Shaping the Way We Teach English: Module 06, Managing Large Classes


IN RECENT YEARS, THE DEMAND FOR ENGLISH
HAS INCREASED. SCHOOLS AROUND THE WORLD
HAVE RESPONDED BY ADDING MORE ENGLISH CLASSES
INTO THE CURRICULUM. CLASS SIZES
CAN BE QUITE LARGE AND IN SOME CASES
ARE GROWING EVEN LARGER. CLASSES OF 50 TO 75 STUDENTS
ARE NOT UNCOMMON. MANY PEOPLE IN EDUCATION
ARE ASKING THEMSELVES “HOW DO LARGE CLASSES AFFECT “AN INSTRUCTOR’S
ABILITY TO TEACH “AND A STUDENT’S ABILITY
TO LEARN? “AND HOW DO LARGE CLASSES
AFFECT THE QUALITY OF EDUCATION?” TEACHERS MAY NOT BE ABLE
TO ANSWER THESE AS RESEARCH QUESTIONS, BUT THEY CAN EXAMINE
PEDAGOGICAL TECHNIQUES AND CLASSROOM-MANAGEMENT
PRACTICES THAT MAKE THE BEST
OF LARGE CLASSROOM SITUATIONS. FLY AWAY, JACK! All:
FLY AWAY, JILL! IN THIS MODULE, WE’LL LOOK
AT CLASSROOM MANAGEMENT FROM THE PERSPECTIVE
OF PEDAGOGICAL PLANNING, CLASSROOM LEARNING SYSTEMS, AND STUDENT BEHAVIOR
OR DISCIPLINE. VIDEO SEGMENT NUMBER ONE. TEACHERS WORLDWIDE
SHARE THE GOAL OF WORKING TO CREATE A CARING,
SUPPORTIVE ENVIRONMENT THAT SUPPORTS
MAXIMAL STUDENT LEARNING. WE KNOW THAT EACH CLASS
NEEDS TO BE WELL-PLANNED AND ORGANIZED
WITH CLEARLY STRUCTURED LESSONS THAT KEEP LEARNERS MOTIVATED
AND ENGAGED. IN ADDITION,
WE AS TEACHERS CAN GIVE DIAGNOSTIC TESTS
AT THE BEGINNING IN ORDER TO DISCOVER EACH STUDENT’S STRENGTHS
AND NEEDS. WE CAN HELP STUDENTS
SET THEIR OWN LEARNING GOALS AND DEVELOP LEARNING STRATEGIES
THAT WORK WELL FOR THEM. SO STEP BY STEP, BY PRACTICE
AND ESPECIALLY LISTENING. SO — AND READING,
IT WILL HELP A LOT. WE CAN THINK OF STUDENTS
AS HAVING A RANGE OF ABILITIES AND AS WORKS IN PROGRESS. WE CAN AVOID LABELING,
SUCH AS, “THAT STUDENT IS SMART.
THAT ONE IS STUPID. THAT ONE NEVER LISTENS.” WE CAN INDIVIDUALIZE
INTERACTIONS AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE. WE CAN LEARN STUDENT NAMES
OR USE STUDENT IDENTIFIERS SUCH AS NAME CARDS SO STUDENTS FEEL IMPORTANT
AND FEEL THAT WE KNOW THEM. WE CAN CREATE A PLAN
THAT ALLOWS US TO GIVE INDIVIDUAL ATTENTION TO A PARTICULAR SET OF STUDENTS
EACH DAY. WE CAN ROTATE SO THAT,
OVER TWO TO THREE DAYS, EACH STUDENT OR STUDENT GROUP
GETS SOME INDIVIDUAL ATTENTION. WE CAN WORK WITH ADMINISTRATORS
AND FELLOW TEACHERS TO REGULARLY UPDATE
THE CURRICULUM TO MEET STUDENT NEEDS. I WANT YOU… AND WE CAN ENCOURAGE STUDENT
RESPONSIBILITY AND INDEPENDENCE BY ALLOWING THEM FREEDOM WITHIN
THE ESTABLISHED FRAMEWORK TO MAKE CHOICES, TO HELP
WITH CLASSROOM LOGISTICS, AND TO HELP EACH OTHER. I GET THERE AT 7:00. VIDEO SEGMENT NUMBER TWO. THE CLASSROOM NEEDS TO BE
PHYSICALLY ORGANIZED IN A WAY THAT FACILITATES
THE LESSON AND EXPECTED
LEARNING PROCEDURES AND GOALS. IF POSSIBLE, IT SHOULD ALLOW FOR STUDENT
MOVEMENT AROUND THE CLASS. ANOTHER GOAL TO MOVE TOWARD IS TO ESTABLISH
A CALM WORKING ENVIRONMENT WITH CLEAR EXPECTATIONS
AND ROUTINES. Woman:
I WANT YOU TO MOVE
TO THE LANGUAGE LAB, TO CONTINUE LISTENING. I JUST LOOK
AND CALL THEM “BIRDS.” WHO’S GOING TO ANSWER?
STARS. AND EVEN WHEN THEY
LEAVE THE CLASS TO GO TO THE LIBRARY
OR TO THE LANGUAGE LAB OR TO THE MULTIMEDIA,
BIRDS WILL GO FIRST. OF COURSE, I CHOOSE
THE NEAREST TO THE DOOR SO THEY DON’T GO
HAPHAZARDLY ON THE STAIRS. CONSISTENT STUDENT TRAINING AT THE BEGINNING
OF THE SCHOOL YEAR HELPS SET UP SYSTEMS
FOR CLASSROOM LOGISTICS SO THAT STUDENTS
CAN MOVE SMOOTHLY FROM ONE ACTIVITY
TO ANOTHER, SHIFT IN AND OUT
OF GROUP WORK QUICKLY… YEAH, EVERYBODY
AT YOUR TABLE HAS A SALMON EXPERT, SOMEBODY WHO READ WITH ME
TODAY ABOUT SALMON AND WHO WILL
BE ABLE TO TELL YOU THE INFORMATION YOU NEED
TO KNOW ABOUT SALMON. THEY ARE GOING TO TELL YOU WHAT CLASS OF ANIMAL
THE SALMON BELONGS TO. READY?
HEADS TOGETHER. [ indistinct conversations ] OKAY, ONE, TWO, THREE,
EYES ON ME. RED… NUMBER THREE. BONY FISH. IT’S A BONY FISH.
YEAH, THERE’S SOME FISH… AND SELF-CHECK
AND PEER-CHECK STUDENT WORK. CLASSROOM ROUTINES
NEED TO BE CLEARLY ESTABLISHED AND CAREFULLY FOLLOWED. EVERYBODY ELSE HAS
A PRETTY GOOD UNDERSTANDING OF WHAT I EXPECT
AND WHAT WE’RE DOING. EVERY DAY’S
THE SAME ROUTINE. AND SO —
AND KNOWING THAT, IT JUST MAKES THE DAY
RUN REALLY SMOOTH. AND I’M GOING TO READ IT,
AND WE’LL ALL READ IT ONCE. TEACHERS
CAN KEEP EXPLANATIONS AND DIRECTIONS
CLEAR AND BRIEF. THEY CAN SET UP ROUTINES
FOR CLASSROOM LOGISTICS SUCH AS ATTENDANCE,
HOMEWORK CORRECTION, PAPER DISTRIBUTION
AND COLLECTION, WORK COMPLETED,
AND SO ON. THEY CAN PUT THE DAY’S AGENDA
ON THE BOARD AT THE BEGINNING OF CLASS. All:
“AFTER THAT, “WE WILL DO A SMALL
GROUP DISCUSSION — “PRE-READING SKILLS. WE WILL THEREAFTER WATCH
A SHORT VIDEO CLIP.” THEY CAN CREATE
PURPOSEFUL ACTIVITIES THAT KEEP LEARNERS ON TASK, AND THEY CAN HAVE ADDITIONAL
SELF-DIRECTED ACTIVITIES AVAILABLE FOR STUDENTS
WHO FINISH EARLY. IF YOU HAVE SEVERAL
LARGE CLASSES, ESTABLISH CONSISTENT ROUTINES
FOR ALL OF THEM. YOU CAN USE CURRICULUM
AND LESSON-PLAN TEMPLATES, BUT KEEP THEM GENERAL ENOUGH
SO THAT THEY CAN BE ADJUSTED FOR EACH INDIVIDUAL GROUP
AS NEEDED. MANY TEACHERS FIND IT USEFUL TO CREATE
SMALLER TEACHING UNITS WITHIN THE LARGER GROUP. WHEN POSSIBLE,
GIVE LEARNERS RESPONSIBILITY FOR CHOOSING
AND DOING INDIVIDUAL PROJECTS IN A GROUP THEY HAVE CHOSEN. DISPLAY STUDENT WORK
AND PROJECTS. AND USE ANY AVAILABLE AIDES
OR VOLUNTEER HELP EFFECTIVELY. BECAUSE SHE —
BECAUSE SHE HEARD A… VIDEO SEGMENT NUMBER THREE. WE AS TEACHERS
KNOW WE HAVE AUTHORITY AND KNOW WE MUST USE IT
SELECTIVELY AND WISELY. WE HAVE AN OBLIGATION
TO TREAT ALL STUDENTS FAIRLY AND TO AVOID
HUMILIATING THEM. IF WE RESPECT THEM,
WE KNOW THEY WILL RESPECT US. IN ADDITION, WE AS TEACHERS
CAN BE PROACTIVE RATHER THAN REACTIVE. WE CAN ESTABLISH CLEAR RULES
AND EXPECTATIONS AND THEN FOLLOW THEM
FOR ALL STUDENTS. WE CAN EVEN LET STUDENTS
ESTABLISH THEIR OWN AGREED-ON
CLASSROOM CONDUCT GUIDES. CONSISTENCY IS CRUCIAL. AS FAR AS MANAGEMENT GOES, IT STARTED FROM DAY ONE,
JUST TEACHING THEM, YOU KNOW, “WHEN YOU’RE DONE
WITH A CENTER, “IT’S TIME FOR YOU
TO CLEAN UP YOUR MESS BEFORE YOU GO ON
TO ANOTHER CENTER.” AND SO THAT’S BEEN THE RULE, AND THEY’VE DONE REALLY WELL
WITH FOLLOWING THAT RULE AND CLEANING UP
BEFORE THEY GO. WE CAN POST CLASS RULES
AND BEHAVIOR EXPECTATIONS ON THE WALL IN BOTH
THE FIRST AND SECOND LANGUAGE. WE CAN USE REWARD SYSTEMS
AND PEER REINFORCEMENT SO THAT THE WHOLE CLASS
WORKS TOWARDS COMMON BEHAVIORAL GOALS. AND I HAVE SUPER
SCIENTIST AWARDS FOR SOME OF THE PEOPLE THAT
I SEE DOING A REALLY GOOD JOB WHILE WE’RE DOING
OUR CHANTS. PEOPLE WHO ARE
SOLVING PROBLEMS, MAKING GOOD DECISIONS,
AND SHOWING RESPECT. OKAY, I’LL GO… WE CAN ESTABLISH CONSEQUENCES
FOR INAPPROPRIATE BEHAVIOR AND WHEN NEEDED,
APPLY THOSE CONSEQUENCES IN A FAIR
AND MATTER-OF-FACT MANNER. TO THE EXTENT
THAT IT SEEMS REASONABLE, WE CAN POSTPONE INDIVIDUAL
DISCIPLINE MATTERS UNTIL AFTER CLASS IN ORDER TO SAVE CLASS TIME
FOR LEARNING. WE CAN BUILD INTO LESSON PLANS
BOTH PURPOSEFUL ACTIVITIES AND OTHER OPPORTUNITIES
FOR STUDENTS TO GET UP AND MOVE
AROUND THE CLASSROOM. WE CAN TRY TO DISCOVER
THE REASON FOR BEHAVIOR IN CASES
WHERE THERE ARE CONSISTENT STUDENT DISCIPLINE PROBLEMS. WE CAN WORK WITH ADMINISTRATORS
AND COLLEAGUES TO DETERMINE THE EXTENT TO WHICH SCHOOL-WIDE
BEHAVIOR MODELS CAN BE PUT INTO PRACTICE
AND FOLLOWED BY ALL. THE FOCUS IN MODULE SIX
HAS BEEN ON IDEAS AND EFFECTIVE TECHNIQUES
FOR MANAGING LARGE CLASSES FROM THE STANDPOINT
OF PEDAGOGICAL PLANNING, CLASSROOM LEARNING SYSTEMS, AND STUDENT BEHAVIOR
OR DISCIPLINE. NUMBER…FOUR. THERE IS NO ONE RECIPE
FOR SUCCESS ON THIS CHALLENGING TOPIC. HOWEVER, WITH CAREFUL PLANNING,
CONSISTENCY, AND PERHAPS
A BIT OF CREATIVITY, WE CAN TRY TO BRING
MORE OF A SMALL-TOWN FEEL AND SENSE OF COMMUNITY
TO OUR OVERCROWDED CLASSES. SEE THE MANUAL FOR READINGS
AND MORE INFORMATION ON THIS AND OTHER TOPICS RELATED
TO CLASSROOM MANAGEMENT.

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