As Benjamin Franklin once said, 'if you fail to plan – you are planning to fail', this adage reigns particularly true for educators whose classes are restricted by time and resources. To optimize lesson delivery – it’s important to have classroom management strategies in place. Implemented effectively, you will lessen disruption, save time, increase student engagement and keep your classroom on track to success.
1. Set standards before students enter the classroom
First class of the day, or after recess/ lunch can be particularly troublesome times for educators trying to transition their students back into 'learning mode'. Set expectations from the outset by asking your students to file and wait silently before allowing them to enter the room. Ask them to enter in small groups to maintain this environment of calmness.
2. Use visual aids to reiterate direction
It's one thing to verbally outline what you are hoping to achieve in the day's lesson, but it can be more memorable if presented visually as well. Outlining the purpose of the class on the board or smart screen (link) prevents you from repeating yourself and keeps the class on track.
3. Develop nonverbal communication techniques
Identify what questions can be answered with gestures. Movements or signals are effective forms of communication that won't interrupt the whole class. For example, if your students need to use the bathroom – ask them to signal this with a raised closed fist – you can respond with a nod and the rest of the class maintains focus. You can alternatively use learning aids such as Show-Me boards which allow your students to write their requests as opposed to verbalizing them (link).
4. Expect an array of learners and accommodate accordingly
Taking a one size fits all approach to lesson planning and execution can lead to disengagement and feelings of isolation. Understanding your students' individual needs and communicating your tailored approach to these students will go a long way in nurturing positive relationships as well as maintaining an environment of inclusivity.
5. Be consistent
Maintain your strategies. It's easy to relax as the year progresses but doing so threatens to undermine what you set out to achieve. Avoid confusion and instances of unruly relapse by sticking to your guns for the duration of the school year.