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Positive Social Interaction Via Classroom Management

Janelle Cox

In order to structure a learning environment that encourages positive social interactions among primary students, you must incorporate some strategic classroom management techniques. You already have all of the necessary materials that will support the developmental skills that your youngsters need in order to get along well with their classmates. Now, all you have to do is structure how you are going to use those classroom management materials to promote positive social interactions within your classroom.

3 Classroom Management Strategies to Promote Social Interaction

To increase the likelihood of your students interacting with one another in a positive manner, try the following three strategies.

Implement Classroom Jobs

Create classroom jobs that will force students to work together to get the job done. Have two children be the door holders, or assign two children to work together to pass out or collect papers. You can also assign your students a job that requires them to interact with the other classmates as well. For example, you can have two students be the morning greeter. One child would welcome their classmate into the classroom by saying, “Good morning” and giving them a high five, while another child would ask them “How are you doing today?” These types of jobs require social interaction among all of the students, there is no way around it. Not only is this a great (positive) way to start the day, but it will also help build a sense of community within your classroom.

Encourage Play

Play is an essential part of a child’s development. It’s not only good for their body and mind, but it’s also great for developing their social skills. Many teachers are inundated with the pressures of having to get their students to complete what is on their curriculum, that they leave play for the end of the day, or whenever they have a few extra minutes. What these teachers are failing to realize is that by incorporating play into their curriculum, they can enhance their students’ communication and problem-solving skills. Play is when children learn to work together and figure things out. It’s when students learn to become leaders and learn how to listen to others.

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Here are a few ideas on how to incorporate play into your daily schedule.

  • Create a dramatic play area where students can dress up. Students can work together to run a grocery store, a veterinarian’s office, or a hospital.
  • Use your classic board games and change them to suit what students are learning about. For example, you can use the game Candy Land to work on site words. All you have to do is attach a site word to each colored card and students must try to say the word when they choose a card.
  • Use a deck of cards to have students work together to build a house, play memory, or learn their numbers.
  • Have students work together to build a car out of Legos, then test the velocity of the car.

Interact Through a Learning Center

Another great way to enhance the likelihood of positive peer social interaction among students is to set up learning centers. Learning centers are structured so that students interact with one another. No matter how you set up the station, students will have to interrelate with one another. There are many options for you to choose from when it comes to creating learning centers. You can have all students work on the same project together, or you can have all students work on the same project alone, but at the same table. Whichever way you choose, students will still be together at a table, which means they will be talking and interacting with one another. The way you structure it depends on how you want the students to interact with one another.

Tips to Enhance Positive Peer Interaction

Here are a few tips to keep as you carefully arrange your environment to enhance positive peer interaction.

  • When grouping students, whether it is for a classroom job, when playing a game, or for a learning center, keep in mind each child’s unique characteristics. Some children will benefit more than others to be placed with certain kids. Try and to pair socially competent children with shy children.
  • Be sure to model and role-play how you should behave while interacting with your peer.
  • Include materials into your learning centers that promote social interaction -- materials like puzzles force students to work together to get the job done.
  • Praise children and give them positive feedback for interacting with their peers in a positive manner. The more they know they are acting appropriately, the more likely they will continue to do so.
  • Try and regroup students often to give them a chance to interact with other students.

For children that lack social skills, utilizing these strategies in the classroom will help them develop the skills they need in order to succeed in school, as well as in life. Take advantage to every teachable moment that you have, and share stories and talk about how to positively interact with others. The more opportunities that students have to be exposed to peer interactions, the more they will develop their skills in a positive manner.

Do you have any classroom management tips or tricks for creating positive social interactions among primary students? Please share your ideas and stories below in the comment section, we would love to learn from you.

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 and TeachHUB Magazine. She was also the Elementary Education Expert for About.com for five years. You can follow her on Twitter @Empoweringk6ed, on Facebook at Empowering K6 Educators, or contact her at Janellecox78@yahoo.com.