Classroom Management Positive Strategies
Gone are the days when corporal punishment, rote discipline, dismissal from the classroom, raising the voice was acceptable negative sanctions for classroom management. In the changing scenario creating a positive classroom community with mutual respect between student and teacher has become a prevalent technique in managing a class. Today, effective classroom management means developing a conducive environment to ensure that teaching learning takes place smoothly and effectively. It also involves prevention of disruptive behaviour, issues of motivation, respect, discipline, inculcation of values, establishment of rules and procedures and time management.
A number of techniques can be devised and implemented depending on the nature of the classroom to achieve the desired learning outcomes.
The teacher is a facilitator who guides the students towards success by creating an environment where students are successful as a result of their own efforts. This transforms a classroom into a community of well behaved and self directed learners. The Design Thinking Approach is a perfect example to achieve this objective as it encourages students to ‘think out of the box’ by providing a work culture which is research oriented, promotes inquisitiveness, critical thinking, hypothesising, predicting and imagining and thus, instills confidence in one’s ability to creatively solve problems.
By involving students in practical and realistic activities a positive attitude can be developed, thus, sensitising them towards their environment, teaching them dignity of labour, making them empathetic and developing them into responsible citizens of the country. Simple activities like planting of saplings, cleaning their surroundings, contributing to the emotional and educational development of the less privileged, saving energy by switching off lights and fans when not in use, participating in various awareness campaigns could be taken up.
DEVELOPING DESIRED BEHAVIOUR
Project based learning is a time tested approach which, apart from developing confidence in the learners’ ability to creatively solve problems, transforms them into responsible and self disciplined individuals. Students, when divided into groups and given an assignment to work on, often display a sense of discipline, responsibility and camaraderie and actively participate in learning activities – exploring ideas, researching, brain storming, dividing tasks, coordinating responsibilities, completing worksheets and exercises, preparing presentations, skits, etc. The role of the teacher is to inspire and motivate, provide inputs and guidance, rectify errors in task accomplishment, manage conflict, maintain discipline and finally analyse individual and group efforts.
This approach involves learners as holistic individuals who need to manage self and develop community feeling thereby, responding to positive stimuli in class. To strengthen bonds of oneness, develop traits of cooperation, instill the attributes of sharing and caring, love, brotherhood and unity, activities involving the whole class can be organised, e.g. Mother’s Day, Earth Day, Flag Day, Heritage Day, National Festivals, etc.
DEMOCRATICALLY DISCIPLINED CLASSROOM
At the beginning of the year concrete directions are given to ensure that our expectations become a reality. A contract is drawn between teachers and students of rules and procedures to be observed in class. It is essential to give clear purpose and guidance concerning student behaviour and academics – including etiquette, seating arrangement in small heterogeneous groups. Taking rounds in class guiding and encouraging students ensures their involvement in tasks assigned. Class library helps to channelise the energy of hyper active students. Smiley placards can be used to control undesired/ inappropriate behaviour/ classroom disruption (Happy face, sad face, etc). However, it is also essential to be consistent in enforcing rules and procedures.
Providing an aesthetically appealing and creatively rich learning environment attracts students and enhances learning. Starting the class with positive statements sets the desired mood. Offering warmth, unconditional acceptance and support, use of praise and rewards for specific skill or good behaviour demonstrated (e.g. ‘Star of the Week’ sticker) transforms the class magically into a vibrant, lively and smiling class. All problems and conflicts need to be addressed quickly and wisely through class discussion, peer mediation, counseling or one to one conversation.
To develop a congenial student- teacher relationship an appropriate level of dominance and cooperation is to be maintained. Integrated positive classroom rituals – good morning, please, thank you, sorry, etc need to be introduced. Knowing the students you teach is the first step towards developing a sound relationship with them. Thus, interacting and partnering with parents at regular intervals is a step in this direction. Besides developing a caring relationship, the teachers should be fair, calm, objective and impartial. A teacher is a role model. She must, therefore – ‘Walk the Talk’.
These techniques have been designed and implemented keeping in mind the school ethos, the value system it upholds, the organisational goals, the age group of the learner, the social environment and a few other factors. However, not every approach works for every child or every system. Therefore, being flexible is necessary. Trying a new approach, that best suits the existing situation, is the way out.
Salila Shashikant has been working passionately with children for more than twenty five years. Currently teaching Social Science at Apeejay School, NOIDA, she has been actively involved in intellectual and emotional development of children of diverse age groups. Besides aspiring for academic excellence and creative brilliance in students, she has been handling administrative responsibilities at various levels. An alumna of Lady Shri Ram College and Jawaharlal Nehru University, she has been presenting talks on various issues on All India Radio, worked on UK-India Education and Research Initiative Projects and conducted a wide range of enrichment workshops for compeers. Credited with numerous accolades, she has been awarded ‘The Best Teacher Award’ and is the recipient of Teaching Excellence Award 2015 by S. Chand Group in the ‘Star Classroom Manager’ category.