Sevim Açıkgöz

Classroom Management – Sevim

Love, Respect, Dignity and Inclusiveness – Sevim Açıkgöz

Sevim Açıkgöz
I’m at the very beginning of my teaching career and am enjoying every minute of teaching. It is a great feeling to be in the classroom with learners. I’m sure most of you think like this and share the same feelings about teaching and being in the classroom. But of course there are both good sides and risky sides to be careful about in the classroom. For me, one of the most important factors of teaching is classroom management. I believe that efficient classroom management is the key to succesful teaching.

There are a lot of definitions of classroom management and ways to manage a class. As a teacher, I believe that every teacher should be a life long learner and I’m trying to be one myself, too. I read a lot about classroom management, attend conferences and learn from others and exchange ideas. I took a classroom management lesson at college and I got an A from it. Oh, so I’m ready to manage my class, right? Wrong. Sometimes things can go wrong and or let’s say not the way we want. I have been teaching English at a university and I see every day and every student as an opportunity to learn and reflect.  I have some opinions, suggestions and experiences on classroom management that I’d like to share. If you are ready,let me take you on a journey where perhaps you can find something familiar


Love and Respect

‘’No matter how unmotivated a learner is, if a learner loves you as a teacher and respects you, then she does her best to be successful in the class just because she loves you. ‘’ 

This is what our lecturer told us when we were in college. I have never forgotten his words and have tried to make the most out of them. If a learner really likes her teacher and respects her, then she really tries hard and tries to please her teacher. This is also what I did when I was a student at college. I was having bad times and I did not attend the classes. I had class presentations that were waiting for me, yet I did not study at all. I had already decided not to attend the classes and give a presentation. Then, one day I got an e-mail from my lecturer. She was telling me that she understood me,  that she was with me and that she wanted me to give it a try.. That e-mail is still with me. There was something in that e-mail : Love and respect. Encouragement and faith. I started working immediately. I read articles,took notes and made my slides and I went to school. My teacher did not say anything. She wasn’t surprised at all. She wanted me give the presentation and finish the lesson. I was happy. I went on attending all the classes again. Life was normal for me again.

I also experience the same things in my classes as well. I love every student of mine, and I respect them a lot. I make them feel that I see them as individuals and that there is no power struggle between me and them. We work together to make the most out of the lessons and I’m someone who gives them help. They know that they are responsible for their journey. I believe that if you love your students and respect them, they will love you and respect you. I believe these are the keys for good classroom management.


Students’ Needs And Interests

One of the most important things is to know students well and plan your lessons according to students’ needs and interest.  I know that every school has a curriculum and weekly flow that teachers need to follow but what we need to do is to know our learners’needs and interests and make some changes in the classroom.  If learners enjoy what they are doing, they get involved in the learning process and learning can take place. I strongly believe that if a teacher knows her students’interests and needs, internal motivation takes place for learners and managing the classroom turns into a positive classroom management process.


Learning Environment

In my opinion, the learning environment greatly affects the student learning process.

I do not mean just physical environment of the classroom. I also mean the relationship between the teacher and students, the relationship between students and also expectations from the teacher and students as well. As you might know, the Discipline With Dignity model is one of the most practiced behaviour management strategies in the world. In Discipline with Dignity, there is always  room for developing responsibility, cooperation and mutual respect. Learners know that they are one of the most important elements in the classroom, their thoughts are taken seriously, and they work with their teachers together to make the learning process take place. In the classroom there is a negotiation and also learners know that the learning environment where they are now is a safe one. Make sure that your learners really want to learn and they know why they are in the classroom. Make them feel that they are in a safe environment while learning. They need to feel relaxed and safe. If they don’t, learning may not take place.


In summary, I can tell you that if you love your students, they will love you. If you respect them, they will do the same for you. If you see them as individuals and pay attention to their thoughts and ideas, then they will understand that you respect their ideas and that they themselves are important for you. If you decide on something related to classroom issue together with your learners, share your knowledge and let them share their knowledge,too!

Our learners themselves provide us with great opportunities to learn and reflect on our own teaching. Every student and every classroom is a new opportunity for us. No matter how great your lesson plan is, how good the materials you have are, or how perfect your curriculum is, if you canot manage the class, then none of that matters much.  Always try to use positive reinforcement in the class. Punishment is sometimes seen as an efficient classroom management but in the long run it is not. Try to find the internal motivation in students. Know your students. Be ready to help them and give them the feeling that you are ready to learn from them, too! Make them feel that you manage the class together.  As Benjamin Franklin says,  “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.”


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Sevim Açıkgöz

Sevim Açıkgöz is an English Language Instructor at İstanbul Bilgi University. She is currently doing her MA on Educational Management and Planning. She is the organizer of the Third International ELT Students Conference and the Outliers in ELT Conference. Sevim has given workshops at international and national conferences, especially focusing on Learning Technologies, and she blogs at

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