Classroom Management: Improving Behaviour in the Classroom

WRITTEN BY Lindelwa Msimang ・ 03 July, 2020

In the beginning, it can be nerve-racking having to multitask between trying to teach and monitor students. Most of the time, students willingly tune in to what the teacher wants them to do, however, there are times when a handful of students have trouble following the teacher’s lead or behaving appropriately. In addition, there might be another group of students who are either distracted or overly excited by the behaviour of the misbehaving students. Fortunately, I am about to mention some useful techniques that can be used not only to manage the misbehaviour of students but also minimise it from occurring in the first place.

1. Say what you mean:
Telling a student to “be good” or “behave” is vague and doesn’t give the student a direct instruction of how to behave. Make sure students know and understand what is expected and the consequences if those expectations are not met. For example: “Hands-on your desk and no talking, or no stars” Make sure to stick to the consequences you have set out.

2. A visual reminder and clear routine"
Having a visual reminder of the rules helps students remember what is expected and the consequences if they break the rules. Have a clear set of rules which you repeat at the beginning of each class and after a break. Have a routine and order in which you say these
rules and keep them the same so that they are easy to remember.

3. Minimise distractions:
For students who tend to be distracted or cause disruption in class, it is best to put them in the front of the class closer to you as the teacher. Try to keep them away from the door or windows and surround them with students who are “good role models” as a way of minimising distractions and having a good example to follow.

4. Show you care:
Dealing with disruptive students in class can be overwhelming but when disciplining them it is important not to be harsh. Remember to be kind and not criminalise disruptive students. If you begin every class expecting them to be disruptive and treating them differently because of it, they will continue acting the way you expect them to. It is therefore essential to treat all your
students with kindness. Instead, find ways to improve their classroom experience or find out what is the cause of their disruptive nature. They may be disruptive because they crave attention, so try to redirect that into participation by picking on them to answer questions.

5. Have a reward system:
I have found that having a reward system can be an effective tool in managing the behaviour of a class. It is also effective in motivating students to participate and pay attention in class. It is important to note that having a reward system may not be the solution in every scenario. So it is important to study the disruptive student and find a solution that best suits their personality and

6. Be consistent and fair:
Try not to let students know that you have favourites. Although most teachers deny having favourites, we all know that some students can be more endearing than others. Nevertheless, it is essential to have an atmosphere of consistency in the classroom, so ensure that you punish all your students equally and not let your favourites go unscathed. Also, be careful of being too
harsh with punishments for disruptive students, this might lead to an opposite desired effect. This may then create friction and an environment where you and the student are constantly challenging each other.

7. Build a rapport:
Teachers who are both well-liked and respected tend to not have many, if any behavioural issues. These qualities are earned over time by giving the respect you expect to receive from your students. This type of rapport is built through investing time in fostering a relationship beyond what happens in the classroom, by taking interest in what goes on in their lives.

8. Develop interactive and engaging lessons:
A classroom filled with engaged students can help prevent behavioural issues from arising. Sometimes behavioural issues stem from boredom or the frustration of not understanding. Therefore, it is important for the teacher to create dynamic lessons that catch the students attention by making them interactive and engaging.

Behaviour management can be challenging. It is thus crucial to understand that all classroom situations and groups of students are different. Therefore, teachers need to assess each situation with objective eyes and see what works for each particular group. Usually, this requires a variety of strategies in order to create the desired atmosphere and maximise learning.

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