Classroom Management Strategies

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This blog post is produced by Engage Education, helping you find teaching jobs in London and the UK.

Create a positive environment

Creating a positive environment for your students – both emotionally and physically – is one of the best classroom management strategies.

In order to create a good relationship with your students, try:

  1. Greeting your students by name. Students who feel as though they have a personal relationship with their teachers are often more motivated
  2. Saying good morning/afternoon and goodbye when your students enter and leave your classroom. This expresses that you are pleased to see them and sets an example to the students of the kind of polite behaviour you expect from them in return
  3. Taking opportunities to build relationships with your students. Chat to them, recommend books or websites that will interest them and pay attention to their likes and dislikes

The way that your students interact with each other in your classroom is as important as the way they interact with you. Praise positive interactions, foster good working relationships between students in your classes and never permit any cruelty or disrespect.

Consider the layout of the classroom

The layout of a classroom also has a demonstrable impact on the learning environment. The traditional classroom structure with students seated in rows facing the front can make classroom management difficult.

Studies have shown that arranging desks in a semicircle creates a more integrated and communicative atmosphere in the classroom, leading to a more enjoyable and effective learning experience for students. This, in turn, can reduce misbehaviour.

Make sure that all your students can see and hear you, each other and if necessary, the board. Take steps to eliminate any other distractions such as overly bright or flickering lights or cold draughts that could negatively impact your learning environment.

Use positive body language

Body language, though less overt than many other classroom management strategies, is one of the most important aspects of classroom management. It is vital that your non-verbal communication with students reinforces your verbal instructions rather than undermining them.

Positive body language includes:

  1. Animated facial expressions and gestures
  2. Frequent smiling
  3. Confident, upright posture
  4. Uncrossed arms
  5. A clear and upbeat voice
  6. A varied tone – monotonous speech results in students losing focus

Movement also plays a significant role in successful classroom management. Try:

  1. Walking freely around the classroom in order to distribute your attention amongst your students
  2. Avoiding barriers (such as desks) between yourself and your students
  3. Crouching down so that you are on, or below, a student’s eye level when you are addressing them

Use sanctions where necessary

The manner in which you issue sanctions is a reflection of your ability to manage a classroom.

When correcting a student’s behaviour:

  1. Be clear about what you are instructing the student to do, or not to do. Use simple language
  2. Avoid a punitive tone. Be confident, polite and friendly in your manner. Students are more likely to respect you if they feel that you respect them
  3. Discretion is advised. Humiliating a student by reprimanding them when the whole class can hear increases the likelihood of escalation
  4. Keep it brief. You don’t want to get into a debate – or worse, an argument. Your instruction is non-negotiable. Deliver it and move on, walk away or speak to another student

Use positive reinforcement

Many children simply misbehave for attention. You can counteract this by providing them with the attention they crave in positive reinforcements instead of negative ones

In order to put this into practice:

  1. Tone down your reprimands. When a student tries to get your attention at an inappropriate time, ignore the behaviour or quietly and calmly instruct them to resume their work
  2. Focus on praising the student when they are behaving well. If they learn to associate attention with positive behaviour, this will break their pattern of seeking negative attention

Remember that for every student being disruptive, there are usually many others behaving well. If your focus is always on the misbehaving student, you’re reinforcing that behaviour.

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