When you’re a teacher you have to practice a lot of patience with your students. Older and younger kids want to have fun and enjoy time with their peers which can lead to a chaotic classroom if you allow it.
Knowing how to discipline students is not easy, especially when you are a new teacher. Things can go from bad to worse if a class is not in order. The last thing you want is to have the students be the “rulers”. Read this guide to help you learn a few helpful tips to manage your classroom if you are having a hard time figuring out what to do.
The Importance of Classroom Management
The best way you can learn to discipline a student or students is by establishing, maintaining, and restoring relationships. This starts on the very first day. The stronger relationship you have with your students, the more everyone can understand and respect one another.
Classroom discipline can be easier by doing this alone and can lower disruptions as much as 80%. Welcome your students as they enter the room and set one-on-one meetings to get to know one another better. Alone time with a student can also be ideal during moments you need to repair bad situations or misunderstandings before they get worse.
1. Keep a Neutral Tone When Speaking
You do not have to speak in a loud voice with your students to get your point across. Using a clear, neutral, and stern voice is more than enough to get their attention. If you have to shout to get your students to stop, you may have already lost control of the classroom.
Talking in a less aggressive tone is better. You can even drop your voice lower to spark attention. This method works wonders. Going loud then quiet is also a good idea. You can raise your voice for a moment to get their attention. Then, you can lower your voice so they work harder to listen.
You can track, manage, and modify how your students act when you take advantage of access research-based classroom behavior management strategies.
Another tip that may seem counterproductive is to acknowledge good behavior and ignore low-level disruptions. Rather than targeting certain students, you should learn when to praise certain behavior that you want to reinforce. When you have a few students turn in their work on time, talk about that instead.
Other than knowing when to focus your attention on good behavior, it’s ok to let students talk when it’s minimal. Children will often stop on their own without you having to say anything. Just remember you should always set clear expectations on what you want in classes. Talk with your students and explain why it is important.
2. Use Body Language and Cues
When you want to create order in the classroom, talking is not the only way to get your point across. Sometimes you have to reorient your students through body language and cues, especially when you are dealing with a noisy classroom.
Students get excited about conversations with their teachers and with each other. It can be easy for them to get side-tracked. Most of them will continue if they believe it’s ok. You can encourage students to get back on track with either of the two without appearing as controlling, or forceful.
For example, one body language you can use is to sit back down at your desk and stare at your students. Cues such as clapping or flickering the lights are also something they will understand. Rather than raising your voice, it is more effective to do the opposite.
You can bring awareness and enhance rapport with your students when you use non-verbal communication to restore order. Focus on your posture and use your hands as an indicator. Maximize every inch of your class too and do not be afraid to move around to gain their attention.
3. Address Concerning Behavior Right Away
Disciplining students is not fun or easy, but learning how to manage your classroom can make the difference whether or not your students respect you. You must remain consistent in applying the rules you set. When you let something slip more than a few times, one student or many students will start to think it is ok.
Remember not to single out a certain student — it’s the bad behavior you want to correct. Be mindful of how you react to bad behavior and how you correct them. The best way to do this and to make sure behavior does not get out of hand is to always actively supervise your students as you teach.
This means you want to be near them most times and stay away from the desk whenever possible. Slipping away to your desk is a tempting invitation to students who do take this as the teacher being relaxed.
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t sit at all. Just be aware to stay active. Move and talk with your students.
When you speak and a student does not listen to you the first or second time, you want to be stern and take action. For example, if you have problems with one or two students talking, you should alter the seating. While you can focus on changing only the seats for the students causing trouble, it is better to change everyone’s seat.
It’s good to give your students choices as one way to boost performance and reduce anxiety. You will learn to take away privileges, even if it’s temporary when you notice students are unable to get their work done.
Discipline Tips That Work for Younger and Older Students
Just because you have to discipline your students when it’s needed doesn’t mean you will look bad in their eyes. Even when they do not want to listen, they do understand why they have to. If they don’t, you should explain it to them.
Never allow your students to feel as if you are targeting them when you do have to manage the class. You can build a great relationship with your students and keep things in order when you learn the proper way to gain their attention.
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Jason is the Marketing Manager at a local advertising company in Australia. He moved to Australia 10 years back for his passion for advertising. Jason recently joined BFA as a volunteer writer and contributes by sharing his valuable experience and knowledge.