One of the greatest challenges many teachers face is ensuring that their classroom is focused and free of distractions. Classroom management is crucial in order to make sure that lessons run smoothly without disruptive or inattentive behavior compromising the delivery of instruction. Effective classroom management techniques allow teachers to stay in control of their classrooms and keep their lessons moving forward. Our director of pedagogy recommends the following ten methods to manage a classroom.
1. Keep your consequences as minimal as possible.
When a rule is broken, assign the smallest consequence possible and see if that gets the job done. Don't use up big consequences too fast.
2. Appropriate curriculum is a classroom management strategy.
For some, being thrown out of the room for backtalk has a lower social cost than appearing dumb in front of peers. Assigning appropriately difficult work (which often means differentiating) eliminates that risk.
3. Anticipate problems and be creative.
If your students charge into class like Mel Gibson and a thousand Scottish warriors, you should ask them to line up for class outside the door with their left arm against the wall and a foot of space between them and the person in front of them. To enter class, each child had to answer either a content-related question or a random dumb question like, "What type of weapon would you use to battle Superman?" The dumb questions will keep the line entertained. Students talking or violating any of the protocol are sent to the back of the line.
4. Show students that it pays to behave.
At the end of tough classes, I'd daily give out two raffle tickets -- one for academic effort and one for good behavior. After writing their names on the tickets, kids dropped them in a jar. On Friday, I randomly drew two student names -- both received candy bars.
5. Never punish an entire class.
Even when you feel like the entire class is misbehaving, there are always some kids following directions. Punishing the class as a group only incites further resistance.
6. Change the tone.
Set the tone so that students don’t feel you are yelling at them, but not so low that you cannot be heard.
7. Find things to appreciate.
Instead of starting class braced for conflict, make yourself look for things to delight in. That James Rodríguez definitely knows how to play soccer, he’s really good at it!
When a student commits an offense, make sure that everything is forgiven and that the next day will be a fresh start. Don’t take it personal.
9. Give students choices.
"Do you want to do this assignment in class or as a take-home quiz?"
"Should this project be group or independent work?"
Choice increases students' buy-in.
10. Establish routines.
If you have a chaotic class, keep things predictable. Also post the day's schedule.