You may have many times that you go crazy in a classroom and want to get out immediately. Classroom management is something that you should be perfect at it. The reason is apparent: To have a decent work life and be a nice guy around. Notably, in large classes, it’s the first matter you should work on. Motivation is at the core of classroom management. If your students are motivated, you don’t have to spend too much time on it.
However, even if you have a highly motivated class, you can have tense moments in your class. Students never promise to keep their motivation until the last lesson. You have to be professional and use adequate techniques or procedures. The bottom line is that you have to keep them on work and they won’t bother the class.
I’ll share you five ideas that I believe they work to some extent in most classes.
1. One-to-one talk
For a better in classroom management, never get into one-to-one conversations with students who will just ruin your lessons. Instead of that try addressing the whole class to discontinue chatting, laughing, etc. as if you didn’t know who causes the problem. You’ll see that your message goes directly to the correct address. In this way, you'll save a lot of precious time. If you got into a one-to-one dialogue, he or she would just reply to every word of yours to keep his or her esteem high among their friends. They’ll not only ruin your lesson, but also your stable state of mind.
2. Who’s in Charge?
Who’s the leading authority in the class?
You, as a teacher, should be the primary authority of your lesson. The student should follow your procedures, explanations or just listen to you. However, this favourable way of life in your classroom does not happen all the time. From my experience, students also regard their teachers as a knowledge resource centre. So they need us. When they can replace their teachers with another resource centre, they may just stop listening to us! The other resource centres can be course books which happen to be found in every lesson. You should be very cautious with your procedures in your classes. If you just follow the course book or exercises on the interactive board, the students will know what the next step is. This will eventually have an unfavourable result: The need for you as an authority will be lost. When they don’t need you, they’ll go their ways in the way they like! You should be flexible and full of surprises. You should bring new things to your classes, so your students won’t find themselves in a routine. They have to be awake to get your instructions, which leads to a better class atmosphere. Being out of the routine is the key to receptive classes.
3. Mother Tongue Ban
Turning the first language off is a traditional way to reinforce the use of English among students in language classes. It’s also a great classroom management idea. The students who are forced to use the target language only will be more lesson-centred.
Personally, I don't introduce mother tongue ban with the first lesson. The structure of language lessons is quite new to many students, and many of them don't feel safe and relaxed in speaking English. So I have the lesson in English, but I allow them to use their mother tongue during the first month of the term. Then, I democratically introduce this ban and tell them that using their own language will not help them learn English. I focus on the penalty. I listen to their ideas. And then if the penalty is agreed among the students, I apply it in my lessons. As this will be their choice, it's more likely to be successful. Making students give a small amount of money can sometimes be ineffective. In some classes, if a student uses his first language, he buys chocolate coffee to all class. This brings an enjoyable and productive class atmosphere. You can find more interesting and effective penalties for your classes. Just let their imagination work.
4. Pair them up all the year
Getting students talk in English is not an easy task for us, and if they don’t speak English, they aren’t quiet either.
At the beginning of each year, I set students pairs in a changing cycle. Depending on the number of students, I set a period to change pairs in the classroom. This is very important because if you don't match students with new pairs, you may end up having a class which is very talkative in their mother tongue! Pairs need to be fresh and new all the time in order not be bored with the same pair all the year. When students get accustomed to their pairs, they tend to use their L1 or their partners might be a reluctant to use English. So changing the pairs will be an appropriate idea which is very useful in language classes.
Students like having fun with their close friends. When they have a new partner, they are less likely to speak in L1 but work in English. The beginning of the term is the most appropriate time for this setting. When you set it, later on, you might have some resistance to this setup from the class. Just find a sound loop and have new pairs of students at the start of every turn.
5. Extra task for early finishers
It’s quite essential to keep students on studying and learning during the lesson time to maintain a pleasant learning atmosphere. The early finishers can easily get out of the track and ruin your lesson by disturbing others.
I usually consider early finishers apart from the rest of the class. Some strong learners eat the exercises like a Pac-man. They can finish a page of fill in the blanks exercises within a few seconds and announce their victory to you loudly: "Teacher, I've finished!" Then, they divert their way from learning to chatting, playing a game on his mobile, punching his friends for fun etc. When I have a lesson to practice some grammar, I monitor the early finishers and give them extra work when they come to the end of the exercise. I usually ask them to write a similar exercise and then share it with the class, which is quite challenging and rewarding. While the class struggle with the exercise, they write their own exercise on the board. After a bunch of exercises are put on the board, the class answers them when they have finished their exercises. And the early finisher checks them whether the answers are correct or not. It gives them a kind authority, which is a very appropriate thing to do for these kinds of students.