Article About Classroom Management And Discipline

The Key to Effective Classroom Management

A classroom full of raucous children who are unable to concentrate on the lesson is a scene that is all too familiar for many educators, and it may be an intimidating one. It’s possible that some strategies for managing a classroom can bring things back on track, but by this point, priceless time has already been wasted.

One of the most successful strategies to avoid disturbances in the classroom in the first place is for teachers with more experience to cultivate meaningful relationships with their pupils. A recently published study sought to investigate the efficacy of this strategy. Academic engagement increased by 33 percent and disruptive behaviour decreased by 75 percent in classrooms where teachers used a series of techniques centred around establishing, maintaining, and restoring relationships. As a result, the time students spent in the classroom was more worthwhile and productive.

Clayton Cook, a professor at the University of Minnesota and the primary author of the study, argues that “strong teacher-student interactions have long been regarded a core part of a healthy school experience.” It is possible for the students’ well-being to be negatively impacted when these relationships are destroyed, which can then lead to difficulties in both academics and behaviour.

A total of 220 students in fourth and fifth grade participated in the research, and their teachers utilised a method called Establish-Maintain-Restore to foster positive interactions with the students and increase the students’ sense of belonging in the classroom. (A subsequent study conducted with middle school teachers utilised the same procedures, and identical findings were obtained.) The process of developing relationships was divided into three stages: the first meeting, maintenance during the school year, and periods when a relationship may be at risk of being damaged. Useful techniques were developed for each stage of the process.

Form for Reflection on Relationships (PDF, 62.35 KB)
A relationship reflection form, such as the one that we provide here, can assist teachers take notes on each individual student and emphasise those that require the most attention. This is helpful because it is possible for some students to fall through the cracks, which is why we provide this form.

STARTING ON A POSITIVE NOTE

Participants in the study allotted time at the beginning of the academic year to cultivate personal connections with their students. According to Cook and the rest of his colleagues, the mission of the school is to “guarantee that all kids feel a feeling of belonging that is characterised by trust, connection, and understanding.” Students that struggle academically or behaviorally benefited from developing positive relationships, which provided “protective effects” that allowed them to maintain their concentration on their studies.

Teachers can do the following to develop healthy relationships:

Students are referred to as “bank time.” To develop a deeper familiarity with the pupils, set up one-on-one encounters with each of them. The objective is to “make deposits into the relationship,” so that in the event that you may need to provide constructive criticism or address disruptive conduct in the future, it will be easier for you to do so.
Encourage student-led activities. When students are given the opportunity to discuss their interests, they have a greater sense of investment in their education. Teachers have the option to take a back seat, offer encouragement, and listen.
Please make everyone feel welcome as they enter the classroom. Activities that assist promote a friendly classroom culture include providing encouraging greetings to students as they enter the room and asking questions designed to break the ice.
Use positive communication tactics. Open-ended inquiries, introspective listening, validation comments, demonstrations of enthusiasm or interest, and compliments are all helpful ways to ease kids into classroom conversations. This is especially true for students who are timid or introverted.

MAINTAINING RELATIONSHIPS

Connections The authors of the study point out that if relationships are not actively maintained, their quality will decrease with time. It’s possible that teachers put too much emphasis on academics and not enough on the emotional well-being of their students, which causes them to steadily burn through the time they banked with their pupils in the beginning.

Maintaining connections requires educators to continue implementing the tactics outlined above, as well as the following additional strategies:

Make a mental note of both the positive and negative interactions you have with kids. The student-to-teacher ratio should ideally be five to one.
Maintain consistent contact with the pupils. Inquire about their well-being and the kind of assistance they could require. Todd Finley outlines in an article for Edutopia how he was able to concentrate on a smaller group of children each day by using the 5×5 assessment period.
Recognize and reward appropriate behaviour. The prevention of disruptive behaviour before it becomes an issue is made possible when teachers concentrate their attention on positive conduct.

REPAIRING HARM BEFORE THINGS GET WORSE

A strained connection between a teacher and a student can develop over time as a result of unfavourable exchanges such as misunderstandings, disagreements, or criticism. Students could experience feelings of disengagement and become less motivated to take part in activities if these potentially unpleasant interactions are not addressed. They might also be more likely to act inappropriately, which would result in additional harm. Therefore, it is essential for educators to “actively reconnect” with their pupils in order to reestablish a positive state in their connection.

When there is a need to mend relationships, teachers can:

Relinquish control and begin over. Instead of keeping a student’s past transgressions as a cloud over their head, teachers should provide students the opportunity to begin each new day with a clean slate.
Accept responsibility for the consequences of their conduct. When things go wrong, teachers should refrain from placing blame on pupils and instead ask themselves, “What might I have done to avoid the problem in the first place?” They should not be scared to apologise when it is appropriate to do so because doing so helps create trust with kids.
Exhibit some empathy. There are always two sides to every tale, and a teacher might accept that students may have a different point of view regarding what took place by saying that there are always two sides to every story.
Focus on solutions, not problems. The children and the teachers can collaborate to create a solution that is acceptable to all parties involved.
Don’t conflate the act with the person who did it. It is essential to provide constructive criticism of the conduct, rather than the person. There is a risk that children will internalise the label of “problem student” if their teachers give them that designation, which will make it more likely that they would engage in the problematic behaviour in the future.
The main point is: Building relationships among students and teachers is the first step toward effective classroom management. Students are more likely to be intellectually engaged and display positive behaviour when they have a stronger sense of belonging in their schools and communities.