Classroom management is always a challenge for teachers whether you are teaching or tutoring preschoolers, high-schoolers, college students, university students or adult learners. But it is not a challenge that cannot be overcome.
And if teaching is more than a job for you, the art of classroom management is a supplement to a fulfilling and enriching teaching experience. You may ask, why the need for classroom management?
As a teacher of enrichment programmes and workshops, I understand that having classroom management strategies will help to bring consistency to a classroom and set consequences for students’ bad behaviours.
There are many doctrines and methods out there on how to manage different students ranging from primary school students, secondary school students, university students and many more.
But there are general guidelines on classroom management that could be applied across the board regardless of students’ ages. Let’s take a look at some of them.
Get students to establish classroom rules or guidelines
You might think – having students to set the rules? How does that work? – Getting students to help build classroom rules will get more buy-in from them as they are the ones making the rules in consensus instead of being told by the teacher what they are not allowed to do.
You could start a discussion by asking students what they believe should and should not be done in class.
For example, when should they use their phones, what are acceptable noise levels during lessons, should they talk at the same time when the teacher or classmates are explaining something.
While the final rules may vary from class to class since the makeup of each class is different, having a discussion should lead to mutually-understood expectations.
Document the rules or guidelines
Do not leave the mutually-decided rules to chance. They will be forgotten if you do not take the effort to document them or remind the students about them. There are a few ways to do it.
- If you do not use the same classroom all the time, you could get some volunteers to write the rules down on a piece of vanguard paper that could be displayed at every lesson.
- If you use the same classroom all the time, write the rules down on a corner of the blackboard that would not be erased.
- Alternatively, you could print and distribute the list of rules to all the students.
What is important is that you remind students about the rules, which could be done before the start of each lesson so that they will remember. It also becomes a habit for them to obey the rules that they have set for themselves.
Avoid punishing the class
Avoid punishing the whole class for isolated behavior issues. Punishing the entire class may affect your relationships with students who are well-behaved and attentive, and this might jeopardize your classroom management efforts.
You could call out specific students in a friendly manner instead of scolding the whole class. For example, ask “Do you have comments to what I have just shared?” or “Do you have a question?” instead of “Stop talking and disrupting the lesson.”
. Ask “Do you need help focusing?” instead of “Pay attention while I’m talking.”. This less aggressive approach would allow you to keep a friendly disposition while acknowledging poor behavior.
Praise or reward students for jobs well done
Praise students if they have done well. Sincere praises could motivate them to repeat positive behavior as praises or encouragement give the signal that their efforts are being appreciated.
You could also consider rewarding specific students who have behaved well with a pat on the back or a high-five at the end of each lesson, in front of the class.
Create group contracts
This idea of creating group contracts is similar to getting the whole class to set their own classroom rules. If you have assigned group work to students, have members of each group fill out group contracts that contain expectations they have for each other within the team. Some examples include:
- We will not be on phone during work time.
- We will check in with group members we are absent from school.
- We will hold each other accountable.
Group contracts should be based on expectations that students have for each other, and expectations you have for them. You can hold a discussion on how a member should behave in a group.
Do not end with just completing these contracts, get students to sign off on these agreements, and let them come up with a consequence for violating them. This will enable students to take responsibility for their own actions.
Display ideal behavior
Show the students what good behaviours are. Make a habit of demonstrating behaviors you want to see, for example, using polite language, respecting each other, not checking your phone while conducting a class, not interrupting when someone is talking.
Being a good role model yourself will send the right message of what is expected of the students.
Build excitement for content
Students usually do not know what to expect from the lessons even if they are given lesson briefs ahead of class.
So it might be a good idea to start lessons by going through an agenda of the day’s lesson to hook their attention right from the start.
You could preview the more exciting parts and perhaps use real-life situations to explain or breakdown difficult concepts so that students could relate to them right from the beginning.
These suggested ideas are non-exhaustive and could be used in a normal class or a tuition class. There is no need to use all of them to the T and they could be adapted according to the situations in class.
If you need more targeted guides according to class levels, check out this link that provides tips according to the class levels. It even has advice on how to deal with angry parents.
And lastly, to send a strong message that kindness and politeness are expected, Smile! A smile can calm nervous energy and build instant rapport with students.
When your students like you and are comfortable around you, they will want to please you, listen to you and behave for you. Look at the students in the eye, say Hi and smile as you meet them.
Have an awesome time in class!
Author Bio –
Robert Wilson was born and raised in Malaysia. He is working as a blogger for ChampionTutor- The Best Tutoring Services Provider in Malaysia. He’s hardworking, competent and trustworthy.
His role within the company is to manage a team of Home Tutors. In his spare time, he loves to read, write and watch movies.