Check out the eight best classroom management strategies that’ll help you govern your classroom and teach your students in 2022:
Create first-step compliance
Remember to play
Start a “tech off” policy
1. Show Enthusiasm
Enthusiasm is arguably the most important quality a teacher can have.
Bringing an excited attitude to your classroom improves student interest, participation, and even learning.
But “enthusiasm” doesn’t always have to mean excitement. In fact, the English word comes from a Greek phrase that means “possessed by a god.”
In ancient Greece, that doesn’t mean you displayed any particular “godly” quality. But for the qualities you did display, you displayed them proudly and confidently.
The same idea holds true in the classroom.
Presenting yourself — and your lessons — with energy and poise is a sure way to draw students’ attention.
It’s effective because you establish that you’re the center of your students’ shared universe whenever you’re at the front of the class.
This is because teacher enthusiasm doesn’t always have an effect on behavior. But it does play a strong role in cognitive and emotional engagement.
Qin Zhang of Fairfield University noticed this in a controlled classroom environment. Zhang observed that some students may behave in class because of rules, grade incentives, or other external factors.
But just because they’re behaving doesn’t mean they’re learning.
Instead, Zhang points to a concept called “emotional contagion” — the spread of an emotion that someone displays — to credit better student learning.
In a nutshell, students feel the enthusiasm of the teacher, which improves their attention, engagement, and stimulation.
This is why enthusiasm helps student learning. Enthusiasm won’t make rowdy students behave well — but it does hold their attention.
2. Create First-Step Compliance
First-step compliance lets you establish a start to your class period while immediately drawing student attention to you.
This idea is great for getting students engaged from the get-go of every class, and it’s surprisingly simple for how effective it is.
All you have to do is give your students an easy “task” at the beginning of class.
That task can be almost anything — but you have to deliver it as instruction.
These are some of the easiest (and most popular) first-step compliance tasks in use today:
“Everybody’s eyes on me.”
“Look at the screen.”
“Point your eyes at the board.”
These super-simple instructions alert your students that class has started. They also start every class period with a quick accomplishment — kind of like how you can start your day with an accomplishment by making your bed.
It may not be a big deal, but it has big results.
If you’ve ever seen a hypnotist on stage, you may recognize this style of instruction. It’s phrased the same way hypnotists issue commands to their subjects.
The key is to minimize complexity and emphasize action. Start your instruction with a strong verb — look, point, etc. — and follow it with a focus.
Looking somewhere is often the best instruction since most people pay attention to something as they look at it.
With first-step compliance, you get every class off to a productive start.
3. Prepare Yourself
As any teacher can testify, teaching begins way before you step foot in a classroom.
It starts with preparation.
Even in the age of the Internet, it’s impossible to overstate the importance of good, old fashioned prep work.
Getting ready for your classes makes all of them work more smoothly.
You can plan for disruptions, create contingencies, and note areas for improvement.
The more time you spend preparing, the fewer surprises you’ll have in the classroom.
That’ll keep your students more focused and engaged.
The peer-to-peer nature of this teaching style gives students an opportunity to connect with one another.
It also encourages relationship-building, which creates a more positive learning environment in your classroom.
Instituting collaboration in your classroom gives you a new teaching strategy with little work on your end. You can come up with expectations, goals, and deadlines, and then you can turn your students loose!
The only effort required on your part is to ensure groups stay on topic.
Collaboration doesn’t have to be face-to-face either. Thanks to massive strides in online applications, companies like Google offer collaboration software your students can use simultaneously.
In other words, there’s never been a better time to encourage collaboration in your classroom.
6. Practice Follow-Through
It’s important that your students respect you. That means they need to respect your word.
If you say you’ll do something, they need to trust that you’ll follow-through.
This produces happy students, and it reinforces positive qualities like honesty, trust, and follow-through.
The more your students see you keep your word, the more likely they’ll be to do it as well.
Passively, this structures your class in a positive, productive way. Students feel that your classroom is a place of kept promises and potential, both of which keep them motivated.
This is a simple idea. But it’s how you can lead by example to keep students engaged in your class.