Behavioural management is a key component in every successful learning environment, but there’s more to it than meets the eye. If you’re already creating rules, enforcing consequences, and referring persistent problems to your administration but still have classroom behavioural management issues, it might be time to think outside of the box with a few of these tips.
Rearrange your classroom.
Head off behavioural issues before they even begin with clever classroom design, starting with your very own desk. Simply having the ability to see – or the illusion of being able to see – your pupils at all times throughout your day will help discourage poor behaviour. Also, consider creating a rotating seating map for your pupils: regularly adjusting classroom seating arrangements helps strengthen new pupil relationships while lessening ongoing problems between pupils who struggle working together. Finally, think about your classroom décor: in the same way that too little in a classroom can be distracting to some groups of children, too much stimulation can be just as distracting! Adjusting your classroom to meet your students’ visual learning needs can be just the thing that tips the scales of behaviour in your favour!
Establish distinct classroom rules.
Students are usually well aware of general school rules, but creating a formal list specific to your classroom reinforces your role as the authority there. Keep these rules simple and to a minimum, so you can take the time to explain them to your pupils. Expressing why these rules exist in language your students can understand makes it easier for them to remember why your rules are important, and why you’re obligated to enforce them. Bonus points for putting a positive spin on things by informing your pupils of the things they are meant or expected to do, rather than what they are not allowed to do.
Praise your pupils throughout the day.
Never underestimate the power of positive reinforcement! Highlight good behaviour in your classroom by letting your pupils know when you appreciate their actions or are proud of their achievements. When your students know you value their efforts, they will work harder to impress you – so prioritise their successes and minimise their likelihood of deliberately acting out.
Encourage physical activity.
This one is for you and your students! Firstly, it’s no secret children have a hard time sitting still, but it might surprise you to learn most of that isn’t their fault. Children’s bodies are not meant to be inactive for long periods of time, and classroom misbehaviour is often pent-up energy the young mind cannot understand or control. Give your students the best chance at cooperative behaviour and try to plan lessons that include time for them to move around. If your school allows it, take your lessons outdoors; if leaving the classroom isn’t an option, simple games that encourage movement are a good alternative. No matter where it happens, allowing children to move when possible helps them sit and focus when needed. Secondly, consider the influence your own sedentary time has on your classroom! Presenting lessons in ways that include movement and actions can help retain the attention of your classroom – after all, if you are excited about teaching, your students will be excited about learning, so don’t be afraid to move around your classroom while you teach. Start small by weaving between desks, being more animated with your speech and delivery, or using surrounding objects to demonstrate your teaching concepts. The goal is to get your pupils so engaged, they won’t be distracted enough to act out.
It might seem simplistic, but remember that making the rules is only half the battle: you must be prepared to use them. Pairing your rules with consequences for breaking them can stop small infractions from escalating to bigger problems, so don’t hesitate to call pupils out on misbehaviour early. Children are smart and will frequently testing their limits, especially If they think they can get away with it. Being strict with your class is a way of showing them that you care about their wellbeing, and will earn you their respect in the long run.
Our goal is always to create strong and safe learning environments for our students and there are many ways good classroom behavioural management helps make this happen. We’ve loved sharing a few of our favourites with you and are excited to hear some of your own!