Conducive classroom environment


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Conducive classroom environment

  1. 1. Conducive Classroom Environment 2009 What is conducive classroom environment? Conducive classroom is a pivotallinchpin in promoting a favourable mood or atmosphere in a classroom to ensure aneffective teaching and learning process to take place. Fraser ( 1994, 1998a.) foundthat results of studies conducted over the past 30 years evidently showed thatstudents learning is significantly determined by a quality classroom environment ( ascitied by Dorman, 2002 in an article “ Classroom environment research: Progressand possibilities”). This supports the fact that students learn better in a positiveclassroom environment in the school. One of the integral feature in creatingconducive classroom environment is a good classroom organization andmanagement. First and foremost, teacher plays the role of a manager in the classroom.Effective management skills is important to manage a primary school classroomproperly. Aijaz Ahmed Gujjar in his article “ Role of teacher as classroom manager”,states that; “Classroom management is the orchestration of classroom life: planning curriculum, organizing procedures and resources, arranging the environment to maximize efficiency, monitoring student progress, anticipating potential problems.”Hence, the teacher as a manager should seriously take into account classroomorganization such as planning the lessons as well as the classroom’s physicalarrangement. Wong and Wong advocates that organization helps teachers to keepon schedule and eliminates chaos in the classroom( as citied in Charles, 2011, p.106). During the school based experience, I found out that one of the teacher whomI observed lacked proper planning in terms of lesson planning. During lesson, theteacher drew some pictures on the blackboard to give a clearer picture to herstudents regarding a particular subject. However, I realised that drawing on theblackboard consumes time and the student grew restless while waiting for theirteacher to complete her drawings. Hence the students were talking to their friendsand made commotion in the classroom. The teacher took some time to settle herclass. Therefore I would like to suggest that, before entering the class, the teachershould be well prepared to teach the lesson by preparing relevant teaching aids suchas charts, visual aids, and many more. Preparing lesson plan is important as it givesthe teacher the opportunity to weigh the various options available and to make his orher choices before the lesson is carried out in the classroom ( Chitravelu,Sithamparam & The, 2005, p.26). In a study report on the factors contributing toclassroom effectiveness found out that a high number of respondents agreed thatlessons should be planned adequately because it helped them to teach better( Ministry of Education of Thimpu, 2001). In light with the above findings, I think thatit would be better if teachers prepare beforehand teaching materials such as charts,flash cards, picture cards and even make full use of overhead projectors installed bythe Malaysian government ( if there is any). Besides that, I would stronglyrecommend the teachers to prepare a wide array of interesting materials because itwill help to keep the student engaged in the lesson. When the students are engagedin the lesson, there would be less behavioural problems and thus this will warrant toa conducive environment in the classroom. This point is supported by Kounin whobelieves that smooth lesson flow keeps the students’ attention without frequentParvani Sivalingam, University of Otago Page 1
  2. 2. Conducive Classroom Environment 2009interruptions or distractions, there is a less opportunity for off-task behaviour to occur( as citied in Larrivee, 2009, p. 39). In addition, organizing a classroom requires a good time management skills.Jones found that massive time wasting was the main characteristic of less-productive classes ( as citied in Charles, 2011, p. 121). As mentioned earlier, it isoblivious that lesson plans plays a vital role. Smooth flow in teaching or transitionperiods during activities will ensure that precious time is not wasted as the timeallocation for each subject in primary schools are limited to 30 minutes minimum.Brophy (1979) and Good ( 1982) believe that there is a positive correlation betweenengaged time, appropriate academic activities, and high achievement ; thusclassrooms must be structured to promote student engagement in learning ( as citiedby Chai, 2005 in an article “ Classroom management issues in information andcommunication technology ( ICT)- mediated learning environments: back to thebasics”). When planning an activity, the teacher should take into consideration theright amount of time required. For example, if too little or too much time is allocatedfor a particular activity, the lesson therefore would not achieve the desired objectiveand worse the situation might create chaos in the classroom. This shows theimportance of time management in planning a lesson. The second aspect in creating a conducive classroom environment is byhaving an attractive physical classroom environment. During the school basedexperience, I observed that most of the classroom are equipped with notice boardswhere the teachers displayed their students works and also put up some colourfulcharts, posters, diagrams, theme-based displays and materials that are informativeand attractive. Chitravelu, Sithamparam and Teh ( 2005) opine that physicalenvironment is important as an attractive classroom will foster effective learning ( p.289). I recommend that the teachers prepare a small reading corner in the classroomso that the students could benefit from it by reading books or relevant material duringtheir leisure time. Moreover, we could instil reading habits in the students indirectly.Besides that, I also realised that the climate of the classroom I observed are veryhot and there were noise that affects the learners concentration to the teaching andlearning process. I would suggest that the teacher device activities that does notrequire the students to shout loudly. Besides that, if the noise level interferes withneighbouring classes, the teacher should consider interspersing student-centredactivities with phases of teacher-centredness ( Chitravelu, Shithamparam & Teh,2005, p. 294-295). In addition, physical layout or seating arrangement in theclassroom is key feature in creating a conducive classroom environment. Thenumber of students in Malaysian classroom can range from thirty to fifty students,therefore due to the large number of students, majority of the classrooms are setupin rows. Lewis and Sugai (1996) points out that; “ Changes in the organization and the physical arrangement of a classroom can have a dramatic effects on student’s behaviour.” ( as citied in Darch & Kame’enui, 2004)Hence the teacher could rearrange the desk arrangements into an open U-shapedarrangement or a circle which encourages greater interaction ( Chitravelu,Sithamparam, & Teh, 2005, p. 290). However, the teacher should arrange and adaptthe seating layout according to the activity and not stick to one seating planthroughout the year. For example, if the activity requires group work, the desk couldParvani Sivalingam, University of Otago Page 2
  3. 3. Conducive Classroom Environment 2009be arranged in groups or pods or even ask the students to turn their chairs so thatthey face the students behind them in rows (Chitravelu, Sithamparam, & Teh, 2005,p. 290). Other furniture in the classroom such as rack and cupboard should bearranged properly in a way that it does not obstruct the student’s view to theblackboard or to the teacher teaching in the front of the classroom. This point issupported by Nitsaisook and Anderson ( 1989) where they believe that furnitureshould be arranged so that the students are oriented to the primary source ofinformation such as the teacher or audio-visual materials without disturbing theclassroom ( as citied by Aijaz Ahmed Gujjar ). I strongly believe that the governmentshould seriously take into consideration in reducing the number of students in a classand the classroom space should be increased to permit effective teaching. Anotheraspect that I would like to bring to light is the position of the teacher’s desk.Teacher’s desk are usually placed in front of the classroom in majority of Malaysianprimary school classrooms. I in the opinion that placing the teacher’s desk in front ofthe classroom is not very suitable as the teacher could not monitor students behaviorwho are sitting far behind. I think that placing the teacher’s desk at the back of theclassroom is more suitable as the teacher could keep an eye on everything that ishappening in the classroom without the students knowledge. This is supported byAijaz Ahmed Gujjar who advocates that teachers should be able to see the studentsat all times. Based on the points above, it can be seen that physical layout of aclassroom do play an important role in ensuring a conducive classroom environmentthat fosters effective learning. Classroom organization and management are pivotal features in producing aconducive Malaysian primary school classroom. Creating a good classroomambience or atmosphere is not an impossible thing to do. Teachers should take theinitiative to strive to create a conducive environment for the benefit their students. 1466 words.Parvani Sivalingam, University of Otago Page 3
  4. 4. Conducive Classroom Environment 2009 References.Aijaz Ahmed Gujjar. Role of teacher as classroom manager. Retrieved onSeptember, 21, 2010 from, C. M. ( 2011). Building classroom discipline.( 10th ed.). Boylston Street, Boston: Pearson Education.Chai, C. S. ( 2005, December). Classroom management issues in information andcommunication technology ( ICT)- mediated learning environments: back to thebasics. Journal of Educational Multimedia and Hypermedia. Retrieved on September,20, 2010, from, N., Sithamparam, S. & Teh S. C. ( 2005). ELT Methodology: Principlesand Practice.( 2nd ed.). Shah Alam, Selangor: Oxford Fajar Sdn. Bhd.Darch, C. B. & Kame’enui, E. J. ( 2004). Instructional classroom management: Aproactive approach to behaviour management. ( 2 nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ:Pearson Education.Department of School Education, Ministry of Education Thimpu ( 2001). Factorscontributing to classroom effectiveness: a study report. Retrieved on September, 20,2010,from, J. (2002, December). Classroom environment research: Progress andpossibilities. Queensland Journal of Educational Research, Vol.18 No. 2, p.112-140.Larrivee, B. ( 2009). Authentic classroom management: Creating a learningcommunity and building reflective practice. ( 3rd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ:Pearson Education.Parvani Sivalingam, University of Otago Page 4