One of the most important roles of a classroom teacher is that of classroom manager. Learning cannot take place in a poorly managed classroom. Conversely, the best classrooms provide environments where teaching and learning can flourish. Follow these tips and you’ll improve your classroom management skills immediately.
10 musts for effective classroom management
1 – Maintain clear expectations: Teachers must work with their students to establish clear, mutually understood, expectations for behavior by establishing clear rules and procedures.
2 – Be positive: Focus on each student’s strengths and the amazing things they, with your help, can accomplish. While difficult, never hold grudges against students; treat each day as a new day.
3 – Be proactive: Routines help create a positive and safe environment. By providing consistent structures, teachers are proactively implementing strategies that will eliminate, or at least limit, disruptions. Of course, problems will still arise, but proactive teachers can nip little problems before they become bigger ones. By constantly scanning the room and intervening when necessary, a proactive teacher demonstrates heightened awareness and responds quickly to possible disruptions.
4 – Be non-combative: Don’t ever engage in an argument or confrontation when confronted with unruly behavior. If necessary, take a deep breath–or two or three–to ensure you keep emotional distance and to allow yourself to formulate an appropriate response. Responses to misbehavior should be firm, specific, and unapologetic.
5 – Get to the root of the problem: Kids do well if they can. High-needs students are most likely struggling because they lack the skills necessary behavioral and social skills. Ask students what they really want? What is motivating them to make these choices? Look beyond the behavior and focus on the motive.
6 – Reflect: As important as it to identify antecedents to inappropriate student behaviors, it’s equally important to identify what triggers your negative emotional responses. Examine your least favorite student behaviors, those that “set you off,” and how you normally respond. After doing so, reflect on the situation and on your actions, or seek the advice of other educators to either eliminate the issue or better respond to it when it occurs. Ask yourself: How can I respond so that I’m supporting the student instead of getting emotional sucked in?
7 – Never seek compliance: Forced compliance for little things doesn’t work. It doesn’t teach accountability and severe consequences and punishments don’t induce learning. When we kick students out of our classrooms and schools, we are essentially telling them, We cannot handle you. While students need to be held accountable, we must teach them the skills necessary to be successful. To do this, we must meet our students where they are and teach student conduct.
8 – Be fair, not equal: Legendary basketball coach John Wooden said, “I treat everybody fairly but not equally.” Academically, we differentiate instruction for struggling students. We don’t ask a student who cannot read at grade level to read an excerpt from the class novel aloud, so we shouldn’t expect a student who doesn’t have the social skills to behave the the same way all of her classmates do. While holding true and strong to our clear expectations, we must also differentiate for students who struggle socially or behaviorally.
9 – Nurture relationships: The most obvious of the 10, is for teachers to take a personal interest in each student. Greet students at the door, and for challenging students, take a minute or two each class period to celebrate student successes, and don’t limit these successes to what goes on in your classroom. Recognize students for making a sports team, for performing in a concert, and allow student to recognize a peer’s accomplishment.
10 – Be true to yourself: Students see through fake veneers, so make sure all of your actions reflect on how you would like your students to see and remember you.
These 10 musts for effective classroom management will build a sense of community and a safe learning environment by fostering relationships between the teacher and students, leading to increased student achievement.
So, is there an 11th classroom management must? Please share yours in our comment section below.