s your class out of control? Are they talking when they should be listening? Are they ignoring your redirection? A class of well behaved students can be a great place to teach and to learn. But a class that is out of control can be very challenging. These steps can help you to get control of your class.
Keep students academically engaged.
Keeping them engaged in academic learning cuts out the majority of behavioral problems and helps you to get control of your class. Students are often not attentive to a lesson for a variety of reasons. It could be that they are bored, they may need things that are more important to them than learning (like attention), or they may just be inattentive. If you are able to grasp their attention and get them involved in the lesson, their other behaviors will automatically reduce. This means that lessons should be interactive and should switch tasks a few times within a typical class period. They should also be fun/entertaining, and should get students moving.
Use novelty to help gain or regain their attention. Most students can only listen to a limited amount of lecture or sit for a limited amount of time before they tune out. Read the article about effective teaching in the resources section below. It will give some good ideas for engaging students and it will help you to get control of your class.
Make sure that students know the rules and the consequences and then follow through every time in order to get control of your class.
This may sound like something that does not have to be said. However, especially in higher grade levels where students have several different teachers, the rules may change from class to class. Post the rules. Go over them. Reinforce them from the very first day of school. Finally, be consistent so that every student knows what to expect. Behaviors will increase when follow through is not consistent. When this happens, we are actually teaching persistence. When you do follow through make sure the consequences are meaningful and reasonable and are something you can actually enforce.
Make sure that the positives outweigh the negatives.
Students will be more likely to follow behavioral redirection and also be really engaged in academics when school is a positive experience. This means that the redirection cannot be the bigger part of their interaction with a teacher. Pick your battles and give enough positive interaction that school is still a positive experience. Positive experiences at school can be as simple as a thumbs up, a good grade, etc. A positive atmosphere can help you to get control of your class.
Make sure that the classroom arrangement and atmosphere promote good behavior and academic engagement.
** First make sure that all students can see the instruction. When student cannot make eye contact with instruction, they are much more likely to tune out and do something else. If they are at tables make sure that they are arranged so that students do not have to turn around to see. If you use an overhead projector make sure the lights are not turned down too low and that there is a clear field of vision around the projector.
** Also use preferential seating for students to get control of your class. As student who is very distracted may need to sit at the front of the room but a student who is very self-conscious may need to sit in the back where other students are not looking at them. A student who is very distractible should not be near a student who likes to fidget or talk.
** Use yellow or other lights to create a calming atmosphere. Also reduce visuals on the wall. Everyone loves to decorate classroom walls, but too many things can make a room way too visually stimulating and that contributes to off-task behaviors.