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8 Behavior Management Strategies to Improve Your Classroom Control

One of the most essential and challenging professions to be in is that of a teacher.

A significant factor of this is due to discipline and behavioral issues. In Characteristics of Effective Classroom Rules: A review of the Literature, Peter Alter and Todd Haydon show that student discipline was the second cited reason.

With teachers and parents being essential role models, behavior management and how it applies to the classroom (and home) is crucial.

If you want to know how you can help your little one foster better relationships and deeper learning, keep reading to find out.

The Classroom as a Positive Environment

One of the more important themes that an educator can instill in the students is the idea of the classroom as a safe space.

Safe space in this manner does not mean a physically safe environment. Here you would be creating a sense of belonging through a warm and empathetic classroom.

In an article called Active Listening: The Art of Empathetic Conversation, authored by Birgit Ohlin, she points out that people have a fundamental need to feel connected (Ohlin, 2021). This is true especially during the time in life when we absorb so much information.

One of the best ways to create a healthy and empathetic environment is through empathetic listening.

Empathetic Listening

The principles behind this type of listening are straightforward. They often have to do with giving our full attention. In her article Empathetic Listening: A Six-Step Guide, Marguerita Cheng states that there are six critical steps to achieving this.

Giving your listener undistracted attention, allowing them to feel like they are in control of the conversation. Look for nonverbal cues of emotion. Body language and eye contact will give you signals about feeling. Ask questions in a warm tone, being careful not to sound accusatory. Open-ended questions will provide the listener with a chance to reply. Actively listen and remain nonjudgmental. Being an active and nonjudgmental audience will allow the speaker to feel heard. In turn, this enables you to help them feel safe when presenting their feelings. This feeling of safety can also help push students to feed their curiosity.

Engagement Creates Curiosity

Theodore Frick authored a paper in 1990 titled Analysis of patterns in time: A method of recording and quantifying temporal relations in education. 

He provides the results of an observational study that demonstrated how students who were being supervised continued to focus on their work. In fact, the supervised students stayed on topic 40 percent more than unsupervised. (Frick, 1990, p. 180).

That isn’t to say that you should prevent individual work. Instead, you should have a plan and check the students.

The following are the most effective ways to foster engagement. Making the work clear, communicating assignments, monitoring, and giving positive feedback.

Kendra Cameron-Jarvis tells of a creative method to increase engagement called “gamification.” This method encourages motivation by using an activity and external reward system. You can find out more by clicking here.

Behavior Management Equals Preventative Measures

One of the best ways to stop unwanted behavior is by being proactive.

Methods of being proactive include setting up the classroom before class starts. If the classroom is well managed and has all the required materials accessible, you can better use your time in a supervisory role.

An excellent method to prevent disruptions is to make eye contact with your students and interact with all students rather than just a few.

Keeping students on track and focused on their work will also help prevent disruptive behavior.

With so many strategies for classroom behavior management tips, it can be difficult to find reliable information. So we have taken care of that for you. Check out our Insights to Behavior university page.

Relationships Build Trust

Students need to have trust in the teacher, knowing they care about their progress. An effective way to do this is by creating a positive relationship.

The educational psychology department at the University of Nebraska published a paper studying the student-teacher relationship and student behavior. The authors show that close student-teacher relationships helped mitigate risky behavior in middle school (Rudasill et al, 2010)

Meaning that even if you feel a student is disruptive, it could change their performance for the better if you try and foster a healthy relationship.

Student Responsibility

In a classroom, there are two primary roles of responsibility, teacher, and student. The teacher handles the setup, preparation, and routine while the class is in session.

According to Marvin Marshall, discipline is where the student must regulate their behaviors and emotions (Marshall, as cited in Woolfolk, 2013).

This focus on the student’s responsibility tends to create a community where they can thrive, learn, and communicate.

Communication Prevents Misinterpretation

One of the easiest ways to provoke an outburst of emotion is by misunderstanding what the speaker is saying.

In her book Educational Psychology, Anita Woolfolk talks about a method of communicating called “message sent-message received” (Woolfolk, 2018, p.538).

This type of communication allows the speaker and listener to ensure that they grasp the message’s intent. Communicating this way involves a paraphrasing rule.

What that means is that the listener must paraphrase the message delivered before being able to respond.

This allows the speaker to be confident they represented their intent and the listener heard it and answered accurately.

Special education is an area where student and teacher communication should be at its best. If you’re a special education director or teacher, check out our 30-minute demo to see how we can help you create the best learning environment.

Encourage Social Interaction

Adolescents are a vital population to encourage appropriate social interaction. Often, young students are starting to form the critical components of their personalities.

An individual’s personality forms through experience with the environment, peers, family, and other external factors.

It is important to teach and cultivate a mindset that allows for social development to help students develop lifelong skills.

Promoting Engaging Learning is Achievable

These behavior management strategies have multiple criteria, and research articles and books published that lend authority.

If you create a positive learning environment, remain empathic, and promote effective communication, a  great year of learning is achievable.

If you are a special education director, school counselor, or psychologist, we offer a free monthly webinar that provides in-depth information on social-emotional skills here.

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