How we change what others think, feel, believe and do
Classroom Management Tips
Here are more tips for managing the classroom and sustaining discipline.
Keep the room neat and tidy, and it will encourage them to be neat and tidy too. If they make a mess, ensure they clear it up. Also ensure they put things away tidily after use (and always have a place for everything).
A safe place
Make sure the classroom is a safe and pleasant place to be. Never let bullies take over or rowdiness spoil the learning atmosphere.
When they misbehave, ensure there are always consequences. Do this in stages, from a simple request, through keeping them behind to reporting to the head teacher.
Be consistent in your use of this. When you say you are going to do something you absolutely have to follow through unless there are very unusual circumstances.
Create rules together
Discuss classroom rules, letting them choose. One inviolate rule is that teacher has veto over any rule that is against school rules or seems unfair or unhelpful.
Settle them down
If they come in excited, perhaps from a previous lesson or activity, then settle them down with a talk or basic work before getting on to the main learning topic.
Now and again, hold a snap quiz. It can be in the middle of the lesson or at the end and tests them on what they have recently learned. Keep it short: it can be five or ten questions. This will keep them on their toes and help you discover who needs extra help.
Don't decorate the front
Put things up on back and side walls (preferably towards the rear) but avoid posters and other distractions where you will be mostly standing. You want them to pay attention to you, not nice pictures or flapping notices. Also keep your desk as clear as possible for the same reason.
Get the students to act out something, whether it is a part of a book or just a made-up something using a foreign language. It engages and involves them, making learning fun and active (and much more likely to be remembered).
Fragment the work
Break the work down into bite-sized chunks that they can understand and complete in a reasonable period. Note that for lower ability students this will mean smaller chunks (and vice versa).
Teach them to follow you
Put deliberate effort into teaching them to respond to signals. For example, say 'When I put my hand up, I want you to stop talking. Let's practice it now...'. Then use it when they are watching and it is easy to stop. Then work up steadily to when many are talking.
The 2-3 clap
Clap your hands twice, slowly, followed by three times fast. The variation in rhythms and suddenness of the last three claps gains attention and will silence many classes.
One thing at a time
Do not overload them with instructions and do make sure they complete what they are told to do. Keep things simple by telling them to do something then waiting and ensuring they do.
This makes life easier for you and more straightforward for them by reducing their choices. It usually also makes them happier, giving them a good sense of control. It is particularly important with younger children and others with limited ability to remember instruction.
Vary the type of lessons
Give them different styles of lessons, being active, quieter, involving, using individual work, group work, and so on. Try to find out what works best for you and for the class.
Say 'I' and 'me'
Assert yourself and your relationship with the class with 'I' statements, such as 'I want everyone to be quiet now' and 'Your good work makes me feel happy.'
Say 'When you'
Show cause and effect, and how behavior affects others, using statements such as 'When you are talking, other students cannot hear.'
Frame rules and commands in positive, rather than negative language. Rather than say 'no running around', say 'walk in an orderly manner'. Instead of saying 'stop talking', say 'please listen'.