wanted to show that they are of significant individuals to me and also there is no favouritism in my class where the teacher will only remember two or three names of selected few. The students will usually be more proactive to give their thoughts and feedbacks during and after lessons. Subsequently, I will know how effective my teaching has been and how effective the learning has taken place.
Students and teacher can be thought of as a team where teamwork and cooperation plays a vital role in achieving team goals. This cooperation can be obtained with the teacher's good management skills in the classroom. The teacher will need the support from his or her students in order to deliver lesson on his or her best effort. Therefore, students' cooperation in avoiding any misconduct during lessons is much needed by the teacher. Of course the teacher should be firm in handling these kinds of behaviour, but prevention is better than cure. I would try as much as possible to avoid using anger as a counter measure because it will end up straining the relationship built with the students. Ultimately to steer clear of the situation, I know that it is best to tell the students first hand of what I deem is acceptable and what is not.
In addition to helping the teacher doing his or her job effectively, students' cooperation developed through classroom management can also mould students into young citizens. Metzger (2000) suggests that in a democratic society, the teacher can use classroom management strategies to define the students as good citizens in the near future. This can be done by bringing up the concept of power sharing. The students will be given responsibilities on their own behaviour and making their own decisions, not just following orders. This will also benefit the teachers in a sense that they will feel less pressured because of the constant need of monitoring the students. In fact, they can have the opportunity to really work together with their students.
Adequate preparations and properly lay out plans of conducting lessons is also a form of classroom management that is important in designing a positive classroom climate. A positive classroom climate is another key benefit of true classroom management. Checking the overall condition of the classroom before meeting the students is very important to make sure that the facilities provided can be used as effective teaching aids. The teacher can also anticipate potential problems that may occur during lessons due to uncomfortable settings in the classroom. Instead of just cancelling class and replacing them, the teacher can plan ahead what could be done or has a backup plan in case something didn't go as initially planned. This will greatly improve the teacher's teaching in the future and gaining experience in managing future classes.
Finally, classroom management is also a good way to get off to a right start with students. First day of class is the best time to communicate rules and procedures, explaining the syllabus and expectations. Some teachers will also begin the first day of class with ice-breakers or fun activities so that the students feel excited and will look forward to attending future meetings. It also creates opportunity for the teacher and students to get to know each other better which will help in building quality student-teacher relationship. Last semester I did an activity which benefited my students and myself, which is identifying what type of learning styles we have. It helped me to tailor fit my teaching approach to suit particular group of students and also helped the students to focus more on their strong points.
Conclusively, classroom management is important because it is one of the aspects of effective teaching. Effective teaching will take place when a positive learning environment has been created. Of course this relies on a good bond between the students and the teacher which can be built with a proper management of the first day of class. By clearly stating the rules and teachers' expectations of the students, the teacher will find no problem in obtaining students' engagement in class. Proper classroom management is of great importance to the students, as it is for the teachers. At the end of the day, hopefully after successfully implementing classroom management strategies, the teacher can safely say, "Yes, I have done my job effectively."