Classroom Management art

Are your students testing your classroom management skills? Follow these tested tips to restore order.

Have you ever been in a classroom where the teacher was hard at work trying to teach students some critically important concept while they were busy poking each other, giggling, and singing the latest song of the week? Now fast-forward to the uncomfortable realization that that teacher is you. In a classroom where students with varying personalities have diverse levels of growth and academic proficiency, effective classroom management can be daunting. Pepper in a few students who resist authority and are still learning self-control, and the class climate can spiral out of control quickly.

To be the most effective, a teacher should be flexible and not afraid to make changes.

As educators, we’ve all had those days where even the best lessons were lost on a class caught in chaos. As the teacher, how you manage your class will have a significant impact on the level of learning taking place. How much your students grow depends upon the environment you create with them. The ideal is a calm, inviting class where students make great decisions regarding both their learning and behavior, resulting in academic excellence. However, the ideal is just that: ideal. In classrooms everywhere, teachers are learning to overcome factors that break down the utopian cooperative community. In this article, we share some suggestions for improving one factor that has presented itself to be the most challenging, especially for new teachers: classroom management skills.

Students respond more to positive feedback and encouraging words than they do to threats or punishments.

We observed a preschool classroom of 18 students, focusing on the use of varied classroom management strategies and whether these strategies changed children’s behavior or impacted their learning. We observed students in circle time and while they were learning math, literacy, writing, and working in interest areas. There were changes in classroom climate immediately after some strategies of the strategies were implemented, while others took more time to produce observable results. What we discovered could be a lifesaver for future and practicing early childhood educators.

Remodel the classroom

The first component of our plan was a change in classroom layout. We moved the interest areas and more clearly defined them. Students were excited to see what seemed to them like a new classroom. Our changes made it easier to decide how many students to send to each center and to rotate the students from area to area. We created more open space for play and moving around, which made it easier for teachers to travel around the room, checking on individual children or small groups of students while keeping the entire class in view. One of the biggest rewards of the remodel was fewer altercations caused by students being too close to each other, not having enough room to play, or not getting to go to favorite areas.

Tip: Create a warm, inviting classroom with students in mind. The classroom should feel like a second home to students. They spend almost 40 hours a week with the same faces and in the same room. The class should be a place where they feel welcome and wanted and where they can be themselves. When arranging the room, think of the space needed to accommodate class size and behavior (Guardino & Fullerton, 2010). Be sure to include room for student-teacher interactions, as well as areas where students can have time alone. Capizzi (2009) also recommends considering the desired level of structure when planning the layout of the class. The ability to easily reach all students from anywhere in the room ensures that all children are in the line of sight and will deter most students from engaging in inappropriate behaviors.

Although sharing control goes against the more traditional methods of making decisions, it enables students to monitor themselves and make wise choices.

Create accountability for bad behavior

Our second weapon against chaos was a behavioral plan.

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