Classroom Management
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NEA:National Education Association

Great Public Schools for Every Child

Promoting Effective Classroom Management

In Front of the Class

by Linda Starr, Education World

General Rules

Twelve steps teachers can take at the beginning of the year to promote effective classroom management are:

bulletDevelop a set of written expectations you can live with and enforce.
bulletBe consistent. Be consistent. Be consistent.
bulletBe patient with yourself and with your students.
bulletMake parents your allies. Call early and often. Use the word "concerned."
bulletWhen communicating a concern, be specific and descriptive.
bulletDon't talk too much. Use the first 15 minutes of class for lectures or presentations, then get the kids working.
bulletBreak the class period into two or three different activities. Be sure each activity segues smoothly into the next.
bulletBegin at the very beginning of each class period and end at the very end.
bulletDon't roll call. Take the roll with your seating chart while students are working.
bulletKeep all students actively involved. For example, while a student does a presentation, involve the other students in evaluating it.
bulletDiscipline individual students quietly and privately. Never engage in a disciplinary conversation across the room.
bulletKeep your sense of perspective and your sense of humor.
bulletKnow when to ask for help.

Important Strategies

Once students are settled in the classroom, you'll want to continue with some of these teacher-recommended techniques for maintaining control without confrontation:

bulletEstablish eye contact.
bulletMove around the room and increase proximity to restless students.
bulletSend a silent signal.
bulletGive a quiet reminder.
bulletRe-direct a student's attention.
bulletBegin a new activity.
bulletOffer a choice.
bulletUse humor.
bulletProvide positive reinforcement.
bulletWait quietly until everyone is on task.
bulletAsk a directed question.

Calming Routines

Many teachers have found that the best way to start the school day is to greet each student personally as he or she enters the classroom. They use the opportunity to establish rapport, and to deal with such minor problems as gum chewing, boisterous behavior, bad moods, or unwanted materials, quietly and discretely -- before they can erupt into public confrontations that threaten control and disrupt the class. A warm personal welcome sets the tone for the day. One teacher we know offers students a choice of three greetings -- a handshake, a high five, or a hug. Their responses, she says, tell her a lot about how each student is feeling that day.


Copyright 2006,, used by permission