No matter which classroom management system you choose to implement in your classroom, they all include these five key variables:
Structure and Organization
Observe Student Behavior
When behaviors occur in your classroom, you can return to those key variables to determine which area needs to be addressed.
Structure and Organization
Establishing a positive classroom environment is an important component of the success of your classroom. You can not control student behavior, but you can manage your classroom environment. Putting structure in place is the foundation of your classroom management system that you can build upon. The fundamental structural elements include room arrangement, classroom rules, routines and procedures, attention signals, and daily schedules.
While building your foundation, here are some questions to help guide your systems.
- Can you easily move around the room?
- Is it a student-centered and safe physical arrangement?
- Are you consistently implementing all aspects of your classroom rules?
- What are your non-negotiable rules, and how are they reinforced?
- How do you effectively and efficiently gain your student’s attention?
- Do you have well-established procedures and routines?
- How have you taught and reinforced them with your students?
- What is your daily schedule, and how have you communicated it to your students?
Establishing high expectations is important, but teaching them to your students allows them the ability to achieve your vision. Teaching how you want your classroom to look and sound during different activities is crucial for the overall success of your classroom management system.
If you don’t teach it, you can’t expect it. If you are implementing CHAMPs classroom management, you specify your expectations for what your classroom should look and sound like by applying the CHAMPs acronym. The acronym stands for Conversation, Help, Activity, Movement, and Participation. Teaching expectations is a vital component of CHAMPs. You should be displaying, modeling, and teaching your expectations before every activity in the classroom.
Learn more about creating a classroom management plan at our CHAMPs workshop!
Questions to help guide teaching expectations are:
- What behaviors are you expecting from your students during each activity in the classroom?
- Are you reviewing your expectations before every activity?
- Are re-teaching when necessary?
- Are you using CHAMPs or looks like/sounds like to clarify your expectations for transitions in your classroom?
- Is signage posted?
Observe Student Behavior
Supervising student behavior is essential for your student’s safety, but it is also the best way to address behavior proactively. Active supervision includes circulating, scanning, and monitoring all behaviors in the classroom, engaging in positive feedback, being professional, proactively intervening, and instructing student behavior. The best way to assess your classroom behavior is to collect data while you are observing.
Questions to ponder for effectively observing student behavior include:
- Are you circulating and scanning all parts of the classroom?
- Do you model friendly, respectful behavior while monitoring the classroom?
- Are you collecting behavior data for your whole classroom or individual students?
- Are you collecting data on any intervention you use in your classroom for individual students?
We know in education that relationships are critical for a successful classroom. According to the Journal of Neuroscience, students don’t learn from their mistakes until after 12, which means students learn in the positive moment.
When we provide positive feedback to students contingent on their behavior, they build receptors in the brain to connect the action to the behavior. It is more than just being positive. It is about making sure your positive feedback is immediate and contingent on the behavior, specific and descriptive, fits your feedback style, and is age appropriate.
When reflecting on your positivity in the classroom, here are some questions to ask yourself.
- What is your positive-to-negative ratio of interactions?
- Do you spend more time correcting student behavior than acknowledging when students meet your expectations?
- Do you greet each student in a welcoming way in your classroom, whether they are virtual or in-person?
- How do you recognize student behavior?
- Do you need to put a reinforcement system in place? If so, what outcomes do I want from the system, and how will I assess it over time to ensure it meets my goal(s)?
According to a National Center for Education Statistics survey, 56 percent of school leaders believe the pandemic has led to an increase in student misbehavior. Addressing behavior challenges is not about increasing your ability to entertain your students or lowering your standards. It is about having high expectations in your classroom management system, high levels of structure, and grit.
Correcting student behavior is essential, but consequences alone will not change student behavior. When effectively responding to student behaviors, you should not have a one size fits all approach. Not all students respond the same way to redirection and consequences. What works for one student may not work for another. We also know how you react to behavior can help eliminate or escalate those behaviors. Questions to use to guide your response to behaviors are:
- When you correct student behavior, are you calm, consistent, brief, immediate, and respectful?
- Do you have an array of in-class consequences?
- When do you switch to an intervention if you have used traditional consequences to no avail?
- What tier 1 classroom interventions do you utilize in your classroom?
Angela has 24 years of experience in education. She has been in her current position for 12 years. Angela has trained and provided coaching support to over 200 campuses for PBIS. She is also a certified Restorative Practices coordinator. She is a trainer for Interventions, Coaching Classroom Management, CHAMPS, and Why Try.