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Thursday, May 19, 2011

Classroom Management at Maristas

Classroom Management has always been the area that delivers me the most trouble. While I have had control over the class during my previous three practicums, I always felt like the presence of the teacher greatly helped due to the respect between the class and the CT in addition to the respect formed between me and the class. Here at Maristas, since I spend the majority of my practicum observing the classes and the interaction between the students and my CTs, I have payed particular attention to classroom management in order to learn more techniques. Respect between the students and the teachers is extremely evident in Maristas, though it does differ from US schools since it is more of a personal relationship where the students call the teachers by their first name. I have redeemed my name within the classroom rather than remaining Ms. McGovern- or in reality, SeƱorita McGovern.

The students normally sit and settle down once the teacher enters the classroom, since the teachers move classes instead of the students. As the teachers conduct their classes, they general manage the students by glancing around and looking directly at any student causing a distraction to signal for them to stop, and it works. In other instances, I have hear the teacher use a form of 'shh' to briefly indicate they want silence, and the class helps out by shushing the students. The cooperation is incredible and makes a difference, but I am not accustomed to such simple techniques.

The various classrooms and teachers that I have been in at Maristas have used the same techniques. The 1 ESO students, in which I consistently observe English and occasionally sit in on math, are more active when I enter the classroom but settle down once Miguel joins me, as they know the day's lesson is going to begin. Throughout the various lessons that I have observed, students respond to questions when called on and readily participate. The community that I have observed at Maristas is very close-knit and I thoroughly enjoy being a part of it and being given the opportunity this semester. It has broadened my perspective on how schools function and gave me the chance to experience general learning in another language and learn more about Spanish in addition to many aspects of teaching.


  1. Hi Erin! It's amazing how two totally different cultures can have such a similar education system... In my school in Sydney I also noticed how informal students are with their teachers and it kind of reminded me of my first few classes at BC where I was encouraged to call professors by their first name which was really hard for me to get used to. I really like the laid back environment that this kind of teacher-student dynamic facilitates. I think it fosters a really nice relationship between teacher and student which shows the student that they are respected and cared for so that they believe they can achieve in the classroom.

  2. Erin-
    I also had a very similar experience while observing classroom management at my school in Paris. Most of the classes I sat in on were much smaller than normal American classes, and students and teachers had a much more relaxed, informal relationship. If a student spoke out of turn, for instance, teachers tended to make a joke about it and move on rather than crack down on the student for his/her behavior. Similarly, teachers sometimes allowed their classes to get off-topic for a few minutes during group discussions (even joining in in talking about a new movie or a good book) before gently guiding the conversation back on-topic.
    Overall, the French teachers seemed to know their students on a more personal level. Because of the respect they showed their students, behavior rarely got out of hand and harsh punishment was never necessary to maintain a peaceful classroom. Students respected their teachers in return and responded with consistently good behavior.

  3. Hey Erin! I enjoyed reading this post as I have had similar troubles with classroom management in previous placements. I found one thing you said very interesting. You mentioned that the teachers move classrooms instead of the students. I've never been in a school where the schedule changes in this manner but it seems like a great idea! I wonder, do you think it helps the children remain focused longer since they don't get up to change locations, or do you think it makes them more restless. At my current placement in Cork, a lot of time is lost moving the little ones to different classrooms for specials. Either way, what an interesting difference!

  4. Hi Erin! I agree with you when you say that classroom management always brings the most trouble to a new teacher. In Ecuador my teacher has given me full reign of the classroom, which at times is scary but I am learning a lot. I am really glad that she has given this responsibility to me because it is helping me prepare for my full practicum in the fall. Right now it is hard for me to imagine my students quieting down right when I walk in the room because I am not their actual teacher. I think a lot of this has to do with the fact that we are not present in the classroom every day. At my first pre practicum at Horace Mann in Newton, my teacher was careful not to call me a student teacher and that seemed to improve my student’s attitudes. I really hope to implement some of the classroom management skills that I have witnessed abroad in my own classroom. I think it’s great that your teacher was able to say “shh” and the students settled down! I look forward to that day in my life!


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