7 Proactive Classroom Management Strategies

More and more classroom events are being caught on camera and uploaded on the internet.  Students are caught fighting each other and teachers.  Teachers are caught lashing out at students.  Campus police officers are caught physically handling male and female students.  We ask a lot of questions are a reactive in nature.  However, we believe that being proactive is the best way to prevent series discipline events.  The following seven strategies are great tools to implement in every classroom in America.

1. Teach the Expectations

We assume that students come to our classroom ready and willing to learn.  However, classroom teachers from kindergarten to twelfth grade and from struggling to affluent communities will tell you that students do not know how to behave appropriately in the classroom.

Having high expectations alone will not produce the desired outcome.  You must teach your expectations to your students.  Teaching your expectations is just as important as teaching the curriculum.  UCLA legendary basketball coach, John Wooden, won eighty eight consecutive games and ten National Championships.  During the first few weeks of basketball practice he taught those college men how to tie their shoes and how to put on their socks.  He did not assume that they knew how to do this correctly.  If an educator neglects to systematically teach his expectations, he cannot expect to effectively manage a classroom.

Teaching the expectations is essential to having a highly functioning classroom environment conducive for learning and achieve academic success.

2. Set Clear, Concise, Logical, and Proportional Consequences

I know that if I travel seventy miles per hour in a fifty mile zone, that I will receive a ticket.  I will become frustrated; however, I know that it is fair because there are signs that indicate in what type of speed zone I am driving.  Likewise, you the educator, can and should issue a consequence for an expectation that you have taught.  Conversely, you cannot issue a consequence for an expectation that you did not teach.

Just like some of us who speed down the highway regardless of the signs, your students will misbehave. It is not a matter of “if.”  It is a matter of “when.”  When they misbehave, you should issue a consequence right away.  Your consequence should be clear, concise, logical, and proportional.  The consequence must fit the behavior.  It is not logical to receive a $1000.00 ticket for going five miles above the speed limit.  It is also not logical to send a student to the office for tapping on the desk.

 3. Build Relationships

Kids don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.  Answer this question.  Why did you initially enter into the teaching profession?  I entered the profession because I care about kids, and I wanted to make a difference in my community.   I know that many teachers feel the same.

You care about kids.  Tell them you care.  Show them that you care.  Talk to them about things going on in their lives outside of academia.  If they know you care about them as a person, they will work harder and challenge you less.

4. Do not Entertain Self-indulgent Behavior

Some students want the spot light and are searching for negative attention.  Therefore, they will do something that is inappropriate to get your attention and the attention of their peers.  You have an option.  You can either address the behavior or you can push it aside.

If you address the behavior, you will open the door for that student to respond.  He or she will respond given the opportunity, because he is looking for the attention.  After the student responds, you one up him.  He now has to respond again to look good in front of his friends.  In this scenario, you become frustrated because your “authority” is being challenged and you lose control.  The other students in your classroom are missing out of vital instructional time.  The misbehaving student stands in the spotlight of glory.

Your other option is to push the behavior aside and deal with it later.  Deal with it when it is convenient for you and when it does not take up instructional time.   If you can teach and the other students can learn uninterruptedly, ignore the self-indulgent behavior and keep teaching.  The student will get the hint, comply on his own, and will learn that he cannot stop instruction from taking place in your classroom.

 5. Seek Administrative Support

Oftentimes, you cannot get the support you request because you are not implementing the strategies before mentioned.  You become the teacher whose classroom is always out of control.  In this scenario, administrators do not see problem behaviors, they see problem educators.  However, the educator who teaches the expectations, sets up logical consequences, builds relationships, and pushes aside self-indulgent behavior will witness an exponential decrease in discipline disruptions.   This type of educator will receive administrative support, because if he or she needs assistance, the situation must be serious.

Have a conversation with your administration.  Let him or her know that there is a student in your classroom that you are having some difficulty managing.  Ask him what he is willing to do to support you and the student.  Come up with a few ideas, strategies, and an action plan.  Be proactive and not reactive.  Your administrator will appreciate your dedication to be a highly effective manager and will support you in that endeavor.

 6. Remove the Audience

Unfortunately, there is no magic button that will make all problems vanish.  The five before mentioned strategies will eliminate 95% of the problem behaviors in your classroom.  The remaining 5% requires the support of your administratorand the collective support of the campus staff.

To effectively manage the 5% you have to remove the audience.  The student who is purposefully engaging in disruptive behavior is fueled by the attention of his or her peers.  Therefore, when all else has not yielded the desired outcome of compliance for the purpose of academic success, remove the audience altogether.  This requires a methodical approach, which if implemented, will turn your classroom into a place where the educator spends her classroom time actually teaching and where the students learn.

 7. Be a Classroom “Edutainer”

The students are engaging in undesirable behavior because they are bored.  If you are not “entertaining” your students with engaging activities and lessons, do not be surprised when your students start to entertain themselves.

A worksheet will not keep them engaged.  Teaching from behind your desk all day will not keep them engaged.  Only having activities that require them to sit, be quiet, and listen will not keep them engaged.  Differentiate your lesson by providing multiple ways for them to respond to your instruction.

Be the type of teacher you want to have.  Teach them.  Reach them.  Wow them.  Engage them.  They will not have time to misbehave.


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