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TEFL Training In Costa Rica | Updated: 10/28/2022

How Do Teachers Manage a Classroom?

Written by International TEFL Academy Costa Rica

Aside from the act of teaching itself, effective classroom management is probably the next most important aspect. However, what do we need to consider as we manage our classrooms?  During our 4-week TEFL course in Costa Rica, we will spend a lot of time going over all aspects of classroom management, but allow us to touch on a few now. 

The art of classroom management is applying a few key principles to ensure your students are learning and focused on the tasks set before them to benefit from the short time you are together.  Keep in mind how you arrange students in the room and group them for tasks, how you present yourself and create expectations for your class, and how you address behavior issues. 

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Classroom Logistics

One of the first things you will want to think about is how to arrange your classroom space, especially the students' seating. There are many different ways that this can be done in a classroom, and it will have a direct impact on teaching and learning. You can put student desks in orderly rows, in a horseshoe or a circle, or even put student groups at separate tables.  Each arrangement has its advantages and disadvantages and will depend on the resources your school has available.  Regardless, keep in mind the purpose of the arrangement to maximize accomplishment, foster communication and minimize problems.

The student-centered approach is collaborative and heavily relies on students working in pairs and groups.  Therefore, we must always determine the most appropriate groupings.  We can use non-random pairing or grouping based on how students work together, or we can implement random groupings to keep things dynamic and the energy level high.

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The Teacher’s Presence

How we present ourselves physically is an important part of classroom management. Spoken language, body language, eye contact, dress, voice, and overall manner make up who you are as a teacher and individual and maintains your authority and professionalism. Consider what you wear to class and how you carry yourself.  You want to be professional but approachable. 

Think about where you stand in the class and your proximity to your students. Try not to turn your back to your class while you write and maintain eye contact.

Vary your movement throughout the class. Move among the students and assist as needed but be ready to step back at times as well. Especially when working with children, try not to tower over the students.  Also consider how you project your voice while teaching, making sure you’re audible to your students. Speak loudly but clearly and slowly, especially when teaching beginning students, and use a variety of tone and volume.

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Establishing Expectations

Within the first few days of a new class, you will want to set the tone, pace, and foundation for the rest of your course, so it’s important to create a positive and nurturing learning environment, and to let your students know what you expect of them and what they can expect from you.  Be direct about the classroom rules, even allowing them to help you set the rules and consequences.  This gives the students a sense of ownership in the classroom, and helps reinforce good behavior among the group. Whatever you decide, enact your class policies and procedures from Day 1 and be fair, consistent, and equal in the application.  Be intentional with your positive reinforcement and focus on what you want the students to do, opposed to what you don't want them to do.  Spend some time helping everyone get to know each other and feel relaxed to create a positive learning community. Establish a daily routine and include a variety of activities, including ones that require movement and competition. 

Addressing Student Behavioral Issues

Despite your best efforts, there will times when things get out of hand in the classroom. When addressing behavioral issues, first, determine what the problem is. There may be an underlying reason for the behavior the student is exhibiting. If you can make that determination, you may be able to resolve the issue immediately.  Deal with the problem as soon as it appears, but remain calm and focused.  Be proactive, not reactive. Stay professional, and don’t let things get to you personally.  Focus on the student’s actions, not the student, and once the issue has been handled, continue with the lesson and let it go. If you need to speak to a student, do so privately. Don't forget to ask your colleagues and administrators for advice or assistance if necessary. They probably have valuable suggestions.

Want to learn more about classroom management and get some practical experience in the classroom?  Talk to us today about signing up for one of our 4-week TEFL courses in Costa Rica.

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