Classroom Management

Thomas S. C. Farrell (Ed). Alexandria, VA: TESOL, 2008. Pp. vi + 177.

Reviewed by Marilyn N. Lewis
The University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand

Classroom management adds to the TESOL Classroom Practice Series and aims to introduce a wide readership of elementary to tertiary teachers to the theory and practice of organising a range of classes through a series of articles authored by teachers and researchers from a number of countries.

Farrell is the author of the first chapter which addresses general concerns such as the diversity of many classes. The next three chapters are set in the United States. One type of diversity, cultural differences, is the focus of chapter 2. Taylor and Sobel (academics from the University of Colorado) present a narrative in which the reader is taken on a classroom tour of a third grade classroom school in America. Forty percent of the children come from minority backgrounds, but, more challengingly, fifteen percent have special needs. Chapter 3, from Brown and Sharkey, the latter a classroom teacher, continues this theme by describing classrooms that include native and non-native English young children. Their lively account is illustrated with photographs of the second grade children and their work.

Chapter 4 is by Meszaros and is concerned with character education and examines an American secondary classroom where the teacher s philosophy is personalism, which emphasises relationships as being at the heart of children s lives.

Chapter 5 moves to Singapore and reports Silver s observations of an impressive 110 lessons in different schools to see how peer work is organised. She first speaks about her findings in workshops where she reports common themes, such as the picture of the scurrying teacher rushing around the room during group work monitoring behaviour even when the task was set up so that students [could] proceed to work in groups (p. 48). In Chapter 6 Bournhonesque reports in detail a strategy he developed for forming students into groups. The five pages of materials assist anyone who would like to imitate or adapt his ideas.

In Chapter 7 Le Pham reports on English discussion groups set in a university in Vietnam. A special feature is the inclusion of tape script extracts which clarify the theory.
Chapter 8, from Stabler-Havener at a university in China, continues the theme of small groups, but shows how roles can be assigned. Continuing the case studies format, Chapter 9 puts the spotlight on the teachers and their roles as managers. Guilloteaux visits a Korean classroom of seventh and eighth graders, comparing reports from observers and from students as she writes about three effective classroom managers (teachers). Student involvement in documentary film making is the topic of Chapter 10, from Stillwell and Gillies at a university in Japan. Japan is also the setting for Chapter 11, but this time the author, Soresi, writes in particular about students who the author describes as both shy and low in language skills even after six years of study. Sketches illustrate the teacher s technique of wording and placing questions around the room.

The contents of Chapter 12 will appeal to teachers who have trouble remembering students names. Delaney s digital photo sheet helped him to master the names of his Japanese tertiary classes of up to 80 learners per class, a necessary prop. The ideas will appeal to teachers who know the difficulty of remembering unfamiliar names and yet believe this is important for classroom management.

Chapter 14 reports on two-way tutoring. It is set in a Costa Rican pre-university college preparation programme where peer tutoring is used to create cohesion amongst students from widely diverse ethnic and linguistic backgrounds. The last chapter in the book, Chapter 15, deals with the situation in Japan where group dynamics are fostered in a number of ways, including the use of portfolios.

Classroom management is recommended as a source of ideas for classes of all ages, since it is easy to see beyond the specifics of one age group or country to more generally applicable principles. The references from each chapter s opening literature review which are integrated at the end of the book is also a helpful feature.