CLASSROOM MANAGEMENT AND DEVELOPING SPEAKING SKILLS

Liudmyla Konovalchuk

Kamianets-Podilskyi Ivan Ohiienko National University

Scientific Supervisor: Ph.D. in Pedagogy, Storchova T. V.

CLASSROOM MANAGEMENT AND DEVELOPING SPEAKING SKILLS

The article is dedicated to the study of the phenomenon of classroom management in foreign language teaching. An attempt has been made to identify and describe the basic interactions patterns in the classroom management which are maintained through classroom interaction. We elucidated interaction patterns which are aimed at fluency in speaking skills according to the principles of CLT.

Keywords: classroom management, interaction pattern, CLT, speaking skills, classroom interaction.

Classroom management (henceforth – CM) is considered to be a necessary component of teaching and learning activities. Conducting the class, teachers play various roles however the most vital one is being a good classroom manager, since ‘a teacher who is grossly inadequate in classroom management skills is probably not going to accomplish much’ [2, p. 27]. If the teachers are able to manage the class, it means they created a flourishing ‘motivated’ classroom environment and an efficient teaching and learning processes.

With the advent of new methods and approaches, a teaching methodology of CM is changing itself as well. More and more CM is brought under broader discussion consequently the phenomenon of CM always stays relevant.

CM has always been a central point of scientific studying in the works of many researchers. Since the beginning of CM existence, a plethora of scientists and teachers repeatedly address the definition of CM in their researches. Nonetheless, only during last 3 decades a phenomenon of CM has been actively touched upon by such researchers as J. Kounin [8], C. Evertson [4], C. S. Weinstein [4], J. Brophy [1], etc. Evertson and Weinstein claimed that “classroom management represents amalgam of the teacher’s method of teaching, organization of classroom utilities and establishment of discipline” [4]. Brophy defines classroom management as “actions taken to create and maintain a learning environment conducive to successful instructions” [1, p. 5]. Undoubtedly, one of the most effective and profound study of classroom management was done by Jacob Kounin. Having scrutinized 49 classrooms and recorded students and teachers behaviors, he concluded that ‘a good classroom management is based on the behavior of teachers, not on the behavior of students’ [8]. We adhere to the definition of Evertson and Weinstein who interpret classroom management as ‘the actions teachers take to create an environment that supports and facilitates both academic and social-emotional learning’ [4, p. 4].

Since a small number of studies related to CM reveal the efficacy of interaction patterns (henceforth – IP) during the oral communication practice, our research is aimed at investigating the real effectiveness of using IP in the development of speaking skills. The set aim defined the following objectives: to elucidate the main types of IP; to outline the peculiarities of realization of IP in the processes of learning and mastering of speaking skills.

CM is aimed to facilitate the processes of teaching and learning for better grouping students or interaction patterns. Classroom interaction (henceforth – CI) is defined as the set of conversations or exchanges between the teacher and the students, or among the students, which occurs in the language classroom [4]. In our research we are far more focused on the participants in the interaction. Core Curriculum Observation Tasks [3, p. 9] presents the system of interaction patterns as below:

  • Teacher → whole class
  • Teacher → individual student
  • Student → student
  • Students working in groups
  • Student → whole class

However the systematization of interaction patterns teachers can use in the class by TKT [9, p. 204] is shown in this way, e.g.: whole class (teacher to students and mingles), individuals, groups (small and large), pairwork (open and closed pairs). Undoubtedly the choice of appropriate interaction patterns depends on students’ learning styles, the teaching approach, students’ preferences, the target of the activity and the stage of the class. Here IP play the role of the key ‘communicative’ tools which help to develop and foster students’ speaking skills and create social-like atmosphere in the classroom.

An interesting issue to touch on in the context of developing speaking skills is gender. It’s no wonder that treatment of teachers to their students varies in relation to males and females. Males are supposed to be asked more often complicated questions and gain much more favour than females. When participating in pair or group work, boys are usually reluctant to speak more and for a longer time unlike the girls who ‘provide a good supportive environment for the males’ [10, p. 97].

It worth saying, that any interaction implies the communication among the participants involved. At this stage of our research we would like to mention CLT (Communicative Language Teaching). The CLT views interaction as the best way to learn the language. Pairwork and work in groups allows much interaction to occur in the classroom, so they are crucial to activate the classroom environment. Harmer gave a much profound definition of CLT: ‘with its different strands of what to teach (utterances as well as sentences, functions as well as grammar) and how to teach it (meaning-focused communicative tasks as well as more traditional study techniques), has become a generalized ‘umbrella’ term to describe learning sequences which aim to improve the students’ ability to communicate’ [6, p. 70].

With a development of CLT, foreign language teachers should less be focused on controlled students’ task performing, but ‘the teachers must give them practice opportunity for purposeful communication in meaningful situation’ [6, p. 344]. It means developing speaking skills by activating language in real-life situations and practicing spontaneous interaction, since Hedge points out that interaction in small groups and pairs provides a basis for language acquisition [7, p. 62]. Speaking activities give an excellent chance to speak and fully interact with others in the class.

Therefore, our results on the presenting the system of interaction patterns and elucidating the importance of IP realization in the process of developing speaking skills are broadly consistent with the defined objectives of the research. The present results confirm that the realization of IP in developing speaking skills considerably impacts on students in terms of promoting language acquisition, enhancing fluency, engaging in real purposeful communication and facilitating peer interaction. Future studies should be devoted to the more solid investigation of each separate interaction pattern.

References

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