Tips to calm chaotic classrooms into a safe environment.

Student misbehaviour causes teacher stress and burnout and has a detrimental effect on students’ learning within the classroom.
It is in the teacher’s interests to understand and develop the classroom management strategies (CMS) needed to establish an environment for learning. 
Setting out your stall regarding your norms and expectations is paramount in the first three weeks of school if you hope to create a calm, safe and rich learning environment for the remainder of the year (Korinek et al. 1999).
If the school year did not start as you had hoped regarding student behaviour, note that these strategies can be used after every school holidays to reset norms and expectations successfully.
Tips to reset your norms and expectations:
Spend more time during the first week explaining and reminding students of the rules, integrating these rules and procedures into a workable system, and teaching them explicitly to students, so do not feel pressured into jumping straight into the curriculum. 
Teach students how to behave appropriately by rehearsing and use incentives to shape behaviour, for example, giving positive praise to students who are making good choices.
Explicitly teach students to respond to specific signals. One example is the ‘Cue to Begin’ and, importantly, rehearse this and keep practising until all students respond quickly and are quiet (Emmer et al., 1980; Green, 2006).
Jack (requested surname not be used), a first-year Graduate teacher, said, “I use to dread having to get the attention of the class as it always ended in me shouting to the student for them to be quiet. I have now taught my year 8 students to respond to ‘eyes on me one-two-three’, it took a while, but it is so powerful”.
Having a toolbox of strategies to use is important. Spend time upskilling yourself and remember it is a science and an art, so it takes lots of practice and reflection to perfect.  There is not a magic wand! See for more support. 
Emmer, E. T. and L. M. Stough (2001). “Classroom Management: A Critical Part of Educational Psychology, With Implications for Teacher Education.” Educational Psychologist 36(2): 103-112.
Korinek, L., Walther-Thomas, C., McLaughlin, V. L., & Williams, B. T. (1999). Creating classroom communities and networks for student support [Electronic version]. Intervention in School & Clinic, 35(1), 3-8.

Leave a Reply