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Two Main Tips For Maintaining Discipline In The Classroom

A disciplined classroom is of great importance for both teachers and learners. With discipline in the classroom, teachers will not able to teach and learners will not be able to learn. Learning objectives will not be achieved unless the teacher is able to maintain discipline in the classroom. Here are two main tips for great classroom discipline:

1. Setting a code of behaviour in the classroom

This should be set with the students. They should know the consequences of their bad behaviour so that they should behave well and their behaviour should be socially acceptable to the rest of the class and to you.

I always have this code of behaviour on the board or on the wall on a big sheet of paper. Five or six key points are sufficient, e.g. I will work hard to learn the language.

I sometimes just have to point to it to remind students of their decision, and this brings the student back online.

Also, the teacher needs to add his/her code of behaviour too, what the teacher will do for the students, e.g. be patient, never yell, I will work hard to help you learn the language…etc.

2. Ensuring that students really understand most of what you are saying

Very often bad behaviour patterns are because students do not understand what is being taught to them, and they find no purpose for the noise coming from the teacher.

Not understanding what is really going on demotivates students and it is a clue to bad behaviour.

Make sure your students are learning and relaxing at the same time. This does not mean games where students are overactive. But it means various activities and addressing different learning styles.

Here are more important tips for the teacher to maintain classroom discipline:

1. Change students around

I have my bad behaviour sitting in the front of the class. This way I can move towards them more easily, maybe touch them lightly on the shoulder if they are getting out of hand, and stand near them. Make eye contact as you leave.

2. Use soft reprimands

Find time to praise the good work the student does. If the bad behaviour is minor, ignore it wherever possible.

Don’t yell. Remain silent until the group settles down. If you have some students on-side, those who do know what is going on, they will settle the rest of the group down. Let them be the ones to say ‘shush’. Sometimes I simply clap hands a couple of times and the group comes back online. Then I speak softly, not with a loud voice. This has a calming effect on the whole class.

3. Encourage even your worst student

When they are behaving well, catch them doing that. ‘Well done. ‘Good work’. It is amazing how soon you get them on-side if they think you are finding them out doing good work.

Counsel when you can, and don’t make it always a bad behavioural thing. I often speak to students after class and say how well I think they are doing, sometimes in front of their friends, because it motivates the rest of the group too.

4. Never ball a student out in class

Just say you want to see that student after class – quietly. At the meeting, find out the cause of the behaviour. Explain that it is not helping the student to behave in this way, and explain the consequences of the behaviour.

There is a written code which all the students agreed to at the beginning of the course – it should be ever-present. And there should be a code of behaviour which the school has decided on.

5. Don’t allow yelling at the teacher

Miss, Miss or Sir, Sir, Sir … and standing up and coming to the teacher all the time is another disruptive behaviour. It can be VERY noisy if all the students know the answer and they are yelling at you and you don’t want a rush of students coming to you to show you their work.

They soon learn the discipline of putting their hand up when a response is needed or that you will look at their work at an appropriate time. This makes for a more productive classroom, and students feel great when they are chosen to answer and you feel better because you don’t have a headache from the noise.

6. Calm down

Move around in the proximity of the students when the behaviour is persistent not in a disciplinary way, but rather in the guise of helping them with the problem they have. Maybe they don’t understand. Move towards them, see if you can help them, then when you have calmed the student, walk away with a smile and a well done.

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