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Classroom Management

Classroom Management

If you find yourself frustrated with a certain student who is not doing what you want, consider the following suggestions:

How You Communicate

  • Be Aware of Physical Distance--Don’t invade the student’s personal space (18 to 36 inches), but don’t correct from across the room. Communication from more than 4 feet away is not usually effective. If you are too close, look for the student to show clenched fists, putting hands on hips, moving away, tightening of facial muscles, and/or saying something like “get out of my face.”

  • Use Effective Facial Expressions—Establish eye contact, but don’t glare or demand the child look at you. Keep a neutral expression by nodding when the student is talking, tilting your head to the side, using “soft” eyes, and smiling only when appropriate.

  • Be Aware of Body Language--Use a “supportive stance” which is an open body posture with shoulders at 45° to the student with hands at your side, unclenched fists and one foot behind the other. This gives you a safety margin. Do NOT touch the student. Avoid the challenge posture of clenched fists, folded arms, hands behind your back or in pockets, and/or facial scowl. Remember, 54% of your message’s meaning comes from your body language.

  • Watch Your Loudness--Use a calm, controlled, soft, slow and firm voice rather than a loud and emotional voice. Remember, 38% of your message’s meaning comes from your tone, speed, and loudness.

  • Give Time to Comply--Allow student 5-10 seconds to comply. Give Time to Comply--Allow student 5-10 seconds to comply. Allows the student to “save face.” Don’t expect or demand immediate compliance. Shift the attention or focus away from the student.

What You Say

  • Make More “Start” than “Stop” Requests--State behavior you want in positive terms rather than telling students to stop doing something.

  • Avoid Emotional Requests--Leave the negative or emotional requests and sarcasm at home; they interfere with compliance.

  • Focus on Descriptive Requests--Make your requests brief, descriptive, and objective. Avoid asking questions (e.g., “what were you doing?” or “did you do that?”). Don’t say--”be good” or “behave yourself.” Say the student’s name first and specify what you want (e.g., Linda, return to your seat now and work on your math work.”).

  • Offer One Request/One Repeat--Make one request at a time. Don’t nag! Make one request at a time. Don’t nag! If doesn’t comply, repeat the request and add a mild consequence and end by saying: . . . “make a choice that is good for you.” “Linda, return to your desk and work on your math. If you don’t, you will owe me 20 seconds after class change. Make a choice that is good for you.” You must always follow through with the mild consequence when using this. Otherwise, student misbehavior may not stop.

  • Reinforce Compliance--Don’t ignore compliance; acknowledge it either verbally or nonverbally (smile, head nod, wink, or thumbs up)!

Classroom Management Resources