Student Teachers and novice teachers reach those classroom doors armed with coursework and minimal classroom experience. Along with teaching they are charged with managing student behavior. While coaching student teachers, I have learned that many of them are looking for “tried and true” classroom management ideas to get them through the first few months of teaching.
What I learned through my years as a new teacher, administrator and college supervisor is not to “invent the wheel”. We all need to heed the advice of those who have already walked in our novice shoes. If you are struggling with classroom management or are worried that you might; here are 10 tips that might be helpful.
10 Classroom Management Tips
- Speak only when students are quiet and ready – Waiting for ALL students to be quiet and ready will send the message that what you are all doing is important and we need to be ready to learn. It works because kids will start to cue each other that you are waiting.
- Set Acceptable Voice Levels -If we want kids to talk at a normal, acceptable volume, we must tell them our expectations. A common Voice Level strategy in schools is 3 – outside voice level, 2- inside voice level, 1 – whisper level and 0 – no talking.
- Hand signals and nonverbal cues – Clear and consistent hand signals will help students know and follow your nonverbal communication cues. Examples: raise your hand, fingers up, eye contact.
- Flick the lights – Flicking the lights off and on once to get students’ attention is an “oldie but goodie”. It is an easy to understand cue to get student attention to complete a direction. It works in the theater to get people back to their seats, so it will work in your classroom.
- Echoing – Echoing” either a verbal or movement command is an active way to get the attention of our youngest students.
- Address behavior issues quickly and wisely – Remember praise in public and criticize in private. A problem-solving approach with the child is often the best strategy to address problem issues.
- Have a well-designed, engaging lesson – Students that are not engaged will not stay on task. Keeping them busy cuts down excess talking and disruptive behavior.
- Always plan extra – Better to run out of time than to run short on a lesson. Use any over-planning for future lesson, follow up lesson, a time filler or an assessment.
- Prepare time fillers – Valuable lesson extensions, class incentives or breaks from difficult lessons for the students or their tired teacher.
- Use Your Teacher Voice – Use your “teacher voice” to show you are in charge of the classroom. Try differentiating your tone, not your volume.
- Classroom discussion – try a matter-of-fact tone.
- Giving direction -use a declarative routine voice.
Learning occurs in day to day activities. So, look for and create learning opportunities throughout your day. Stay safe and be well.