Maintain Effective Classroom Management: Tips and Techniques to Keep Control while Teaching
Effective Classroom Management
Want to be a successful teacher and be able to maintain control in the classroom? Having effective classroom management skills is the key to being successful at maintaining control in the classroom and having a great school year. While it may take a few years to become a pro at this, everything can be implemented right away, as soon as the school year begins on the very first day.
Here you can learn a variety of classroom management techniques to use in your classroom.
Classroom Behavior Management
Classroom Management Tips
From where did you learn the best classroom management skills?
Classroom Management Plan
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Classroom Management Strategies
Here are some tips to maintain effective classroom management:
- Arrange seating chart(s) before the school year starts. Most teachers, if not all, receive their rosters before the school year starts. Use the roster and the classroom layout to create your seating chart(s). Try simple rows at first, arranging the students in alphabetical order until you learn their names. If you’re lucky enough to have a computer program that creates a seating chart with the students’ pictures, utilize it to your advantage. You can create the chart AND learn the students’ names before you meet them, which will make quite an impression on your students. After getting to know the students and their learning preferences, you can rearrange the seating chart throughout the year.
- Note: If you have an inclusion classroom, be sure to follow the seating directions given to you in the student’s IEP or other documents. Some students require preferential seating where they are placed away from distractions and near the teacher.
- Establish daily activity schedule. Stick to it. This can be critical when trying to establish classroom management. Students like routine, so it is important to have that routine from the very first day. Mine was simple: opening activity while teacher completes hall duty/attendance, homework check, review of previous lesson, new material/lesson, homework assignment, closure. While the activities changed, the routine didn’t. The students knew what to expect and it kept them from devising their own activities which would disrupt the educational process.
- Make the assignments worth the students’ time and effort. I know this may seem like teachers are just giving in to what students want, but really, do you think they want to write that essay about school uniforms again? Make assignments useful and pertinent to their lives. Try to get to know what they like or enjoy, then tailor your assignments around those things. I do this by assigning a letter to the teacher as their first assignment. It works in several ways: I learn the various levels of writing abilities that my students have, I learn about their likes and dislikes, and they get to write about their favorite subject—themselves! After reading and grading their letters, I make a list of things they like and enjoy and use those items in my lessons and assignments. If I have a class that likes sports? All of my examples use sport references or terminology. If I have a class that enjoys working with other people? I allow them to conduct group work more often. The more it pertains to them, the longer you’ll have their attention span and the more likely they will gladly complete their assignments.
- Know the student guidelines created by district (e.g. student handbook). Every year, my district issues a student handbook that includes rules, guidelines, academic information, etc. Each student is given a physical copy and parents are expected to sign that they received one. Knowing the information in that book has helped me in many situations. I was able to quote the pages and paragraphs that discussed student plagiarism, attendance policies, grading procedure and discipline. Not only did having that knowledge back me up in case of a negative issue, it also allowed me to prevent any classroom problems since I was able to pass the information along to students before anything even happened. For instance, every year during my research unit I had students who liked to ask a thousand questions about plagiarism and how they could just copy someone else’s work online. To preempt that, I included a section in my research unit packet and in my research unit letter to parents that referred to the plagiarism page from the student handbook. That way, if any student even thought about trying to plagiarize, they would know beforehand the consequences they faced.
- Be consistent. Be consistent in everything: routine, rules, grading, etc. One tiny inconsistency and students will notice. If you grade Timmy’s test a certain way, you have to grade all the other tests the same way. If you expect Elizabeth to stay in her seat during a lesson, you need to expect that everyone else stays seated as well. By changing something for one student, as well meaning as you may be, you are changing how other students view your resolve. If they know you’ll falter about something, they may lose some respect for you and things like your classroom rules or grading system will not hold true anymore.
- Be fair. Being fair is similar to being consistent, but it adds in human emotion to the equation. Often times, you will have a student who will drive you batty, insane, up a wall, etc. No matter what, you need to treat all students equally, even if you feel strongly against a student’s actions. On the opposite side, you’ll have students who you adore, but again, you need to treat them just as you treat all the others. If they make a mistake, like forgetting a homework assignment, they need to have the same consequences as everyone else.
Top Ten Classroom Management Tips
Classroom Management Ideas
Do you feel you have a pretty good idea of what classroom management should be?
Classroom Management Tips
- Treat them like students. They are not friends. This is often a big mistake for new, young teachers (or even student teachers and substitutes). Students see the weaknesses of new/young teachers and feed on those things. They will talk to new/young as if you are their age since new teachers often lack the sternness to be the one in charge. They will make their own rules, and since, again, new teachers lack the sternness, they will get away with it. All of that can cause chaos in the classroom. When the new teacher needs students to be serious and focused, it will be nearly impossible to rein back in the respect that was lost and what usually ensues is much yelling and fighting than actual education.
- While there is no need to be friends, it is acceptable to be friendly in a polite manner. Be confident in your position as the one in charge and teach the students while demanding the respect they need to show. It doesn’t mean that you are harsh; rather, you are firm about how they speak to you, how class is run, how the rules apply. Once there is that balance, things will run smoothly and you can actually crack a smile and be pleasant without losing control of the class.
- Teach them respect and responsibility. It used to be that students came to school with these characteristics built in, but it seems lately that there is an overall lack of respect for adults and a complete lack of responsibility. You have to actually teach them how to address, respond to and react to an adult. How do you do this? By example. In the classroom it is commonly expected that students will raise their hand before speaking. This is an important thing to enforce because not only does it keep the classroom noise from getting out of control, it teaches students to wait their turn in a conversation, which is showing respect for you and their classmates. From the very first day, explain that it is respectful to raise a hand in the classroom, and demonstrate how it should be done.
- Responsibility might take a bit longer to teach and can be difficult depending on the age group, but any student can learn to be responsible. Explain to students your expectations for the class, and remind them that it is not your job to constantly remind them to follow the rules, complete classwork or homework, or to complete task a certain way (i.e. procedure for asking to leave to use the restroom, etc). By giving consequences (as you are instructed by the district’s policies), you can teach the students responsibilities. For example, my students often forgot to bring a writing utensil (it was a writing class!!). My rule for that was if a student forgot once, they had to ask their classmates for one, and if they couldn’t find one, I would lend them a pencil from the one box of pencils I ordered for the entire year. If they forgot twice, they had to ask their classmates, but I would not give them a pencil. And once my box of pencils ran out, I did not order more. I did however, pick up stray pencils found on desks or in the hall and keep them in a box, but again, once they were gone, they were gone. If the repeat offenders didn’t have a writing utensil, they couldn’t complete the assignment and thus lose points. My students learned pretty quickly not to forget a writing utensil! It usually only took a few weeks for everyone to learn to be responsible for their own writing utensil.
- Establish “the look”. This is my favorite tip, given to me by a good teacher friend of mine who used this in her English class when I was her student. It allows you to maintain the flow of instruction without having to constantly stop for every little interruption to speak to a student. It’s very simple: look at the student offender, drop your head, and put on your most stern and serious face. Students tend to quickly get the hint to stop whatever it is they are doing, and you get to move on without stopping. It really has to be the kind of look that will stop anyone dead in their tracks, and it’s so effective.
Go on! Get started with Your Own Classroom Management!
All these tips will help you manage your classroom without having all of the little interruptions that stop the flow of instruction. Remember to begin right away so that your students get used to how you will run the classroom. It does take time to be a pro, but even the youngest, newest teacher can implement these tips to maintain effective classroom management.