People become teachers because they care about children and their futures and because they are passionate about helping students achieve their potential. However, teaching is a not an easy job—and one of the most challenging aspects for many teachers is figuring out how to effectively manage the classroom.
If you ever have trouble keeping your students on task or have been thrown off course by troublesome students, you may need ideas to better manage your classroom and redirect the focus to student learning. Here are a number of battle-tested strategies that teachers can put to work in any classroom, as shared in David Adamson’s Classroom Management: 24 Strategies Every Teacher Needs to Know:
Use social cues – One of the best ways to communicate with students about appropriate behavior is to state a desired behavior that you want to see in class. Attribute the behavior to a specific student and affirm the behavior as a great example for the other students. What to say: “Thanks to table 3 for having their eyes on me.” “I see that John has started working on the assignment; thank you, John.”
Establish time limits – Plan out your day carefully, which will help you keep your students engaged. Share your expectations of time limits and schedule. What to say: “I’ll give you about five minutes for this task.” “Everyone needs to be in their seats in 30 seconds, please.”
Manage your transitions – Transitions from task to task can be challenging and time consuming, with students getting distracted or misbehaving. However, if you plan for transitions and explain carefully what you want students to do and how much time they have to do it, you can minimize that wandering or waiting time. What to do: Be prepared, get students’ attention, explain what you want students to do, confirm their understanding, give a signal to begin, give a time limit and start the next activity.
Show respect – The classroom environment cannot be productive without respect—between you and your students and among the students themselves. You cannot demand respect; however, you can exhibit respectful behavior toward students, thereby influencing how they respond to you. What to do: Be polite, avoid sarcasm, be on time and ready to teach and maintain a dignified student environment.
Keep a brisk pace – Students today are used to fast-paced interaction. You can minimize behavioral problems by picking up the pace of a lesson, introducing interesting activities and having extra activities on hand to fill gaps of time. What to do: Plan ahead, pose questions that invite critical thinking, and try different mediums for reinforcement of lessons.
Intervene in the moment – When needed, give simple reminders to bring unfocused or disruptive students back on task. What to do: Communicate nonverbally with a look or facial expression, change your tone of voice or move closer to the misbehaving student.
Teaching is an important and rewarding career with many wonderful aspects to it, but it certainly has its challenges as well. Managing classroom behavior and expectations is an essential part of the job that allows you to maintain control of your classroom and keep the focus on learning.
For many more strategies for classroom management that will help you improve student behavior and achievement, read Classroom Management: 24 Strategies Every Teacher Needs to Know.