Effective classroom management is essential to an optimistic and conducive learning environment for students. However, no matter how experienced you are as a teacher, you are bound to face a few challenges.
A survey from the Children & Young People’s Health has highlighted that 56% of professionals are dissatisfied with existing methods for managing mental health and behaviour in UK schools. It’s an alarming reminder that we need more proactive strategies for promoting positive behaviours and improving student wellbeing.
Our acclaimed 29-year expertise in the education sector has enabled us to develop an ethical-based system that prioritises human integrity and quality of life, with a strong emphasis on understanding behaviour patterns and trauma to create positive change. In today’s article, we’ll offer solutions to help overcome some of the most common classroom management problems.
1. Noise Levels
Noise can have a significant impact on classroom behaviour. Each interruption of instruction results in a loss of focus and precious learning time. And It’s not only the students who may cause disruptions either; outside sounds like traffic or construction work, and conversations in other classrooms are other possible influences that teachers must work around.
To manage noise levels in the classroom, teachers can incorporate the following strategies:
- Establish clear expectations for quiet work time.
- Use nonverbal cues, such as raising fingers or holding up signs to signal when noise levels are too high.
- Speak in a soft voice when giving instructions to encourage students to follow suit for positive reinforcement.
- Give praise when students display good behaviour.
- Invest in noise-cancelling headphones and use white noise, such as a fan or ambient music, to reduce external distractions.
2. Time Constraints
As a teacher, you are often working within strict time constraints. This can range from trying to finish a lesson before the end of class, to fitting in all of your curriculum for the year. Interruptions or incomplete activities could potentially leave students in need of clarification about what they have learned – thus negatively impacting educational progression.
To ensure all necessary material is covered within the allotted time-frame, teachers can:
- Plan a curriculum that is age-appropriate and flexible enough to meet individual needs and academic level.
- Set clear objectives at the beginning of each lesson so students know what to expect.
- Prioritise the most important topics.
- Use technology to streamline activities (eg:online games, learning apps, powerpoint tools etc.) and increase student engagement.
3. Off-Task Behaviour
Off-task behaviour is a common problem amongst students and can be caused by many different factors. For example, those who are frustrated with their learning outcomes, or uninterested in the lesson may feel disempowered when compared to those around them.
The best way for teachers to manage off-task behaviour and create a nurturing classroom environment is to:
- Establish clear rules and consequences for off-task behaviour.
- Consider group tasks or paired activities to stimulate learning, but also foster collaboration and social interaction between students.
- Identify the students who need additional support, listen and respond to their needs in a clear, respectful, and concise manner.
- Redirect their attention by asking questions, offering clarifications or providing feedback on their progress.
- Publicly praise and reward students who are making an effort or join in the discussion.
4. Dealing with Aggression
This is perhaps the most challenging aspect of classroom management. Destructiveness or aggression such as hitting, threats, refusal to follow direction, or destroying school property are all examples of highly-escalated behaviour that can lead to crisis situations.
Some steps education organisations can take include:
- Develop and maintain relationships with school administrators and support staff.
- Understanding the root cause of those behaviours and designing a targeted intervention plan accordingly. It could include counselling, meeting with parents and guardians, or exploring resources within the school or community for additional support.
- Avoid punitive measures and negative reinforcement, such as berating or harshly reprimanding students as this can be counter-productive and create resentment.
- Provide students who are feeling overwhelmed with a safe space to de-escalate and help with emotional regulation using deep breathing, mindfulness or visualisation exercises.
Remember – each class is unique, and there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to classroom management. But with support from Timian, you can create an environment that fosters learning, respect, and, above all, fun. To book a course, or for more information about our positive behaviour management training, call 0800 987 4075 and we’ll be happy to help.
James Hourihan MSc Econ | FRSA | MIOD
Timian Learning and Development