Classroom Management 101

How to manage student behaviour.

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Stop Using the Cane 4

Managing student behaviour is a very important aspect of the job of any teacher. The professional teacher, is in the classroom because he/she wants to impact the lives of children in their classroom.  Ultimately, the child needs to learn different skills. Learning cannot happen in an environment that is disorderly and full of children misbehaving. It is therefore absolutely important for teachers to learn how to manage their classrooms efficiently. If the classroom is disorderly and student behaviour very poor, the ability to learn and gain academic success becomes very difficult and sometimes impossible. No teacher wants this on their CV.

Now the discussion of not using the cane has been quite interesting. I think that we still have a long way to go in order to get to the bottom of this issue. Schools will resume next Monday, 8th January for most teachers and students. I am hoping that this post will give us a few pointers to help us gain control of our classrooms so that we can manage our classes and enable our children to become disciplined members of the school community.  We all agree that the children need to be disciplined. The ultimate goal is for them to learn and for us to teach. The responsibility lies on the teacher to help the child learn though. So how do we achieve this? Let us consider two important points for the beginning of the new term

  1. First thing to consider is our attitude and conduct as a teacher. It is absolutely important for us to be the authority figure in the classroom. This is not achieved through negative emotional responses to the children. We must leave our problems at the gate and not react to everything that the children do wrongly, remember that even now we still make mistakes. We must understand the developmental stages of the children. A teacher in the 3 to 4 year old class, for example, will be dealing with children who think the world revolves around them and only them. They want immediate self gratification, they cannot understand why you would refuse them or ask them to wait. There are strategies to deal with this kind of behaviour, shouting and getting angry are not the best options. You can distract them, as they have short attention spans. Once we know what they like and love, we can get them to disengage from some inappropriate activity. So we need to spend some time getting to know the children in our classroom. Luckily our first week in school will not be filled with just lessons, there should be revisions and question times, story time, reading time, discussion time and spending time with each student, this will also help. We cannot plan effective lessons anyway without knowing our students. We need to reflect on what we learn about them and then plan to implement changes and lessons plans to suite the children we have in the classroom. Once our children are aware that we care about them and know them they are more likely to cooperate and engage.
  2. We must plan and intentionally think through what we want to achieve with our class. If we plan and think ahead, the next thing to consider during the first week of resumption are the classroom rules. We must ensure that we have high but achievable expectations and let the children know right from the onset. We must set the tone of the class right from the beginning. It is wrong to wait until they misbehave before we start correcting them. We must set out the rules, engage the children and draw up the classroom rules together. This is another great way to start getting the older children in the primary classes, to do some writing and hand-writing exercises, while we are setting up the right setting environment and atmosphere for our classrooms. We will discover that the children now take ownership of their behaviour, the problem of misbehaviour, and having to waste time correcting them instead of teaching real content will become a thing of the past, after a while.

As a teacher we will need to continue to reflect on our daily experiences, get advice from mentor educators, change what doesn’t work and transform our classrooms into a vibrant setting where children are happy to be with us all day and we are joyful because our children are learning. We will be happy and fulfilled because we are achieving that wonderful goal of changing and impacting the lives of the children in your classrooms through our effective classroom management. Try this first if you are not already, you will be pleasantly amazed at what will happen. Professional classroom management takes time and perseverance.

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