What does a great classroom look like?
In a classroom, and it’s true for every one of them, keys to a successful classroom lie with the teacher.
The tools you use; the way you manage your class; the quality of the student-teacher interactions; the ambience of your classroom; everything, affects them.
The central idea is that the students should feel comfortable, cared for, and confident when they are in the class. You can achieve it by simply filling the board with compassionate words, or by reciting motivational quotes. However, most of the times, you need more than that.
Here are 5 classroom management tools to help you boost the vitality of your class.
5 Keys to a great classroom
Create a ‘My responsibilities’ board
A sweet little attractive list of responsibilities can do wonders. You should create this list at the beginning of the year. First, explain its importance to your students, and then ask everybody to brainstorm. The key part is, let kids decide what should be on the board.
Written below is a ‘My responsibility’ list from one of my own classes
No chit-chat in the class.
Raise a hand if you want to say something.
Respect everyone in the class, and help them whenever they ask for it.
Work hard. Never give up.
Be punctual, always.
Do not hit anyone.
Do not eat in the class.
Keep your class clean.
‘My responsibilities’ board can be really effective, as students think twice before breaking rules.
Encourage students to keep a ‘Goal tracker’
Tell your students to keep a ‘Goal tracker.’ It’s a thin note-book for students to keep a note of their progress.
You may have to help them create their goals. Also, ensure that their goals are meaningful, short and achievable.
Below every goal, students should write down a plan to achieve their goals. As the year advances, students should routinely make a note of their progress, and what they are doing to achieve their goals. Once a goal is achieved, it should be closed by adding short notes about how they feel, and what they learned from the experience.
Goal setting is a powerful process that helps students in every grade. It helps them to build their capacity to tackle challenging situations.
Classroom room humor is one of the best tools. Being strict doesn’t always work; if you want kids to be punctual and attentive, add a pint of humor to your class. Results would amaze you.
Hold regular humor sessions in your class. Activities like talking only with hand and face gestures can fuel some really humorous situations.
Create Job charts
Create a job chart for your class. The job chart can include tasks like, teacher assistant, homework checker, class monitor, line monitor, cleanliness monitor, row monitor, and so on. Allocate these tasks to different students. Shuffle their names weekly, so that everyone gets a chance to be your helper.
Classroom learning needs not to be just ‘sit, listen, write and go home.’ A session like that can be really boring. Instead, strive to create an atmosphere where students get a chance to take real-life responsibilities.
Trust me, their little hands are more efficient than you think, and they are sincere too.
Kids cherish appreciation. An award to one student can fuel the entire class.
First step is to understand your students, what they love, what they are good at, and what they need to learn. Next, create achievable targets for your students. You can use grades, classroom discipline, punctuality, personal hygiene, etc., to create the moments of appreciation.
A point of caution- You should avoid entering into a situation where students start expecting rewards for every accomplishment. It can get really tricky there. Make it frequent, and the appreciation hour would lose it shine.
These were the five most effective classroom management tools from my treasure chest of experience.
There is something even more important that I must share.
Nurture a healthy student-teacher relationship.
Building the bonds of trust and understanding is vital for a great classroom. A strong teacher-student relationship can work wonders. Once learning becomes fun, students begin taking responsibilities, and work hard to achieve their goals.
You must endeavor to maintain a calm, kind, helpful, loving and caring attitude towards your students. I know it’s difficult, but you must persist.
Mistakes are a part of life. Punishing students for mistakes doesn’t work, but caring and helpful gestures do. With persistence, you can teach them to accept their mistakes, and help them move on.
A healthy student-teacher relationship builds trust; most importantly, it helps build a learner-friendly classroom.