Why and how effective classroom management helps regular student attendance
We humans are creatures of comfort. We are also a critical lot.
It takes quite a bit to satisfy us and while all opportunities exist for us to make our own environment just the way we want it, this privilege does not exist in a classroom, a very special place where a student of learning spends a goodly slice of his/her formative years leading to adult life. The classroom appears to be an un-moveable, impersonal structure that beckons apprehensive students to its portals and relentlessly puts students through their paces over several years. Still, others may enter apprehensively but soon find that the classroom was where they found themselves, their inherent skills were made to flower, friendships were made that lasted a lifetime, and years later, the whiff of a classroom evoked nostalgic memories of good times. What makes a good classroom? How do classrooms become effective enough to draw regularity in student attendance and enhance the reputation of the establishment?
Research has it that classroom management is a skill acquired over years of experience. While that does not sound so reassuring, there are many practices that have indicated sound classroom management can be promoted by establishing strategies that help teachers to direct student behavior to facilitate effective learning while minimizing the teachers’ nightmare – misbehavior in the classroom. Teachers are no more judged by the academic results of their students. Schools no more only cater to the cognitive aspects of students, ignoring the social, physical and emotional aspects of class room management. Today, classrooms accommodate all these aspects, or would definitely need to. Students need to “like” coming to class. Here are a few ideas that would produce the feeling of “like” leading to regular attendance.
The “look” of the learning environment is how your classroom is set up? Are the physical elements such as seating arrangements, availability of resources, lighting, décor, classroom temperature, students walkways within the classroom, the effects of external and internal sound/disturbances controlled? Is the classroom set up one that helps students focus on the teacher and lectures? Simple as it seems, the intangible elements such as classroom energy and positive teacher attitude are huge contributing factors in better learning.
The actual curriculum will be based on what the students want to learn and how beneficial the content of the curriculum would be for them. In some classes, the lectures are highly focused, with much fodder for the hungry mind. The student senses the genuine desire of the institute for their success, their compassion, and interest in each student. The underlying language would be to benefit (“you’re going to really miss something good if you miss this class”). In some classes, the focus is diluted by way distractions being allowed to creep in by the behaviour of students or lack of dedication and firmness on the part of the teacher.
Encouraging expected student behaviour: Students expect to be told what is expected of them in terms of rules and regulations of the Institute and behavior, while they certainly know the purpose of their being in a classroom. This calls for clear guidelines and accountability. Even in a classroom, the teacher would direct the order of the class, incorporating measures to create running interest and break the boredom of routine. We’ve been to classes where the teacher randomly picks a student for an answer, while most others sit around quaking, fearing their turn. What if students know what to expect, are given turns where they can be actively engaged and motivated. What if students with skills are recognized while those who need skills improvement are given additional attention and positive guidance? What if breaks are given to dull routines by interesting videos and clips popping up unexpectedly, or changing seating to allow more interaction while yet maintaining the student monitoring factors? We’ve been to classes where the teacher’s very attitude, their knowledge of not only pure lecture but the quirky world outside, has sparked student interest to a point that there is actual anticipation on the part of the student, and the whole classroom atmosphere is volatile and interesting. Teachers may even need to study student personalities, background, and culture over a short time to ascertain how best to conduct a class. Any lack of thoroughness on the part of the teacher is also communicated by body language and attitude.
Monitoring progress is crucial to know where the classroom is headed, who is attending, who is not and also the business environment outside and how competitors are faring. It’s more than establishing good classroom practices and encouraging attendance. While monitoring could be done through the good old attendance register and regular teacher assessments today, these methods have been replaced for good. When a highly recognized commercial institute visited BQU for a plan to revamp their business model, the first step was a sound internal evaluation followed by a modern, technologically savvy system that could be updated regularly, building on the ongoing records and adding on as new findings emerged in the competitive field of education.
Created : January 25th, 2016