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Classroom management creates commitment

The behaviour of the teacher and the framing of the students’ work in the classroom has a major influence on the students’ commitment and learning.

Classroom management happens before, during, and after lessons and can be quite a delicate balance. Photo: Anders Trærup
A new page on AU Educate introduces classroom management and facilitation of learning. Behind the new material is, among others, educational developer at the CED Rikke Frøhlich Hougaard. Photo: Morten Koldby

Even though the students exhibit both independence and motivation in relation to their learning, they do not necessarily know how to work most suitably with the content of the course. When teaching a large class the teacher is not merely a presenter, they also act as a facilitator and lead the students by setting the framework for their work.

Paradoxically, classroom management starts even before the lesson. When planning the learning outcomes, activities, tests, and feedback, the teacher must consider their role in relation to the students they are teaching.

Involvement of the students during the lesson

Classroom management involves explicit and visible involvement of the students in the decisions made by the teacher. For example, by regularly talking to them about the academic objectives and clarifying which learning outcome they are working towards during the specific lesson or activity.

Many teachers switch between different types of activities as students learn in different ways. Reflecting on these decisions together with the students is part of classroom management. It is beneficial to initiate dialogue with the class on how the activities reflect the skills and competencies on which the students will be assessed at the exam.

In addition, it is important to have a clear structure for the teaching, which is shared with the students.

A framework for activities

Classroom management is also in action when initiating activities during the lesson. It can be quizzes, votes, neighbour discussions, or more advanced activities. The common denominator of these activities is that the teacher gives careful instructions whenever the students begin new activities. The instructions not only present the academic purpose of the activity but also the format of the activity – especially if they are not accustomed to the format.

It is important to maintain a balance between flexibility and control. Flexible teachers and classroom managers are prepared to adjust the schedule if, for example, the students find something particularly difficult or interesting about the material. Thus, it is possible to allow students evident influence on the lesson. However, at the same time, the whole class needs to be led through the material and activities in a balanced way. Discussions or questions must be put on hold if they are not relevant for most of the students.

Support students’ social interactions

The primary focus of university teachers is the academic aspect. However, social interaction between students, and between the teacher and students, also has a significant impact on the learning environment and the students’ desire for and confidence during the lesson.

Therefore, the role of the classroom manager is also to get to know their students a bit – who they are, their interests, challenges, and concerns. Certainly, the teacher is not solely responsible for taking care of the students’ social or mental problems. However, the students will look to the teacher as more than a disseminator of academic knowledge, which is why the role of the classroom manager is to show understanding, be flexible, and perhaps refer students to relevant help.

In practice, classroom management can be to work with relations and make students feel safe. For example, by asking open questions and not focusing too much on what is correct and wrong, but instead focusing on encouraging discussion.

Finally, classroom management can go beyond the specific lesson by facilitating the framework for collaboration between students through study groups. Together with the class, the classroom manager can make clear guidelines for the work of the study groups during the lesson and ensure everyone is part of an existing or new group.

Find out more at AU Educate

You can read more and find specific examples of how to work with classroom management and facilitation of your teaching at AU Educate.

At the CED, our consultants are always ready to offer advice and consulting concerning your teaching. Contact us for an informal chat.