Divide and Conquer: Dealing With Unruly Classrooms

classroom controlAll new teachers go through a period where they have to sharpen their teaching skills and learn to maintain control and attention of the classroom. Many beginning teachers end up leaving the profession because they erroneously think they simply aren’t cut out for teaching. New teachers generally need about 3 years before they learn how to effectively control, manage, and teach a classroom of children.

However, there are some basic techniques that can be used by new teachers to increase attention and regain control of the classroom.

1. Structure

Students need to know you are prepared each day. Start the class with some form of Bellwork. When the students come in to the classroom each day, leave 5 questions on the board that they must answer within the first 5 minutes of the class period.

These questions allow you to take roll and perform administrative tasks while the students are busy working. It sets the stage for the rest of the class period and also allows you to deal individually with unruly students.

2. Assigned Seating

New teachers must have assigned seating. Don’t allow students to sit where they want until they have proven that they can pay attention and behave in the classroom. Use the ability to choose their own seats as a reward, but only if they have proven they can pay attention and do well in class.

Rather than letting the entire class choose their seats, let only the students that habitually pay attention, answer questions, and participate in class choose their seats. You can allow seat changes on a monthly, quarterly, or semester basis. Once seats have been assigned, don’t allow a change of seating.

3. Parent Conferences

Make it known by your actions that parents are called, emailed, or sent behavior progress letters on a regular basis. Don’t just call the parents of unruly students, pick 5 students a week and make a phone call each day to a new parent. If the child is doing well in class, tell the parents.

Not all parents will appreciate a phone call, but in most cases, the parents will be grateful and surprised to hear from you. Positive reinforcement often works much more effectively than punishments and severe consequences. If a parent praises their child because of a positive teacher phone call, they are more inclined to continue to behave in class.

About the Author:
Marc Anderson is the co-founder of the online English language teaching company TalktoCanada and regularly contributes to his company’s blog with the latest news on the English training industry.