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Welcome to Classroom Questions
Students are in your classroom with one primary purpose...to learn. They are being taught to prepare for the future. The home, where children started their early learning, has become a place of comfort for them but in their growing up years, the school has become their second home. Their classmates have become their brothers and sisters and their circle of friends their comfort zone. Therefore the classroom, where they always gather and mingle, is not only a learning place but their social network as well.
It is safe to say that teachers have become, in many situations, surrogate parents. They have been assigned to the classroom to help their students respect and enjoy the learning experience. But students have been raised depending on the manner their parents raised them; therefore their differences may sometimes cause them to be unruly, aggressive and at times irresponsible. Students are not totally to blame for this; the parents must accept responsibility as well. Studies have shown that what the students learn from their homes they bring to their schools.
With each student facing the classroom's environment, each armed with what they have learned at home the teacher has to deal with all of the differences and still provide a learning environment that will maximize the student's results. Teachers simply can not understand every student's background and can not have a strong personal acquaintance with each of their students; therefore, the teacher has to build a family inside the classroom, a family where there can be leaders and followers with the teacher as the guide. This makes the teacher a builder of classroom discipline. The teacher has to stimulate students in order for them follow what the teacher wants them to do. This takes special training, training that is learned in our Workshops. We teach you how to handle your diverse group of students and manage their behaviour toward you as the teacher and their fellow classmates.
My staff at Jordan Reeves Associates has classroom management techniques which can identify if the classroom is a good environment for the students. The professionals on my team can help identify teachers who have the heart and tenacity for building classroom discipline. Building classroom discipline will shape the students' behaviour towards education. If they behave in school, their learning will encourage them to compete hard for good grades and for better achievement in school. The teachers, with their passion in building classroom discipline will enable the students to listen objectively to what the teachers are saying. If there is an unruly classroom environment and this is not corrected the soonest possible time, this will mean a bad reputation for the teacher assigned and students will not be learning much from the teacher.
Classroom management techniques need to be applied inside a classroom. Applying classroom management techniques will not only encourage the students to listen well to the lesson but it will eventually teach them to respect the speaker and the people he is surrounded with. Building classroom discipline will create in them a positive view on education and what they can get in school. For the teacher, building good classroom rapport and teaching the students good behaviour is an achievement in itself. The students may not have the brains to grasp academic learning, but they have learned discipline and that is already a great achievement for a good educator.
As a teacher, you likely understand that the manner in which you organize your classroom is very important. Your classroom organization should foster an environment that promotes learning. A well-organized classroom will be a constant reminder to your students about your commitment to teaching. Consideration, pride in accomplishments, respect for others, security in knowing how, what, where and when to do things are all the positive elements that are found in a well-organized classroom. Students need a predictable, orderly, and safe environment to excel, which is why improving your classroom organization can make you a more effective teacher. An organized classroom can provide you with positive benefits as well, the most obvious of which are improved efficiency and less wasted time. The goals of organizing your classroom are to create a safe and positive environment for the student that will maximize learning while minimizing behavioral problems among students. These organizational tips for your classroom will improve your student's ability to learn.
- Arrange the classroom so that the desks are either in half-circles with a front row and back row, in groups of four or five, or with the chairs lined up, one behind the other.
- Your classroom desks should be lined up so that you can make eye contact with your students, all of your students.
- Seat the students in your classroom so that they can see the whiteboard, chalkboard, or other visuals. Make a seating chart, and subtly move all of the taller kids to the back rows, shorter kids in the front rows so that everyone can see without obstruction.
- Do not place desks facing windows; this provides distraction and also makes a glare that can cause kids not to see the board as well.
- Note where areas of high traffic in the classroom are, and keep these areas free from clutter and obstruction.
- Your desk should be in front of the class, but not in front of the whiteboard or chalkboard.
- Purchase inexpensive plastic totes when you run out of filing cabinet space to store materials for each unit. These easily stack in a corner for out of the way storage and can put an end to the clutter in your classroom.
- Throw away materials that are not going to be used, or donate them to another teacher. New teachers are usually struggling to come up with their own supplies in districts with limited budgets.
- Have a file folder with each child's name on it, filed away for portfolio assignments and other must-keep paperwork.
- Get the students involved in keeping their classroom looking good and staying organized by assigning jobs to each child for the week. For example, one child's job might be to clean the white board, while another might straighten up the class library. Kids love to help - and be sure to praise them for a job well-done.
Students are the most important part of any classroom, and organizing your classroom involves organizing your students as well. Here are some ways to help students keep up with their class work and homework:
- Make sure students get organized from the beginning of the year by giving them a classroom syllabus. This will let them know what to plan on. Also include a list of classroom rules for them to follow, but make the list brief so that they can understand them better and remember them.
- Have each child purchase specific supplies at the beginning of each year, such as green folders for science, blue folders for math, and so on. Label each folder on the outside - and on the inside, use one side for homework, the other side for returned assignments.
- Give each student a calendar with assignments on a weekly or monthly basis.
- Use the old-fashioned reward stickers and reward chart for homework assignments and good behavior. When your student accumulates enough stars, he or she can choose from various prizes, including homework passes, treats, etc.
By following this short list of tips you will be able to keep your classroom and students more organized, which should help make you teach more efficiently and effectively.
Building classroom discipline is one of the greatest concerns any educator who desire to fulfil the expected professional calling should have. This is particularly true when it comes to teaching in a middle school where the application of effective classroom management techniques for middle school is very important to facilitate effective and conscious learning in a great and fun filled manner.
The bedrock or foundation of any worthwhile effort at building classroom discipline is the relationship the teacher facilitates with the students. This is actually true because it is you, the teacher, which ultimately determines what happens in the classroom while you teach your lessons.
What proactive approach to classroom management can achieve for you: I have always believed in adopting proactive approach to building classroom discipline and classroom management techniques for middle school and, in fact, in any other type or level of school. The main focus of the proactive measure to classroom management is to make sure the mode of lesson delivery by the teacher keeps students motivated and involved in the lesson throughout the entire period allotted to the lesson.
The purpose of the proactive approach to building discipline in students while in class is to make sure classroom management issues do not occur at all as much as possible; and it is possible to a large extent that students are made to always focus on the classroom lesson task with minimal distractions which would not affect their learning capacity and overall teaching and learning process within the classroom-the truth is that if students enjoy what they learn in class at all times, they will be more motivated to desire to learn more and participate in classroom tasks always. So, when it comes to building classroom discipline using the proactive approach, the buck stops at the teacher's table.
Unproductive approaches to building classroom discipline: Most teachers adopt two common ways in order to address the challenges of building discipline and classroom management in a school. The first common method involve absolute neglect of discipline in order to avoid being seen as a tough disciplinarian which is counterproductive since the misbehaviour issues will surely not cease by themselves but rather escalate into more issues of indiscipline and disruptive behaviours. This method is too risky and it won't work for effective classroom management.
The second approach is the strict approach that believes every act of misbehaviour whether minor or major must be heavily dealt with to serve as a deterrent to the offender and other students. As with the first method, this approach has left off the most important concept of humanity in building discipline concepts in students. This method is sure to make the teacher look like a persona non grata and a negative personality to the students. Students may keep off from that teacher but their behaviour will not improve from the strict teacher's approach.
Examples of proactive approach to classroom management: Here are practical examples of deploying proactive approach to building classroom discipline and classroom management techniques in middle school.
1.Develop your students' thinking faculty by always asking critical questions that make them think.
2.Deploy musical tones in your method of teaching.
3.Give your students examples that connect them to the real world.
4.Slant your lesson to what matters to them or what they consider important to them.
5.Deploy video in your teaching.
School is often hard, anyone who has ever entered a classroom knows that. However, at the end of the year, no matter how tough it's been you will probably have something to thank your teacher for. There are some great teacher gifts out there. It's a wonderful gesture to thank a teacher for a year of school with a present and the choices go way beyond a shiny red apple. Some are truly top class! Whether you have been a model student or a class clown this year, you are bound to want to thank your teacher for the year.
A great option if you want to buy your teacher presents yourself is a personalised present. This means you can spend under 10 pounds and still give a gift that is personal and unique. Surely that means more to a teacher than something extravagant such as a watch or fountain pen? A great place to start would be to think of something the teacher could really use. Mugs, calendars and key rings can all be personalised and cost under a tenner. A personalised calendar is something that can be used the following year and every time they mark down a school trip or a homework deadline, your teacher will remember you.
A notebook is always a good option when it comes to teachers' presents. There are a number of personalised notebooks, all for around a fiver. A Drama teacher might get a kick out of a notebook with a Hollywood star on the front, emblazoned with their name. There are also themed notebooks ideal for Art teachers, English teachers and Maths teachers along with more general school-themed notebooks.
Other personalised gifts that can be bought at pocket money prices include bars of chocolate that can be personalised in the same way as the notebooks. Nothing keeps your teacher sweeter than delicious milk chocolate, right? Even sweeter than that, there are a number of different jars of retro sweets which can have their labels personalised. With a jar of sweets that says thank you, you can guarantee that good exam results will be rewarded with the retro sweets within. Your teacher will remember you for all the right reasons if your thank you present is something they can use long after you've headed off to college, university and beyond.
An obvious option for your favourite female teacher would be a gorgeous bunch of flowers. They will look beautiful on a desk and what lady doesn't love to receive flowers? There are loads of alternative teacher gifts that have the same effect and last far longer than a week. If you know that your teacher is the green-fingered type then you can buy them a plant that they can plant themselves in the garden. For around 20 pounds you can buy a gift box that contains a unique pack of rose seeds that you can name yourself officially. The rose seeds are registered with the name you choose. Your Drama teacher could have a rose in their garden for years to come named the 'To Be Or Not To Be' rose variety.
If you would rather give a card to the teacher than a whole present there are loads of options for the front. From apples to alphabets, there are plenty of themed cards that will say thanks to your teacher. They can be personalised to include the teacher's name on the front, something that is far more memorable than an ordinary shop-bought standard card, although it costs the same. You can even turn the tables on the teacher and get them a personalised report card. This is actually just another thank you card but the front is designed to grade the teacher on their prowess this year in subjects such as patience, sense of humour and being firm but fair (of course, the grades are excellent). The report card has their name at the top and will be guaranteed to raise a smile. Not bad for less than 3 pounds! Combine a card with your personalised teacher gifts to make their day.
Finally, if you fancy splashing out on something that your teacher is positively guaranteed to give an A+ to, you can get them a bottle of personalised champagne. With a specially printed label that thanks them for a year of lovely learning it will make their academic year end with a bang - it will also give you the opportunity to smuggle alcohol into the school with no risk of a detention.
What makes a good EFL teacher? "How long is a piece of string?" springs to mind but the answer may be much simpler than you think, because you probably tick many of the boxes already. You're probably asking this question because you are already or soon plan to be an EFL teacher. This means that you probably like working with people, that you prefer variety to routine, and that you are don't mind taking calculated risks. As a rule, Teaching English as a Foreign Language is one of the most satisfying jobs you can do because the vast majority of learners are highly-motivated, so all you need to do is try to recognise which aspect of your teaching skills needs to be used at any given time. Below are some suggestions about the different roles you'll find yourself playing - all of which combine to make a good teacher.
The Party Host
This job is about getting people chatting and communicating as much as possible, so a good EFL teacher needs to be approachable and create a friendly atmosphere in which plenty of communication can take place. At times this means you are more of a facilitator, rather like the host at a party, making sure each class member interacts with the others. You should organise and set up activities whereby the class get to know one another and talk freely about their opinions and their lives, just as they would if they met through a mutual friend. As any good host would, once they get chatting, just stand back and quietly observe; only join in when the conversation dries up. This minimizes your 'Teacher Talking Time' and maximises 'Student Talking Time', which is one of your main goals as a teacher. You simply need to have a great big smile on your face and a welcoming attitude towards your class members.
If you are new to EFL teaching, you might not feel like much of an expert yet. But you do have expertise because you can speak English better than your students, so you certainly have something valuable to share. A good EFL teacher may not know every single rule off by heart, but hopefully will have some idea of where to find out a rule for the next lesson if the students want it. He or she will also know if something sounds right or not, and can give reassurance to a student who is unsure about being correct. Furthermore, the good teacher can give a clear, concise model of the language. You'd be surprised just how many words you know in English and much of your job involves finding the right one for a student who wants to express a particular idea in English but doesn't yet have the vocabulary.
Occasionally, your students may have trouble with a certain piece of grammar or grasping the meaning and usage of some vocabulary. A good EFL teacher will to try to work out why this may be an issue - for example it could be interference from the way their L1 (mother tongue) is organised, so the item may not have any parallels for them. The teacher may be able to draw a sketch to explain meaning, or might produce a good timeline which sheds light on how a particular tense works. Occasionally it's helpful to make use of scales, such as:
[0% Never - Rarely - Sometimes - Often - Always 100%]
Or explain things using opposites or synonyms. A golden rule for troubleshooting, especially at lower levels, is 'show, don't tell'. If you can demonstrate meaning through mime, gesture, pictures or some other way, it's often much clearer than a verbose explanation.
Another role is that of giving advice when people ask for help and suggestions. Many students ask their teacher, "How can I learn new vocabulary?", "How can I remember the grammar rules?"; a good EFL teacher creates a mental resource file with some of these answers ready to hand. If you think about some of the questions you have had about language learning, see if you can come up with any suitable answers to those questions. But remember - you are not expected to be an Oracle. You can always throw the question open to the rest of the class first and see if anyone else has some good ideas. You can ask colleagues for their opinions, too. Pretty quickly, you will learn a whole pool of wisdom that you can pass on to future classes. At the same time, keep reminding your learners to try to take responsibility for their own learning. Train them to work out rules for themselves and guess the meaning of unknown vocabulary. A really good EFL teacher eventually does themselves out of a job!
The final role is simply one of being organised enough to turn up at the right time in the right location and get a class moving together towards a common aim. Each lesson should have a clear aim and resources prepared to guide learners towards this aim. This may be themed round a topic, focused towards a particular piece of grammar, or working on something which will eventually result in the class members passing an exam. A good EFL teacher knows where they are going with each class. They have an aim and most likely some sub-aims and goals too. They want the lesson to be fun, interesting, motivating and generally enjoyable so that effective learning takes place. In order to do that, they will employ a variety of activities with plenty of pair and group work to encourage communication. The good teacher makes sure that all 4 skills (reading, writing, listening and speaking) are touched upon regularly and that the class can see that they are making progress. Through well-prepared instructions, the organiser sets up activities and then gives appropriate praise, feedback and correction afterwards. They also check learning has taken place by asking concept questions and maybe setting up mini-quizzes and informal tests so that new language is not quickly forgotten.
There are doubtless other things which also contribute to being a good teacher. But to summarise, here are 10 key points taken from the ideas above:
* Smile and be welcoming
* Keep your TTT down and maximise STT
* Use plenty of pair and group work to facilitate interactive communication
* Use variety and changes of pace in your lessons
* Learn some tricks to aid memory and understanding of certain rules
* Always have an aim for your lesson
* Ensure a balance of skills is taught
* Give praise, feedback and correction
* Keep things fun and motivating wherever possible.
What makes a good EFL teacher? Well, it's very likely that you do!
Above all, do not send a note. I repeat, I've been teaching for nineteen years, do not send a note. When a teacher gets a note it can give them a feeling of failure. Especially if it is a long one with your signature. Think about this: "What if every day that you came into work, you received a detailed note from your customers about all the bad things you are doing on the job?"
That said, if you want to get through to your child's negative teacher, you are going to have to "Do unto them as you would have them do unto you." You are going to have to make tiny efforts to get to know them, like making comments after school like: "How was your weekend, how are you doing?" Simple communication builders can go a long long way.
Also, use the parent conference as your time to voice your concerns. But do it politely, wait until the end of the conference, and you have listened to the teachers' reports, then voice your concerns like you would to a police officer who just stopped you on the road-with respect, courtesy, and with the ultimate outcome of improved teaching and better treatment overall to your child.
Some other do nots! Do not attempt to stop a teacher after school and discuss serious issues. Do not stay after the bell rings and meet him/her in front of the class without permission. You'd be surprised how many parents do this one. You are sending the message that protocall is not important to you.
Do not call during the school day to set up a parent conference. Again, you'd be surprised how many parents do this one as well. Teachers have contract hours that must be spent instructing your children, and phone calls during school hours may interrupt teaching.
Also, it is my opinion, that every teacher can teach, I'm not saying every teacher is not negative, or burnt out, or just lousy in general. What I am saying is that 99% of the teachers I've met in my career genuinely love what they do, let's face it the pays not that great, and they love children and love creating life long learners.
That said, it would behoove you to take that viewpoint as well. Also, do not blame your child's teacher for their behavior problems. This is probably a number one among some parents. They wish to place blame on someone so of course they target the child's teacher. Again, I've been teaching for nineteen years, and I've never seen a child whom I can honestly say it was "my fault" they act out, misbehave, and break the rules.
That's not bragadocious, that's just a fact. Most children who act out and misbehave come from a home that lacks discipline, love, or a mixture of both.
If you want to influence your child's teacher, you must make the effort to be professional, courteous, and you can also ask the teacher if they have a certain day they like to do parent conferences on, and meet them on that day. I've always liked meeting on Thursdays, because it's almost the end of the work week. Imagine a teacher who needs improvement that has parent conferences scheduled after school every day of the week! Not encouraging!
Also, find out what your child "likes" about their new teacher and praise the teacher for these strengths. Nobody is perfect. So don't expect your child's teacher to be perfect either. But do expect the best, and do the little things like give the teacher a gift at the holidays, and don't set a limit on that gift either, I once had a teacher give me $500 in a Christmas Card, writing that they just appreciated all I had done for their son. Don't limit gifts to your child's teacher, this is one of the most important persons in their little lives.
Also, get the opinions of other parents. Find out how their children are doing. If you interview some other parents and find out 90% of them are giving their stamp of approval on this teacher, you can probably be sure that you have made a false judgement on this teacher, and that you need to focus on the few issues you have with the teacher, and not the overall program or focus.
Above all, as the Bible states, "Speak the Truth in Love" to a teacher you have concerns with, and make sure you address concerns in the proper forum, such as a parent conference, at the end. Do not barge into the classroom like you own it, and do not interrupt instruction to get your questions answered, you are only giving yourself a negative reputation with the teacher, students, and staff members.
Lastly, let's talk about the 1%. If you do have a teacher that you feel is constantly crossing the line in terms of their behavior, go through the due process at your particular school. Go straight to the district office and file a complaint, stating that you wish to have this placed in the employees file. Make an appointment with the superintendent, and lastly, hire an attorney to have your child removed from the classroom. But don't go out there and sue the school district for $10,000,000 dollars like some parents due because of supposed "verbal abuse" on their child. Just like we teachers have to let the consequences fit the crime, keep that in mind when facing a truly horrible teacher as well. If that teacher gets fired they will probably get the message. If they also get sued for millions, they have just learned that all people are greedy, and especially you.
Above all, remember the words of Christ, "Do unto others as you would have them do to you" and you'll find favor with your child's teacher. Unbelievable favor that will improve your veteran teachers and favor to have those removed who are incompetent as well.
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