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Big and Small Classroom Management Strategies

Big and Small Classroom Management Strategies

21 April, 2016

Classroom management can be quite challenging to many teachers especially if there are many misbehaving students.

The following approaches can be used to set order in classrooms.

Big Strategies: Basic Principles of Classroom Management

  1. Follow the first step of hypnosis.

A hypnotist’s first induction technique often involves directing subjects to focus on something they’re already doing. “Feel your eyes getting tired” is a good opening, because everybody’s eyes feel tired all the time, but we don’t notice until someone points it out.

Teachers, like hypnotists, can string along a series of requests by asking students to do something most are already doing, then waiting for 100-percent compliance, and finally issuing another directive, etc. It’s better for teachers to say, “Point your eyes toward me” and wait for compliance, rather than saying, “Stop talking, turn around, turn to page 237, take out a pencil, and head your paper with ‘Geology Frame.'”

  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 quickly.

  1. 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 challenging work (which often means differentiating) eliminates that risk.

  1. Rehearse transitions.

Most disruptions happen before the bell rings and between activities. “Silent 30” can be used as a signal for all students to clear their desks and sit silently within half a minute. A class reward happens after 30 are completed successfully.

  1. Anticipate problems and be creative.

For instance, if at the beginning of a school year, middle-grade students charge into class like Mel Gibson and a thousand Scottish warriors, students can be asked 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 has to answer either a content-related question or a random dumb question like, “What type of weapon would you use to battle Aquaman?” The dumb questions will keep the line entertained. After answering, they will be directed to take a seat, quiet as moonlight, and follow instructions on the board. Students talking or violating any of the protocol will be sent to the back of the line.

  1. Make positive phone calls home and send letters.

Send a positive note home to every student’s guardians, and that note includes a magnet (100 cost about $9.00) to encourage its placement on the refrigerator. Complimentary voicemails can also be left. That way, parents and kids will perceive teachers as allies.

Little Things: Quick Interventions That Support Classroom Management

  1. Show students that it pays to behave.

Rewards can be given to students who behave, this way, students will see the importance of behaving.

  1. 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 provokes further resistance.

  1. Build content-related anticipation.

At the beginning of class, say, “Later today, I’ll tell you. . .”

  • How to cure cholera (Clean water makes all the difference.)
  • What most super-geniuses have in common (They burn through acolytes.)
  • How the X-Wing fighters in Star Wars violate Newtonian physics (Blasters and afterburners don’t make sounds in space.)

The purpose is to get students interested in the teacher’s agenda in lieu of misbehaving.

  1. Change the tone.

Be creative in interrupting a class of aggressive complainers.

  1. Find things to appreciate.

Instead of starting class braced for conflict, make yourself look for things to delight in.

  1. Ramp up your enthusiasm.

There’s no downside to being 20 percent more enthusiastic.

  1. Use your words.

Students occasionally miss the obvious. Say, “This class makes me glad that I teach.

  1. Don’t pander.

Never cueing students to meet your emotional needs is a significant adult boundary. And one of life’s paradoxes is that people who never obsess over being adored are frequently the recipients of adoration.

  1. Forgive.

When a student commits a felony, tell the student that everything is forgiven and the next day is a fresh start.

  1. Give students choices.

Asking students questions like “Do you want to do this assignment in class or as a take-home quiz?” “Should this project be group or independent work?” Options increases students’ buy-in.

  1. Publicly announce classroom management goals.

Say, “Yesterday, the noise was at an ‘eight’ during work time. Let’s shoot for a ‘five’ today.”

  1. Establish routines.

If you have a chaotic class, keep things predictable. Also post the day’s schedule.

  1. State the truth when things go wrong.

If students are confused and lost, don’t brush over it. And when you’ve sent a student out of the classroom, say, “That makes me sad and frustrated, but let’s get our brains focused back on the third math problem.”