Classroom Management by Gini Cunningham

By admin
Dec 10th, 2013

Classroom management is the way you set up your class so that it is conducted in such a way that it offers fairness and opportunity to learn for every student in your care. Classroom management is not a room resonating with threats, screaming, or out-of-control behavior nor is it favoritism or uneven dispensation of consequences.

The rules you establish guide classroom management and these rules are regulated through fair, consistent consequences. One rough day may happen, perhaps even two. But if the rough pattern is a regular occurrence, it is time to re-evaluate your management tools.

  1. Determine just a few rules (3 or 4) that will bring discipline to your classroom while promoting a positive learning environment.
  2. Explain your expectations to your students and pledge to follow them fairly each day.
  3. Decide on consequences for misbehavior and let students know what will happen if they decide not to follow the rules. These should be incremental, sequential, and easy to enforce. There should be no doubt about your rules and the consequences.
  4. Organization long before school begins makes rules easier to implement. If you are bewildered, lost, and disorganized, you invite unnecessary disruption from students. Your model behavior – including planning and preparation to prevent stress – will be reflected in the behavior of your students.
  5. Post your rules and consequences and adhere to them consistently.
  6. Demand and demonstrate respect. It is nice if students like you but is far more important that they respect you. Most often “liking you” will follow. Never ignore or justify poor behavior.
  7. Remain calm. Yelling and sarcasm pretty much guarantee a later return of misbehavior. After all, how do you respond to shouting and criticism?
  8. Chat with a mentor if behavior difficulties persist. Ask him or her to come in to observe and offer some insight as to what causes or exacerbates a problem. Do not allow the mentor to take over during class; debrief at the end of the period or day.
  9. Move about your room, make contact with students verbally and through eye contact, let students know that you really care about them and their learning. Kindness works wonders.
  10. It is never too late to fix behavior and management issues. Know that ignoring problems is ignorance and adds to a stressful job and life. Each day evaluate what went well and why and what did not go well and why. Adjust, adjust, adjust.
© Gini Cunningham (adapted from her book, The New Teacher’s Companion: Practical Wisdom for Succeeding in the Classroom (ASCD). In addition to her writing, Gini is an author, workshop leader, and consultant who provides education for educators.

And if you want to get your current semester organized or prepare for the next, I highly recommend If You Do Nothing Else This Semester. With the strategies I present you will get the strategies you need to not only have a successful semester, but a successful year.