What is classroom management?
Classroom management is a process that allows teachers to control the learning and direction of their classroom. Teachers use classroom management to keep students focused on learning while preventing disruption from slowing the learning process.
A wide range of classroom management techniques is used by teachers, ranging from hands-off classroom management focused on cooperation to the direction of the class to ensure students aren’t disruptive to their peers. Since classroom management keeps classes on track and prevents disruptions from slowing down the learning process, it’s one of the most fundamental aspects of high-quality education.
Important Factors of Classroom Management
Effective classroom management can often be the difference between a classroom that’s focused and attentive and a classroom in which students struggle to achieve their educational objectives. Teachers face a variety of choices when it comes to classroom management. While some teachers take a direct approach to managing and directing their classrooms, others focus on building a friendly, collaborative relationship with their students.
What should you know about classroom management?
Classroom management can often be the difference between a focused classroom that achieves its educational goals and a classroom that falls behind the average in its category. As a teacher, having an understanding of classroom management and the ability to apply classroom management techniques gives you the power to keep your entire classroom focused on achieving its objectives and academically productive.
Are there any challenges of classroom management?
Teachers face a variety of classroom management challenges. These can include disruptive students that slow or interrupt the pace of learning and ineffective or poorly thought out management techniques that worsen student behavior. The most effective teachers typically understand a variety of effective classroom management techniques and use the most appropriate solution to keep their class free of disruption and focused on achieving its educational goals.
Classroom management strategies
Model ideal behavior: Make a habit of demonstrating behavior you want to see, as many types of research show that modeling effectively teaches students how to act in different situations. A straightforward way to model certain behaviors is holding a mock conversation with an admin, another teacher, or student helper in front of the class. Talking about a test or other relatable topic, be sure to:
- Use polite language
- Maintain eye contact
- Keep phones in your pockets
- Let one another speak uninterrupted
- Raise concerns about one another’s statements in a respectful manner.
Let students help establish guidelines: Encourage all students to help you build classroom rules.
Document rules: Don’t let your mutually-respected guidelines go forgotten. Similar to handing out a syllabus, print and distribute the list of rules that the class discussion generated. And when a student breaks a rule, it’ll be easy for you to point to this document. If you’re feeling creative, you can include the rule list in a student handbook with important dates, events, and curriculum information.
Avoid punishing the class:
Address isolated behavior issues instead of punishing an entire class, as the latter can hurt your relationships with students who are on-task and thereby jeopardize other classroom management efforts. Instead, call out specific students in a friendly manner. For example: “Do you have a question?”, not “Stop talking and disrupting other students”. “Do you need help focusing?”, not “Pay attention and stop fooling around while I’m talking”. This basic approach will allow you to keep a friendly disposition, while immediately acknowledging poor behavior.
Promote a growth mindset, and inject variety into your lessons, by allowing students to work ahead and deliver short presentations to share take-away points. Almost inevitably, you’ll have some eager learners in your classroom. You can simply ask them if they’d like to get ahead from time to time. For example, if you’re reading a specific chapter in a textbook, propose that they read the following one too. When they deliver their subsequent presentations to preview the next chapter on your behalf, you may find that other students want a bit more work as well.
Offer praise Or give appreciation at the proper time:
Praise students for jobs well done, as doing so improves academic and behavioral performance, according to a recent research review and study. When it is sincere and references specific examples of effort or accomplishment, praise can: Inspire the class, Improve a student’s self-esteem, and Reinforce the rules and values you want to see.
Perhaps more importantly, it encourages students to repeat positive behavior. Let’s say a student exemplifies advanced problem-solving skills when tackling a math word problem. Praising his or her use of specific tactics should go a long way in ensuring he or she continues to use these tactics. Not to mention, you’ll motivate other students to do the same.
Use non-verbal communication:
Complement words with actions and visual aids to improve content delivery, helping students focus and process lessons. For example, running learning stations — divided sections of your classroom through which students rotate — allows you to deliver a range of non-spoken content types.
Give tangible rewards:
Reward specific students at the end of each lesson, in front of the class, as another motivational and behavior-reinforcement technique. Let’s say a few students are actively listening throughout the entire lesson, answering questions and asking their own. Before the class ends, walk over to their desks to give them raffle tickets. So others can learn, state aloud what each student did to earn the tickets. On Friday, they can submit their tickets for a shot at a prize that changes each week — from candy to being able to choose a game for the next class party.
Make positive letters and phone calls:
Keep students happy in and out of class by pleasantly surprising their parents, making positive phone calls, and sending complimentary letters home. When the occasion arises, from academic effort or behavioral progress, letting parents know has a trickle-down effect. They’ll generally congratulate their kids; their kids will likely come to class eager to earn more positive feedback. This can also entice parents to grow more invested in a child’s learning, opening the door to at-home lessons.
Offer different types of free study time:
Provide a range of activities during free study time to appeal to students who struggle to process content in silence, individually. You can do this by dividing your class into clearly-sectioned solo and team activities. In separate sections, consider Providing audiobooks, which can play material relevant to your lessons, Maintaining a designated quiet space for students to take notes and complete work, Allowing students to work in groups while taking notes and completing work, away from quiet zones. By running these sorts of activities, free study time will begin to benefit diverse learners. This should contribute to overall classroom engagement.
Provide struggling students with a clear path to improve:
For example, pair classmates who didn’t meet expectations with those who did, giving them a review and practice activity. When strugglers are confident they understand key concepts, encourage them to tell you. Provide a new assessment, allowing them to prove their competency.
Address bad behavior quickly: Avoid hesitation when you must address bad behavior, especially when a student breaks a documented rule.
Consider peer teaching:
Us peer teaching as a classroom management strategy if you feel your top performers can help engage and educate disruptive and struggling students. Peer teaching activities, such as pairing students together as reading buddies, can be especially beneficial for students who suffer from low confidence and poor interpersonal skills.
Motivating students on personal learning is also important in class management.