Wednesday, 3 October 2012

managing for success

Managing for Success

What is classroom management? For me classroom management are all the considerations about a lesson that aren’t the methodology and the content.
The picture below is a mind map of some of the things that people suggested make up classroom management in the first few sessions. Have I missed anything? Add your thoughts in the comments section below.

The session looked at two areas of classroom management, instructions and movement but it also touched on feedback and seating arrangements too.


Here is a video of me giving terrible instructions. What is wrong with them?

Here are the instructions for instructions that you came up with in the session.

  • stand in one place
  • wait till you have attention.
  • slow down
  • repeat key facts
  • check students have understood.
  • only say what needs saying
  • don’t over complicate
  • do an example
  • know what you want to say

Movement and pair work.

Sitting in a different seat every lesson helps students to concentrate.
Research suggests that seeing a room from a different angle can improve attention levels in the classroom. That suggests that sitting in the some seat every lesson can have a negative effect on students.
Students like working with the same people so why bother move them.
This is true, so one has to make the decision do the negatives outweigh the positives.
Pair work reduces pressure on the students.
Pair work helps students to feel more comfortable. They are not performing in front of the whole class. it means they have time to rehearse before having to tell the class.
Movement in a lesson helps students to improve concentration.
It is said that even minimal movement can help to get oxygen into the brain and that in turn helps to prolong the concentration span. So ask students to put their hands on their heads or point to something can be beneficial.
Pair work or group work means I lose control of the classroom.
This is an understandable concern, what are the students doing in pairs and groups are they doing what I have asked them to? Bit even when the class works as a whole there might be people not paying attention, day dreaming etc. Again do the positives outweigh the negatives.
Working with different students improves the classroom dynamics.
We want to foster cooperation in our classes. The best way to do that is to encourage students to work and learn from everyone in the room. But that is in a perfect world and I know reality is different.
Changing classroom positions is good for discipline.
This could be true, moving students around can help the break up disruptive pairs. If you do this randomly then students don’t feel like they are being picked on.
Changes in groups should be temporary so students can go back to their comfort zones.
I think this is true, I often sit with my friends in lessons because I like them, I don’t mind working with other people but I want to go back to my friends.
Collaboration (working together) helps to improve learning.
As Sir Ken Robinson said in this video
collaboration is important for education. Pair work and group work can become important learning tools. What we think of as copying could be thought of as peer teaching and collaborative development. Allowing students to steal ideas from each other is fun and can help them grow. During the mind map or poster activity in some locations I let 1 member of each group go off and spy on the others.
Also reflect on what you learnt in this seminar. Who did you learn it from. All I really did in the session was manage the room and set up the activities. It was you who shared, reflected and learnt with and from each other.

In the session I showed you 5 ways to change the groups around, they were
  • numbers
  • musical chairs
  • dots
  • spokesperson
  • ladders
Which ways do you move your students? Leave a comment in the section below.

I also showed you 5 activities for classroom use, they were
  • mind maps
  • stop game
  • making posters
  • turn over discussions
  • draw and describe
Have you used any of them? Where they successful? Tell us using the comments below.

Finally I used a range of ways to do feedback, did you spot them? Again let me know using the comments section below. 

here is the ken Robinson video in full


  1. Thank you for your sessions and this blog. They are really helpful. Have a nice day. Jana

  2. Which way do I move my pupils? I sometimes use lexical sets. I have written words of various lexical sets on little sheets of paper (e.g. a cat, a dog, a guinea pig..., red, blue, white...,a garlic, an onion, a carrot..., English, Maths, Physics...) after distributing the papers pupils mingle around the classroom while saying "their" word aloud to find their partners.