Classroom management encompasses the wide variety of skills and techniques that teachers use to keep students organized, orderly, focused, attentive, on task, and academically productive during a class. Schools in India, whether privately operated or owned by the government, have varied demographics of students who bring with them unique sets of challenges.

Teachers in schools in India, much like their counterparts in American or European schools, play various roles in an everyday classroom. However, managing Indian school students - children who are brought up in diverse cultural and family set-ups, is one of the most important jobs of a school teacher in India.

Effective teaching and learning cannot take place in a poorly managed classroom.

While the government lays down several guidelines for classroom teaching and runs a number of highly effective teacher training courses in the country, the onus of enforcing discipline in school comes from the experience of teaching itself. No amount of prior training, degrees, or teacher certification courses can prepare you for the unpredictability of human behavior!

Teacher in a classroom
The quality of student-teacher interaction is an important part of effectively conducting a class. | Source: The Statesman

A truly effective teacher, whether in American schools or in India, is ideally able to work with students across all levels of achievement, and irrespective of the diverse nature of the class demographics. Without this, school children under an ineffective teacher will be like a rudderless ship, devoid of academic progress or personal growth.

Classroom management creates a set of expectations used in an organized classroom environment.

Effective classroom management includes designing and enforcing classroom routines and rules, and the consequences of following/not following them. A successful classroom management strategy helps to tackle impeding behaviors of students that disrupt learning while retaining an emphasis on facilitating and enhancing optimum learning.

Why Discipline in School and Classroom Management are Crucial

The quality of Indian classrooms is often rated low because of unruly students and inefficient management. This is due, in part to the unfavorable teacher to students ratio in state and private schools. The scenario might be slightly better once you reach university. The situation is even worse in schools operated by the government of different states.

Moreover, the people in India are obsessed with the English language, whereby it is the medium of instruction in a school or university (sometimes, forcefully), is counterproductive to learning. When the language of communication, in this case, English, becomes a barrier to learning, students hardly find interest in their classes. This results in disruptive student behavior, and classroom management turns into a nightmare for many teachers!

According to existing research, about 52 percent of students can gain from an effectively managed classroom, while only 14 percent of students in India improve, academically, in classes that are least effectively managed.

Effective education for native children in an Indian school can only be implemented when a teacher straddles three major roles. These are:

  1. Making wise decisions about the most effective strategy, conventional or new, for imparting education at school or university level
  2. Facilitating learning for the optimum number of native children in India by designing a curriculum that addresses diversity and is not overtly partial to one language, namely, English
  3. Being competent classroom managers

Classroom Management Tips for Teachers

A class teacher
Teachers in government schools in India have more unique challenges to tackle than those in private schools. | Source: Hindustan Times

High Pitch is the New Normal

If you are a teacher in an Indian school, especially one run by the government, this is one advice you will probably have received the day you completed your teacher training. At the risk of losing your voice, talk in a high and loud voice so that students immediately pay attention. However, don't shout. This sets a bad example for the kids and they will soon start mimicking their teacher.

Effective classroom management paves the way for the teacher to engage the students in learning.

Learn a bit of voice modulation until it becomes second nature to you. For example, if you are asking students to put away their notebooks and get into their groups, be assertive in your tone. But, if you are discussing an English short story, avoid the high and maintain a friendly conversational tone.

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Let Students Settle Down

Wait and let the children settle down. The golden rule of education is not to enforce it. Students will lose their enthusiasm for the ruckus and quieten down eventually. Fight the temptation to scold children. 

Hand Gestures and Non-Verbal Communication

Hand gestures, like clapping, and animations may work great in education. Making eye contact is also a certain way of establishing your assertiveness in the class. Students take it as a symbol of authority.

Ensure Discipline in School

Try to address issues among students as quickly as you can. Negative feelings lead to greater indiscipline in school, especially where children are involved, irrespective of their level of education. Arrange for the students to meet to resolve their conflicts. Use neutral language, befitting a mediator

Don’t accuse the children of anything. Show that you do care, even if you have the opposite feeling at that moment. The student will usually become disarmed because she might be expecting you to be angry and confrontational.

Organizing your Classroom and Supplies

When Indians enroll their little kids into a study institute, they expect a world of education that contributes to the holistic development of the children. They entrust their kids to the care of teachers who are looked upon as ideal people.

In order to handle these immense expectations, Superprof has put together a few easy to follow tips for effectively managing a class of unruly kids! To start off, get the physical setting of your class in order. Organizing a classroom prior to the start of the lesson is often a way to ease yourself into the teaching job.

  • Access to textbooks and stationery should be unimpeded for students
  • Organize, in your head, how you want the students to work during the class
  • Have frequently used instructional material handy
  • Teacher’s supplies and relevant classroom supplies must be arranged close at hand
  • If you are organizing your class in the library, make sure you spell out library rules to the kids
You can buy colouring pencils from most food or stationery shops.
Organize our teaching materials, stationery supplies, and any other relevant items prior to the commencement of the class.

Strategies for Managing Special Groups

Irrespective of the board of education (international or state), the age of your students (primary, high school, or university), the nature of the school (private or owned by the state), the world of education is a bit different for differently-abled students and children struggling to cope up in class. To make them feel part of the group of other kids in the class, you can try any of the following routines in class:

  • Team Teaching includes coordinated scheduling of routines that teaches students to do things together with the other children.
  • Mixing up the seating arrangement, directions, and assignments.
  • Supplementary Instruction can have high levels of rewards as it teaches young kids to stay on schedule while they are off enjoying their many holidays on the Indian calendar.
  • Individualized Instruction for the following students:
      • Children with special needs
      • Lower-achieving students
      • Students with a high level of achievement

Establishing Positive Classroom Rules

The best, most effective teachers in national and international schools, are able to create a positive learning environment no matter where they are teaching, online, or in a conventional classroom setting.

Indians are naturally disposed towards carrying out engaging interactions. For native Indian teachers, the trick is to add positive communication to engaging interactions for creating a positive climate of learning. Whether you are a primary, secondary, or higher education teacher in India. these ingredients are critical to the health of your classroom.

Native Indian children, girls or boys, spend a major part of their developmental years under the influence of their home environment. Some of these little kids barely have access to minimum health requirements for children specified under international guidelines.

You may spend years searching for the perfect teaching job. However, for a teacher to effectively connect with kids of all ages, he/she must be aware of the emotional health, as well as the socio-economic background of the girls and boys they teach. That is the key to effective classroom management in Indian schools.

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Shreyanjana is an archaeologist who ironically finds the written word to be the most powerful means of storytelling. A travel buff and a photography enthusiast, she has been writing and sharing stories of all sorts ever since she can remember.