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Successful Classroom Management

Successful Classroom Management

22 August, 2016

To have a successful classroom management, teachers must prioritize building relationships, leveraging time, and designing behavioral standards.

If you’re a teacher who just started their career, the most difficult thing to master is classroom management. Good classroom management is beyond strict or authoritarian, and it is more than simply being organized. If you want to have your classroom run smoothly as a well-oiled learning machine, you have to set up a structured learning environment in which certain behaviors are encouraged and others are prevented.

There are five components of effective classroom management that set structures strong enough to entice and motivate student learning:

  1. Develop Effective Working Relationships With Your Students

The most important component of classroom management is relationships. The relationships with your students start at the door when you shake the their hand and greet them with a smile (regardless of what misbehaviors might have happened the day before). Those relationships are strengthened, for example, when you use a student’s name and actively praise him or her. Those relationships are reinforced when you spend individual time with each student to get to know them and then use that knowledge to build personal learning opportunities.

  1. Train Your Students on How Learning Takes Place in Your Classroom

Your students need to know that you do not expect them to instantly learn, that each one has an individual process for learning, and that if they follow your guidance, they will be successful in learning.

This is more than just talking about your homework policy, late work, and absences. It is informing your students how you are going to build — with them — a highly effective, low-maintenance, learning team. For example, you can discuss with your students that the true power of a strategy such as Cornell Notes is not dividing the paper in two parts. The benefit of that method comes from writing the questions on the left side of the paper while reviewing their notes, and then taking the time to summarize what they learned. You have a learning philosophy that guides your teaching style; teach it to your students. Clearly map out for your students what you do to help them learn so that when you do it, they know what you are doing and why, and they will be more willing to help.

  1. Protect and Leverage Your Time

A successful classroom manager must be prepared with materials and know how to transition students from one activity to another without wasting time. The number one thing you could do to improve your students’ academic performance is to increase the time spent on learning. Time is chipped away by taking attendance, announcements, summons to the office, restroom breaks, pep rally schedules, class meetings, special presentations, awards ceremonies, celebrations, and a myriad of other things.

Some disruptions and time stealers we cannot avoid, but being successful at managing the classroom also involves managing the time, protecting it, and leveraging it to your best advantage. In Teach Like a Champion, author Doug Lemov effectively presented how to use routines to minimize lost time in activities like handing out papers; he also demonstrates routines to help students train their minds to adopt useful habits and skills, like being able to quickly answer and ask questions.

  1. Anticipate Your Students’ Behaviors in Well-Written Lesson Plans

Turning student behaviors, interests, and attention into productive learning paths requires intuitive lesson planning. First, focus on how students will be able to show that they understand and have obtained the learning objective, emphasizes Grant Wiggins, coauthor with Jason McTighe of Understanding by DesignThen create learning activities that lead students to that point.

According to Robert Marzano, an education researcher, the focus of your lesson planning efforts should be getting students to ask and answer their own questions. Coming up with those types of questions on the spur of the moment can be difficult, but with a little advanced thought, you can integrate those types of questions into your lesson plans. Ultimately, the best discipline management plan is a good lesson plan.

  1. Establish Behavioral Standards

These standards should encourage learning, as well as consequences that diminish or eliminate behaviors that hinder learning. They shouldn’t be so detailed as to list every behavior and the corresponding consequence for failure to comply, but they should hit the main points regarding showing respect, communicating correctly, and coming prepared to learn. The standards should also interact smoothly with the other four components, especially teaching your students how learning takes place in your classroom.

Learn to frame each lesson as it is taught. This means that for each learning activity,  explain the standards of performance, as well as the limits of behavior.

From Day One

Setting an effective plan for classroom management has to begin at the start of school, but it doesn’t end there. Throughout the year, we have to be consistent and persistent in improving relationships of trust, following and teaching the best learning theories, honoring student time, being responsive to student behaviors and needs in our lesson plans, and holding true to high and rigorous standards of learning behavior. We also need to be flexible and adjust to tangles that can disrupt even the best management plans.