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Are You Misusing Classroom & Behaviour Management?
They’re two very different strategies.
Students can be right little monkeys, can’t they?
That’s why it’s essential to have well-run classes so learners can learn.
Classroom and behaviour management are the two strategies we can use to do this.
The relationship between these two is essential, but people often confuse them. Worse, they may apply one when they need to use the other, leading to even more classroom disruption.
If behaviour management is control over the students, then classroom management is control over the environment and its routines, which then control the students for you.
Let’s have a closer look.
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What is Classroom Management?
Essentially, classroom management is handling the time between activities.
Students are usually engaged and working on tasks during activities, leaving you free to monitor their academic progress.
During the times in-between, there is potential for general monkeying around that can, if left unchecked, completely de-rail your class.
Like weeds, unwanted behaviour can grow through the cracks of time in your lesson plan.
To achieve smooth transitions between activities (and leave no cracks), put routines in place that students know, accept and expect. These routines may need to be explained at first, but from then on, they need to be stuck to with no exceptions.
Problem: Turning your back to the class to write on the board leads to students talking and mucking around. Solution: Write on the board while they’re still engaged in the previous task.
Problem: Handing out worksheets one at a time to a class means the students at the furthest end start playing up. Solution: Have student monitors who always hand out sheets for you, one for each row.
Problem: Young learners keep playing around with their pencils and stationery, dropping them on the floor and causing low-level disruption throughout the class. Solution: have learners place everything but the stationery they need right now in their bag under their seats. Give explicit instructions to take out and put away stationery when required.
There are hundreds more, changing to meet the needs of a thousand different classes.
Action point: how could you improve the transitions and routines in your classroom?
What is Behaviour Management?
Classroom management problems arise when the students have some ‘spare’ time and aren’t sure what they should be doing or are waiting to be told what to do next.
Behaviour management issues arise when learners know what they should be doing but choose to do something else instead.
Behaviour management is how you respond to those students to get them back on task with the minimum disruption possible.
You probably already have a behaviour management system (writing names on the board, deducting points, etc.) that escalates to calling parents or the academic manager.
Be aware of using behaviour management techniques when it’s a classroom management problem. You’ll only garner resentment from the student(s) involved.
I’ll cover more behaviour management strategies in a later article.
What’s the Relationship Between Classroom and Behaviour Management?
The better your classroom management, the less behaviour management you’ll have to engage in.
It’s that simple.
Good classroom management will never eliminate the need for behaviour management (students can still be disruptive during activities or try to push the boundaries), but it’ll undoubtedly happen less.
Having good classroom management will eliminate all the low-level disruption that irritates you and distracts students.
See you again in two weeks.
Whenever you're ready, there are three ways I can help you:
1. Learn how to plan better, faster and stress-free with my book Lesson Planning for Language Teachers (90 ratings, 4.5⭐ on Amazon).
2. Develop calm students, a relaxed mind and a classroom full of learning with my book Essential Classroom Management (16 ratings, 4.5⭐ on Amazon).
3. Improve your teaching in five minutes daily with my Reflective Teaching Practice Journal (4 ratings, 4.5⭐ on Amazon).