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Classroom Management: How to Increase Student Learning

Janelle Cox

An effective teacher knows how to design their lessons so that students can reach their full potential. In order for students to master what they are learning, teachers need to use classroom management skills  to better use all their time to maximize student learning. Here we will take a look the four kinds of time there is at school, and how you can use classroom management to increase student learning.

Four Kinds of Time at School

According to “The First Days of School” by Harry K. Wong, there are four kinds of time at school. Here we will take a look at each kind of time and learn a little bit about each of them.

Allocated Time. This is the time that is given to a student to learn. It is the total time in which a teacher instructs and the student learns. It is typically for 180 days on the calendar, and about six hours each day. It is also the time given for each subject and/or activity. For example, math has allocated time of so many hours or minutes each day or week, and so on.

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Instructional Time. This is the time that a teacher is center stage and instructing (or teaching) their students. Research shows that 90 percent of the allocated time spent in school is instructional time.

Engaged Time. This is the time that students are engaged in a task. Research shows that 75 percent of the allocated time is spent on students working to complete a task. If you noticed that 90 percent of the time was instructional time and 75 percent was engaged time, you may have noticed that the number exceeds 100. This is because students and teachers are working at the same time.

Academic Time. According to research, 35 percent of the time is allocated to the time a teacher can prove that students are comprehending the content.

All of the times above are factors in a classroom, and they all have one thing in common: Time. Out of all of these kinds, the only time that has a true impact on student achievement is the academic learning time.

Understanding the Statistics

Now that you know the four kinds of time it will help you understand how to increase learning time. Allotting more days or hours of teaching does not guarantee more learning will take place. What you should increase is the amount of time spent on students be engaged and working. The more a student practices, the better they become at it. Professional hockey players practice every day of the week. The more they practice, the better they become. The same goes for learning. The students that do the work, are the ones that get good grades. If you look at the statistics above, 90 percent of the time is allocated to instructional time, 75 percent is allotted to students working, and 35 percent of the time is devoted to learning. The fact that the majority of the time spent at school is instructional time explains why so many students are not learning and retaining the content. So, what can you do as a teacher to change that? Here are a few tips to increase student learning and achievement in your classroom.

How to Increase Academic Learning Time

Here are a few suggestions on how to increase the amount of time students are working and learning in the classroom.

  • Post a daily assignment on the board, or have students complete a morning learning packet upon entering the classroom.
  • Minimize classroom interruptions by teaching and reinforce classroom procedures and routines. Practice the procedures until they become routine. When students know what they are supposed to do, your classroom will flow with ease.
  • Walk around the classroom and monitor students while they are working to make sure they are staying on task.
  • Be prepared. Teacher preparation is key in order to keep students on task. Have the assignment planned and all of the materials readily available.

Teacher effectiveness is key towards preventing lost instructional time. Do not make unnecessary interruptions when students are working, this may cause distractions that will take the students off course. Be prepared and make the students do the work. The person who does the work is the person who will learn. All of the tips above will help maximize the amount of time that students spend working, which will in turn will increase learning. 

How much time do you devote to student engagement in your classroom? Share with us in the comment section below. We would love to hear your thoughts.

Janelle Cox is an education writer who uses her experience and knowledge to provide creative and original writing in the field of education. Janelle holds a Master's of Science in Education from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. She is also the Elementary Education Expert for About.com, as well as a contributing writer to TeachHUB.com and TeachHUB Magazine. You can follow her at Twitter @Empoweringk6ed, or on Facebook at Empowering K6 Educators.

Source: “The First Days of School” by Harry k. Wong & Rosemary T. Wong