38 Effective Strategies for Classroom Management
Jan 19, 2015 Classroom Management 1985 Views
This article gives 38 effective strategies for classroom management. These strategies may not be what you are used to and may require changes on your part. While there is no perfect method for eliminating all challenging behaviors, these are the strategies that I endorse and believe in as being the most effective for creating a positive classroom climate, based on my own experiences and research.
If you cannot get a student to follow rules, complete work, or be kind to other students after you have consistently implemented the strategies in this article, talk to your school team (administrators, guidance counselor, etc.) to determine what else can be done to help this student. The school team may need to meet with the child's parents and additional strategies may need to be put in place like an individualized behavior plan and/or support from professionals like the guidance counselor, school psychologist, or principal.
38 Effective Strategies For Classroom Management:
1. Say hello to each student individually every day.
2. Make time to hear your students thoughts, ideas, and opinions. Take a genuine interest and give a response that shows you care.
3. Post rules where everyone can see them and phrase rules in the positive.
Examples of class rules:
- Quiet while working
- Follow class routine
- Complete assignments
- Raise hand to ask questions or make comments
- Show respect to others (e.g., hands and feet to self, use kind words, ask to borrow belongings)
For children who have language based difficulties, post pictures of rules. Talk to your school administrators about resources for obtaining visual aids (pictures).
4. Have each child sign a contract in the beginning of the year agreeing to follow the rules.
5. Review your rules every morning until everyone in the class is following them regularly. Go back to reviewing them every morning if any student stops following the rules on a regular basis.
6. Use verbal praise to reinforce rules (e.g., you guys worked so quietly today and completed all your work, nice job!). Also use positive body language at times, to show your approval (e.g., smiling, giving thumbs up, nodding in approval).
7. When a rule is broken, point to the rule, make eye contact with the student or students who broke the rule, and restate it using a neutral, business like tone (we need to raise our hands in class, we remain quiet while working, etc.). Eliminate the word can (e.g., "can you raise your hand" "can you be quiet"). It is not up to them. It is a directive from you that they are expected to follow.
(Implement strategies 6 and 7 consistently and always follow through.)
8. Allow students to earn privileges (fun activities) for completing work and following class rules. Depending on your classes' age, developmental level, frustration tolerance, and ability to sustain attention for long periods of time, you may want to have them work to earn fun activities two times a day (e.g., once before lunch and once at the end of the day) rather than just one time at the end of the day. Some classes may even benefit from earning fun activities three times a day. You have to assess what type of schedule will benefit your classroom.
Some ideas for privileges include:
- 15 minutes of "talk with peers" time
- half hour game time
- watching a special video
- half hour of sitting quietly at their desks while doing an activity of their choice (e.g., reading a book of choice, drawing)
Pick privileges that work for your classroom.
Remind students that they are working towards privileges (e.g., we have to remain quiet and complete our work to earn game time) rather than threatening that you will take away privileges (e.g., if you don't stop talking you are not having game time). This type of negative phrasing leaves more room for students to argue with you and defy you (e.g. I wasn't talking! Take away game time, I don't care!).
9. Use redirection (e.g., say "finish writing your sentence" instead of "stop talking" or "look up here" instead of "stop looking out the window").
10. Tell you students what you want them to do instead of what you don't want them to do (e.g., say "quiet in the hallway" instead of "no talking in the hallway", "keep your hands to yourself" instead of "no hitting.") Children respond better when you tell the what to do instead of what not to do.
11. Leave out extraneous comments about behavior (e.g., "no one else is doing that, why are you?" "I don't know how you act at home, but you are not going to act like that here." "Lower your voice, no one else wants to hear you.") These kinds of comments often lead to other students chiming in with negative comments, embarrassment for the student, and an opening for the student to talk back to you.
12. Use logical consequences as much as possible. Logical consequences are consequences that directly coincide with the broken rule or inappropriate behavior. For example, if your student throws pens on the floor, a logical consequence would be to have him pick up the pens. An illogical consequence would be to take a away recess while you pick up the pens. Children who are angry or in the middle of a tantrum probably will not pick up the items right away. If this is the case, wait until the child is calm and then tell him/her to pick up the pens.
Here is another example of using logical consequences:
Two students are talking during language arts and not working on their written assignment. You point to and restate your class rules "Quiet While Working" and "Complete Assignments." The students continue to talk. You ask the students if they needed help with the assignment. They said no and still continued to talk.
Scenarios of Imposing Logical Consequences:
Scenario 1: You tell the students that if they continue to talk you will separate them. The students stop talking and return to their work.
Scenario 2: Even after telling the students that you will separate them, they continue to talk. As a result you separate them.
Scenario 3: When language arts is over, you notice these two students did not complete their assignment. You tell them that they need to complete the assignment when the rest of the class is participating in one of the earned privileges. Once the assignment is completed they can join the rest of the group.
You may need to send the students to a quieter location in the building (they should be separated in the quiet location) to complete the assignment if the rest of your class in engaged in a noisy activity such as "talk to peers" time.
13. Show empathy to your students (e.g., "I know this assignment is difficult, let me see how I can help you" or "I understand you are upset because you are going to miss out on game time, but you need to complete your writing assignment because you were talking when it was time to complete it. Is there anything you need help with in order to complete the assignment?")
14. Give choices to your students.
Examples of choices can include:
- Read a book of your choice and do a book report on it
- After you read this paragraph, draw a picture or write a few sentences to summarize what you read
- For homework, make a poster or write a poem about your favorite activity
- Write or type your essay
15. Teach your students to treat others nicely, use kind words, and be tolerant of differences. Let them know that you are proud of them and they should be proud of themselves when you see them being helpful or kind to others. Remind them of class rules to be respectful and speak nicely to their peers. Report any bullying to your school team and be aware of your school's protocol for bullying.
16. For younger students, teach them how to share with each other. For example, if a child snatches a toy out of another child's hand and that other child hit's the child who took the toy, teach them and model how to appropriately ask for a toy and how to respond if the other child says "no, I am playing with it." (e.g., show them how to find another toy to play with). Teach the child who hit to use his words (e.g., "I do not like when you snatch a toy from my hand, I was playing with this"). Teach the children to ask for help from an adult if they cannot work it out on their own.
17. Allow your students to have movement breaks throughout the day (other than recess). Examples of movement breaks include:
- getting up an stretching
- going to the bathroom
- getting drinks at the water fountain
- running an errand
- taking the class outside on a nice day
18. Do not take away recess as a punishment. Children need to move and get energy out to be effective learners.
19. Have a class routine that pretty much follows the same schedule every day. Have the routine posted in written form and in picture form for students who have trouble reading or understanding language. Again, talk to your school administrators for how you can obtain pictures or see our article How to Use Schedules for Behavior Support for suggestions.
20. Have some changes in the routine on certain days to teach flexibility. If you have students that struggle with change in routine, prepare them for upcoming changes. For example, change the schedule for that day to reflect the change, remind the student when the change is coming (e.g, after math we are watching a science video today), and point to the schedule when you remind them of this change. Use pictures for students with trouble understanding language.
21. Give students reminders that they will soon be transitioning from one activity to the next. (e.g., in five minutes we will turn off the computers and start a writing assignment for science). See our article How to Use Timers to Motivate Children for using timers to facilitate transitions and using visual timers with children who have trouble understanding the concept of time. Point to the timer as the activity is winding down to the end.
22. Give students jobs in the classroom. Examples of jobs include:
- passing out papers
- collecting papers
- running errands to the office
- being a monitor for a younger classroom
- reading to students in a younger classroom
- erasing the board
Rotate jobs and give jobs with more responsibility to students who consistently follow the rules, complete their work, and treat others with respect.
23. Have a box and allow students to write down topics they want to learn about and put them in the box. Pick a certain time each week to teach about one of the topics from the box.
24. Use random selection to call on students to encourage everyone's participation. For example, write each student's name on a Popsicle stick, and pull sticks out of a cup to call on students. Put the stick back in the cup after you call on a student, so they know they can be called on again.
25. Randomly say students' names during instruction to keep their attention.
26. Walk around while you teach so you are in close proximity to all students, rather than standing in the front of the room and being far away from the students in the back. Some teachers like to put their students in a half semi-circle so it is easier to be close to all of them and they can all see you easily.
27. Randomly check students comprehension (e.g., call on someone to summarize what you said, have a student show an example on the board of something you just taught, or ask students to write a paragraph about what they just learned). If you frequently check comprehension and students never know when you might do a random check, it will help keep them on their toes.
28. Teach students how to use graphic organizers during lectures to take notes on important points.
29. For children who have trouble with language, give them a chance to show their skills receptively (e.g., pointing to the correct answer rather than saying the correct answer). For example, if you are a kindergarten teacher and you are asking children to name letters, show a child with language difficulties four choices and ask them to point to the letter you want them to identify. ("Point to the letter A").
30. Praise individual students for making an effort (e.g., "you worked really hard on that assignment" "great participation during science today"). Again, use positive body language at times, to show your approval (e.g., smiling, giving thumbs up, nodding in approval)
31. Make an effort to have communication with your students' parents. Let them know how their child is doing in your class. Parents are thrilled to hear good things about their children, so let parents know when their child is following the rules, being kind to others, completing their work, participating, and/or making progress. Also be open with parents when children need to make improvements in a certain area. Tell the parents exactly what their child needs to do to improve.
32. Hold class meetings once a week or once every two weeks to talk about the things that your class is doing well with and the areas that need improvement. Allow students to ask questions or express concerns at that time.
33. If possible meet with students individually to discuss student's strengths and areas that need improvement if any.
34. Keep a calm demeanor. Do not let your students see you get worked up or bothered by their behavior. Some students enjoy seeing you get frustrated and this can lead to an increase in inappropriate behavior.
35. Do not threaten students with a different person in authority (e.g., "Do you want me to call your mother?" or "Am I going to have to get the principal?"). This takes away from your authority and tells the child that you need to get someone else because you can't get them to follow the rules or listen to you.
36. Do not yell at your students. People often think that some kids only listen when they get yelled at. It may work in the short term. The child may sit quietly after you yell at him, but inside he may feel embarrassed, angry, upset, or anxious. When a child feels this way inside they cannot effectively listen and put forth their best effort. Children who are repeatedly yelled at over time could end up with ongoing anxious feelings making learning and work completion difficult or even impossible.
37. Have a sense of humor with your students. See the article written by Maurice Elias, Professor at Rutgers University Psychology Department, called Using Humor in the Classroom for ideas at http://www.edutopia.org/blog/using-humor-in-the-classroom-maurice-elias.
38. Say goodbye to each student individually at the end of the day.