By Teachers, For Teachers
Student behavior is a challenge for all teachers. If a class’ behavior isn’t managed well, then you will not have a productive learning environment. The key to creating well-managed a classroom management method that works for discipline is planning. If you don’t have a plan in place, then managing student behavior will be quite difficult. Here are a few classroom management steps that you can take in order to ensure student behavior will be productive.
The first step in your classroom management plan is to set up and then state your student expectations and consequences. If your students don’t know what is expected of them, then their behavior can be unruly. The moment your students enter your classroom, you must share your expectations of them, as well as the consequences if they do not meet those expectations. Make sure that you leave room for at least one or two rules for the students to come up with. There’s a better chance that the students will adhere to the rules that they make, versus the ones that are given to them.
The next step is to ensure that you have organized several classroom routines throughout the day. Transition times for the younger students are when it can really get hectic, so it’s essential that you have a daily routine for those times. Have a clear process that students can follow. For example, when an activity is done, the student must know where to put their supplies, where to submit their work, how to clean up, etc. You should also have routines for how to enter and leave the classroom, how to line up, how to access equipment, and for using the bathroom. When you have a routine for everything, then it’ll be easier to manage student behavior.
Once you have your routines in set in place, then you must practice them. You have to practice them over and over again until students can do them on their own. This is the step that most teachers fail to do, because they think that just because they said to do something once, that the students will be able to do it. However, remember that teaching is not just telling -- you have to actually teach (show) them how you want things done. The more you practice, the easier it will be for students to do on their own. When students can do things on their own and they know what is expected of them, you’ll have fewer behavior issues to deal with.
Once you have set the rules and consequences, you must stick to them. While you may have accepted that your students won’t always behave the way that you expect them to, you must also keep in mind that the actions you take when a student is out of order will have a direct reflection on how the students perceive you as a teacher. This means that if you said that the consequence for getting out of your seat without permission was staying after school, and you don’t follow through with keeping the student after school, the students will view you as being dishonest or a pushover. Therefore, if you want to keep student behavior in check, then you must never waiver, and always follow through with your consequences.
Positive reinforcement is a great classroom management technique to use to reinforce students who are on task and doing what they are supposed to be doing. Most of the time, a teachers’ attention is on the students who are misbehaving, and rarely on the students who are actually on task. When you focus your attention to the “Good” things that students are doing, then it will help them to strive to get more “Good” attention from you. Take the time to notice when students are doing something good like staying on task, raising their hand, or helping a classmate. You’ll see how focusing on the positive can really change the dynamic in your classroom and make it a more positive learning environment for all.
Effective teachers understand that taking the time to follow these steps will ultimately ensure a well-behaved, productive classroom. As long as you set up classroom expectations, follow through with your consequences, teach and practice daily routines, and give positive feedback to your students, then your classroom management plan should be spot on.
How do you manage student behavior? Do you have any classroom management tips or advice?
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 a contributing writer to TeachHUB.com, TeachHUB Magazine, and Hey Teach. She was also the elementary education expert for Thoughtco (formally About.com) for five years. You can follow her on Twitter @empoweringed, on Facebook at Empowering K12 Educators, or contact her at Janellecox78@yahoo.com.