Maybe you became a teacher or tutor because you love your subject and want to share your passion to the next generation. Maybe you joined up because you find kids inspiring and insightful and wanted to help them grow. Or maybe it was because you just loved the idea of teaching.
Something you maybe hadn’t expected was that, in your classroom or your tutoring studio, behaviour management would be something you would be doing the most. Dishing out a reward for positive behaviour and a punishment for those who misbehave – or hearing your kids calling out, endlessly off task, or misbehaving in all sorts of other ways.
It’s classroom management that teachers find most exhausting – beside the paperwork and lesson plans at least. However, it doesn’t need to be. Because effective classroom management doesn’t need to be all about punishing and praising. It’s not about discipline or managing kids that aren’t behaving.
No, behaviour management is something much broader than this, and much deeper. It’s about the strategies and methods that teachers and educators use to help children make the most out of their learning – and achieve success. So, forget the image of the teacher merely enforcing classroom rules or getting angry at disruptive behaviour. This has long been seen to be fairly ineffective.
Rather, let’s think about different ways to manage the classroom environment. From cooperative learning to encouraging curiosity, here are some classroom management tips that go beyond merely telling children off. You’ll be a more effective teacher – and you’ll have happier kids too.
Why You Need Effective Behaviour Management Techniques
Effective classroom management strategies are an essential part of effective teaching. Without them, nothing, quite simply, can be done: without classroom management techniques that work, there is no chance of being able to even teach.
This makes behaviour management strategies the fundamental elements of a good teacher’s arsenal – whether that’s as a school teacher or a private tutor. The possibility of student learning – and, later, student achievement – comes from effective management skills, appropriate behavior, and, ultimately, mutual teacher-student respect.
Because, even as a private tutor, you are not only teaching your young student the content of whichever subject they are learning. Rather, through your classes, they will develop their social-emotional skills, their respect for the social contract, and their own interests and curiosity.
This is what class management should nurture – not just that kids shut up and listen to what you are saying. This approach is good for neither you nor the child.
If you want to know about behaviour management theories, check out our article!
The Classroom Management Techniques that will Change Your Life as a Teacher
Behaviour management is not just about classroom discipline. It’s about building and facilitating a learning environment animated by curiosity, by respect within the teacher-student relationships and among the class, and by willing student engagement. It’s this, rather than discipline as such that encourages student learning.
Here are the tips that you need to help cultivate such an environment.
Let Students Help Decide the Rules
Rules are something that are really quite necessary within a school context. However, to develop class rules that your students will understand and respect, it is helpful to develop these rules with the kids themselves.
Asking your students what they consider to be appropriate classroom behaviour is a good way to start at the beginning of the year. Discuss this with your class and turn the conversation to the appropriate and fair consequences for those who do not stick to the agreed rules.
It will be a fun conversation and it will give the students an active role in developing expected behaviour – meaning that they will have signed up to it already.
Remember the Rules
Once you have agreed on the rules together, you’re going to have to remember what was agreed. Too many teachers are inconsistent with their application of rules – and this doesn’t give their students the framework that they need for things like positive reinforcement to be effective.
Consistency is one of the crucial qualities you need when hoping to manage a classroom. It enables the children to remember what to expect – and consequently, how they agreed to behave.
Being able to whip out the piece of paper on which you wrote the agreed rules makes for a handy piece of theatre in the future too.
Remind the Students that They Have Responsibilities Too
Good classroom behaviour is not just about sitting still and answering questions when asked. Your students have responsibilities to the class themselves – and reminding them of this is an important part of creating a harmonious atmosphere.
Giving students responsibilities gives them a stake in the upkeep and management of the classroom – and they are usually quite proud to be trusted with such tasks.
At the same time, it takes some of the pressure off you too: you don’t need to do everything in the classroom – and your pupils don’t want you to either.
Set Topics and Tasks that are Open-Ended
Curiosity is one of the most important virtues in children – for self-growth, the development of their own interests and individuality, and for important skills in later life. Enabling your students to develop this is a crucial part of behaviour management too – as, usually, when kids are engaged in tasks that interest them, they are much less likely to engage in disruptive behaviour.
Setting tasks that are open-ended, student-directed, and led by the children’s own curiosity, interests, and creativity is a great way to develop this virtue. They don’t always need to be led by strict, content-based learning objectives – as sometimes the most important lesson is in the search.
Encourage Students to Develop Their Own Interests
The same applies here too. Students, as much as teachers and tutors, can feel a little strait-jacketed by the curriculum and lesson plans sometimes. And even if it is within the context of what needs to be learned, it is important to give your class the opportunity to develop their own interests and pursue them with everyone else.
Whether this is as part of a particular case study or for a research project at home, giving the class an opportunity to pursue their own interests shows them that their interests are valid – whilst they might be informative and interesting for the rest of the class too.
Be a Good Role Model
If you want your students to behave, it is helpful if you stick to the rules that you have outlined too: if you don’t want them to be late, it is best not to be late yourself, for example. Or, if you want them to bring their homework back for a particular day, it is best if you mark their homework for the date that you have agreed too.
This is important, because kids do have an acute sense of injustice and unfairness – and it is not fair if you something is expected of them that is not expected of everyone.
All in all, this amounts to being a good role model. And whilst this might sound like a give with teachers, we know that not all of us are.
Encourage Mutual Respect
If your students respect you, then great. If your students respect each other, then even better. Developing an environment in which everyone listens to everyone else – and in which everyone feels comfortable – is almost the ultimate aim of good classroom management.
It’s not good enough that the children only listen to you, and only do what you ask personally. Rather, finding effective ways to get everyone knowing each other and cooperating is the way to build respect among everyone in the class.
Maintain Good Relations with the Parents
It doesn’t take place in the classroom, but there are few things that have such an effect on the classroom as the attitudes and actions of your students’ parents.
Get them onside and keep them there – and report to them all the excellent work that your students have been doing. Being congratulated by their parents for work they have done in class is a great way to get your students onside too.
Watch Out for Your Response to Situations.
Finally, classroom management isn’t only about the behaviour of your students. If you have made a lot of effort to develop their respect, remember that this is easily lost too.
Try to avoid ever losing your cool – as students remember this.
Find out why behaviour management is important!