Classroom management strategies is the topic of our blog post today!
In the complex world of education, classroom management remains a topic that can always be refined and explored. This post is part of a series where I delve into various aspects of classroom management, including insightful recommendations on classroom management books, vital classroom management skills, an annotated bibliography featuring research papers on classroom management, and essential classroom management websites. Today, we’ll be examining an intricate aspect: classroom management strategies.
While my writings are backed by numerous research papers (see references), this particular exploration primarily draws from the profound work of Jill Reese (2007). Her study, combined with various other scholarly insights, provides the backbone for the strategies I’ll be sharing today.
What adds depth to this conversation is not just the solid research foundation but also the rich texture of my own 15 years of classroom teaching experience. The intersection of research and real-world practice brings a unique perspective that I believe will resonate with fellow educators.
I’m thrilled to include in this post an infographic that encapsulates these strategies visually, adding a layer of accessibility and ease for all educators out there. And for those who wish to keep these strategies at their fingertips, a downloadable PDF version is available for free to all subscribers.
As we navigate through these researched and tested strategies, remember that the goal is to foster an environment that enhances not only teaching but also the joy and success of learning. Whether you’re a seasoned educator or just embarking on your teaching journey, I hope these insights will contribute positively to your classroom experience.
Classroom Management Strategies
Below is a collection of effective classroom strategies to try out. These strategies offer a multifaceted approach to classroom management, each emphasizing a different aspect of creating a positive and productive learning environment. Feel free to experiment with these strategies, tailor them to your unique classroom needs, and always keep the joy of learning alive in your educational endeavors.
Address students using their first names to build rapport: In addressing students individually, such as saying “Good job, Emily!” instead of just “Good job,” a more personal connection is fostered.
Recognize and praise desired behavior: After a group task, I might say, “I noticed that David’s eyes were right on me when I was talking; he’s really engaged today!” This emphasizes positive actions.
Minimize evaluative praise and focus on directional praise: Instead of saying, “You make me so happy with your work,” it’s more beneficial to comment, “Your dedication to following directions is really helping you excel in your assignments.”
Use the “ripple effect” to create a positive influence: By highlighting Jean’s readiness, such as saying, “Jean is sitting quietly and ready to listen,” I can prompt others to mimic the positive behavior.
Encourage students’ autonomy by providing choices: Offering options like “You’re welcome to sit at this table or that one” empowers students and fosters independence.
Guide and share control with students: Asking a student, “Would you rather work on your project now or after the reading assignment?” gives them ownership of their learning process.
Bring attention to positive behavior: Focusing on a student who’s acting appropriately, such as saying, “I see that Tom is already getting started on his work,” helps reinforce good habits.
Connect with misbehaving students: Sitting down with a disruptive student and asking, “What’s causing this behavior today?” helps in understanding and addressing underlying issues.
Use enforceable statements: According to Rees (2007), enforceable statements are statements that “communicate how the teacher will behave rather than commanding behavior from the student” (p. 26). For instance, instead of “We’re not going to continue until you stop what you are doing because it’s bothering all the students around you”, you can use this enforceable statement, “You are welcome to participate with us when others are not bothered” (p. 27). Also, instead of ” “Raise your hand before interrupting the class” you can say, “I can see that you are excited to share, and we will listen when you are ready to raise your hand to be called on.” (p. 27)
Use time-out areas for reflection: A statement like “You are welcome to join us when you think of a new behavior” helps a misbehaving student reflect without feeling excluded.
Avoid humiliating students and respect their dignity: Following Dreikur’s (1968) principles, private conversations about inappropriate behavior instead of public shaming ensure students’ self-respect is maintained.
Use non-verbal cues to manage misbehavior: A mere eye contact and a shake of the head or a whispered “No” can often halt misbehavior without disrupting the whole class.
Talk to parents about kids’ behavior: Keeping a record of behavioral incidents and discussing them with parents helps maintain consistency between home and school.
Create consistent routines and procedures: Implementing Wong and Wong’s (1998) ideas, starting each class with a brief warm-up activity, for instance, creates a stable, predictable environment.
Set clear rules and expectations: Creating a class contract with rules that everyone agrees upon at the beginning of the year sets the stage for a respectful classroom.
Create well-structured content: Keeping students engaged with a mix of lectures, interactive activities, and group projects ensures a dynamic learning environment.
Prepare for down-time periods: Having a collection of educational games or quick activities for times when the main lesson finishes early keeps students focused and engaged.
Make content meaningful: Integrating hands-on activities, such as a science experiment that mirrors real-world applications, helps students connect learning to their experiences.
Use content during transitions: By asking questions related to the lesson during transitions, such as moving from one activity to another, focus is maintained, and distractions are minimized.
Adopt a reflective and introspective approach: Regularly assessing what’s working and what isn’t, and being open to innovative methods, ensures that the strategies used are continually aligned with the students’ needs. This has always been key in my own growth as a teacher and researcher.
Drawing largely from Jill Reese’s work and supported by a plethora of research papers, we’ve navigated through 20 distinct classroom management strategies that hold the potential to transform the classroom environment.
From recognizing and praising desired behavior to creatively engaging students with content, these strategies are not about imposing rigid control but about fostering an environment of respect, autonomy, consistency, and engagement. They are not merely theoretical concepts but practical tools, validated by both research and my own classroom experience.
The infographic and PDF version of these strategies, available for free download to subscribers, are designed to serve as handy resources, aligning with the very principles of accessibility and innovation that these strategies promote.
Whether you’re a veteran educator or a fresh entrant into the teaching world, I hope that these insights serve as a valuable addition to your toolkit. Keep in mind that classroom management is not a one-size-fits-all approach but a dynamic process that evolves with experience, reflection, and continuous learning.
Fay, j., & Funk, D. (1995). Teaching with Love and Logic. Love and Logic Press
Harry K. Wong, H. K., & Wong, R. T. (1998). The First Days of School. Harry K. Wong Publications
KOUNIN, J. S., & Gump, P. V. (1958). The Ripple Effect in Discipline. The Elementary School Journal, 59(1), 158–.
Kounin, J.S. (1970). Discipline and Group Management in Classrooms. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston
Reese, J. (2007). The Four Cs of Successful Classroom Management. Music Educators Journal, 94(1), 24–29. https://doi.org/10.1177/002743210709400106
Dreikurs, R. (1968). Logical Consequences. Meredith Press.