Classroom management plays a crucial role in creating an effective learning environment and disruptive behaviour can be one of the biggest struggles you face during lesson time.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Research suggests that if you can bond with your students and make strong connections with them, they will be less likely to disrupt your classes and their behaviour won’t be as challenging.
Here are some of our top tips for better classroom management.
Make Meaningful connections!
Make an active decision to get to know your students. Build individual relationships and show a genuine interest in them as people and their well-being. Warmly greet them when they arrive into your classroom, and ensure they feel like they are welcome and wanted there.
Why not set aside some time at the start or the end of your lessons for ‘get to know you’ activities, so you can learn more about their lives outside of school. So, why is this effective? Students are far less likely to act out if they feel like they have a personal connection with you.
Set the tone with positive feedback
From the offset, make sure you put in the extra effort to provide positive feedback, especially sending feedback home for vulnerable students. Set a standard of letting your students know when they’re been doing a great job, and share the news with their families when they’ve shown particularly great behaviour, participation and progress.
Why does giving positive feedback work? Starting a new year, or a new term, with regular positive feedback is a great reset for vulnerable students. It takes them a step away from the behavioural labels they may have had previously.
Create a predictable routine
Students who are vulnerable or often bring disruptive behaviour to the class often don’t have much routine in their lifestyle. Structure and consistency are effective at breeding a feeling of security.
Make sure you have set procedures during your lessons, at the beginning and at the end. This allows these students to have an understanding and expectation of what is to come in your lesson. Allowing students to also have a visual available with instructions, schedules and expectations of them can also be helpful in reinforcing a classroom routine.
This particular tip is quite useful in reducing the stress and anxiety within students who enter your classroom as they will know exactly what to expect when they enter.
Encourage a sense of belonging.
Fostering practices that promote a community feel are also key in preventing disruptive behaviours. Allow students to have their own space within your class that they can personalise and really own.
Using inclusive language will also bring a sense of belonging, ensure the classrooms is ‘ours’ and not ‘yours’. Allow everyone to feel a part of the team, they are all responsible for looking after their classroom.
This tip is effective because when students feel like they are being heard, valued and connected to others it will satisfy their need for belonging and relationships. This then, in turn, helps them to bond as a supportive classroom community.
Make time for playfulness
Being in a classroom should be all business and no play. Make sure you inject fun activities into your lessons. This could be either silly games or humour, anything that will make your students smile. Laughter and playfulness are often linked to the ability of building social cohesion.
As an example, why not start and end the class with a fun activity?
The reason this is successful in reducing disruptive behaviour is because students playing boosts creative thinking and relationships, meaning you are able to create a strong bond with them.
Reinforce Positive Behaviour
Much like setting the tone with positive feedback, it’s also key that reward positive behaviour to reinforce it. Make sure you are keeping a keen eye on your students and observe when there are displaying excellent behaviour patterns. Recognise kindness, effort, attention and progress too.
Why not create a rewards system with points, prizes and notes home to really encourage positive behaviour. Recognise individual behaviour within students, especially those who typically bring disruptive behaviour to the classroom.
Why is this a successful technique? It motivates students to repeat their good behaviour as they want to be rewarded.
When all else fails. Keep calm.
Keeping your cool is absolutely key when it comes to addressing negative behaviours. You need to speak calmly, and don’t show any form of negative emotion such as anger or frustration. Follow through on consequences that you have set in place, as students won’t respect this framework if you don’t use it. Also avoid escalating situations unnecessarily by lashing out emotionally at students. Don’t be a trigger to the disruptions.
How does this work? Vulnerable students often struggle to regulate their behaviour, so ensure you keep your responses regulated and be a behavioural role model.
And there you have it. Our top tips for dealing with disruptive students. We hope you've learnt something new and find these helpful within your classrooms.