Effective classroom management refers to all of the things tutors do to organise students, learning space, time and materials to maximise effective teaching and student learning. Research has shown effectively managed classrooms and high student achievements are linked (Wong & Wong, 1998).
Relationships between tutors and students are a vital aspect of classroom management. Students need to feel part of the group and to be appreciated as individuals, and using student names will help in establish a friendly culture for your tutorial. It is important that you have considered time management and how you will open and close the tutorial.
Managing a group of university students is not always an easy task and there are common challenges faced by all tutors. While there are no ‘fail-safe’ techniques, there are strategies that can help you:
- Circulate throughout the room as physical proximity can often help stop inappropriate behaviour.
- Be on alert to analyse what is going on in the room – both academically and socially.
- Where possible, deal with problems as they occur. If this will interfere too much with the flow of the tutorial and the work of the other students, then make a consultation time for the student to meet with you. Try to make this as close to the time of the incident as you can manage.
Classroom management and behaviour management are closely interrelated, so the smooth running of your tutorial – with a focus on learning – will help establish positive behaviours. Often classroom management issues can be related to a lack of student engagement.