By Lani Aquino
One of the slipperiest slopes in education is classroom management. A teacher can have flawless lesson plans, engaging topics, top-of-the-line resources, and absolutely no way to share any of it due to a behaviorally unsound learning community. On the other end of the spectrum a compliance-filled classroom where no real learning occurs is not the goal either.
A well-balanced classroom is one where students have the freedom to have a voice, learn from mistakes, and take risks while respecting and cultivating a positive learning community. The management system and techniques that are utilized go a long way toward creating that positively charged environment. Whether current methods aren’t working or the environment could use a few refreshing tweaks, these management strategies and resources can offer the perfect reboot.
Revise Practices- In Fix Your Broken Routines: Three Rules to Live By, Jessica Handley shares a thoughtful approach for reflecting on what’s not working, defining the root cause, and refining the practice to fix it. One of the best tools she utilized in defining and refining was to seek input from her students. When student voice plays a role in the reboot, students are more likely to respect and take ownership of new systems or practices utilized. Gaining an understanding of current students and not placing cookie cutter bandages on problems that arise is key.
Focus on Transitions- Oftentimes, the biggest management issues present themselves at transitional times within the school day. Moving from one activity to another, having students completing group activities at different times, etc. are all likely times to encounter behavioral issues that gobble up valuable class time. Having set practices in place during these times is key. When students are kept in the loop as to what’s coming next, they are likely to transition easier. In Mastering Classroom Transitions, Todd Finley offers some great tips for honing this skill. One great tip is using the word smooth in place of go when initiating the transition. This little tweak takes the racing component out of the transitional movement.
Add Variety- As stated in Revise Practices above, the cookie cutter approach is not an effective one when it comes to management. Prodigy shares 20 Classroom Management Strategies and Techniques [+Downloadable List]. Having a large resource bank when it comes to management helps teachers pinpoint the best strategies for their current students. Praising positive behavior, building excitement over content, and peer teaching are just a few of the ideas shared that can start positively impacting the learning environment.
SEL Apps- When students are more positively charged on a personal level, this is likely to carry over into the creation of an overall positive learning environment. SEL can have a huge impact on a student’s ability to learn and positively contribute to their learning community. In 6 Apps that Positively Impact SEL, a great starting point for getting students on the right track can be found.
Overall Management Apps- Streamlining is a definite way to take some of the logistics of paperwork and reporting off of a teacher’s plate. Most schools have a set LMS (Learning Management System) in place. Finding an app within the existing LMS or selecting a compatible one can do wonders for helping teachers manage their workloads and keep students accountable. The Tech Edvocate’s 5 Must Have Classroom Management Apps, Tools, and Resources shares some of the top-rated apps for making overall management easier. With apps like Google Classroom and ClassDojo, teachers can streamline many management pieces.
Volume Apps- When noise levels rise in classrooms, they can often be breeding grounds for off-topic conversations and off-task behaviors. While discussion and excitement over learning are all part of the process, chaotic volumes don’t have to be. With apps like Too Noisy Starter or Noisy? Pro, teachers and students can work together on creating the just-right volume needed for the different activities found in a well-rounded learning environment.
The realization that a singular fix for every group of students may not be effective is an important starting point when rebooting classroom management practices. Offering students an active role in developing and maintaining a positive learning environment can do wonders for increasing their acceptance of it. With an updated collection of resources, teachers can reboot their current practices and create a positively charged community where learning flourishes.
If you enjoyed the thoughts and ideas shared here, check out the trainings and tools (for teachers and for families) that we offer.