Jason commented that it would be a good idea to share how I managed to do that, so here for you is a report of my class management style.
I have been teaching English for almost 2 years now, mostly at public schools. At my last school I was in charge of an afternoon advanced class that met three times a week for 1.5 hours each. Also I was in charge of seasonal camps. It is in these types of classes that I developed my class management style. For the regular classes (the ones with 32 students) the management style is not as developed due to co-teaching.
Stars and Stamps:
When I worked at the hagwon I observed classes for 3 days before I was allowed to teach. During that time I saw that the teachers wrote the kid's names on the board and used a star system to reward or punish kids. Basically you give a kid a star if they are good or answer a question or take it away if they are bad. This worked well at the hagwon and especially in small classes.
At public school I carried over this method when I first started teaching the afterschool classes. But instead of individual names I made groups and the groups got the stars. Kids were motivated to earn stars and have more than other groups. If one kid in the group was goofing off than the whole group lost a star. This last method is great to get a whole group to cooperate with each other.
Stars evolved into stamps when I was getting further into the semester at my old school with the advanced kids. I started to notice that individually they were lacking motivation and a way to tally up their achievements.
The solution I found was to create a stamp award system. After a long break I presented this system to the kids so that they knew it was going to be the new method. First I handed everyone a list of classroom rules with the number of stamps they would receive or get taken away. For example:
- Talking while teacher is talking = - 2 stamps
- Doing homework = + 3 stamps
- Group wins (based on stars) = + 3 stamps
- Cheating = - 2 stamps
- Fighting = - 2 stamps
- A on quiz or test = + 2 stamps
- Fill up the first row = sticker prize
- Fill up the second row = Bag #1 (Bag number one was a grab bag full of pencil case stuff)
- Fill up the third row = Bag #2 (This was full of snacks)
- Fill up the fourth row = Homework pass
- Fill up the fifth row = Big prize (usually a bag of chips...whatever was on sale).
So the stars evolved into stamps and so on. But a class management system is only as good as the teacher. Meaning you have to stick with the rules you created. I tended to give out more stickers than take away so the students became too relaxed.
I think it helped for the most part manage the kids and get them motivated to answer questions and participate in activities.
Also this method can be adapted to the regular classes if one creates a stamp chart for each class they teach. The class then earns stamps and competes with the other classes in the school.
Some argue this is a form of bribery and is trickery. I disagree since it works pretty well and is a great method for first time teachers. As time goes on I am sure my methods will involve systems that don't use gimmicks like stars and stamps. Certainly I can imagine that if I worked at a middle or high school this style would not match well with the students.
I am going to use this system for the 2nd graders that I teach since I really need a way to manage them. I will combine it with call and response attention grabbers which work well in the classroom. (The teachers says "ABC" students respond "123"...etc.)
In my opinion, one's class management system is based upon how we survive in the classroom. As we are put into the classroom with no "Teacher's Guide Book" on how to go about teaching Korean kids we end up making our own style. For those lucky enough to come from backgrounds in teaching you must feel lucky.
If you have your own tips and methods let us know. I am sure there are plenty more creative and potent class management styles out there.