Most teachers who have been in the profession for a while have a few brilliant tricks up their sleeves – techniques they have mastered over the years to keep classes engaged, attentive and for the most part well-behaved throughout the school day. Despite their expertise in handling classrooms, every teacher has moments when they are at their wits’ end about how to handle a challenging pupil, or how to overcome a particularly difficult situation.
We have put together a list of some new and old techniques for effective classroom management to help you tackle your next tough day at school:
Giving children a choice to behave differently
Amidst the buzz of a regular work day at school, teachers often run out of ways to reprimand the same student again and again. One interesting option we have come across is giving children the choice to behave differently. For example, if you see two kids fighting over a book or toy, you might say, “Charles and Sam, please make a different choice”. This technique gives the child a chance to change his behaviour and impress his teacher. Most kids know when they are doing something wrong and expect to be yelled at or punished, however if you give them a chance to change their behaviour and fall into your good graces, you might just be one step ahead of them.
Reprimand children in private, briefly and immediately
If you choose to correct or admonish a child, it is always best to do so when no one else is around. It is common knowledge that children will get defensive if they are scolded in front of others – even as adults, we would rather have someone correct us in private and not in the presence of our peers and colleagues. The rationale for keeping it brief is to get to the point quickly and avoid turning the situation into a ‘reward’ for inappropriate behaviour. The sooner you reprimand a child’s behaviour, the less likely they will feel that you condone his or her conduct.
Involve parents from the start
To really know your students and understand why they behave the way they do, it is helpful to have a positive relationship with their parents. It is a well-known fact that children often misbehave at school when they are undergoing difficulties at home. Also, some children have particular temperaments that result from emotional or learning difficulties, which need special attention. Standard rules and discipline techniques do not help in these cases and often exacerbate the issue. It helps to have an ongoing relationship with the parents to address issues, as and when they come up.
Develop a Positive Relationship with the class as a whole
As a teacher you already know that some children will test your patience and misbehave even after having been reprimanded several times. Often the result is that the child is treated differently, singled out or labelled as a ‘problem child’, even if only in the teacher’s mind. While much of this happens without the teacher meaning to isolate the student, it can have detrimental effects in the long term. Instead, a more helpful approach may be to isolate the problem behaviour rather than the child. This requires a conscious effort to establish a positive relationship with all the students in the class and treat each one of them with the same amount of enthusiasm and interest – even when it becomes challenging to do so.
Let your students have a say: welcome feedback
While this may not necessarily apply to younger age groups, it can be very effective with older students. Asking for feedback can involve a simple question like “How was the homework yesterday? Alternatively, you could conduct a brief survey and pose questions such as, “What do you like most about our classes together?” and “What would you want me to know about you, so I can teach you better?”
This technique not only helps you grow as a teacher, but reinforces the belief that you care what your students think. In the long run, this encourages them to appreciate the classroom environment more and leads to less disruptive behaviour.
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We love to connect with teachers and educational professionals to learn more about what is working for their school and what they can do to improve. Connect with us on LinkedIn or Twitter or leave us a message in the comments section, to let us know your views about the latest trends in classroom behaviour management.