Research-based classroom management strategies you can’t afford to skip
For learning to be effective, teachers have to master classroom management strategies. A disciplined classroom is one that’s ready to learn. These research-based top techniques from experts will help your students focus better and learn more.
- Say hello. A little recognition goes a long way. By beginning each class with a personal greeting to every student, you’ll know right away who is having a good day and who may need additional attention.
- Set the expectation. Students can’t meet your expectations if you don’t tell them what they are. Show them how good classroom behavior looks. Better, be part of a schoolwide approach. Use PBIS (Positive Behavior Intervention Support) and apply it consistently in your classroom by explicitly teaching the behaviors you want to see.
- Make your rules simple. Students who have difficulty understanding a long list of directions will also have difficulty understanding complex behavior rules. A short list of brief rules is more effective than a laundry list written to “catch” every misbehavior.
- Master step one. Wait to give directions until everyone focuses their attention on you. Whether you say, “All eyes on me,” or “Line up without talking,” make sure everyone does it. If they don’t, take a deep breath and start over, again, waiting for compliance.
- Praise the positive. Many of your students will demonstrate excellent classroom behavior. Praise them for it. Praise the students who are still learning, too, by pointing out what they’ve done right.
- Focus on one behavior at a time. Tell children everything they’ve done wrong, and you’ll overwhelm them. When kids know they’ve messed up, they may feel downshifted. If so, they’ll be unable to pay attention to your teaching, and their behaviors may escalate. Instead, tell students the one thing you’d like them to work on first. When they’re good at it, move on to the next one.
- Delay the discussion. Not everything requires immediate attention. If an angry child shouts at you, let her know that what she has to say is important, but you can’t listen until she calms down and speaks in a regular voice. Tell the student you’ll check back in a few minutes to see if she’s ready to talk without being angry. Be sure to follow up.
- Show understanding and sensitivity to cultural norms. They might not mean disrespect in your culture. The child who refuses to look you in the eye when you’re talking to him may cast his glance downward out of cultural respect.
- Practice makes perfect. You may find yourself tempted to allow for behavior that’s “good enough.” If you’ve asked your students to enter the room in a single file and they rush the door like shoppers at a sale, you must ask them to start over and try again. Repeat until all students have done what you asked.
- Be efficient. Plan enough activities for your classroom so that you don’t have to drag out learning tasks. Use the steps above to teach students how to prepare for the lesson, conduct themselves during it, and transition to something else afterward.
Think of these classroom management strategies as “active ingredients” in classroom management. They are the kernels of influence when it comes to influencing behavior.