Some teachers are just born controllers. They're the ones who can turn a raucous classroom into a silent one with the bat of an eyelash. They demand attention and respect by just being there. How do these teachers do it? What's the trick? And how can the rest of us emulate these natural class constables?
Turn to classroom-management strategies. Classroom management refers to all the things an adult does to organize students, space, time, and materials so that instruction and student learning can take place. Through basic techniques -- such as assigning roles and setting procedures -- you can encourage positive behavior and order in the classroom.
Assigning Classroom Roles
Understanding student behavior is beyond the means of this tutorial. But you don't have to be an expert in human development to identify a restless, unmotivated, or shy kid. Educators often use role assignment to thwart or to encourage certain behaviors. By assigning roles in the classroom, you give students an added sense of ownership and responsibility.
The following is a list of role assignments you can give students based on their traits and their behavior. When assigning roles, try to highlight to the class each role's importance in establishing community.
Posts the agenda, crosses off an activity when finished, and throws away agendas
A restless student, one who gets out of his or her chair frequently
Makes sure the team is on time (using the agenda as a guide)
Someone with a short attention span and who easily gets off task
Master of Supplies
Carries the mentor's equipment and passes out supplies
Someone who needs a little extra attention
Passes out and collects papers
Someone who needs a little extra attention and who needs to feel special
Initiates the ritual by passing out supplies or props, setting up, and reminding others about what to do
Someone who needs to experience positive reinforcement and needs to be settled down
Makes sure the room is back in order
Someone who finishes work early
Keeps track of everyone's progress
Someone who is unmotivated
Don't see all the roles you'd like to see on the chart? Feel free to make up roles specific to a task, particular subject, or assignment. And reassign roles as you see fit.
Kids need routine for discipline and security. Set up a routine at the beginning of your apprenticeship by establishing and communicating classroom procedures.
Here are some examples:
Use a ritual when entering the learning space.
Start work immediately during homework or project time.
Hand out passes when a student is tardy.
Ask students to raise their hands to ask questions.
Introduce all classroom visitors.
Ask students to read silently when they finish early.
Handle problems at the conference corner.
Concluding Stats on Misbehavior
Often, just knowing why students misbehave can give you ideas to help remedy the problem. Take a look at some of these causes of misbehavior to help you curb the problem in the future. About 90 percent of student misbehavior is due to one or more of the following issues:
Poor general management
Inappropriate work that is above, below, or unrelated to a student's learning style
Unclear expectations and consequences
A feeling of powerlessness
The physical environment (the room is too hot, too cold, too crowded, and so on)