8 Effective classroom management ideas for positive student behaviour
1. Arrange your classroom
Research has shown that seating arrangements can influence student interaction and ultimately classroom climate. So, if you are dealing with disruptive behavior, you might benefit from trying a different seating arrangement. The following three arrangements are conducive to a productive environment that limits some of the challenging behavior that comes with other seating arrangements.
Seating students in rows:
- Helps facilitate a teacher-centred approach
- Accommodates large classes
- Benefits disruptive students
- Discourages inappropriate talking
- Encourages interaction
- Allows the teacher to see their students easily
- 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 an arrangement supporting your teaching style and students’ personalities.
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.
Questions to ask yourself as you design your seating plan:
- Can all students see the board?
- Are you able to see every student from all your teaching positions?
- Is there freedom of movement around the classroom?
- Are there any sources of distraction
- What past experiences can you learn from?
- Do you have a plan B if the first arrangement is ineffective?
- Do you have the plan clearly visible in the classroom?
- Have you accommodated the learning needs of your students?
On the first day of any new seating arrangement, you should line your students up, have them enter the classroom, and direct them to sit down at their assigned desks as you call their names. You can either stand by each desk as you call their name, number each desk and tell them their number, or have a name card on each desk. You can repeat this process until it’s clear they know exactly where to sit.
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 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
Many examples show that the use of positive feedback can have significant effects in turning your classroom management troubles around. However, when students choose to break the rules, it’s best to follow a consistent, logical consequence pattern.
4. Have a lesson agenda
Students love to call out, “What are we doing?” By getting into the routine of having your 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 will:
- Benefit students with autism and anxiety
- Clarify objectives/goals
- Promote time management
- Facilitate transitions
- Allow flexibility
- Enable a chance to recap/review
- Provide evidence of learning
After outlining the agenda, students should be allowed a brief period to ask questions to clarify anything unclear to them. This puts students in the mindset of checking the agenda first rather than calling out whenever they’re unsure what to do.
5. Develop classroom routines
It’s crucial to develop and explicitly teach procedures and routines for your classroom. Research states that routines are the “backbone of classroom management.” If students know what to expect in your classroom, they will be more likely to adhere to those expectations.
- Explain classroom procedures clearly.
- Reinforce a correct procedure and reteach an incorrect one.
- Rehearse procedures until they become routines.
Learning procedures takes time, so practice with your class and be patient. When you think your students deserve a reward, have something fun prepared and break up the routine for a day.
6. Organise spare copies
It’s rare to have 100% attendance every day. That’s why it’s beneficial to develop a system where students can access the work they’ve missed without having to keep going to you for help.
When possible, you could:
- Provide students with a unit overview.
- Detail the course of lessons and assignments.
- Give parents and caregivers a copy of any schedules.
- Maintain a notice pinboard that houses a classroom calendar for important handouts, due dates for work, and samples of exemplary work.
- Keep a class folder containing daily copies of classwork.
- Create a virtual classroom they can access from home.
- Ask their friends to collect work and share notes.
- Ask a student’s sibling to deliver missed work.
Reaching out to students who are absent for an extended 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 year.
- 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 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 send them the implicit message that they are valued and have ownership in the classroom. We suggest 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.
- Reflect on accomplishments.
- Encourage pride in students’ work.
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.