Do you spend way too much time dealing with classroom behavior?

Do side conversations get you down?

Today, I’ve got 5 tips to up your classroom-management game!

5. Clear Expectations.

Clear expectations are extremely important to establish an effective classroom-management plan.

Start by setting three to five classroom rules.

Too few and you may not cover all unwanted behaviors and too many are difficult for students to keep track of.

Here are my five rules:

  • It’s not okay to talk to your neighbor - to stop side conversations.
  • Listen with your ears and your eyes - to promote active attention.
  • Don’t sink! Ask questions. - because questions are important to the learning process.
  • Make smart choices - to allow students to think for themselves.
  • And, Keep Profe happy - to cover any and all misbehavior a student could ever think of.

Just having rules are not enough.

You must enforce them consistently and fairly.

4. Classroom Procedures.

It wasn’t until many years into my teaching career that I realized how important classroom procedures really are.

I would assume that high-school students know how to do school, that they knew how to behave, that they knew how to get started when the entered the classroom, that they knew how to turn in papers, etc.

I was wrong!

Each of those things not only need to be taught, but they also need to be PRACTICED, just like a fire drill.

These procedures need to be second nature so that your class runs smoothly each and every day.

So think of all the things a student has to do in your classroom on a regular basis and come up with a simple, concrete procedure to complete those tasks.

Teach them as they come up and practice them often and watch how seamless your class runs.

3. Positive Reinforcement.

I have used positive rewards in my classroom for nearly my entire 21 years of teaching.

I give participation points for behaviors I want to promote in my classroom.

Things like asking questions, answering questions, helping out another student, using the target language, turning in work early, etc.

Just about anything that I want to see more of in my class.

This has worked tremendously for me over the years.

Students will work for these points and work hard.

I’ve had many kids over the years stop by my classroom each period to say, Hola, Profe, como estas?, just to get a point.

Instead of punishing kids for NOT doing these things, I just reward the kids who are.

If I notice that a few students aren’t reading during silent reading, I’ll go around and pass out points to those who are.

And for the students, collecting these points are worthwhile because they can be used to purchase prizes and privileges in the classroom.

Things like preferred seating, skip a quick write, candy, drop a quiz are high-ranking rewards for my students.

So it’s a win-win.

2. Build Relationships.

We have been told over the years to keep a firm line between teacher and student, not to smile until December, and other nonsensical things that actually work against a well-managed classroom.

The fact is, that one of the best things you can do to help manage your classroom more effectively, is to build solid relationships with your students.

Realizing that students are more than their behavior or their grades is important to building a great relationship with them.

Engage with all of your students as they enter the classroom.

Notice their emotional states and take appropriate action.

Notice if they’re wearing new shoes, a new shirt, or have a new haircut.

Relate with them on their level.

Building these relationships with students on a daily basis will go far in helping you maintain order in the classroom.

If students know you like them, they will more likely like and respect you and as a result will be less likely to act up in class.

1. Consistency!

If you do only one thing on this list, consistency is that one thing.

Without consistency, your students won’t trust you and without trust, you’re lost.

We are less likely to be consistent when we are tired, sick, frustrated, or it’s the end of a long day.

But those are the times we need to be even more consistent.

The moment students notice that you’re not being consistent, they will pounce on the opportunity and take advantage.

The moment you let two kids hold a side conversation because you’re just too tired to address it one more time, you’re letting the other students know that side conversations are okay and they will spread like wildfire.

And once they spread, just like a wildfire, they are hard to extinguish.

So no matter what you do, be consistent with enforcing your rules and your procedures and you’ll have well-behaved students and a well-managed classroom.

Bonus Tip

For years, I would compete with my students when they got noisy.

I would try to talk louder than they did and I would continue class as if they weren’t all talking and not paying attention.

We all know the adage discipline before instruction, but so many of us don’t follow that.

It wasn’t until a few years ago I learned a technique so simple and so effective to quiet a loud classroom.

And no it’s not call-and-response. That never worked for me because I wasn’t consistent.

It was mirroring the behavior I wanted to see in my students.

So when they were being noisy, I would stop teaching and be quiet. I might even put my finger to my lips, but I never said, “quiet,” or “be quiet.”

I just waited. I wasn’t angry. I wasn’t frustrated. I wasn’t impatient. I just waited without affect.

At first, it would take a long time for them to quiet down. But as I practiced this regularly, it took less and less time and they quieted down quicker and quicker.

The trick with this technique is not to give in. Not ever.

If you give in even once, they’ve one and the trick will no longer work.

You must out-wait them no matter what. Even if it takes most of the class period, you must wait.

You must not start talking again until the room is quiet and not a second before.

When the students do quiet down, start again as if nothing happened.

If they start talking again, you’ll stop and wait again.

Do this consistently and it will work. It has never failed me. Some classes take longer to respond, but I’ve never met a class that didn’t eventually get it.

So those are my top 5 classroom-management tips.

Do you have any to add? If so, please add them to the comments below!

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