It is very common for teachers to face discipline problems in the classroom. In these cases, classroom management is fundamental; It helps on focusing on the learning process and makes the lesson more efficient.
What causes discipline problems?
In order to manage discipline issues, the teacher needs to understand how they are caused. The reasons may vary: Lack of interest in the subject taught, issues at home with parents, learning disability of the child, fast pace teaching which students cannot keep up. Even when discipline problems stem from reasons outside the classroom environment, it is the teacher’s responsibility to address them and set some boundaries.
How can I deal with discipline problems in my classroom?
Here are 10 tips:
1. Use your eyes.
Keep eye contact with students and scan the room to pick up signs of boredom, restlessness or distraction. A good teacher has eyes on the back of her head. A pointed look at a misbehaving child should work.
Use your voice and your ears.
Try to keep a balance: Speak clearly, but don’t shout. Be descriptive but don’t talk too much. When you’re speaking, you want absolute silence until you invite responses. If you hear a gradually rising murmur or a little chat between two of the kids at the back, nip it in the bud. Maybe you need to change the activity or pace.
2. Use your body.
Vary your position in the class. Try to move around, so you can see all the students, and monitor when they are involved in a task.
3. Use your authority.
You’re the boss and they know it. They might want to test you but most children and adolescents want affirmation and praise. They appreciate the structure, so be firm and don’t argue, particularly with individuals in front of the whole class.
4. Be creative.
You don’t always have to stick to the tight teaching schedule. Adding some creative activities in your classroom now or then will make students less bored. These books may give you some ideas: Game On, Teaching Young Learners: Action Songs, Chants & Games, and The Teacher’s Basic Tools: Making Our Lessons Memorable.
5. Be flexible.
If an activity isn’t working, skip it and move on. If students say they don’t have time to revise for the test you’ve planned for Thursday, perhaps you can reschedule it for Friday.
6. Be organized.
Plan a variety of elements into the lesson and have one or two extra up your sleeve for students who finish quickly or to occupy them for the last five minutes. Start the lesson with something to get the students’ attention and interest. Be aware of which activities stir them up and settle them down. Let them in on your lesson plan by noting on the board what they are going to be doing in the lesson. Have a plan for dealing with late-comers (a seat near the door?).
7. Be consistent.
Treat students equally. Give each a turn. Do not only be a teacher pet to the enthusiastic compulsive hand-raisers at the front. Keep to the rules and routines. It’s useful to draw up an agreement list at the beginning of the school year.
8. Be clear and positive.
When giving instructions, use examples and demonstrations of what you want the students to do. Give positive feedback and always reward good work and behaviour. Success breeds success.
9. Be sensitive.
Lessons often presume a receptive homogenous mass. Some of your students may be hyperactive, dyslexic or depressed; have other learning or emotional problems. Children are influenced by the weather (What happens to them when there’s a storm brewing?); adolescents by their hormones. All students bring their outside life experiences and personalities into the classroom. Bring yours too.
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