8 classroom focused strategies to assist student management
1. Arrange your classroom
Researchers have noted the influence desk arrangement on the climate of the classroom and student interaction. You should strongly consider setting things up to help you with classroom management.
Seating students in rows:
- Helps facilitate teacher-centered approach
- Accommodates large classes
- Benefits disruptive students
- Discourages inappropriate talking
- Encourages interaction
- Allows the teacher to easily see their students
- Facilitates questions
Seating in small groups:
- Helps facilitate student-centred approach
- Allows peer supported learning
- Encourages brainstorming/group work
You can experiment a little until you have the arrangement that supports your style of teaching and the personality of your students.
2. Make seating plans
Seating plans make marking attendance easier and help casual staff and colleagues who will take your class from time to time. Using seating plans for challenging classes provides you and your students with more structure in your classroom.
Advice for designing your plan includes:
- Speaking with colleagues about student placements
- Making sure all students can see the board
- Considering your positioning and ability to see everybody
- Allowing freedom of movement around the classroom
- Considering sources of distraction
- Reflecting on your experiences
- Being ready to trial-and-error seating plans
- Printing and displaying the plan in the classroom
- Accommodating the learning needs of your students
Line your students up and have them enter the classroom and sit down at their assigned desk as you call their names. You can repeat this process for as long as you need to.
3. Display classroom and school rules
Well implemented school behavioural policies can help to promote better student behaviour. When you have a new class, it is beneficial to go over the rules and to explain that they are there to promote learning, wellbeing, safety and respect for all students.
When developing your own classroom rules, research suggests that you pay attention to:
- Diversity of your learners
- Disabilities and special needs
- Using action words
- Positively phrasing rules
- Focusing on observable behaviours
- Relating rules to work habits and safety – not academic achievement
- Keeping the number of rules small and sequential
- Displaying the rules clearly
You should follow a consistent, logical consequence pattern when rules are broken. However, there are many examples that show the use of positive feedback can have great effects in turning your classroom management troubles around.
4. Have a lesson agenda
Students love to call out, “What are we doing?” By getting into the routine of quickly writing and going through the lesson agenda on the board at the beginning of your classes, you can help eliminate this type of disruption.
Providing your students with an organised schedule in your classroom:
- Is beneficial for students with autism and anxiety
- Clarifies objectives/goals
- Promotes time management
- Facilitates transitions
- Allows flexibility
- Enables a chance to recap/review
- Provides evidence of learning
After outlining the agenda, students should be allowed a brief period to ask questions to clarify anything that is unclear to them. You will be teaching your students the mindset of checking the agenda, rather than calling out when they’re unsure about what they should be doing.
5. Develop classroom routines
Research goes so far as to state that routines are the “backbone of classroom management.” If students know what to expect in your classroom, they will be more likely to work and behave to those expectations. You will need to develop and explicitly teach procedures and routines for your classroom.
- Explain classroom procedures clearly
- Rehearse procedures until they become routines
- Reinforce a correct procedure and reteach an incorrect one
This can take time to develop so practice with your class and be patient. When you think your students are deserve a reward, have something fun prepared and break up the routine for a day.
6. Organise spare copies
Students will consistently be absent from class for any number of reasons over the year. It is only beneficial to develop a system where students can access the work that they have missed without having to keep going to you for help.
Where possible, you could:
- Provide students with a unit overview
- Detail the course of lessons and assignments
- Give parents and caregivers a copy of schedules
- Maintain a notice pinboard for each grade with work calendar (include: printed handouts, due dates for work and displays of completed work
- A class folder containing sequenced copies of classwork
- Create a virtual classroom they can access
- Ask their friends to collect work and share notes
- Ask student’s sibling to deliver missed work
Reaching out to students who are absent for a long period can show them that you care and may offer you the chance to support them if needed.
7. Utilise technology
Effectively integrating technology can help by:
- Increasing student engagement
- Making administration more efficient
- Meeting individual learner needs
- Enhancing engagement with feedback
- Creating a virtual classroom
For example, you could use Google Classroom to:
- Keep a brief log of what happened in day-to-day classes for absent students and revision
- Attach classwork files for each grade
- Allow students to submit work easily
- Plan your curriculum
- Communicate with students, parents and colleagues
You can harness your students’ interests in technology to reduce the amount of time spent dealing with issues of lost work, attendance, submission of work and explaining over-and-over-again what the class did yesterday.
8. Display student’s work
When we display a student’s work, we are sending them the implicit message that they are valued and have ownership in the classroom. It is suggested that you:
- Allow students to have a voice in what is displayed
- Keep displays current and uncluttered
- Include everyone, not just the “best”
- Display progress through lessons
- Encourage pride in student’s work
- Reflect on accomplishments
Stimulating and purposeful work displays help to create productive and engaging classroom environments. You could even consider sending an email copy of their work to their parents occasionally, to show the improvement their child has made and your happiness in their efforts.