For me, the discipline aspect of classroom management is mostly about prevention, especially for college and university students. For example, some methods that I have found useful to encourage students to come to class on time are: having a short quiz to start the class; and sharing a little bit about yourself before class starts, such as stories or photos of your family. I’ve noticed especially at my current phase in life, students love to learn more about my family, because I have a toddler and a newborn.
Another important aspect of classroom management is engaging the students in learning the language. There are several tools that I use for this purpose: I change up the activities done in class throughout the class period and throughout the semester. In order to maintain attention and cater to various learning styles, an example lesson plan might look like this: I spend a few minutes using a computer/projector to learn or practice a new concept, and then switch it up by having students do a speaking activity in groups or read something silently for a couple of minutes. After that, we’ll do an activity that requires students to move around the classroom, such as asking questions to students that they don’t normally talk to. From time to time, we’ll play a game to practice conjugations, or have an informal quiz or a writing activity to practice writing skills. I have found that by changing up the style of the activities, students are less likely to get bored and lose focus. It also makes it easier to incorporate all aspects of language.
There are several forms of assessment that are useful both to measure students’ success and to give them feedback. Multiple-choice can be helpful with certain principles, but it is important that it be accompanied by other types of assessment, such as short answers, short essays, fill in the blanks, etc.. In a foreign language class, it is crucial to assess students’ speaking, reading, writing, and listening skills, as well as their understanding of the cultures of the target language.
Using Instructional Technology
Using PowerPoint presentations, videos, music and games can all add to classroom instruction. I use technology in the classroom to give variety to the activities, and to reach out to the students that learn better with technology. It is also important to do activities that do not involve technology, such as partner or group conversations. However, technology is very useful in making smooth transitions. For example, it takes much less time to show a word document with the quiz questions than it does to write out each question on the board. Probably about 50-75% of my classroom instruction involves technology, but I try to always come to class prepared to not use it at all, because you never know when something won’t work.