In many classrooms, students are not ready to engage in learning activities, or some or some aren’t. As teachers, we often find ourselves trying to figure out which students to teach to, how to get the uninvolved students more involved, and how to get the class as a whole interested in what we want them to do or learn.
There are some specific things we can do in classrooms to get them to be more active, to improve their dynamics. It is important to realize that the ingredients of classrooms are content, activity, and interaction.
The content refers to what we want the students to know or be able to do. The example of content is not hard to come up with. They include everything that is the substance of learning: the alphabet, the comparison-contrast, essay, the answers to the reading comprehension questions, etc. There are some teachers who believe that content “teaches itself,” that if the content is interesting, students who are exposed to it’ will learn it.
The next important element, in language classrooms, is an activity, or what we do in the classroom to establish knowledge or behavior in or for our students. There are, of course, many kinds of classroom activities: lectures, group discussion, questions and answers, sentence completion exercises, small group problem solving, writing journals, and so on.
Often we tend to think that the best way to improve our teaching is to find new and interesting activities for the students to do, and often it is true. The activities we choose or create for our classrooms can have a lot to do with what and how the students learn.
One of the reasons that classrooms work better or worse is because of the third element of classroom behavior or dynamics. Dynamics refers to the way that interaction takes place between teachers and students and between individual students and groups of students.
Many teachers are not quite aware of what some of the basic elements of classroom
dynamics of interaction are. Even great teachers, who may already be using some of these elements well may not know what they are and may not be able to adjust them to fit differing classroom needs.
Techniques to Improve Classroom Dynamics
As stated by Karl Kahnke, the following techniques can be helpful in improving the classroom situation:
Let the students sit at an equal distance from each other. It gives the teacher equal access and helps him in communication.
Breaking eye contact during student turn and seeing other sides can disturb the student’s communication throughout the class.
Scanning the class regularly can keep the students engaged and provide important feedback to the teacher.
Changes in voice quality can be used to indicate different functions such as giving directions, giving expansion examples, and supplying feedback.
INTER ACTION TECHNIQUES
Directing questions to specific and distributing the turns around the room increases the level of attention on the part of the students and increases the student’s participation.
Use names to direct the questions.
Ask other students to confirm or comment on students’ responses, for example, Ahmad, do you agree with what Anwar said?
These kinds of activities broaden classroom interaction and increase the opportunities for individual efforts and opinions.