Effective classroom management is the cornerstone of successful teaching and learning. It sets the tone for a productive and engaging learning environment, benefiting both teachers and students.
In this monologue, we explore the significance of classroom management, knowing the importance of engaging students in meaningful experiences and critical thinking. I implore teachers to go beyond the ‘tasks required of us in a classroom’ and realise that we are role models, and our wit and skill in storytelling and our emotional connection with our children are what will be the prime drivers for success.
I’ve tried to lay out a few practical tips that can be low-cost yet highly impactful, empowering teachers and principals to create an optimal educational experience. And, of course, there will be callbacks to what many of the participant teachers helped us explore during the workshop.
Understanding Classroom Management
Classroom management is how teachers create a good learning environment. It helps to reduce disruptions and keep students engaged, leading to better academic results and lifelong learning.
The Herzberg Motivation–Hygiene Theory:
The Herzberg Motivation–Hygiene Theory suggests that certain factors motivate students (motivators), while others prevent dissatisfaction (hygiene). Understanding them and employing them can be useful in effectively managing classrooms.
Practical Tips for Effective Classroom Management
- Clear Expectations: Clearly explain what you expect from students in terms of behaviour, participation and academic performance. For example, you can say, ‘We expect everyone to be respectful to each other and raise their hand before speaking’.
- Positive Relationships: Build positive relationships with students by showing interest in their lives and offering support. For instance, you can have conversations with students about their hobbies or ask them how their weekend was.
- Routines: Establish a routine for different activities in the classroom. For example, you can start each class with a warm-up exercise or have a consistent order for transitioning between subjects.
- Active Learning: Engage students in activities that encourage thinking, discussion and problem-solving. For instance, you can assign group projects where students have to collaborate and present their findings to the class.
- Verbal and Non-Verbal Anchors: Use short phrases or signals to get students’ attention or guide their behaviour. For example, you can say, ‘Class, class’ and expect students to respond with ‘Yes, yes’ to regain their focus. You can also use a raised hand, a particular clap or instrument as a non-verbal signal to indicate that students should quiet down or show a particular group behaviour.
- Open Exploration: Provide opportunities for students to explore and learn on their own. For example, you can assign a research project where students can choose a topic of interest and present their findings in a creative way, such as a poster or a multimedia presentation. Note that helping them connect with members at home and in the community will foster the need to learn how to build better relationships too!
Low-Cost Solutions for Classroom Management:
- Classroom Layout: Rearrange the classroom furniture to create a more suitable learning environment. For example, you can arrange desks in groups to encourage collaboration or create a cosy reading corner with stools, bean bags and bookshelves.
- Visual Reminders: Use posters or charts to display rules, procedures and learning goals. For example, you can have a poster that outlines the steps for group work or a chart that tracks students’ progress towards a class goal.
- Cooperative Classroom: Implement a system where students earn rewards for good behaviour and participation. For example, you can create a class currency and allow students to trade it in for small rewards or privileges, such as extra free time or the opportunity to choose a class activity.
- Go Digital: Use free online resources to help students adopt the digital world, and look at you as a ‘cool’ and mighty resourceful teacher. You can cite powerful projects from these avenues too.
- Go Experiential: It might take some extra effort, time and a little money on your part to make all topics experiential with demonstrations, games and interactive simulations, but trust me, this goes a long way in making children fall in love with learning.
Why Employ Tools for Classroom Management?
By using effective classroom management strategies and considering the Herzberg Motivation–Hygiene Theory, teachers can create a positive learning environment. The practical tips provided, along with examples of teacher behaviours, such as setting clear expectations, building positive relationships, establishing routines, promoting active learning, using verbal and non-verbal anchors and encouraging open exploration, can be implemented easily and at a low cost.
Remember, good classroom management requires consistent effort and helps students reach their full potential while enjoying a memorable educational experience. And recall that most of us remember, cherish and model the positive experiences that we had in school and with our peers and teachers far more than the ‘content’ we explored back then.
During the workshop, we explored a couple of books that are a ‘must reads’ to help us teachers upskill.
- ‘Teaching Minds’ by Roger Schank: This book offers insights and practical strategies for educators to create engaging and meaningful learning experiences that better prepare students for the challenges and complexities of the real world.
- ‘Life in Classrooms’ by Philip W Jackson: This book offers valuable insights into the intricate dynamics of classroom life and the multifaceted nature of teaching and learning. It serves as a thought-provoking resource for educators, researchers and anyone interested in understanding the complexities of the educational experience.
Here are a few more books that are sure to add value:
- ‘The First Days of School: How to Be an Effective Teacher’ by Harry K. Wong and Rosemary T. Wong: This book provides practical advice and strategies for creating a positive classroom environment, establishing routines and building strong teacher-student relationships.
- ‘Teaching with Love and Logic: Taking Control of the Classroom’ by Jim Fay and David Funk: This book offers techniques for managing behaviour and discipline in the classroom while promoting responsibility and decision-making skills among students.
- ‘The Classroom Management Book’ by Harry K. Wong and Rosemary T. Wong: This comprehensive guide covers various aspects of classroom management, including setting expectations, designing effective lessons and dealing with challenging behaviours.
- ‘The Skillful Teacher: Building Your Teaching Skills’ by Jon Saphier, Mary Ann Haley-Speca and Robert Gower: This book focuses on developing essential teaching skills, including classroom management techniques, effective communication and student engagement strategies.
- ‘Classroom Management for Elementary Teachers‘ by Carolyn M. Evertson and Edmund T. Emmer: Specifically targeted for elementary teachers, this book provides practical tips and techniques for creating a positive learning environment, managing transitions and fostering student responsibility.
- ‘The Classroom Management Secret: And 45 Other Keys to a Well-Behaved Class’ by Michael Linsin: This book offers simple yet effective strategies for maintaining a well-behaved classroom, establishing routines and handling common challenges faced by teachers.
- ‘Positive Discipline in the Classroom: Developing Mutual Respect, Cooperation, and Responsibility in Your Classroom‘ by Jane Nelsen, Lynn Lott and H. Stephen Glenn: This book presents a positive discipline approach, promoting mutual respect, cooperation and responsibility among students, fostering a harmonious classroom environment.
- ‘Tools for Teaching’ by Fred Jones: Known for its practicality, this book offers insights into proactive classroom management techniques, behaviour management strategies and building strong teacher–student relationships.
I certainly hope and pray that we can create a very motivated and powerfully contributing bunch of young adults through our intent and efforts.
Authored by Aswin Vijayaraghavan, VP- Curriculum and Learning Experiences, BYJU’S
Disclaimer: The views stated in this article are solely those of the author’s.