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The Effect of Classroom Management on the Teaching-Learning Process in Secondary Schools in the BUEA Municipality

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The main focus of this study was to examine the effect of classroom management on the teaching-learning process in secondary schools in the Buea Municipality, to find out how classroom rules and regulations affect the teaching and learning process, to what extent does punishment affect the teaching-learning process and how does positive reinforcement affect the teaching-learning process. Five schools and a total of 75 respondents were used for the study.

Data was collected with the use of questionnaires administered to students. From findings, respondents pointed out that classroom rules and regulations, punishment as well as positive reinforcement all have a positive effect on the teaching-learning process, thus if they are appropriately used, will help to handle student disruptive behavior and bring out desirable behavior as well as providing a classroom climate that foster learning. It was also found out that punishment is not very effective as a classroom management strategy due to its numerous negative effects especially corporal punishment. Based on the findings, recommendations have been made for students, teachers and educational authorities as well as suggestions for further studies.






1.0 Introduction


Classroom management is one of the most important challenges facing teachers. Teacher’s reputation among colleagues, school authorities and students depend on their ability to create and to maintain an orderly and effective learning environment.

The concept of management is preferable to that of discipline, which many teachers often see as compromising not much more than keeping students quiet and in their seats. Effective classroom managers regard discipline only as an aspect of classroom management. Moreover, management involves teaching students how to manage their own behavior in classroom settings, so it is the responsibility of both teachers and students.

It is mainly in this sense that management is said to be broader than discipline. By making management plans and applying them in the classroom, the teacher increases student learning and help them develop ways to understand and guide their own behaviour. This study thus seeks to examine the effect of classroom management on the teaching-learning process in secondary schools in the Buea municipality. This chapter will comprise of the following: background of the study, statement of problem, objective of the study, research questions, significance of study, scope of the study, Operational definition of terms and the summary of the chapter.




1.1 Background of the Study


Classroom management refers to the wide variety of skills and techniques that teachers use to keep students organized, orderly, focused, attentive, on task, and academically productive during a class. When classroom management strategies are executed effectively, teachers minimize the behaviours that impede learning for both individual students and groups of students, while maximizing the behavour that facilitates or enhance learning.

Generally speaking, effective teachers tend to display strong classroom management skills, while the hallmark of the inexperienced or less effective teachers in a disorderly classroom filled with students who are not working or paying attention, While a limited or more traditional interpretation of effective classroom management may focus large on “compliance”- rules and strategies that teachers may use to make sure students are sitting in their seats, following direction, listening attentively, etc. a more encompassing or updated view of classroom management extends to everything that teachers may do to facilitate or improve students’ learning, which would include such factors as behaviour (a positive attitude, happy facial expression, encouraging statements, the respectful and fair treatment of students, etc.), environment (for example, a welcoming well-lit classroom filled with intellectually stimulating learning materials that is organized to support specific learning activities), expectations (the quality of work the teachers expect students to produce, the ways that teachers expect students to behave towards other students, the agreements that teachers make with students), material (the type of texts, equipment, and other learning resources that teachers use), or activities (the kinds of learning experiences that teachers design to engage student interests, passions and intellectual curiosity).

Given that poorly designed lessons, uninteresting learning materials or unclear expectations, for example could contribute to greater student disinterest, increased behavioural problems or unruly and disorganized classes, classroom management cannot be easily separated from all the other decisions that teachers make. In this more encompassing view of classroom management, good teaching and good classroom management become, to some degree, indistinguishable. (Tambo 2002). They are four main backgrounds: historical background, theoretical background, conceptual background and contextual background.


Historical background


It is probably no exaggeration to say that classroom management has been the primary concerns of teachers ever since there have been teachers in classrooms. However, the systematic study of effective classroom management is a relatively recent phenomenon. Arguably, the first high-profile, large-scale, systematic study of classroom management was done by (Kounin 1970). He analyzed video tapes of 49 first and second grade classrooms and coded the behaviour of students and teachers. He identified several critical dimensions of effective classroom management. Those dimensions among others are “witness”, smoothness and momentum during lesson presentations, letting students know what behaviour is expected of them at any given point in time and variety of and challenge in the seat work assigned to students. “Wittiness” involves a keen awareness of disruptive behaviour or potentially disruptive behaviour and immediate attention to that behaviour of the four dimensions, this is the one that most consistently separates the excellent classroom managers from the average or below average classroom managers (Kounin 1970).


Classroom management first became a popular topic in education during the 1970s and 1980s (Tavares, 1996 and Butchart, 1995) the focus in these early years was primarily on behaviour management used to control and shape students behaviour to conform to the rules chosen by the classroom teachers. Classroom management using an authoritative or punitive approach did repress disorderly behaviour, but it did not foster student’s growth or allow the acquisition of more sophisticated modes of learning, such as critical thinking and reflection (Jones, 1995).


In the 1990s, a new paradigm of classroom management emerged based on the democratic process, humanism and consideration for diversity. Classroom management developed beyond a set of educational techniques to become, a complex process which an environment is constructed in an ongoing


Theoretical background


One of the early theories on behavioural management was put forth by B.F Skinner. Skinner’s primary contribution to behavioural management philosophy has been from his research on operant conditioning and reinforcement schedules. An operation is a behaviour that acts on the surrounding environment to produce a consequence.

As a result of the consequence, the operand’s likelihood of recurring is affected. The operant is said to be reinforced if the consequence increases the likelihood of the behaviour occurrence. His learning theory relied on the assumption that the best way to modify behaviour was to modify the environment. Skinner was a proponent for many instructional strategies that modern day “progressive” educational reformers advocate for scaffold instructions and immediate feedback. Skinner did not approve of the use of punishment in schools or as a behavioural modification technique in general, and based these opinions on his own empirical research that found punishments to be ineffective (Lieberman, 2000). Skinner himself advocated for the frequent use of reinforcement (that is rewards) to modify and influence students behaviour.


Skinner’s theories have been implemented in school systems in a variety of ways. Teachers and parents alike rewarded Skinner’s theories were developed. However, many behaviour management systems used in today’s schools are directly influenced by his work. Skinner advocated for immediate praise, feedback and/or reward when seeking to change troublesome or encourage correct behaviour in classroom. (Jones, 1995).


My personal belief is that teaching is not just the profession of spitting out information to students that they in turn regurgitate to me? I think that teaching is a process of life learning for these students. I believe there are four extremely important factors that distinguish a well-disciplined class from others.  They include the following factors: classroom environment, expectations and procedures, student-teacher relationships, and active learning.


First, the environment in which learning takes place should be appealing, regardless of the size of the room whether small or overcrowded, there are a number of ways to create an environment where students focus on learning.  The teacher should greet students at the door and call them by name, and desks should be set up in a way to encourage discussion and collaboration as well as independent work because discussion is the heart of the English classroom. Furthermore, evidence of learning should be present around the classroom, including posters, pictures, and student work decorating the walls of the room.  Materials should be readily available as well since it exudes the appearance of organization and professionalism.  If the atmosphere is comfortable, yet professional, student distraction will be minimized.


In addition, student expectations and classroom procedures should be clear.  The teacher should assist students in creating class rules and expectations and then encourage and remind students of these goals and responsibilities on a daily basis in order to maintain a sense of collaboration, respect, and routine.  I believe teachers should set high expectations for their students.  In doing so, students are reminded of the reason they are in school that is to learn.  By making expectations clear, there are no discrepancies or questions about appropriate procedures and behaviors in the classroom.


More importantly, creating positive student-teacher relationships can prevent discipline issues from arising.  By establishing a persistent tone of mutual respect, students will participate in class activities with confidence that they and their opinions are valued.  Students also should be taught how to appreciate the unique contributions each student brings to the class, as well as how to effectively resolve issues that may arise.  I believe that demonstrating genuine respect to students and showing interest in their concerns will allow the effective use of instructional time, positive relationships to prevail, and minimal discipline problems to avail.




1.2 Statement of the Problem


From observation in secondary schools on how the teaching-learning process is carried out, it was realized that both old and beginning teachers faced a lot of challenges in trying to provide a climate that encourages learning. Most teachers spend a great deal of their time trying to manage disruptive student behaviours and end up being unable to finish the lesson planned for that duration. In some cases, the teacher may become nervous and either imposes corporal punishment on the students or quickly round off and leave the classroom in frustration. By so doing, understanding of the lesson will be poor thereby leading to low academic achievement It is for this reason that the researcher chooses to investigate the effects of classroom management on the teaching and learning process in secondary schools in the Buea municipality.




1.3 Objective of the Study


The general objective of this study is to investigate the effect of classroom management on the teaching-learning process in secondary schools in the Buea municipality.


Specific Objectives of the Study


Specifically, the objectives of this study are to investigate;


To elicit the views of teachers about classroom rules and regulations on the teaching and learning process.

To assess the effects of punishment to the teaching and learning process

To evaluate the effects of positive reinforcement on the teaching and learning processes.



1.4 Research Questions


How classroom rules and regulations affect the teaching-learning process?

To what extent does punishment affect the teaching-learning process?

How does positive reinforcement affect the teaching-learning process?



1.5 Justifications of Study


Teachers play various roles in a typical classroom, but surely one of the most important is that of classroom management. Effective teaching and learning cannot take place in a poorly managed classroom. If students are disorderly and disrespectful and no apparent rules and procedures guide behaviour, chaos becomes the norm. in these situations, both teachers and students suffer. Teachers struggle to teach, and students most likely learn much less than they should. In contrast, well-managed classroom provides an environment in which teaching and learning can flourish. But a well-managed classroom doesn’t just appear out of nowhere. It takes a good deal of effort to create and the person who is most responsible for creating it is the teacher.


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