11 Classroom Management Skills, Strategies Every Teacher Should Know
Effective classroom management has been one of the major concerns for teachers. It only takes one turn to the whiteboard to get all the mayhem and chattering started. Not only new teachers, even experienced ones suffer from this mismanagement now and then. So, what is the solution?
Evidently, there are some classroom management skills to help you control the behavior problems inside and outside the classroom. And no, you don’t have to be born with these skills. You can learn and implement these skills at any stage of your teaching career.
Effective management is all about setting up the expectations well in advance and letting the students know the consequences of breaking the guidelines. We often jump to extreme solutions like sending noisy kids to the principal’s office or calling the parents, but it doesn’t really have to be this dramatic.
We have curated a list of some very easy and practical classroom management techniques that you should use. But before that, let’s talk about some skills that will aid you in managing the classrooms effortlessly.
Effective Classroom Management Skills
Teaching is a powerful profession. With your exceptional mannerism, you can inspire so many students and bring positive changes to their lives. A good teacher always works on their skills and improves continuously. When you talk about what is classroom management, get ready to receive some responses, such as class management implies controlling the students or attaining total silence while you teach.
But it is a lot more than that. A managed class can still be noisy. And if you have the basic classroom management skills, you won’t have to control your students at all. The best outcome of constructive management is derived from a mixture of skills and practical strategies. So, what are the skills that we are talking about here? According to experts, you should:
- Possess time-management skill
- Be self-disciplined
- Have keen observation skills
- Be able to attain student engagement
- Be patient and kind
- Have strong communication skill
- Be an expert on your subject-matter
- Be organized and have a positive attitude
Needless to say, you must have remarkable teaching skills that can make your students attend your classes willingly.
Classroom Management Techniques
To put your skills to use, you must know what are the techniques of classroom management that work best for your students. Read on to learn about some practical and effective strategies.
1. Build an authoritative personality
Teachers’ personalities speak volumes about their authority. Students feel compelled to give respect to the teachers they find authoritative. On the other hand, you can see students making fun of some teachers because they look frumpy, clumsy, or talk with little confidence.
While this doesn’t sound right, you can’t change the fact that students influence each other to behave in a certain way, and you can only modify their behavior if they believe you are adding value to them. One of the ways you can bring this authority is by adding an element of authoritative charm to your personality.
You can dress up more sharply and work on your confidence. From the way you look to the way you speak, everything can make a difference in how your students feel about you. Being able to carry yourself with dignity has to be one of the basic classroom management skills. Once you gain their respect and attention, you can easily command them to behave.
2. Know your subject well
While we are on the subject of authority, know that it doesn’t only come from the way you look and talk. To earn respect from your students, you must also be a master of your subject. Every teacher prepares for the coming class in advance, but that is not enough. Subject matter expertise is one of the most effective classroom management skills.
You should know all about it, in and out. So, when students come with random, out-of-the-lesson questions, you must be able to answer them most of the time. And be brave enough to say that you are not sure of the correct answer if and when you don’t know one. Assure them that you will research and answer the query the next day.
3. Involve students to create classroom guidelines
One of our teachers in school used to select the naughtiest student in the class to be the class monitor, and it used to work in the teacher’s favor. There is a reason behind this. When a teacher trusts students with responsibility, they feel valued and obliged to present their best selves.
This is why you see the brightest students reminding teachers about a test or homework assessment while others slouch in their chairs to hide faces. You can put this psychological aspect to use and involve your students in setting classroom guidelines. So, when someone asks us, “What are classroom management techniques”, we point them towards building a relationship of mutual trust with the students first.
At the beginning of a new session, ask your students what disciplinary rules you should set for the academic year. Come to mutual conclusions about things like when should there be a pin drop silence and when a little noise would be allowed, or about the rules for using cellphones in the classroom, etc.
Being the teacher, you may feel the urge to modify all the suggestions coming from students. But this can impart a sense of distrust among them. Discuss the modifications you want, come to agreeable points together, and note down all the guidelines.
You will be amazed by the response you will receive, and a black-&-white copy of the classroom rules will help you and the students refer to them anytime throughout the year.
4. Make room for initiatives
We interviewed some of the best teachers in our network and asked them, “What are your classroom management strategies?.” One of the most common responses was that they always welcome initiatives from students in the classroom.
Teachers who often shut off initiatives fail to gain the students’ trust and loyalty. On the other hand, students respect those teachers whose classes they enjoy. When you involve students in your teaching plans and encourage initiatives, they tend to engage more with your lessons.
One way of doing this can be by asking students to volunteer in reading a chapter in advance and prepare a presentation. When a few of them willingly take up the task and explain the topic in front of the class the next day, you can take your time to add your wisdom and make the whole lecture more fun and interactive.
You can also allow students to share their knowledge about a topic before you move on to elaborating it. You will certainly have to plan your lectures well in advance because such randomness can delay the lesson delivery.
5. Set learning expectations before each lecture
Lack of students’ interest in the lesson is one of the major reasons for classroom mismanagement. When students feel bored or fail to understand a topic, they get distracted. To make the management easy, you must let your students know the agenda at the beginning of the class and set learning expectations for them.
These kinds of classroom management techniques would keep students motivated to look for concepts that they must comprehend. They will also attend the class more attentively in order to achieve the desired learning goals. By close observation of their achievements, you can evaluate how effective your teaching technique is for all of your students, and modify your lesson delivery accordingly.
6. Incorporate Interactive Teaching techniques
The previous point leads us to talk about various teaching techniques. Today’s education world is well aware of how every student is different and needs befitting learning plans. You cannot assume one solution will fit all. This is why educators around the world are experimenting with numerous teaching approaches.
Whether the class setup is online or offline, personalized learning, game-based classes, flipped classrooms, project-based assignments, group activities, and collaborative learning are all being preferred by teachers based on the make-up of their classrooms. Implementing various teaching methodologies requires some effective classroom management skills on your part.
You must analyze what kind of students your classroom is composed of and include some unconventional teaching strategies. When your students feel excited to learn, they will be less likely to get distracted and indulge in whispers or mischievous activities during lectures.
7. Schedule fun activities
Again, we can’t stress enough the importance of keeping students excited and motivated for schools. If you are one of those strict teachers who only talks about studies, never initiates off-topic discussions, and never conducts fun activities, students may not speak a word. But, they will still find ways to ignore what is being taught in the class. And who said that fun activities could not be related to the subject matter?
Try to incorporate group activities or other engaging subject-related pursuits that save the class from monotony. For example, you can include podcasts, educational movies, videos, and games to encourage active learning. If you can grab their attention, controlling the class becomes easy.
8. Demonstrate ideal classroom behavior
Kids imitate the behaviors that they see around them. This is the reason parents and other elderlies prefer to mind their language in front of kids. Apart from controlling your own bad behavioral traits in front of students, you can use the good aspects of your behavior to inculcate the same ideals in them.
To incorporate the best classroom management skills, you always have to be mindful of your speech and actions when on the school premises. You can’t check your Facebook notifications mid-session and expect students to refrain from doing the same. They will replicate the actions they witness and use your actions as an excuse.
So, you should demonstrate ideal conduct at all times. You can also go the extra mile to create a mock conversation with other teachers or students in the classroom. You can display how they should speak politely, oppose an opinion respectfully, listen carefully, be attentive when another person is talking, and maintain eye contact.
9. Give positive feedback and rewards
Positive feedback and rewards motivate everyone to give their best in any pursuit. If you want your students to pay more attention in the class and participate readily in classroom activities, you must use this approach. Never let any moment of achievement by any of your students pass by without recognizing it in front of everyone.
Take some time to call parents and give positive feedback about their kid’s performance in the class. When this positive effort reaches your students, they will work harder in the class. The timely feedback will also compel the parents to engage in their kids’ academics. This is one of the best classroom management techniques for every teacher.
Reward good performers now and then. When any student demonstrates ideal conduct in the classroom, award them bonus marks, a pen, or chocolate. You will see more students encouraged by this act and strive for a reward or appreciation from you.
10. Be flexible in the classroom
Every day is not the same, neither for you nor for your students. You should sense the mood of the class and mold your lesson delivery accordingly. If you have stayed in the four walls of the classroom for a long time, take your students outdoors and teach them there. So, the answer to what is class management is that understanding your classroom’s requirements and adapting your delivery according to it is an example of powerful class management.
If your students are already bored after a long hour of the previous lecture, use games or group activities to deliver your lesson for the day. You should be able to adjust to the need of the hour and modify the learning environment for them. This strategy will sit well with your students, and over time they will trust you with your teaching strategies. Trust is the building block of effective classroom management.
11. Address Bad Behavior Immediately
Many teachers are seen making the mistake of avoiding a random whistle or giggles during an ongoing session. It is understandable that you can’t waste time asking who did that and why they did what they did. But you should certainly not let this kind of activity go without addressing it. One act of disrespect leads to another, and before you know it, the whole class will join in.
First, understand why there is chaos amidst a lecture. If you think that your teaching technique might be failing to grab their attention, research and experiment with other ones. Build a respectful relationship with your students and address bad behavior with firmness without letting go of your politeness and kindness.
You can’t catch the culprits every time, but whenever you do, make sure that they realize their mistake. In the pursuance of demonstrating the best classroom management skills, you should not let the students cross the boundaries of etiquette and acceptable behavior.
Classroom management has been an area that has kept teachers on their toes for ages. It is not a one-day task where you enter into a classroom, yell at students, and get going. Effective management of a classroom requires patience and a step-by-step process. You can achieve greater results through regular implementation of the above-mentioned strategies and reap the benefits for years.
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