Critical Thinking

5 Effective Classroom Management Strategies That Work Wonders

Every classroom is vastly different... Probably not. 

When it comes to sharing effective classroom management strategy, there are lots of different ways of thinking. Most educators believe things should be done a certain way and many of these ways are vastly different. Many of these methods have also enjoyed years of success—after all, if it works then it works. 

The question is, is there a comprehensive universal list of approaches regarding effective classroom management that can help all teachers?

Since every classroom is vastly different, probably not. However, below we give you some ideas which are the consensus across many of the educators we've interviewed. Perhaps they can help you no matter if you're a veteran or the new kid on the block. Either way, all teachers can benefit from considering these 5 effective classroom management tips.

1. Write Down the Rules

Many teachers hand out a syllabus at the start of the year detailing what students are responsible for and when. It specifies tests and quizzes, and tells students how their grades will be determined. In today's age of technology, it also outlines the acceptable use of both school tech and, in the case of BYOD, personal technology.

Consider drafting up and handing out a two- or three-page “student handbook” 

that details what students are allowed and not allowed to do and when. The ThoughtCo. article 10 Essential Policies for Your Student Handbook will give some ideas about the essentials needed for just such a guide.

2. Let Students Help

Your learners are much more apt to follow guidelines they helped create. 

Rather than hand out the behaviour syllabus on the first day of class, spend time discussing these potential rules with the students. You will be surprised how many of them will want stricter rules than you do. It's important that the rules are mutually fair and practical as well as constructive. Consequently, you must make sure there is a majority consensus on whatever the class adopts.

Guide the class discussion so there are no rules that will cause too many class disruptions or too much undisciplined behaviour. 

It's also important to be consistent with the guidelines once they are put into practice. This kind of consistency results in students who are generally content as they know everyone is being treated fairly.

3. Encourage Questioning

Make it crystal clear that students can, and should, ask questions at any time. As a teacher, you should not be so focused on your lecture that questions aren’t encouraged. The printed rules should specify what students need to do to ask questions. Generally, students need to raise their hands.

Additionally, invest in finding ways of getting the students interested in the subject matter by offering relevance to their interests. 

Ask the students questions and invite them to ask follow-up questions 

that steer the discussion in the direction of critical thinking skills development.

Pro-tip: You'll find our Critical Thinking Skills Cheatsheet to be a big help if your learners are looking for discussion prompts.

Of course, all the questions should be answered but not necessarily by you. Encourage students to volunteer answers to their classmates’ questions. Students often learn better when the information is explained to them by another student.

4. Let Students Lead

All students aren't the same, so why have them read Chapter 1 this week, Chapter 2 next week, etc.? Ask your students who is interested in writing a short paper about a subject that is mentioned in the chapter. You may be surprised how many of them will take up the challenge.

What about encouraging your learners to step into your shoes for a bit? 

Letting them tell you and their classmates what they have learned can be an effective teaching tool for these student "teachers" and their classmates. Let students who are interested make a 5-minute presentation on the subject matter. This is also a terrific quick formative assessment tool for checking understanding.

5. Encourage Group Projects

In every teacher's toolbox for effective classroom management, there should exist lessons and tasks for building teamwork and leadership skills. 

Today’s digital students love working in groups; it’s in their nature. 

They work, game, and connect online constantly and in school, it’s no different.

They look to their peers to collaborate and share ideas. They’re just as likely to work with students across the world as they are in their classroom. Collaboration Fluency skills are a huge asset for life after school. The working world is being affected by new communication technology. As a result, one’s ability to function in teams that are both real and virtual is important.

Students who work with each other inside and outside the classroom also might develop more respect for each other. Some students will develop leadership skills while others will learn to be more responsible about completing assignments when there is a group grade involved. 

What are the most effective classroom management tips you would share from your own experience?