Classroom management is the use of procedures and teaching techniques that promote a safe and efficient learning environment. For primary school teachers, disciplinary method and behavioral expectations are central to this system. As students age, the managerial style of instructors may change to assist students in the development of self-guided learning. Although every teacher will have a unique style of management to meet each class' needs, the same elements can be found consistently.
Although often overlooked, the first element of classroom management is intentional design. Use the positioning of your desks, displays, storage and equipment to create a warm and welcoming room. This should be done during summer vacation prior to the arrival of students. Make sure you have removed all unnecessary and distracting items from your classroom. This is also a good time to check your room for safety hazards.
Develop rules that foster respect, caring and community in your classroom. Make your expectations for behavior clear at the beginning of the year by reviewing these rules with students. Continue to reinforce your rules throughout the course, and post them in a visible location. Consider having students sign a contract that shows they have read the rules with their parents and understand how to behave properly.
Classroom rules must have concrete consequences. Students will test the limitations of each teacher from the very first day of school. Be firm, fair and consistent. Begin by warning a student and having them confirm their knowledge of the classroom rules. Follow-up continued disruption by issuing demerits, detention, or other official reprimands. Never, hit, harass, embarrass or yell at students-this is counterproductive, unprofessional and often illegal.
Keep your class in order by staying on time and on task. Do classwork during class time, leaving plenty of room for in-class assignments. Cramming work and instruction too close to other activities can lead to disruptive behavior and poor comprehension. There should be space before and after every room change, lunch, and recess for students to settle down. Having a regular daily schedule helps you and your kids prepare for upcoming tasks. Be firm but fair with due dates. Always leave room for extenuating circumstances. Never leave room for procrastination.
Stay organized inside and out. Keep your student files, assignments, lesson plans and administrative paperwork in order. It sets a good example for your students and keeps you from wasting instructional time looking for materials. Share this system with your students. Post the classroom calendar, homework schedule and assignments on the board. Allow students to see how you take notes. It helps them distinguish irrelevant information from essential details. Encourage self-directed learning by providing students with their own agenda (notebook). You may require students to have their notebooks checked at home or during class.
Although you may not have flexibility over the content of your curriculum, teachers are able to convey information as they see fit. Tailoring your instructional technique to the grade level, subject area, and students is very important. A hands-on demonstration of electricity will keep 8th graders engaged, but may prove chaotic in a 3rd grade classroom. Vary the style and intensity of your lessons. Follow-up lecture-style sessions with relaxed group activities. Consult your colleagues for ideas for new lessons. Learn about each of your student's learning style. (What is their learning curve? How do they learn best? Do they work well in groups?) These observations are crucial when fitting your teaching style to your students needs.
Communication is the most important aspect of classroom management. It is essential to have clear and consistent lines of communication with your administration, colleagues, students and parents. Without it you will lose the respect of peers, the attention of students, and the cooperation of parents. Be responsive to the concerns of others. Be flexible and willing to accommodate reasonable requests.
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