Classroom Management Strategies: How to Keep Your Classroom in Line
Unruly students are one of the greatest challenges of classroom management. A single disobedient student can launch a snowball of insubordination that ruins learning for the rest of the classroom.
While some teachers can keep problems from escalating because they have an intimidating figure and aren’t afraid to throw their authority around the classroom, most teaching professionals will want to create a classroom-management program to keep students in line throughout the school day. Some classroom management techniques are disciplinary and others are curriculum-based. Whatever the specifics, they can be effective for keeping students focused on learning, preventing frustration and protecting your voice from constant yelling.
Below are a few classroom management strategies that can help teachers keep students focused.
Build engagement into lesson plans
Kids will be kids. They’re energetic and don’t sit still for long periods of time, especially if they’re of the elementary-school age. So plan your lessons accordingly. For instance, don’t stand up at the front of the class and lecture for the entire day — engage your students in interactive, hands-on activities that get them up out of their seats and moving around.
Students who are actively engaged in an activity are far less likely to disrupt a class. And for younger students, there’s nothing engaging about watching you lecture the class on the day’s lesson. So create a curriculum that engages kids. This way, they’ll learn better without being unruly. It’s a tactic that’s likely to prevent a lot of disruptive behavior before it has time to come to fruition.
Interact with your students
Students are likely to be disruptive when they don’t like you as a teacher. So build trust and mutual respect with them. How? Don’t be standoffish — if you see a student of yours in the hallway before school, after school or in between classes (or even outside of school), strike up a casual chat and show that you care. Then there’s a greater chance that your caring and respect will be reciprocated.
Go to the scene of the crime
Is your teaching constantly interrupted by students giggling, poking each other and being generally mischievous? Try walking over to where the actions are happening and standing by those specific students, without pausing in your lesson plan. Doing so sends a direct message to knock off whatever it is they’re doing. Normally, the behavior will stop. But if it continues, then consider rearranging your seating chart. It’s OK to have your students sit wherever they want — as long as you make it clear that it’s a privilege and the moment that someone violates that privilege, it will end. Teach them that their actions have consequences.
Develop a plan for repeat offenders
Do you have students who just can’t seem to behave? Are you constantly dealing with specific students? You don’t have to yell to get a message across to them. For continuously disruptive students, first speak with them in the classroom about their behavior and give them the benefit of a doubt. If it continues, calmly ask the student to leave the class and wait out in the hallway. This sends a message to the rest of your class that you won’t tolerate classroom disturbances.
Finish your lesson, then head out into the hallway to speak with the student one-on-one about the improper behavior. Ask if everything is OK (be sincere and show that you care). You never know — such behavior could result from issues at home that need to be addressed.
By showing that you care, you’re more likely to get students to open up about their issues. If they continue to be disruptive –- either to the classroom after you allow them back in, or out in the hall when you’re trying to speak with them — send them to the principal’s office. The principal’s office, however, should be a last resort.