Toward the Development of a Classroom Management Strategy Model ‎for Iranian EFL Learners Using Real Observations and Participants' ‎Words

Document Type: Original Article

Authors

Islamic Azad University, Shiraz

Abstract

This qualitative study aimed to develop a model of classroom management strategy for Iranian English as a foreign language learners. To tap into this matter, some face to face and focus group interviews as well as real observations were performed. Twenty-six students including various proficiency levels from four different provinces participated in the face to face and focus group interviews. Also, 10 observations of the real classes wherein teachers were teaching conversation courses were made. Transcribing and codifying the data according to Corbin and Strauss's (2014) systematic steps of open, axial and selective coding, the findings revealed a model of classroom management strategy encompassing three main themes (management, quality of life and classroom practices), nine categories and 39 subcategories. The findings suggest EFL teachers notonly should pay attention to classroom practices, but they should also work onbuilding up rapport and encouraging their students in order to achieve a class in which students are wholeheartedly willing to learn the language.

Keywords

Main Subjects


Introduction

As methods of language teaching are reviewed from the initial periods to the current condition of language pedagogy, this fact highlights itself that teachers are given less dominance in the classroom and learners are assigned prominent roles. For instance, in methods such as the audio-lingual, learners are only imitators of teachers' behavior, but it was in communicative language teaching that the idea of learner-centered approaches to language teaching appeared.

Elen, Clarebout, Léonard and Lowyck (2007) point out that the new language classes, focus more ona learning environment which is student-centered with the advent of constructivism.

Also, moving beyond method era, another evident fact which is somewhat ignored in the methods era is the function of factors that are contextual, these include “the context constituted by the teachers and learners in their classrooms” (Richards & Rogers, 2001, p. 248). Because of this shift in the course and educational approach, instructors are expected to acclimatize their approach to classroom management and instruction according to the local voices of their own students. Therefore, Classroom Management can be defined as “the actions and strategies teachers use to solve the problem of order in classrooms” (Doyle, 1986, p. 397). Successful instructors employ regulations, measures, and routinein order to make sure students are dynamically implicated in education. Essentially, teachers employ management not to be in command of the actions of the students, instead, they intend to direct it in a positive way to pave the way for education (Stronge, Tucker & Hindman, 2004).

Rogers and Freiberg (1994) suggest teachers use an approach which is student-centered instead of a teacher-centered one for the management of the classroom that is based on rapport and positive relationship between teachers and students. Consequently, teachers' role shifts from being the full authority to an encourager and facilitator. Because of these changes, classrooms are more student-centered rather than teacher-centered.

According to Kayıkçı (2009) a significant task of the language instructor is to use the appropriate method in the classroom to increase the students' latent strengths. Language teachers should tend to students that are early or late, easy and hard learners as well as those who are able or disabled independently of one another. Also, a multifaceted and complicated network of relations exists in the classroom environment.

Moreover, Harmer (2007) believes that for managing an EFL classroom effectively, teachers should have the ability to manage a series of liabilities involving the classroom space management, classroom time management, and knowing if students prefer to work alone or together. Also, the instruct to rought to think about how s/he appears in the eyes of the students as well as how s/he employs his/her tone. A further significant variable in the management of an EFL classroom, according to Brown 2001, is the way an instructor addresses the students and which one; whether the teacher or the students talk more in the class.

Classroom management in the organization of English language classes is an important issue of preservice student teachers as well as practicing teachers, particularly teachers of  English language in Iran (Esmaeeli, 2002). In numerous works, the perception of teachers regarding classroom management has been examined, in those studies, various factors that may have potential consequences on their options have been considered. (Oliver, Wehby & Reschly, 2011; Berliner, 1986; Brouwers & Tomic, 2000; Yazdanmehr & Akbari, 2015). However, to the best knowledge of the researchers, there is a dearth of studies analyzing the learners’ voice. Regarding the scarcity of the studies focusing on learners’ views in classroom management in Iran. Thus, this research intends to bridge this gap by conducting a qualitative study toward the development of a learner autonomy model of classroom events for Iranian EFL learners. In this sense, the results that have been reached may be practical for students of teachingas well aspracticing teachers. In addition, it can be a useful source for teacher training programs.

 

Literature Review

Despite its complexity and significance, classroom management hasa dire repute with academics; explicitly, not enough attention is given to classroom management in courses for teacher training (Emmer & Stough, 2001; Everstone & Weinstein, 2006; Tal, 2010).

Martin, Yin, and Baldwin (1998) describe classroom management as a general term that describes the efforts of the teacher to oversee numerous activities that take place inside the classroom. These consist of learning, social relations, and behavior. According to Everstone and Weinstein (2006), management of the classroom is a process in which instructors try to outline a convenient settingin which both academic and social-emotional learning takes place (Raizen, 2001).

Also, Wong and Rosemary (2001) describes classroom management as “all the things that a teacher does to establish students’ space, time and materials so that teaching in content and student learning can take place” (p. 84). Besides, Everston and Neal (2006) state that beneficial classroom management can be achieved by shifting its weight from controlling the behavior of the students to creating classrooms that are learning centered and that promote students' commitment and independence by giving the students increasingly more responsibility with the teachers' observant supervision.

Examination of previous works about classroom management indicated that several variables influence the teachers' classroom management. Korthagen (2004) pointed out that the experience of the teacher influences the management of the classroom, and that new teachers have an approach which is less controlling, in contrast to the teachers who are more experienced. Some works indicate that the gender of the teachers has influence on the way they manage their classes. Female teachers seem to take an approach in managing their classroom which is less controlling compared to their male counterparts (Rahimi & Hosseini, 2012). Additionally, depending on the subject matter (Ünal & Ünal, 2012), the context of teaching (Martin & Yin, 1999), and the cultural background (Zhou & Li, 2015) classroom management approaches vary.

Elbla (2012) examined the subject of corporal and verbal punishment as away to discipline the behavior of students in Sudanese schools. The results indicated that teachers employ castigatory approaches because they themselves experienced similar stress and frustration at school.

Also, Harmer (2007) defined rapport as a relationship that students have with their teacher and vice versa when they interact day after day in the classroom. Establishing a good rapport between the students and the teacher is a march toward a successful class (Barmaki, 2014), consequently preserving the teacher-student bond is important in classrooms to promote the positive development of the students (Bruney, 2012; Nguyen, 2007; Pianta, Hamre, & Allen, 2012).

In a study, Fowler and Sarapli (2010) investigated the ELT students' expectations. The findings of their study demonstrated that successful classroom management is as important to students as it is to teachers. Students expect their instructors to be punctual and disciplined, preferred a stricter classroom, and wanted to make sure that they are appreciated and valued by the teachers.

Finally, Marashi and Azizi Nasab investigated the relationship between self-efficacy, language proficiency and classroom management strategy. The findings showed that language proficiency and classroom management were not correlated.

To compensate for the limitations, and with the aim of developing and validating a model to assess the effectiveness and appropriateness of classroom management, this study addresses the following research questions:

1. What classroom management strategies emerge out of students’ interviews and teachers’ classroom observation?

2. What model of classroom management strategies can develop following the emerged results?

 

Method

This study intended to build up a bottom up model of classroom management drawing upon the available resources for doing a grounded theory method.

 

Participants and Settings

Twenty-six students including various proficiency levels from four different provinces, namely, Hormozgan (Shokooh & Zaban sara language institutes), Kerman (Kish Language Institute) Tehran (Kish Language Institute), and Yazd (ILI) comprised the interview participants of the study. The participants were selected randomly from each language institute and they were informed about the intent of the current study.

The reason underlying this selection of the participants from across four diverse provinces can be simply the provision of an enriched model of classroom management strategy that is not simply limited in scope and variety. Also, it is worth mentioning that the number of participants was not arranged apriori and it was decided as the consequence of data saturation procedures where no new idea could be traced from running extra interviews and the interviewees were all expressing repetitive viewpoints. Therefore, the process of running interviews was stopped. In addition, 10 conversation classes purposively selected were observed. The researchers observed conversation classes to find the management strategies used by teachers of each particular class.

 

Instruments

The instruments include, interview and observation which are in-depth explained as follows:

 

Interview

To gather data about classroom management strategies, semi-structured interview was the best choice. Hence, a tentative interview guide including some general questions about classroom management strategies and particular ones from literature were designed. Then, the questions were refined after they were piloted with seven students from Golshahr Language Institute in Bandar-Abbas.

Afterwards, the interview process was initiated with the presence of two interviewers and 26 interviewees. In fact, one interviewer asked the questions and the other one took notes of the main points. Moreover, it should be noted that all interview sessions were audio-taped for further analysis and transcription. The shortest time for each interview was 15 minutes and the longest one lasted 45 minutes. In addition, six students attended a focus group discussion/ interview as to the best classroom management strategies that can be ideal to a conversation class.

 

Observation

To assess classroom management strategies, 10observations were arranged. The researchers acted as non-participant observers and sat at the back of the classroom. They worked with the supervisor and two other peer observers who were required to report their observations to the management of the institutes. Prior to running observations, the researchers explained how the classroom should be observed to the supervisor of each institute and two of their colleagues. This process augmented what is known as inter-rater agreement or in other words, the trustworthiness of the observations made.

Moreover, to ensure the reliability of observations in some classes, a video recorder was placed in the back corner of the classroom to capture what was happening besides the observers’ notes. Comparing all these observations’ findings, the researcher prepared a complete report to reach a comprehensive result.

 

Data Collection Procedures

Step 1: after designing and piloting the interview guide, the first interview started and the participants were informed that their responses would be recorded. Also, they were allowed to use any language, either L1 or L2 to get their ideas across. Moreover, to keep them motivated and prevent them from feeling like being in a monologue, they were constantly provided with feedback. In fact, two interviewers attended the session where one was liable for posing the questions and providing the feedback and the other one kept noting the main points.

Step 2: In the end, a summary of the key points expressed by the interviewees were given to them and they highlighted inconsistencies, if any, between their viewpoints and notes taken by the researcher. This strategy created some space for augmenting the credibility/trustworthiness of the data which is equivalent to the idea of validity in research.

Step 3: 10 conversation classes of various proficiency levels were observed by the researchers and two more peer observers. Before, observing the classes, the intention for observing the classes were explained to the peer observers and they did not do anything but observed the classes and took notes of the ongoing processes. Finally, they provided their written descriptions of the ongoing activities to the supervisor of the institutes. Moreover, six classes were equipped with video recorders. Finally, the researchers rechecked twenty percent of the written memos by themselves and two other peer observers. This idea is known as dependability where the researchers tried their best to minimize disagreement among coders and maximize consistency between the data and the assigned codes. The researchers also went on with one more step of analysis and checked the video recorders to make sure a unanimous description of classroom events was given. Finally, the collected data from face to face/focused group discussions and observation were transcribed and entered into MAXQDA software.

 

Data Analysis Procedure

The transcriptions of the interviews and observations were codified using the coding procedures suggested by Corbin and Strauss (2014) systematic steps of open, axial and selective coding for grounded theory. As the first steps, as many codes as possible were attributed to the chunks and bits of the data. Then, the codes were added together to make categories. In other words, the related codes were identified and given a particular name; this strategy is known as reduction of the codes into workable categories and subcategories. Finally, the categories were refined into 3 major umbrella terms and themes.

 

Results

First Research Q: What classroom management strategies emerge out of students’ interviews and teachers’ classroom observation?

The first theme that emerged from the data was management, and it has four main categories, namely, time management, resource management, discipline/ behavior management, and attention management. Each of these categories haves some subcategories which will be further explained in subsequent sections.

 

Figure 1. Management and its categories

 

Time Management

Ignoring Unrelated Comments

Interview: S12 said, "I personally think that it's better if the teacher ignores unrelated comments made by students. Because the teacher will have ignored the comment and have shown the student to stop making that kind of interruption at the same time."

Focus group interview: S 2 commented, "I don't think ignoring works in this case. In my opinion, the teacher should provide a brief answer to the question in order not to dissuade the student."

 

Time Allocation

Interview: S18said, "As a student, I don't like the teacher to determine a time to a particular task, and then say time is over, let's go to the next one. Well, we can start with one topic and then go to the other ones. I like it better."

Observation: T2: In a class observation, I saw a teacher spend 10 minutes for each task, and she moved on too quickly to the next task, not entirely making sure the students had quite understood the previous one well enough.

 

Teaching the Four Skills

Interview: S 5 said, "Obviously it's better to cover each skill separately, so you can have the students concentrate on one of the skills so they'll be ready and you can teach them.

Focus group discussion: S 24 discussed that "A class session can't last for four hours, a session lasts for around 90 minutes, and after that time students are usually tired. Even if we're talking about the best teacher here, I'd expect him to teach only one skill per session, and leave the other skills for the next session or the next week, etc. because if they're taught all in the same session, the quality of the taught material will decrease."

 

Teaching Timetable

Interview: S 10 said, "If a teacher has a prepared timetable from before, it means that s/he might not be a good improviser. I'd not feel too comfortable in that kind of a class."

Observation: T3: In a class observation, the researcher observed a teacher use a timetable that had divided the time of the class for different activities such as reviewing the previous session, homework checking, role-play, the new lesson, etc. and the group of students seemed to work in a very orderly manner.

 

Figure 1.1. Time management and its subcategories

 

Resource Management

Class Equipment

Interview: S1 said, "Using the DVD player, for example, they just played a short part of a movie every two or three weeks, and it was useless, and the device itself, I think, was of no use either. Playing just a piece of video per month was not effective at all. Well, I can say it just wasted the time of the class.

Focus group discussion: S7 discussed, "Learning will definitely improve because students need to be alone with a task to learn a skill. I mean no noise from outside. Well, in the lab, using the headset, the computer, and sometimes software, you can have a close interaction with the teacher, and it is definitely better, because the student learns more efficiently.

 

The Teacher should Rely on his/her Knowledge Rather than the Class Equipment

Interview: S22 said, "Equipment sareclearly effectual. However, a good teacher is one who can teach even without these facilities.

Interview: S3 commented, "It doesn't matter what facilities the teacher uses in the class, audio or visual, what matters to me is the knowledge of the teacher."

 

 

Using the black/whiteboard

Interview: S15 said, "I think it is essential for a teacher to write the main points of whatever s/he has taught on a place where everyone in the class can see and later copy."

Observation: Every single class the researcher observed,had been equipped with a whiteboard, and it was always used by the teacher to write the key points of the lesson.

 

Figure 1.2. Resource management and its subcategories

 

Discipline/ Behavior Management

Strictness of the Teacher

Interview: S 2 commented, "The teacher must show him/herself a serious person."

Focus group discussion: S21 said, "I don't expect the teacher to be all that serious, because it's an academic atmosphere and not an army. Being serious repels the students, and they will eventually lose interest in learning that language, and then it happens….learning is compromised."

Using Grades as a Tool

Interview: S24 said, "The teacher's only trick is scoring. For example, if a student is absent for a few sessions, s/he will not receive the full score."

Interview: S21 commented, "Grades are critical. I would double my efficiency whenever I got good grades, and when I got bad grades, I would have a negative response."

 

Flexibility

Interview: S7 commented, "The teacher should try to value students, even when they misbehave, s/he should try to make friends with them."

Interview: S20 said, "Ignoring students doesn't work, and teachers should get along well with students, but if it doesn't work, then the teacher can resort to punishment."

 

Taking Disciplinary Matters to the Management of the Institute

Interview: S21 said, "I think the teacher should be able to handle disciplinary matters into his/her own hands. Sending someone to the management of the Institute for a misbehavior sounds too extreme to me."

Interview: S9 commented, "Sometimes people come to institutes etc. and they think that because the rules are somewhat less strict than in schools, they can do anything they want in classes like those. I think in such cases the teacher should refer them to the management so that the problem does not interrupt learning in the class."

 

Knowing where an Act of Misbehavior Stems From

Interview: S14 commented, "The teacher should be close to his/her students. If s/he does that, then s/he'll know where a problem of misbehavior comes from, in case there is one."

Focus group discussion: S2 commented, "The teacher is the boss of the class. After having been acquainted with the students s/he should more or less know them, and if someone misbehaves, the teacher should know where it comes from, and why."

 

Teacher-Student Positive Relationship Minimizes Misbehaviors

Interview: S19 said, "The teacher should value the students, bring them close to him/herself. That way the students will be encouraged to behave."

Interview: S13 commented, "I believe that even bad students respect their teachers in their heart. Therefore, a friendly approach that the teacher may initiate can prevent a lot of misbehavior."

 

Establishing Clear Classroom Rules

Interview: S14 commented, "I think the teacher should tell the students what they are supposed to do and what they are not supposed to do during the first session of each semester, so that the students will know what is right or wrong."

Focus group discussion: S21 said, "People go to language classes because they want to learn something different from what they've learned in their schools. Establishing class norms, in my opinion, give the class an air of unnecessary seriousness."

Observation: T4: In a classroom observation I witnessed a student arrive after the class had started, and the rule established by the teacher for late arrivals was to buy a round of ice-cream for everyone, and all of the students reminded the teacher that after class, she must buy everyone vanilla ice-cream.

 

Figure 1.3. Discipline/ Behavior management and its subcategories

 

Attention Management

Calling the Students' Attention

Interview: Student 22 said, "I don't like the teacher warn me. The teacher should have other ways up his/her sleeves to attract the attention of a student."

Focus group discussion: S9 said, "I don't like the teacher to tell me in words. I like to be warned non-verbally, be it for chewing gum or for talking to my friend."

 

 

 

Not Favoring Active Students over Weaker Ones

Interview: S22 said, "In my opinion, the teacher should pay equal attention to both weak and talented students, not favoring one over the other."

Interview: S20 commented, "If I'm a weak student, I feel the teacher should dedicate more time and attention to me rather than those who are better."

 

Paying more Attention to Weaker Students to Avoid Misbehavior

Focus group discussion: S11 said, "Of course it depends on the age group…sure if we're talking about younger children, and even teenagers, if the teacher doesn't pay attention to the students who are unable to keep up with the class, they'll try to find some way to distract themselves, and kill the time in some way, which will most of the time result in misbehavior."

Focus group discussion: S23 said, "Sometimes the teacher should keep the management of the classroom under control by paying more attention to weaker students, because they are not able to do the tasks assigned to them, and so they give up hope of learning, and they might resort to other ways to highlight their presence in the class…"

 

Attention to Novel ideas

Interview: S5 said, "Just as weaker students need more attention, new ideas should be welcomed by the teacher so that students with bright ideas can flourish their talents."

Focus group discussion: S17 said, "The teacher should never disagree with the students who come up with new ideas in a way to discourage them, however, students may come up with ideas all the time, and if a teacher spends all his/her time just listening to the ideas the students may have, well soon the class will be out of his/her hand…"

 

Figure 1.4. Attention management and its subcategories

 

 

 

Quality of Teaching in the Classroom

It is the second theme that emerged from the data, and it has two main categories, encouragement and rapport.

 

Figure 2. Quality of teaching in the classroom

 

Encouragement

The Class should be Conducted in a Way to Promote Enthusiasm.

Interview: S3 said, "I think the teacher should encourage correct answers, especially for younger children you know…they love that."

Focus group discussion: S11 said, "I think when students come to an institute; they already are enthusiastic about learning English, because it's optional in the first place. I think the teacher should definitely be positive, however, s/he should not put too much energy on creating enthusiasm…"

 

The Teacher should Hand out Gifts

Interview: S17 said, "Yes it's a good idea to hand out gifts, but it should not be routine so that every time a student gives the right answer s/he will want something…"

Focus group discussion: S2 commented, "I believe it's very good to give out gifts, for all ages. I mean even for language learners above the age of 30…"

Focus group discussion: S23 commented, "The students, who give the wrong answers, should receive something it'll help them remember their mistakes. I think it's a great technique."

 

The Teacher should identify Each Student's Talent

Interview: S22 said, "Each language learner has a different talent within the realm of language. I mean some people are more interested in speaking; others like to write, etc. I think it is the teacher who should identify these talents and encourage the students to work on their talents."

Focus group discussion: S5 commented, "The talent of students in language learning depends largely on their personalities. The teacher should identify those talents by getting to know the students and try to give them assignments according to each student's talent."

 

Pointing out to the Mal-Performance of an Exercise

Interview: S 1 commented, "This is very important, it is important for the teacher to say: "you should not do the exercise like that…" rather than to say: "you are wrong here…" it gives the student a lot of confidence."

Interview: S13 said, "I think teachers rarely observe that. But this is how they should do it. The teacher should focus his/her attention and draw the attention of the student to the correct way a task should be done rather than point to the faultiness of the students."

 

Avoiding Competition among Students

Interview: S16 mentioned, "The teacher should encourage an air of friendliness in class rather than competition and rivalry."

Interview: S5 said, "When the teacher divides the students s/he should model how the head and the members of the group are supposed to treat each other, this strategy will eliminate any conflict among the members and the head of the group."

Focus group discussion: S24 mentioned," I believe competition is inevitable in any learning environment. However, this competition can be geared toward positive learning by all participants of a class."

 

Figure 2.1. encouragemnt and its subcategories

 

Rapport

There should be no Intimacy between Students and the Teacher in a Language Class.

Focus group discussion: S15 mentioned, "On the contrary, I believe there should be a close relationship between the students and the language teacher, because the students are learning a new culture at the same time as they are learning a new language, and they need to feel comfortable around their teacher."

Focus group discussion: S4 mentioned, "I must disagree with my friend here. A lot of times teacher-student relationships create problems, as we all know. It doesn't really matter what language we are studying, we are from Iran, and we have a middle- eastern culture which does not accept a close relationship between teachers and students."

 

Teachers' Sense of Humor

Interview: S8 mentioned, "In my opinion, a good teacher is not the one who only focuses on the course objectives and materials. S/he should make the class a fun place to be in, because after all, I believe good learning goes hand in hand with entertainment."

Interview: S22 mentioned, "In my age and position, if I want to learn something, it's for a purpose. Honestly, I don't want the teacher to be funny. We like the teacher to conduct the class in a formal environment."

Focus group discussion: S9 mentioned, "I'm a student, and I go to school every day. When I come here, I want to feel relaxed, and to learn something without feeling all of the stress I feel when I'm in my school classes. So I think the teacher should have a sense of humor."

 

Calling the Students by their Nicknames

Interview: S17 said, "I heard that they call students by their nicknames in America. I would like to be called by my nickname rather than my last name. I think its high class."

Observation: T6: In a classroom observation in a language school the researcher observed on the first day of class, the teacher wrote down nicknames on the whiteboard, and he asked the students to choose from the nicknames the students were happy and enthusiastic about the teacher's strategy."

Observation: T5: In a class observation, the researcher observed the teacher calling the students by nicknames, and the students referred to each other by their nicknames also, this gave the class a more intimate and friendly air compared to school classes."

 

Teachers and Students Meeting Outside Class

Interview: S22 commented, "I think the students should go out with the teacher. I had an English teacher who used to play basketball with us and it was awesome. The meeting however, should not be related to language; it should be held to improve relationships."

Focus group discussion: S8 mentioned, "In my opinion because of the different culture of the second language compared to our first language, the teacher should try to explain as much about the target language as possible in different settings. I think it is a good idea to take the class outside the institute, provided that it's done for the benefit of learning and not just to hang out".

 

The teacher Paying Special Attention to Students who are not Feeling Well

Interview: S3 mentioned, "The teacher should encourage him/her in the class and should not ask him/her whys/he is not feeling well since s/he might not be in a good mood. The teacher can go and talk to him/her after the class. This has happened to me before. When my father had an accident and I was so upset, Mr. Sholevar came to me after the class and talked to me and asked if he could do anything to help me, and that made me feel much better."

Focus group discussion: S2 commented, "I think it is only logical for the teacher to pay extra attention to someone who is not feeling well. Be it a physical problem, or someone who is feeling down for some reason."

 

Teacher and Student Mutual Respect

Interview: S4 mentioned, "Well I think there should be a clear distinction between younger and older people. For example, when someone is teaching me something, s/he should be respected. Dr. Samimi is 14 years younger than me but he is still my professor and I must respect him, because he is my professor."

Focus group discussion: S 17 mentioned, "Teachers respecting the students is a very crucial factor in the process of learning. Not long ago, our teachers used to physically punish us at school which is very disrespectful. I can say for myself that I was very afraid of the teachers and I used to memorize my lessons as opposed to learn them, just to answer properly, and to avoid punishment."

 

Tone of the Teacher's Voice

Interview: S20 mentioned, "I think when the teacher uses a warm tone of voice to talk to the students, the students try harder to learn, because they look up to the teacher."

Interview: S18 commented, "I think English is a course that requires a strong rapport between teachers and students, but sometimes some teachers are too serious, and they use an authoritative tone. I don't know how to say this, I mean it scares students, and they are afraid of answering."

 

Figure 2.2. Rapport and its subcategories

 

Classroom Practices

It is the third theme that emerged from the data, and it has three main categories including opening classroom practices, developing classroom practices and terminating classroom practices.

 

Figure 3. Classroom practices and its categories

 

Opening Classroom Practices

Teachers' Clothing

Interview: S6 mentioned, "We see enough teachers wearing really formal clothes at college already. I go to English classes for a different reason and I prefer the atmosphere to be different there, I want it to be relaxed, and I want that to be reflected even in the way the teacher dresses. So I definitely prefer casual for teachers and students alike."

Interview: S22 mentioned, "Everyone has their taste in clothing. It makes no difference to me, so long as I get what I'm looking for in an English class, which is ways to improve my spoken English."

 

Calling the Role

Focus group discussion: S19 said, "I think the teacher should call the role, but at the end of the class, because some people might arrive a little late."

Focus group discussion: S15 commented, "I think it's not a bad idea to call the role because it gives the class touch of formality and in a way it obligates the students to attend the class. As to the when, I think it's better for the teacher to call the role at the end of the session."

 

The Teacher should Dedicate Time to Greeting the Students

Focus group discussion: S 1 said, "I think the teacher should enter the class and say hello to the students, but not one by one. Ask them about how their day was, or if anything interesting happened to them worth mentioning to the class. This will certainly break the ice and help students get in the mood."

Observation: T9: The researcher saw in a classroom observation that the teacher upon entering the class, had a big smile on his face, and greeted students randomly by their first names. The students in turn also all smiled back. The smile and the good mood seemed to be a contagious.

 

Figure 3.1. Opening classroom practices and its subcategories

 

Developing Classroom Practices

All four Language Skills should be Covered in One Session

Interview: S6 mentioned, "Undoubtedly it is better to separate the skills, because they can focus on one of these skills and learn it better. The time of the class cannot be extended to 4 hours. During the normal 90 minuet class one skill per session is ideal. If the four skills are cramped up together in one session, I think the efficiency will decrease."

Interview: S14 mentioned, "I would say two skills per session are better than four skills per session because four skills would be hard on the students."

 

Lectures in Class

Interview: S12 said, "Lecturing is a good way to push students toward improvement in language. At first it's very stressful, because you don't know the people who are going to be your audience. You are scared of being laughed at or not being listened to, but in the end those are the challenges that you have to face to be better."

Focus group discussion: S1 mentioned, "Lecturing is hard, but once you have done it and it's all over it gives you a sense of achievement. I think teachers should include lecturing in their classes as an assignment."

 

Correcting on the Spot

Observation: T6: In a classroom observation, the researcher saw that the teacher would correct the students on the spot as they spoke, the class was however of an advanced level, and the students were well aware of the grammatical rules of English. The teacher later explained that when a mistake is corrected, it is expected the students repeat the correct form immediately.

Observation: T7: In a lower intermediate classroom observation, the researcher witnessed that the teacher would allow the students to continue speaking regardless of their grammatical, lexical, or pronunciation mistakes. It was later explained that the main objective of the exercise was to help students express themselves in the second language, and that correcting them at that point would scar their self confidence.

 

Not using the First Language in Class

Focus group discussion: S4 mentioned, "I think the teacher should not use the first language in class, even at the elementary level. It's a little like learning how to swim, when your swimming instructor plunges you into the water, you try to keep your head up at any cost. Well learning a new language is a little like that, you have to feel the need to communicate with the teacher, if s/he doesn't use the first language in class, you'll be forced to push yourself harder."

 

 

 

The Teacher should Monitor the Class by Walking around the Classroom

Interview: S7 mentioned, "I think the teacher should walk around the class when the students are doing written exercises, and s/he should ask the students if they have any problems."

Interview: S9 said, "I don't really like the idea of the teacher lurking over me when I'm working. So honestly I don't like the teacher walking around the class. If anyone has a question they should raise their hands."

Observation: T8: In a class observation, the researcher saw the teacher walk around the classroom as the students were engaged in a group activity, and he would help the students as he stopped by each group. The students seemed to be encouraged to ask questions. This interaction seemed to help improve the performance of the exercise."

 

The Importance of Role-Playing in Learning a Second Language

Focus group discussion: S10 mentioned, "Role-playing is good useful in learning. I think it's a lot of fun and it gives the class a positive atmosphere."

Focus group discussion: S16 mentioned, "Role-playing is good especially when you are playing the role of a native speaker because you try your hardest to both make as little mistakes as possible, as well as have a good pronunciation."

 

Figure 3.2. Developing classroom practices' strategies and its subcategories

 

Terminating Classroom Practices

Homework Assignments for Language Learning

Focus group discussion: S5 mentioned, "If we have homework we refer to our notes and other references to find answers to our questions. Homework helps us go for it. But a lot of homework makes me tired. Sometimes when there's a lot of homework I really get tired and I feel like I'm just doing it for the grade. I can say homework is needed but not too much."

Focus group discussion: S3 said, "It's good if it's little, and group homework is better. It would be more pleasant if we worked in groups."

 

Reviewing the Previous Lesson and Summarizing the Current One

Interview: S23 mentioned, "I think it is good to review the previous session because the students will remember the previous session better and they will be prepared to take it from there and learn new material. Also summarizing the lesson that the teacher has just taught, at the end of the class is necessary because the students who have questions about the lesson will be encouraged to ask."

Interview: S 4 commented, "I think it's better to review the previous session and also to summarize the current lesson because it refreshes the memory. Even when you watch a series on T.V, they have a "previously" section in which they show the important parts of the previous episode to refresh the memory of the audience."

 

Figure 3.3. Terminating classroom practices

 

What model of classroom management strategies can develop following the results of the emerged strategies?

 

Figure 4. The emerged model of classroom management strategy

As Figure 4 shows, the model has three major themes and nine categories.

Table 1.3. Frequency of the themes of classroom management strategy

Themes

Frequency

Management

89 observations/ 166 interviews

Quality of teaching

35 observations/ 124 Interviews

Classroom practices

64 observations/ 126 Interviews

Total

188 Observations/ 416 interviews

 

 

Discussion

The results revealed that the three main categories of classroom management strategy consist of management, quality of teaching and classroom practices. The findings of this study supported some resultsin the literature (Dibapile, 2012; Moafian, & Ghanizadeh, 2009; Rahimi & Asadollahi, 2012; Rahimi & Hosseini, 2012); though this model adds some new categories to the existing literature.

Discipline/ behavior management as one subcategory of the model has been supported in Khodarahmi and Motallebi Nia’s study (2014). Part of students’ willingness to communicate depends on how teachers treat them lest they have disciplinary problems. As stated by some students, teacher-students good relationship reduces tension, and augments friendliness which leads to behavior management in the classroom; the same results have been reported in Khodarahmi and Motallebi Nia’ study (2014).

Regarding the quality of classroom in general and rapport in particular, the findings are in line with Bruney’ (2012) resultswhich indicated the positive interaction between the students and the teacher increases the success of learning and teaching. Also, results corroborate Barmaki (2014).

Moreover, regarding terminating activities and homework, the results revealed that homework is anexcellent activity. These findings support outcomes of studies demonstrating that homework is a prevalent activity in education that has always been analyzed as an essential part of the process of teaching and learning (Kohn, 2006; Kralovec & Buell, 2000; Loveless, 2014; Xu & Wu, 2013).

 

Conclusion

This study brings observation of real classroom and viewpoints of the participants as to classroom management into a model of classroom management with three major themes which are interwoven and related to one another. Also, this model is in line with the mottoes of post-method pedagogy that support a data-driven model particular to a specific setting.

As reflected in the model classroom management cannot be run effectively if time, behavior, attention and resources are not controlled. Besides management, an impersonal classroom without an air of encouragement and rapport cannot attract students. In other words, an interpersonal relationship between teachers and students supports affective and emotional desires on the part of students. Finally, if the former-steps are taken firmly, it creates some space for instruction and certain classroom practices.

This model can inform EFL teachers to not only pay attention to classroom practices, but work on building rapport and encouragement in their students. Also, these results can be at the disposal of any teacher to successfully plan, manage, develop interpersonal relationships and run his/ her classes. Moreover, the results can be included in teacher-education textbooks as a new wave of classroom management.

Finally, this brand model needs to be tested with students of different language backgrounds in real classrooms since it is at its incipient stage. Also, the model can be used to develop a survey of classroom management to be verified with a large body of participants. Future research in this regard can either take an experimental approach to examine the efficiency of the outcomes of this model on the overall attainment of students or develop a survey to check the attitude of the participants toward definite categories and subcategories of the model.

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