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Classroom Management in Young Learner Classes

Find the source of the problem in the following situations

Giving Instructions Being Observant Group Dynamics Error Correction

Physical Environment Awareness of Students' Problems Personality Equipment
Flexibility Time-eaters
1. The teacher asks the students to work in pairs to complete a cutting-coloring activity. She explains
what the students do very quickly and she uses the target language all the time. She does not let
them ask questions, she does not show them how to cut, paste and color. The students start talking
to each other.
2. Two boys are sitting together and they are very angry with each other. They are almost about to fight.
The teacher warns them harshly and goes on with her lecture. However, the boys start fighting.
3. The class is working on a vocabulary puzzle activity. The teacher asks the students to work in groups
of 4. Some groups are very strong and they easily find the vocabulary items in the puzzle, while some
groups are very weak and they give up trying. The teacher is angry with the groups which cannot
finish in time.
4. The teacher checks the homework with the class. The students to respond are chosen randomly. Each
time a student makes a mistake, others start shouting and giving the correct answers.
5. The class is very crowded and noisy. The students are not happy with the seating arrangement. Some
students always want to change where they sit because they cannot see the board clearly or they do
not want to sit in front of the windows. However, some students do not. The teacher is tired of
dealing with seating problems.
6. It's the last lesson before the lunch break. The students are really hungry and they do not want to
wait for the lunch queue. After two minutes, the bell will ring. However, the teacher asks the class to
copy 10 sentences on the board. The students are really pissed off and they are complaining. The
teacher becomes very angry and does not let them go for lunch before they finish the sentences.
7. The new unit in the text book is about "travelling". All of the students are very excited to tell their
travelling experiences. However, the teacher starts telling her own experiences. At the beginning the
students are really happy to hear them, but later they get bored of listening and they start whispering
their experiences to each other in their mother tongue.
8. It is time to listen to a song. The students are very excited, but the teacher does not know how to use
the new tape recorder. She tries for a few times, and then one of the students helps her with the
tape. When the students are ready to listen, they realize that the quality of the cassette is very poor
and no matter how high the volume is, the students cannot hear properly.
9. The teacher has planned to finish the unit in the text book. However, half of the class has gone for the
Children's Bayram rehearsal. There are only 12 students in class and they do not want to study
English, all they want to do is to play a game or to chat on their own. The teacher insists on finishing
the unit.
10. The teacher has given homework of 10 pages for the weekend. There are 24 students in her class. On
Monday, in the first lesson of the day, she asks them to take their homework out and she checks
every page of the homework. The students are bored of waiting for teacher's check. Then, the
teacher tells the students that they will check the answers for every question. She spends the whole
2-hour lesson on Monday.
Please discuss what METU FLE graduates think about classroom management

Classroom management with young learners is highly important. When you manage the classes, the rest
follows easily and quickly. It is necessary to silence the students to teach I teach third and fourth
graders, but I taught the other classes while substituting; this is the most important thing. (Graduate 9,
2nd year)

The problem is not instruction, method or technique. The problem is to have students sit down My
problem is about classroom management. When the class is silent, I have very good lessons and I leave
the classroom happily. I say how nice it is to be a teacher... If I overcome this classroom management
problem, I do not think Ill have any other problems I enter the classroom and they all yell, Why are you
coming? I turn my back and they start singing. I get angry with one of them; they yell, Why do you get
angry. Not a lesson but a circus: some are fighting and some are flying paper planes. I feel embarrassed
and feel like crying. I cannot take it anymore. (Graduate 10, 1st year)

In one of the books, it says the toughest part of teaching is lack of privacy; forty faces are looking at you
in class. That information was crucial for me because I learnt something about the profession.
(Graduate 7, 2nd year)

I had serious problems especially in classroom management in my first year, but these could also happen
to any beginning teacher, particularly in a private school. I never thought of it as a shortcoming of METU.
It was because of my inexperience and the hyper activity of the kids. Even in my worst classes, I have
never heard students implying the teacher doesnt know anything. Thats because Im confident about
my competence in subject area, and my principal, the administrators and my colleagues all tell me that.
There is nothing to do about classroom management anyway. (Graduate 3, 4th year)
(all-opur, 2008a)

Please discuss how you would deal with the students disruptive behavior in the anecdotes below

Situation A:
I was teaching English to first grade primary school students The lesson was the last lesson of the week
and the students were involved with a coloring activity with some paper and crayons. One of the students
started throwing his crayons to the student sitting next to him one by one. The other boy was not
responding, although he was trying to protect his face with his arm. I approached the trouble maker and
took his paper and the rest of his crayons saying: If you dont use them for coloring, Ill have the crayons.
He started shouting at me but I did not care. He approached to the teachers desk, and hit the coloring
papers on it. The papers were all over the desk and the floor. He ran singing: you cant catch me! in
Turkish. The rest of the class was in dead silence waiting to see what would happen.

Situation B:
I was teaching English to fifth grade primary school students I was teaching a lesson on the types of
animals, including mammals, reptiles, fish, birds, and arachnids. The names of these five animal types
were written on the board, and I asked students to give examples for each type of animal for a review.
After a couple of examples, one of the students stood up, came to the board, and wrote the name of one
of the other students as an example for reptiles. The whole class went crazy; they were laughing and
praising the boy for doing such a funny thing, while teasing the one whose name was on the board.
(all-opur, 2008b)
Read through the examples of troublesome student behaviors in the classroom listed below
What do you think about the level of severity attached to each of them? Identify 5 you believe to be
minor and 5 that are at the top of your severity scale. Then compare your answers with a peer.
1. Having authority challenged 11. Shouting at others
2. Talking out of turn 12. Swearing
3. Making statements that seemingly have 13. Name calling, making racist, sexist, homophobic,
nothing to do with topic etc. remarks about others
4. Coming late to class 14. Talking about students behind their backs
5. Leaving early with no notification 15. Consumer mentality: I paid for this; thus I want
6. Backpack shuffle 16. Coming to class unprepared
7. Eating in the classroom 17. Constantly phoning office or home
8. Doing homework for other classes 18. Cheating
9. Reading a book 19. Sexual hits & sexual harassment
10. Sleeping during class 20. Aggressive and hostile verbal attacks (directed at
the teacher and peers)
(Reed, 1997)

Please discuss the solutions below and decide if they are acceptable or unacceptable:

i. The teacher throws chalk/rubber/ pen/pencil/ book to the student(s) who has an unacceptable
behavior in class.
ii. The teacher ignores the cell phones, the late comers and/or the missing coursebooks.
iii. The teacher insults, humiliates and/or swears at the students.
iv. The teacher sends the student to the principle/ vice-principle/discipline committee and/or calls the
v. The teacher asks another student or a group of students to decide on what to do and/or lets them
take action.
vi. The teacher uses physical punishment such as slapping.

Reed, R. (1997) Strategies for dealing with troublesome behaviors in the classroom. The National Teaching and
Learning Forum, 6 (6). Retrieved online from:
all-opur, D. (2008a). Teacher effectiveness in initial years of service: A case study on the graduates of METU
foreign language education program. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Middle East Technical
University, Ankara, Turkey.
all-opur, D. (2008b). Using anecdotes in language classes. English Teaching Forum, 46 (1), 34-39.