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Good classroom management is considered an important precursor in achieving quality of teaching and ultimately leading to better learning outcomes. In Cambodia, most teachers, especially starting teachers, find it difficult to manage their classes effectively due to the school culture, established routines and large class sizes.

A model teacher at 2 Thhnou Primary School in Battambang Province explains: “When I do group work I divide the class into big groups of 8 to 10 pupils. I notice that not everyone in the group is actually involved in the group work. However, within this small classroom I don’t know how I can divide them into groups so that they work effectively. Moving them into smaller groups will make the lesson less disciplined.”

To make teachers more knowledgeable and skilled to overcome these challenges, the SMART programme focuses on effective classroom management. To teach while considering the different learning levels of all pupils the teachers will need to be able to differentiate their learning content and approach to fit the pupils’ needs. Teachers will also experience how to group the pupils in a flexible manner, to use their classroom space and teaching time more optimally, all the while using positive discipline.

Benefits of working with video material

The trainings on classroom management will be supported with video materials. Multiple studies have shown that video can be a highly effective educational tool.

Integrating videos in teaching stimulates the participants’ interest. A video is a sensory tool that actually lets the participants experience concepts and ideas. Relating to classroom management it can explain a concept like space management by showing a familiar context, demonstrating techniques and showing the response to the new approach. In just a few minutes it visualises a learning element that would be difficult to grasp otherwise.

On VVOB Cambodia’s YouTube channel these educational videos will stay available for future reference for not only the participants of the trainings but all Cambodian teachers who wish to strengthen their competences on classroom management.

Producing short video clips that address real classroom management issues

In February, the programme welcomed its structural partner KDG University College to Cambodia. The lecturers from the university college got familiar with the Cambodian education context by visiting both a Provincial Teacher Training Centre (PTTC) and primary schools. During the visits, they observed lessons of teacher trainers at a PTTC and lessons of model teachers at primary schools. The lecturers, teacher trainers and teachers met afterwards and talked about their challenges in managing their classes.

The next step was for the lecturers to develop video scenarios that tackle these challenges. With the help of three Flemish student teachers, who were doing their teaching practice internship at Krapeu Ha primary school in Kandal, they wrote six video scenarios:

  • Forming mixed groups to enhance learning
  • Using positive discipline by isolating pupils
  • Managing your break more time-effectively
  • Using the school grounds outside of the classroom to teach
  • Differentiating by giving more instructions to slow learners
  • Differentiating by giving extra activities to fast learners

Last week the Classroom Management Taskforce revised the scenarios and made some adaptations so that they are fully contextualised and relatable to the teacher trainers and primary school teachers that will see them. 

In the coming weeks four model teachers from a practice school in Kandal will teach their lessons using the scenarios. A video crew will film them and turn the footage into short educational video clips.