Why is Classroom Management Essential?
Effective classroom management maximizes children’s learning opportunities. On the other hand, a saturated, complex, and potentially chaotic classroom environment can lead to problems that can interfere with the students’ education. Therefore, educational psychologists believe that fostering a positive classroom environment is very important.
To be able to manage a classroom, we must first understand how it works. To this end, we must explain the characteristics that can cause problems in classrooms.
Walter Doyle’s six characteristics
Psychologist Walter Doyle created six characteristics that reflect a classroom’s complexity. In addition, he also explained how these characteristics relate to the manifestation of problems. Knowing these characteristics will help us understand classrooms and how teachers should manage them.
- Classrooms are multidimensional: Classrooms are the settings of many activities. They house academic activities (reading, writing, mathematics, etc.) and social activities (games, talking with friends, etc.).
- These activities occur simultaneously: In a classroom, activities occur simultaneously. For example, a group of students may be writing while another group discusses a task with the teacher. On the other hand, perhaps a student is bothering another while others talk to each other.
- Things happen quickly: Things happen quickly in classrooms and often require an immediate response. As experienced teachers know, many conflicts can arise simultaneously without prior notice. For example, two students may begin to argue over a notebook.
- Events are often unpredictable: Although teachers thoroughly plan well-organized daily activities, unforeseen events always pop up. For example, an alarm may go off, a computer may not work, a heating unit may break down, etc.
- There is little privacy: Due to the fact that classrooms are public places, students observe everything that happens. The teacher’s way of managing the classroom will be continually judged by the class. Value judgments on the fairness or injustice of the teacher’s actions will affect the class.
- Classrooms have histories. Students have memories of what happened in the classroom on previous occasions. Understanding how the past influences the future is essential for understanding a classroom’s functioning. It’s important that teachers know how to manage their classrooms today in order to influence tomorrow’s learning.
How to manage a classroom
A teacher must take advantage of the first days and weeks of the school year to try to manage their classroom. During this period, they must do two very important things:
- Talk about the classroom’s rules and procedures with the class to promote cooperation.
- Get the students to actively participate in all learning activities. This way, you foster a positive learning environment.
Classroom management requires year-round effort
Having a good start won’t cut it. Throughout the school year, it’s essential for the teacher to respond to all the demands that arise. If this doesn’t happen, discipline problems will hinder students’ learning. To meet these demands, teachers must have two main goals in mind:
- Help students dedicate more time to learning and less time to meaningless activities. In fact, the management of academic time is essential for both the teacher and the students. There can be many distractions in classrooms that can make students waste time and thus hinder their learning. The teacher must encourage students to remain motivated and not choose other activities over learning.
- Prevent students from developing problems. Students are susceptible to academic and emotional problems. A cold and distant classroom can make them feel disconnected. In addition, we must bear in mind that the presence of a developmental difficulty or disorder affects both individual and group performance. Therefore, classroom management also consists of fostering a positive environment where students feel comfortable and motivated.
Finally, there must be an evaluation system in place to know whether a teacher keeps these goals in mind or not. Continuous and exhaustive evaluations help teachers see possible mistakes and allow them to correct them quickly. It would be irresponsible not to adequately monitor whether classroom management is in accordance with the students’ needs.