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Building classroom culture

Why this program?

For many years I have noticed and experienced a phenomenon that disrupts smooth running of classes. It may sounds like a very minor thing, but its accumulated impact on learning may be huge. The phenomenon is that in between each class periods, many students simply waste their time by just roaming in and around the classes. Some of the students were so out of control that they would affect the whole atmosphere of the class in such a way that teaching learning becomes difficult to take place. When a teacher enters the class, he or she needs few minutes to settle the situation down before starting the actual lesson.

Sometimes, it takes very long and the teacher gets frustrated. Imagine how teaching-learning would take place in such a situation. If it goes on for a long time, it may become part of the school culture from which we may find it difficult to extricate ourselves from. As such we need to look into such situations little closely. Otherwise, many of our students lose their precious time and opportunities, and negatively impact the learning environment in the class.

Fortunately, during one of his visit to our school, Mr. Kalsang Wangdu shared a real story of a lady teacher who made a huge difference in the lives of many backward children by just inspiring them to bring a simple pencil to write. So, I thought if I am able to introduce a similar small program in my classes, it may bring desirable outcomes to all of us. With lots of hope to fulfill the following objectives, I introduced it.


>To help students remain seated in the class and get ready for the class period.
>To reduce the unnecessary roaming of the students in and around the class.
>To help students get an opportunity to go through the topic or the chapter before the teacher starts the lesson.
>To build a classroom atmosphere that is conducive for effective teaching-learning.


>I shared my opinion and purpose of having this program to the students in detail.
>I also encouraged them to co-operate fully with the program. This program is simple but will bring good values and benefits to their life.


What should students do?
It is very simple. Students have to remain seated in their class and get ready with their required books and other related things for my class period. Sometimes, if I am bit late by few minutes, they have to use the time by reading the topic or the chapter that the class is going to discuss and learn during the period.


Monitoring and evaluation:-
>In between the classes, I visited and observed the situation, sometimes without the students' knowledge.
>At times, I have to remind my students about the ongoing program.
>I have also requested one of my colleagues to observe the class on a regular basis.

>Many of the students have expressed in writings that this program was helpful to them in a variety of ways such as fostering a good study habit, nurturing a habit of reading textbooks, fostering better understanding of the content since they were able to get some time to recall the previous day's lessons, etc. Most of the students unanimously agreed that such practices should to be extended to the whole school.
>This is the observation of the colleague who took special time to observe the changes in the behavior of the class under study: "རྒན་ངག་དབང་ཚེ་བརྟན་ལགས་ཀྱིས་བསྐུལ་ལྕག་གནང་བ་ལྟར་བདག་བོད་དགེ་བསྟན་འཛིན་ཆོས་སྐྱབས་ཁོང་གི་ལས་དོན་དང་འབྲེལ་རང་ཉིད་ནས་འབྲེལ་ཡོད་འཛིན་གྲྭའི་ནང་དུ་སྤྱི་བཏང་རྟོག་ཞིབ་དང་སྦྲགས་འཛིན་གྲྭའི་འཁོར་ཡུག་ལ་རྟོག་ཅིང་དཔྱད་མཐར་སློབ་མ་རྣམས་རང་ཚུགས་ཟིན་པོའི་སྒོ་ནས་རངཉིད་བསྡད་ས་རུ་འཁོད་ཅིང་ཚོགས་ཐེངས་དང་འབྲེལ་བའི་བསླབ་གཞི་སློབ་དེབ་རྣམས་བཏོན་ནས་སློབ་མ་ཤས་ཆེ་བས་ལྗགས་ཀློག་གནང་ནས་ཡོད་པ་དང་། ཁག་ཅིག་བྲིས་དེབ་ནང་དུ་བྲིས་ནས་འདུག ངས་ཀྱང་སློབ་གྲྭའི་འཛིན་གྲྭ་ཡོངས་ཀྱི་བསམ་ཤེས་འདི་ལྟ་བུ་ཞིག་གནང་བ་ཡིན་ན་སློབ་སྦྱོང་ལ་འབྲས་བུ་སྔོན་ཐོན་དང་བཅས་སྒྲིག་འཛུགས་ལའང་ཕན་ངེས་ཡིན་པ་མངོན་སུམ་གྱི་མྱོང་ཚོར་བྱུང། (I have observed the students remained in their class and were reading the textbook, or some were writing in their note books. I feel that if all the classes in the school follow this practice, it would not only have positive impact on academic learning, but the discipline will improve as well)".
>I have realized that building classroom habits and culture is fundamental for effective teaching-learning to take place. Likewise, it is important for us to use our limited time on fixing a very small issue at a time.


Generally, there isn't any work without problems. But the question is how we handle the problems in different situations. If we are able to manage the problem in right directions, we will surely achieve the desired ends without too many difficulties. While I was carrying this small program, in the beginning I have to remind my students again and again to keep them on the right track. After all, there are students who are very naughty, energetic, and chaotic. However, after sometimes, they became quite independent in terms of following the practices. I hope that it will become their habit in the long run.


Ngawang Tsetan
Secondary social studies teacher
TCV School, Suja