Effective classroom management is one of the keys to a successful and thriving learning environment for both students and teachers alike. Classroom management encompasses a variety of routines, rules, and expectations across multiple learning environments including face-to-face, virtual, and blended. These learning environments can seem vastly different, but their goals remain the same: providing quality instruction and educational opportunities for all learners. Therefore, having effective classroom management practices in place which fit best and work successfully with your particular educational setting are essential. Classroom management consists of keeping students on task, encouraging appropriate behaviors, and pre-planned processes and procedures.
Throughout this module, you will:
- Develop specific procedures and guidelines for your own classroom (face-to-face, virtual, or blended).
- Design expectations, rewards, and consequences for your learners, in accordance with best practices and your school and/or district's policies.
- Begin to utilize age/grade-appropriate classroom management tools and techniques in your classroom.
- Identify necessary aspects of your students' learning space (physical classroom and/or online classroom) which will create a high quality environment, adapting your space as needed.
- Implement technology tools from our list of Classroom Resources to help effectively manage your classroom.
- Engage in this learning module by exploring our technology resources, selecting some that will be most beneficial to your students' learning, and then implementing them into your lessons.
In order to help you gain success, we will explore different classroom management techniques, systems, and routines, including in relation to technology tools and their uses within your learning environment. Some of the content has been divided into grade levels, and you may find that starting with your specific age group first is most beneficial. Then peruse the other grade levels, as some of the tips may be adaptable and applicable for your needs as well. As you absorb the content, focus on your particular learners' goals and their educational setting (face-to-face, virtual, or blended), and try some of the technology tools that appeal to you. When you have finished, you may complete the assessment. Whether this is your first year teaching or your fortieth year teaching, we hope you find this information helpful.
Creating a Structured Learning Environment
Whether you are starting at the beginning of the year or part way through it, one of the biggest challenges you might face in the classroom is developing effective classroom management. Ensuring that you have a well-developed classroom management system that your students thoroughly understand will help maximize student learning from day one.
Before you get started, here are some best practices to keep in mind:
- Rather than referring to "rules", share your "expectations" with your students. Expectations translate into appropriate behaviors in the real world, leading to a seamless transition to other school environments, practices, concerts, family gatherings, athletic events, future jobs, and other life experiences. Providing clear expectations will lead to a better experience for your students overall.
- Think about the layout of your classroom. Determine how students will sit, and the placement of your desk and other learning areas. Think about their ideal uses and adjust the space as you are able to in a way that will make it work best for your students.
- Model the behaviors you want your students to follow. By using clear and polite language, maintaining eye contact, and showing positive body posture, your learners will aim to do the same.
Also consider discipline strategies in advance that will ensure a consistent approach. This should align with your expectations as well as any school or district-wide policies. Align and convey your expectations and goals according to the ages/grade level(s) of your learners.
As you establish routines, here are some basic processes and procedures to consider:
- How we greet others
- How we line up
- Where we store personal belongings and classroom materials
- When to raise our hands and how to seek help appropriately
- Correct voice levels
The following ideas will also help to run a smooth learning environment. These can be adapted for virtual learning as well, and they have been divided into age levels/grades. Choose those that will be most beneficial with your classroom management plan.