Positive classroom management strategies nurture positive behaviour, encourages effort and persistence and positively reinforces desired behaviour.
When undesired behaviours occurs, maintain a non-discriminatory attitude, limit negative remarks, avoid singling out and reprimanding one student and remind the whole class of the expected behaviour, e.g. everybody in class should be speaking with ‘inside voices’ not ‘outside voices’. Give logical consequences for inappropriate behaviour if the disruptive behaviour continues. For example if a student throws items around the classroom, have them tidy up those items. Avoid discipline that is unrelated to the inappropriate behaviour.
Knowing the strengths and qualities of your students, personalising interactions with them by reflecting on their strengths and qualities during the day is a good way to build trusting relationships. Greet students by name each morning, ask them how their out of school sports or hobbies are going, show an interest in them as individuals. Modelling of these behaviours will lead to students being similarly supportive to each other.
Encourage a classroom environment that promotes empowerment by providing opportunities for students to express opinions and make choices for themselves. This will help students build their confidence and capacity to speak up, address issues, take risks and make decisions about what works for them. For examples; when setting a writing assignment, don’t be too prescriptive on what you want students to write about, allow space for personal choice and expression, or on occasion allow discussion and a vote by students on which from a short list of activities the class will do next.
Lessons that meaningfully connect to students’ experiences encourages them to become emotionally invested in learning. Consider what is happening in the world that students need to know about and deal with, or what is happening in the world that could connect with the lessons students are currently studying for example, the environment, health and fitness, civics.
Many students have a preference for a certain learning style; visual, auditory or kinaesthetic. Lesson plans and the physical set up of the classroom should take into consideration students’ needs and preferences. This fosters a sense of belonging and of feeling valued, competent, and safe.
Classroom schedules that use routines and a clear timetable help students know what’s expected of them and how to do certain things on their own. To help students in the inevitable situations where a classroom routine is disrupted, incorporate problem-solving skills during teachable moments to enable students to be calmer and more confident. Having predictable patterns and strategies to cope with change in place allows teachers to spend more time in meaningful instruction.
If the behaviour persists despite trying a number of interventions, discuss the student’s situation with a supervisor or member of the learning and wellbeing support staff at your school.