Teacher and schoolchildren in class

4 awesome classroom management strategies for teachers

The best classroom management techniques start at the beginning. By building your students up instead of down, you can create ownership, respect, motivation, and engagement.

It can take a lot of work at the beginning, but the more effort that is put in to prevent negative behaviors, the happier everyone will be.

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4 good classroom management techniques

little student girl with tablet pc over classroom and teacher background
Photo credit: Syda Productions

1. Create a mission statement

The best business use mission statements to align their purpose and identify the goal of their operations. Adapting them to the classroom sets procedures, rules, and establishes a solid foundation for the year. Creating a class mission statement as a team is also a great way to get to know each other.

Begin by introducing students to the purpose of a mission statement. You can share examples from famous companies for inspiration.

A class mission should be created as a team but if you have a large class, it might be easier to put students into smaller groups. This way all voices can be heard.

Ask the students to brainstorm and create a list that answers questions such as:

  • How can we work together?
  • What are our goals?
  • How can we achieve success?

The first activity can wrap-up with each group present their ideas and a discussion as the class reviews the different ideas. As a teacher, you can summarize or group like-minded statements to bring the ideas together.

If the statement needs more work, mix the students into different groups and workshop the ideas further. Then start turning the ideas into sentences.

This process can be repeated as much as needed until there are a few solid statements. Give some time for students to think and make sure the mission statement reflects what they want in a classroom.

Once the final statement has been created the class has a common mission to follow. To help everyone refer to it throughout the year make sure it’s clearly displayed. If you have artistic students, ask if they would like to beautify it so your class mission doubles as artwork.

If students are not following the central message of the mission statement, remind them. They’ve agreed that this is what the class should look like, so they need to respect it.

2. Use positive reinforcement

When it comes to behavior, It can be far too easy to focus on the negative and ignore the positive. After all, it’s the disruptive actions that demand the most attention. As a result, students that are focused and working quietly are often taken for granted. It’s a common situation in any classroom and one that reinforces the belief that negative actions get attention.

It’s important to focus on behaviors that you want to be repeated by accentuating the positive. Start by giving more attention to the positive behaviors in class, especially for students who struggle, with meaningful specific praise.

Avoid phrases such as:

  • Good work.
  • I’m glad to see you finally trying.
  • It’s about time you put some effort into your work.

Instead try using language like:

  • I really like how you listened to all my instructions.
  • Thank you for completing the task on time. It helps me to mark all the assignments together.
  • You did a great job on this test. You must have put effort into studying.

This can be difficult at the beginning because it takes more effort on the part of a teacher who is already working hard. It can also lead to a few tense days where students test the boundaries. Stick to it, though, and the rewards will be worth it.

Remember that students are still children. And children need attention while also wanting to make other people happy. As they grow into teenagers, the attention seeking can outweigh people pleasing, but it still exists. Students want to be seen and heard. They want to know that someone understands how difficult a task is and how hard they are working.

3. Strive for internal motivation

In the perfect classroom, students would realize that their results do matter and would become more motivated to succeed. Since most students aren’t naturally driven by results, teachers might be inclined to encourage them with rewards, like prizes for test scores. This external motivation can work at first, but students can quickly lose interest and it can become time-consuming for teachers.

Four decades of research has shown that connecting with intrinsic motivation can enhance student learning, performance, and psychological well-being. Research also shows that students can be authentically motivated when they find value and meaning in their activity.

One way to encourage internal motivation as a classroom management technique is by helping them to feel that they are an important member of the class community. You can start with getting their input on curriculum. Engage with them to see what they are interested in. Have open discussions to show that you care about their experiences and their hopes. Show your students that you see them as people.

Offering choice is another important part of deeper motivation. It encourages students to aim for higher challenges. Using choice in the classroom can be quite simple.

Some ways to offer choice in the classroom include:

  • Giving students their choice of reading material. can choose to read.
  • Having students decide how they complete an assignment
  • Giving students the freedom to present their knowledge in their own way (video/written/spoken presentations)

The more students feel that they have a sense of ownership in what they are learning, the more effort they will show. When their energies are fueled in a productive way, classroom management becomes a lot easier.

4. Find common interests

Teacher-student relationships are at the center of a student’s school experience. And when these relationships are positive they can lead to better educational results. Finding common interests may seem like a simple classroom management technique, but it can go a long way to creating respectful, engaging students.

Everyone likes to share stories about themselves, their hobbies, and their activities. Students want to be able to communicate who they are as people and as they spend a large portion of their day at school, this is a natural time for those stories to be told.

Teachers can create a classroom where students feel safe to talk about what interests them by asking questions

Finding common interests is another great way for teachers and students to connect and open the lines of communications. Learning that you both like scary movies, or that you both like to ride horses means that future conversations can have a starting point. If something comes up in the news about a specific topic that a student has mentioned before, be sure to share it with them. This lets the student know that you care enough about what they say says to remember it.

Other ways to discover common interests can be by:

  • Asking students to write personal essays at the beginning of a new school year.
  • Having students interview each other either live or on video.
  • Playing a rapid-fire question game as a warm-up activity

Success for you and your students

The good classroom management strategies should be as pre-emptive as possible. The more work you put in to establish positive behaviors, the more successful both you as a teacher, and your students, will be.

Photo credit: Monkey Business Images / Shutterstock.com

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