Maintaining Discipline In Class

Every time children return from a long period of holiday, there will always be those who are more rowdy and disruptive in class than they would normally be. This is because they probably haven’t spent their holidays following regular schedules, and definitely not in a classroom! Then there are those regular days when a teacher just can’t seem to get everyone to listen. Here are some tips to manage the discipline in your class, whether it’s during the post-holiday classroom rush or even the rest of the school year!

1. Make Rules Together With Your Class

When it comes to classroom rules, there can be students who think the rules are not useful and are only there to stop them from doing what they think is fun. The result of this mindset is students who have little regard for the rules that have been laid out, and this can lead to a disorderly classroom. A good way to help students understand the rules and why they have to follow them is to make the rules together with your students right there in class! Here are a few different approaches you can take with this method:

  • You could ask students to come up with things they should not do in class and the reasons why those things should not be done

  • You could lay out rules you have already made and get them to think about why those rules have to be in place

  • You could ask them what they should achieve in class (e.g. “Learning new lessons”) and what they should and should not do to achieve that goal (e.g. “We should listen in class and should not talk when the teacher is talking)

Having these discussions on classroom rules with your students at the beginning of the school year or semester explains to them why those rules are in place, and why they should be followed. You can even get them to come up with suitable forfeits to do should they not follow the rules you have come up with together and put them on a board at the front of the class right beside the rules! With this, students will not feel like they are being treated unfairly, even when they have to carry out the forfeit. This method can help more students follow classroom rules more carefully, as they will understand why those rules are needed and have even come up with the forfeits themselves!

2. Reinforce Good Behaviour

Praising good behaviour can be as useful as or even more useful than punishing bad behaviour. Both can leave an impression on the child, but if you continuously show a good response to a child’s good behaviour, they are likely to want to repeat what they have done well again. With constant reinforcing and rewarding of good behaviour in class, you can show the students in your class what they should do instead of just what they should not do, and they will be far more motivated to be well-behaved and to do well! You can praise students for a job well done, or compliment their behaviour during lessons.

For more competitive classes, you could consider implementing a reward based system, where they are awarded points over the course of a term or semester, and at the end of the term, the group with the most number of points wins a prize! These points can be awarded for good behaviour in class or even class participation, which can be a good source of motivation for the students in your class to want to behave well in class and participate actively! For ideas on how to plan your reward based system, click here!

3. Be Calm and Quiet With Misbehaving Students

Sometimes, no matter what you do to encourage students to maintain their classroom discipline, a child may still misbehave during class. When it comes to a child who is not paying attention in class, it’s better to inconspicuously draw their attention back to the lesson instead of scolding them in front of the rest of their peers. You can do this by directing a question to the student or simply including their name in an example you give to the class. This way, the class isn’t disrupted and the child can redirect their attention back to the class.

If you have to reprimand a student, you should try to keep it as private and quick as possible. Doing it privately, the child would be more likely to be open and listen to the feedback you have, as compared to in front of their friends, where they are likely to be more defensive. The reprimand should also be quick and as soon as possible, so that the child knows you won’t let them get away with misbehaving in class!

4. Keep Your Class Neat and Tidy

An organised classroom environment can do wonders for the level of discipline in a class! It can show that your expectations for both the classroom and your students are both high, and is also much more inviting than an unorganized, messy classroom. Students will associate lessons with your clean and inviting classroom, which will make them much more eager to enter the classroom and learn. A tidy classroom environment can also calm down unruly students and can get them to much more focused during lessons! You can use these suggestions to organise your classroom and make it tidier than before:

  • Use old jars or cups to sort out pencils, markers and other stationery so that everything isn’t cluttered and are easy to find whenever children need them

  • Organise and label your shelves and drawers so that every toy and teaching material has its place, so that children know where to return everything after they’ve finished using it.

  • Draw up a daily task board which can list a task for each child to do, such as arranging the chairs at the end of the day or helping to pick up the toys after playtime to ensure that the classroom isn’t left messy at the end of the day

Using these tips you can have a neater classroom that is easy to maintain! With a cleaner and more organised classroom environment, your students are likely to be more comfortable and be less restless in class!

5. Avoid Using These Phrases In Class

There are always a few phrases that teachers know not to use in class, but at the same time, there are a few phrases that you may not know have an adverse effect on your students. Such words can discourage students and can make them less motivated in class, which may result in a class in which more students act out.

Here are some phrases you should avoid using and alternatives you can use instead:

  • Avoid the phrase “Weren’t you listening?” Some students may learn better visually then through listening to instructions! You can aid visual learners by writing down your instructions on the board as you speak.

  • Avoid the phrase “I thought you were smart” even to students who usually do well. This can be discouraging to the students as they struggle with topics they find more difficult. Try getting the student to look at the problem from a different angle, or by breaking down the problem into steps.

  • Avoid comparing your students against each other! While it is great to praise your students who do well, telling weaker students that they should be more like their stronger peers may only serve to discourage them from doing better in the future. Instead, you can praise the stronger students separately, while assisting the other students with what they can improve in to do better!

Just by changing your phrasing slightly you can help your students be more motivated and also help them do better in class! Your students will enjoy your lessons, act out less, and be more disciplined!

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