Mastering classroom management techniques is essential for educators. Building upon the foundational tips covered in previous blog posts, I’ll explore 6 more strategies that really work and won’t’ waste your valuable time.
1. Differentiating Instruction is one of the most important classroom management techniques. Recognize that every student comes with a unique set of abilities, interests, and learning styles. Implementing differentiated instruction to tailor your teaching methods and content to accommodate diverse learners engages students more effectively and helps prevent behavioral issues stemming from frustration or boredom.
Always consider how you’ll differentiate instruction and work as you plan your lessons. Some ways to differentiate instruction include
- Write out key points of a lesson and keep them visible in the classroom
- Ensure your voice reaches all students
- Minimize distractions
- Provide a copy of the steps students need to take to accomplish a task
- Number the steps a student needs to do to complete a task
- Ask students to restate the instructions
- Have students in front of the classroom to help with instruction, whether they’re lining up to agree or disagree with a statement, separating themselves in corners based on opinions, or showing how strongly they feel about something by standing at a certain place in a line
A few ways to differentiate the work for students include
- Reduce the amount of tasks
- Provide a word bank
- Provide examples of completed work similar to the activity
- Use a variety of questions requiring different levels of thinking
- Strategically partner students
- Enlarge print of text & reduce busy appearance of the page
- Allow students to respond in a variety of ways: verbally, visually, in writing, or using the line up ideas mentioned above.
- Use this free close reading for teachers unit to help you differentiate reading instruction.
When you offer a variety of activities and materials that cater to different levels and learning preferences, you empower students and reduce negative behaviors.
2. Collaborative Problem-Solving: Classroom management can include using collaborative problem-solving discussions. When addressing behavioral issues or conflicts, gather students in a circle to discuss the situation openly and respectfully. Encourage them to suggest solutions, fostering a sense of ownership over the classroom environment.
This strategy may not work right away, or for every class. Limit the time spent in this circle set up, especially if the class isn’t showing they’re ready for it. Collaborative problem-solving can also be done from their seats, and then as maturity increases use the circle arrangement. Make sure you model an example of what you’re looking for from this exercise. This way, students understand what the goal looks like.
This strategy promotes critical thinking, empathy, and conflict resolution skills. When students actively contribute to shaping the classroom norms and consequences, they’re more likely to adhere to them and hold their peers accountable.
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3. Mindfulness and Self-Regulation: Incorporate mindfulness practices into your classroom routine to enhance emotional self-regulation and focus. Short mindfulness exercises at the beginning or end of class can help students manage stress, improve attention spans, and create a calmer classroom atmosphere. Check out these positive affirmation cards that are ready to use.
Talk about how you self-regulate. Even as you teach, let students in on the emotions you’re feeling when the class isn’t listening or students interrupt. Discuss how you’re feeling and how you calm yourself. Name the techniques you use, and keeps a list in the classroom.
Introducing techniques like deep breathing, guided visualization, or brief meditation sessions can help equip students with valuable tools to navigate challenging emotions, making it easier for them to engage constructively in the learning process
4. Active Listening is one of the most important classroom management techniques. Practice active listening to understand your students’ concerns, questions, and feedback. When students feel heard, they are more likely to cooperate and participate constructively in the classroom.
Showing you care about a student’s experience or opinion goes a long way with building relationships in your classroom. When you need to speak with a student 1-to-1, having this relationship as a foundation will help the student listen to your concerns instead of shutting down.
On that same note, one of my favorite techniques I use while actively listening is to kneel down so that my eye level is on par with or below the eye level of the student. This is especially effective when you need to discuss a challenging situation. Taking away the intimidation factor of being taller or bigger helps students be more open to your concerns and suggestions.
5. Vary Instructional Pace: Keep a balance between active and quieter activities. Alternating between high-energy tasks and more focused assignments can help prevent restlessness and keep students engaged throughout the day.
When you do multiple high-energy activities, it can be difficult for students to refocus and engage. Balance is key. This is why, after recess, a quieting activity works well.
6. Humor is Important: Humor works on so many levels. Appropriate humor can lighten the atmosphere and build rapport with students. You can use humor to diffuse tense situations and in place of frustration or anger.
When students see you laugh, it helps build that relationship with you, the teacher. Humor doesn’t solve everything, but it can be a powerful classroom management technique. When someone is off task or talking a lot, have a few silly sayings that can redirect the negative behavior. If you’re doing group work and there’s excessive chattiness, humor works great to refocus groups.
Quite often, students won’t even realize you’re managing behaviors because the mood is light and your body language is displaying relaxed control of the situation. As you practice using humor more and more, you’ll find that using it for classroom management becomes easier and more regular.
Adding these classroom management techniques to your teacher toolkit can significantly impact your students’ learning experience and personal development by helping you create a classroom environment that not only encourages academic growth but also nurtures essential life skills.
Learn more about classroom management from these other blog posts: