As much as we may care about our challenging students, sometimes caring alone is not enough to reach them. Below you will find a few classroom management strategies to help you connect with students and better negotiate their behavior.
Effective Classroom Management Strategy 1:
Think of a student you clash with or find challenging. Now make a commitment to devote two minutes of uninterrupted, undivided attention to that student for 10 consecutive days. During this allotted time, you will avoid doing or saying anything related to that student’s behavior or “misconduct.” Focus instead on relationship-building.
The 2 X 10
You may find that the student is skeptical of your intentions, so don’t expect smooth sailing right away. Just be patient and chances are that you’ll notice a change in the student’s behavior and attitude.
Effective Classroom Management Strategy 2:
The 4H method
Start by jotting down the names of the students you know the least. After compiling your list, commit to greeting these students with one of the four welcoming “H’s”:
- High five
- “How are you?”
You can take this strategy a step further by personalizing your greeting. Say one of your students was absent for a few days. Greet this student and say, “Hi, Joe. I’m glad to have you back in class. We missed having you last week!” If you attend after-school events, you might take this as an opportunity to congratulate a student on his or her performance on the baseball field, or on the stage of the school theatre.
Effective Classroom Management Strategy 3:
Understand why certain behavior irks you
When students act out or disrupt, many of us react to this behavior without really understanding why it bothers us so much. To better understand why these students test your patience, ask yourself the following questions:
- How often do I think about this challenging student? What does s/he do, or not do, that bothers me so much?
- Who does this student remind me of? Someone that I had trouble with in the past?
- How am I reacting to this student? What is the result?
- How would I like to have students react when I approach them? What might I do to reach this goal?
Effective Classroom Management Strategy 4:
Allow students to lead conferences
Research continues to find that students with engaged parents not only score higher on tests and miss less school, but that they also have better social skills, improved behavior, and adapt well to school. There are myriad ways we can engage parents, but we’d like to focus specifically on conducting student-led conferences. These are beneficial for a couple reasons: First, when students lead conferences, parents are more likely to come. Second, student-led conferences give students the opportunity to share portfolio highlights, identify what they do well, set new goals, and outline the ways in which they will achieve these goals.
Classroom Management Strategy 5:
Reinvent your “exit ticket” assignment
An exit ticket is the students’ response to a question or series of questions. Their “ticket” is their way to leave the classroom at the end of the day. You can do this as often as you like, but we usually save this writing activity for Fridays. Here are some of the questions you might like to include in the assignment:
- How can I help you be more successful in class?
- What did you like most/least about this week in class?
- What could I do to make this class more interesting next week?
- What are your goals for next week? How will you achieve them?
The success of this assignment is contingent upon the teacher taking the responses seriously. In other words, don’t elicit feedback if you aren’t willing to change your own behavior and take your students’ suggestions into consideration.
These effective classroom management tips have been adapted from Allen Mendler’s book, Connecting with Students.