Classroom Management Tips, Techniques and Practices

Establish a clear daily routine. 

Establish a short list of important behavior expectations (an Essential Agreement) – post it in the classroom and review it occasionally.   

Make it clear how it is you want students to behave – they should not have to guess or “learn the hard way” without having been told first.   

Set the tone.  The first day and week of school are the most important when it comes to classroom management. It is usually better to start out “strict” and then “relax” over time, rather than vice versa.  

Teach students what good behavior is.   

Be a role model and a good example – follow your own rules. 

Be consistent, treat everyone as equally as possible, be fair and follow through with consequences and rewards that you have promised. 

Reward positive behavior and praise students frequently. 

Use a point system, a behavior chart or other tool for behavior enforcement or encouragement. 

Use a seating chart.  It is generally best to choose students’ seats for them.  Place talkative students who attract attention to themselves in areas of the room (such as a back corner) where you tend to focus less and quiet students where you to focus more.  Students who misbehave often perform better in the front of the room. 

Don’t try to be the students’ friend – it is much more important to be their teacher

Take an interest in students’ lives and work to build an effective relationship with each student (but don’t share things about yourself that are too personal.) 

Earn the respect of students and treat them with respect. 

Make sure your lesson plans are long enough to fill the entire class period – idle time is a recipe for misbehavior.  Free time is generally not a good idea unless it is used very infrequently as a reward. 

Give students “brain breaks” – simple structured moments of physical movement which stimulate the brain and allow time for information to sink in. 

Plan engaging lessons – if the students are interested in what is going on, they will be much less likely to misbehave. 

Stop and wait (for a reasonable amount of time!) for students to get quiet and focused after you signal them too – this creates the expectation that you will not teach if they are not quiet and focused. 

Keep personal feelings separate from classroom discipline. 

Be careful about how you express anger in the classroom.  Students’ behavior will usually be worse if the teacher is angry or in a bad mood.  Students also figure out that if they can make you angry, then they can have control over you and the classroom. 

Find ways to avoid getting fatigued.  When worn down, normal child-like behavior can trigger irritation. 

For the most part, if you treat students as well behaved and mature, they will act that way.  If you start with the assumption that a certain student or class is “a behavior problem,” then they probably will be. 

Try speaking in a whisper rather than raising your voice to get students’ attention – they will be curious about what you are saying and listen. 

Start class on time and keep students until the closing bell each day. 

Give attention to students who are behaving well and try not to give too much attention to students who are seeking it through negative behavior.  Ignore minor attention-getting misbehaviors.   

Rather than drawing attention to a negative behavior, try praising the two students sitting on each side of the student whose behavior you would like to modify. 

Use a gesture (such as tapping your ear to get a student to listen, proximity to student (i.e. walk over and stand next to the student while you continue teaching) or “a look” to get to students to focus, rather than interrupting the flow of teaching by stopping to talk to a student every time there is a behavior issue. 

Use a key word, a clapping rhythm or raised hand to signal students to be quiet and listen. 

Develop a behavior plan for students who have ongoing behavior issues. 

Use a homework diary or a tracking sheet as a management tool. 

Use parents to back you up on important behavior issues. 

Have appropriate consequences for negative behavior – “make the punishment fit the crime.” 

Use a sign out sheet for when students leave your room to use the restroom, etc. 

Balance the consequences that you give with praise for good behavior.   

Distinguish between a student’s behavior and the student as an individual. 

Don’t dish out consequences too freely – it sends the message that the consequence is not important. 

Use “we” often to build unity. 

Think about the message you are projecting as a teacher – especially the nonverbal message you project.  Students can sense this.  They know when you are serious about something and when you are not. 

Keep your classroom environment as positive as possible.