Six General Tips to Manage a Class

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What does “Classroom Management” actually mean?

Classroom management is the most important factor affecting student learning.

It is the effective discipline in the classroom that provides a safe, comfortable learning environment, motivates your students, build their self-esteem and encourage them to be imaginative and creative in daily lessons.

It is having control of the class by organizing students and resources so that teaching and learning can occur effectively.

Reasons for disruptive behavior in the classroom:

Students misbehave for several reasons:

  • They are bored.
  • They don’t know the purpose of your presentation.
  • They are not aware of the importance of the information that you are delivering.
  • Activities are not interesting.
  • The pace of the teaching is too fast, or too slow.

Principles of classroom management:

  1. Dealing with disruptive behaviors.
  2. Minimizing off-task behaviors.
  3. Engaging as many students as possible in learning activities.

Six General Tips to Manage a Class:

1. Over plan your lessons:

If you don’t plan, the student will plan for you.

The more you plan, the more effective the lesson and delivery will be and the less problems with discipline will occur.

  • Ensure that you fill each minute of the period with learning activities.
  • Be prepared and organized well.
  • Minimize transition time among tasks.

2. Arrange the seating:

  • Rearrange the desks — both for your language lessons and sometimes even for a particular activity so that it is both easier and more natural for students to see and talk to each other.

3. Look at the students:

  • If you are standing, and your eyes are constantly moving over the class, everyone feels involved.
  • Your eyes help your students’ concentration.
  • The easiest way to check whether your students understand what you have said or what they have read or heard, is for your eyes to look at theirs.
  • Any incomprehension or confusion will show in their eyes long before they tell you that there is a problem.

4. Use your hands to encourage and direct students:

  • A simple gesture can indicate who is going to answer a question or which pair of students should now read a dialogue.
  • Simple gestures can also indicate that something is wrong.
  • Use a collection of gestures to avoid unnecessary language which can distract students.
  • Gestures can indicate what is required from individual students, or even from the whole class, with a minimum of fuss.

5. Vary your voice:

  • Pauses, stress and changes of voice when you change from comment to instruction and from statement to question will mean that it is much easier for students to follow and pay attention to what you say.

6. Gain attention:

  • Gain student’s full attention before giving instructions.
  • Provide instruction with simple and clear language.
  • Provide one instruction at a time – do not provide too many different instructions.
  • Make your lessons relevant and interesting to your students.
  • Use examples that interest students.
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16 Types of School Tests

1- Objective Test vs. Subjective Test:

Objective test is independent of the person marking that test. There is usually a key of answers that leaves no room for subjectivity in grading (e.g. M.C tests or false-true tests) but in Subjective test, the score depends on the marker. It usually happens that different markers give different scores. The gap between the markers may be sometimes very wide (e.g. in free writing).

2- Speed Test vs. Achievement Test:

The speed test aims at measuring the speed of performance. It is made a little longer than the time given. (e.g. Two hundred items on grammar to be answered in an hour) but achievement test aims at measuring students achievement. The given time is made to be adequate; emphasis here is on measuring achievement not speed.

3- Public Test vs. Local Test:

The public test is given on a country-wide scale and prepared by a central authority. It is usually announced and relatively long. It is normally given at the end of a school cycle but the local test is locally prepared and given at the same school level by the class teacher.

4- Standard Test vs. Normal Test:

The standard test is carefully designed and undergoes long experimentation and research. Each score has a special interpretation that indicates where a certain scorer stands among a statistical population of similar individuals but the normal test is not standardized. The majority of tests, of course, belong to this normal category.

5- Written Test vs. Oral Test:

The answers for written test are to be given in a written form but the answers for oral test are to be given orally.

6- Announced Test vs. Drop Test:

The teacher assigns the test material and fixes a certain date in advance for the announced test but the drop test is given without previous announcement. It is usually a short one and it aims at keeping students on the alert.

7- Classroom Test vs. Home Test:

The test questions of the classroom test are given and answered in class but the home test is given in class but answered at home .

8- Closed-Book Test vs. Open-Book Test:

Textbook are closed while students are taking the closed-book test but students are allowed to use their books while answering the questions of the open-book test.

Eight Tips to Manage the Classroom and Keep your Students’ Attention

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Classroom management is mainly based on attracting and keeping your students’ attention. If you succeed to do that, you will be able to achieve your learning objectives easily. Here are some tips to attract your students’ attention

  1. Use a signal for zero noise (e.g. if I raise my hand, you all should keep silent.)
  2. Come close to two students chatting and surprise them.
  3. Give clear instructions for each activity telling students what to do exactly.
  4. When making transition from one activity to another, ask for your students’ attention.
  5. Eye contact with as many students as students to monitor the entire room.
  6. Differentiate and vary your activities during each lesson to break monotony.
  7. Ask questions to check students’ comprehension.
  8. Keep silent for some moments while looking at students until they pay full attention.

For Further Reading I recommend:

THE Classroom Management Book

Classroom Management That Works: Research-Based Strategies for Every Teacher

The Classroom Management Secret: And 45 Other Keys to a Well-Behaved Class

 

Quick Guidelines for Writing Effective Test Questions

It is a challenging task for teachers to write test questions, especially when a test is being used to measure certain learning outcomes. Take into account the following guidelines before you begin writing test questions.                                                     

True/False questions

True/False questions include high probability of guessing the correct response so it is better to avoid them and find a more substantial way to ask the questions. If you think of using this kind of questions, you must not include them any of the qualifying words such as “sometimes” or “always” because these words provide a clue to the correct answer. True/False questions are best used for pre-tests to help identify what the learner doesn’t know.

MCQs

Multiple choice questions or MCQs are less subject to guessing. In addition, they can be used to assess higher-level thinking. The stems and solutions or alternatives must be constructed effectively by:

  1. Stating the stems clearly presenting a single, clear problem or question in each stem.
  2. Avoiding negative phrases or irrelevant material in the stems.
  3. Avoiding clues to the right answer and using “all of the above” or “none of the above” in the alternatives.
  4. ensuring that distractions or alternatives are reasonable and presented in logical order.

Essay Questions

Essay questions are and should be used mainly to measure higher-level thinking skills such as analyzing, synthesizing and making connections. In these questions, clear guidelines should be provided about the topic, grading or marking so that students can be well aware of how to write the essay. Students should be provided with a lot of practice on writing several short essays rather than on a long one to allow them to write on a variety of topics.

Seven Kinds of CLT Activities to Build up Students’ Communicative Competence

Communicative Language Teaching (CLT) is based on the main goal of involving students in meaningful communication using the target language. There are many activity types that can be used in the classroom to achieve that goal. The following are the main ones of them.

  1. Communicative activities:

In these activities students should use the language in real-life communicative situations where real information is exchanged and authentic language is used. In addition, the language used is not predictable.

E.g. when asking about directions and how to get to certain places; the nearest bus stop, café or train station.

  1. Information-gap activities:

These activities achieve the goal of people’s communication which is getting the information they don’t possess. Students are encouraged in the classroom to do this kind of activities to communicate meaningfully to obtain information.

E.g. divide students into pairs to practise role-playing. Each student has information that the other doesn’t know. One student asks for information on train departures, prices, the time, … etc.

  1. Task-completion activities (puzzles, games, map-reading, … etc.)

In these tasks the focus is on using the language resources to complete a task.

  1. Information-gathering activities (survey, interviews, searches, … etc.)

In these activities students are required to use the language resources to collect information.

  1. Opinion-sharing activities:

In these activities students share their values, opinions and beliefs such as listing the most important qualities of a good teacher or the best friend.

  1. Information-transfer activities:

In these activities students take information from one form and represent it in a different form. E.g. reading information about a subject and represent it in a graph or a map.

  1. Reasoning-gap activities:

In these activities students derive or infer information from given information.

E.g. deriving information from the classroom timetable.

For more CLT activities I recommend:

1. Communicative Ideas: An Approach with Classroom Activities

2. Keep Talking: Communicative Fluency Activities for Language Teaching (Cambridge Handbooks for Language Teachers)

3. 100 TESOL Activities for Teachers: Practical ESL/EFL Activities for the Communicative Classroom

Aims & Key Stones of any Teacher Mentoring Programme

Mentoring is a partnership created to help and assist mentees to reach the highest levels of professional and personal development.

Effective mentoring programme should aim at the following:

  1. Identifying and meeting mentees’ personal and professional needs.
  2. Facilitating the growth of mentees personally and professionally.
  3. Providing mentees with ongoing support, professional conversations and supervision.
  4. Reducing the problems that mentees may encounter during their teaching practices.
  5. Supporting development of mentees’ knowledge and skills.
  6. Providing mentees with the opportunity to analyze and reflect on their job and roles.
  7. Building a theoretical foundation with mentees for teaching and learning.
  8. Providing mentees with various resources to get information.
  9. Developing mentees’ understanding of teaching strategies, delivery skills and classroom management procedures.
  10. Familiarizing mentees with subject content concepts and activities that facilitate learning.
  11. Supporting mentees’ understanding and implementing of various means of students’ assessment in the classroom.

Key stones in any mentoring programme:

  1. Active listening.
  2. Classroom observation and teacher conferencing.
  3. Role modeling for teachers.
  4. Giving and receiving feedback.
  5. Leading reflective professional conversations.