Which in your opinion is a good class, a QUIET ONE or NOISY ONE?
I firmly believe if teachers put even half of their efforts that they put in quietening the class, in getting sincerely close to the children, then there would be a batch of transformed children in no time. A quiet class does not necessarily mean a good, managed class. In fact a noisy, enthusiastic and interactive class is where quality learning is happening.
In the world of education dissemination, a role of the teacher has changed drastically. Today a teacher, besides being an expert in her field, must be a multitasker, innovator, empathize, patient and a highly versatile person. The major stumbling block for a teacher to be all of the above-said is the large size of the classrooms that are prevalent in India.
How do we teachers manage a large classroom effectively, efficiently and positively without losing focus on individual needs? Every child is different and unique. Children have different grasping powers, have different attention and retention spans, not to forget, different interests and different IQs. It’s a huge task for the teacher to keep up the interest level of all the students with diverse capacities. In India a classroom size of 30 to 40 students is considered normal and hence Indian teachers are all the more challenged than their western counterparts.
Some of the positive ways that i implemented and which worked to manage a large classroom are:
- Lay down rules through attractive posters that explicitly convey students the code of behaviour in a classroom. Make sure to reiterate the rules time and again to students.
- Use Power Point Presentations/ Smart boards wherever required to ensure better understanding of the concept.
- Initiate group discussions involving small groups, that will help children to participate, express, interact & understand. This will also enable the teacher to gauge their learning abilities and at the same time assess them.
- Take regular small assessments and sometimes ask them to peer- assess them after discussing the right answers. This will help in understanding if all the students have understood the concept and will reduce correction time .
- One thing I really vote for is to have a good hold on the subject and before addressing the students, always do a little homeowork in advance and devise your own unique and interesting way in which you can teach the subject. This is a sure way of commanding respect and arresting the attention of the class.
- Be firm and yet polite. Remember when we reprimand we target the behaviour and not the child.
- Do not raise your voice. In fact, my own observation is, reducing the voice a tad lower captures their attention better.
- To break the monotony, practise role plays and debates. Include games for fun learning and better retention of concepts.
- Lengthy topics can be broken by given project assignments that are application based and having discussions related to them.
- Having a register where students can note down their feedback will allow teachers to know their positive points and their short comings.
Children who are slow learners could be given extra help through mentor system where teachers or another student or a parent volunteer could be the mentor. Feed backs from parents should be taken positively as they are the child’s first teachers and steps should be taken to adhere to them in a positive manner.
All the above tips have been successfully implemented and have ensured excellent class room management. The above points will serve as an effective guide line for any school or teachers who have large classroom sizes. Having said that a empathetic and dedicated teacher is always the best judge of her own class. I have always believed in the fact that students help teachers learn and grow emotionally. They teach a lot through their subtle innocent ways, teachers just have to be good observers and imbibers. They understand when we teachers have their good will at heart and continue to love and respect us even if we our sometimes unreasonably firm or strict.
I always remember the heart-rendering story of ‘Teddy and his teacher”. Do watch the video, it is available on the internet, it does make a difference in our approach.