8 classroom focused strategies to assist student management

By Andrew Donnelly

1. Arrange the classroom to suit your needs

If you have the time to change seating arrangements or are lucky enough to have your own classroom, set things up to help you with classroom management. Seating students in rows can help facilitate a more teacher-centered approach as the focus will be on the teacher. It is effective in accommodating large classes and allows easy movement through the room. U-shaped seating encourages interaction and allows the teacher to easily see their students. Seating in groups allows peer supported and student-centered learning. You can experiment a little until you have the arrangement that supports your style of teaching and the personality of your students.

2. Seating plans

Using seating plans for challenging classes provides you and your students with more structure in your classroom. Ask your colleagues for their advice on which students should and should not be seated near each other and use your own experience to develop your plan. To get the students used to the idea, line them up and have them enter the classroom and sit down at their assigned desk as you call their names. You can repeat this process for as long as you need to. It is recommended that you have seating plans printed out and clearly visible in the classroom for easy reference. Seating plans make marking attendance easier and help casual staff and colleagues who will take your class from time to time.

3. Ensure classroom and school rules are clearly visible

If your school has a behavioural code for students, display it somewhere that your students can clearly see it. When you have a new class, it is beneficial to go over the rules and to explain that they are there to promote learning, wellbeing, safety and respect for all students. If there is any inappropriate behaviour, you can easily remind them of your school’s expectations by referring to the display. An appropriate and effective consequence for repeated disruptions can be writing out the school’s behavioural codes a ready consequence. You should also consider making displays that tell the students what positive, productive classroom behaviour looks like. You can reference these when your students are working well and provide appropriate praise and encouragement.

4. Have a lesson agenda clearly displayed

Students love to call out, “What are we doing?” By getting into the routine of quickly writing and going through the lesson agenda on the board at the beginning of your classes, you can help eliminate this type of disruption. You can provide your students with timeframes for activities, and then remind them of the plan a few minutes before transitioning to the next activity during class. After outlining the agenda, students should be allowed a brief period to ask questions to clarify anything that is unclear to them. You will be teaching your students the mindset of checking the agenda, rather than calling out when they’re unsure about what they should be doing. ClickView’s educational videos are accompanied with teaching resources to aid in planning a lesson.

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5. Develop classroom routines

Routines provide a sense of safety and structure for your students. If they know what to expect in your classroom, they will be more likely to work and behave to those expectations. This routine could be; line up outside of class, wait for instruction to enter, sit down at your desk, have your equipment ready and bags stored safely, no talking or questions at this time, teacher outlines agenda, activity 1, activity 2, recap of lesson, clean desks and rubbish from around the classroom, and when the lesson is over, wait to be dismissed by the teacher. This can take time to develop so practice with your class and be patient. When you think your students are getting bored or deserve a reward, have something fun prepared and break up the routine for a day.

6. Keeping copies of spare work

Students will consistently be absent from class for any number of reasons over the year. It is only beneficial to develop a system where students can access the work that they have missed without having to keep going to you for help. You could provide students with a syllabus at the beginning of each term, detailing the expected course of lessons and assignments over the period. You can give parents and caregivers a copy as well. Keeping a pinboard for each grade with a calendar displaying work completed on each day, printed handouts, due dates for work and displays of completed work for reference can be effective. A class folder containing sequenced copies of classwork can be made accessible so that students can open to the dates they were absent and collect the work that they missed.

7. Utilising technology

Besides the benefit of better student engagement in your class, the use of technology can help you with classroom management. You could use Google Classroom to keep a brief log of what happened in day-to-day classes and let your students reference it for instructions if they were absent or for revision. You can attach classwork files for each grade that students can access if they need an extra copy of a handout, view notes and PowerPoints, and allow them to submit work easily in your virtual classroom. This type of set up can also help you in curriculum planning and communicating with students, parents and colleagues. You can harness your students’ interests in technology to reduce the amount of time spent dealing with issues of lost work, attendance, submission of work and explaining over-and-over-again what the class did yesterday.

8. Displaying student’s work

When we display a student’s work, we are sending them the implicit message that they are valued and have ownership in the classroom. It is suggested that you allow students to have a voice in what is displayed, keep displays current and uncluttered, and include everyone, not just the “best.” Stimulating and purposeful work displays help to create productive and engaging classroom environments. This should encourage students to take greater pride in their work and to reflect on their progress through their displayed work. You could even consider sending an email copy of their work to their parents occasionally, to show the improvement their child has made and your happiness in their efforts.

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