Classroom Management for Discipline and Focus

  • Classroom management is one of the biggest challenges teachers face.

    And students are more distracted than at any point in history, teachers say. So what can be done about it?

    Problems in the classroom can include students with behavior issues not learning and thereby taking time away from the rest of the class. Digital devices can also be an issue, as can students with ADHD and other diagnosed attention issues.

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    The classroom can be a difficult place to get a message across.

    So how is this fixed? How is better classroom management accomplished effectively and what is the best way to develop a classroom management program that maintains order and promotes educational objectives?

    The array of classroom management skills needed varies from school to school and classroom to classroom

    Classroom management instructor Matt Heglie says teachers must first understand the skills they need to learn and then prioritize those skills in their daily lives. This can be accomplished with professional growth courses, workshops and teacher collaboration,” he says.

    For starters, he says, it is important to understand that no two classrooms are the same and there is no one-size-fits-all approach to classroom management. Teachers must learn to adapt to the environments they are given. There are, however, guidelines that can be followed to ensure maximum management and productivity.

    Classroom management is case by case

    “The array of classroom management skills needed varies from school to school and classroom to classroom,” Heglie says.

    Experts say any program or plan must focus on fair and clear classroom rules and consequences that students participate in planning.  Above all, participation gives them a sense of ownership, teachers say.

    Plans must be consistent with a sound philosophy regarding student discipline. Above all, rules must be realistic and not just based on fear. Authoritarian approaches do not seem to work well with today’s students. Classroom management philosophies, for this reason, must therefore focus on improving social skills.

    Ultimately, teachers must adopt win-win approaches, say management experts. This requires that questions are asked — How many rules should I have? What type of rules should be enforced? Should they be visible? Can a classroom “motto” replace rules? Can my classroom function without rules? These are just a few.

    Heglie says many teachers know what to do and some teachers establish good routines and protocols early in the year, but they must continue to model and reinforce the expectations of the students. He says teachers must be flexible and adjust strategies accordingly as the year progresses.

    Teachers taking a course such as his, for example, can expect to gain a greater understanding of their teaching style, which is a step to success.

    “Teachers will explore various leadership styles and their effectiveness,” he says of his course. “They will be allowed opportunities to reflect on their current practices. They will learn current and efficient strategies that will prove valuable to their sanity and their students’ outcomes.”

    Click here to sign up for Heglie’s course.