With the start of the new school year comes the excitement of new learning moments and instances to truly help students succeed. It also brings with it the opportunity to "learn" your students as you discover what motivates them, discourages them, and how to successfully respond to conflict.
By being proactive rather than reactive, you will be able to survive working with even the most challenging students as you work to create a classroom environment conducive to exploration, inquiry, and learning.
Classroom Environment Checklist: Learn Your Students
Chances are you have at least one student in your class who really knows how to test your patience. In an effort to prevent learning disruptions, here is your classroom environment checklist when it comes to working with even the most trying students.
1. Identify the Trigger
Determine whether there is a particular time when bad behavior begins, or perhaps a specific activity that fuels the interruption. By learning what is the cause, such as boredom or difficulty learning, you can adjust your strategies to be more preventative.
2. Show Some Praise
Make sure you're taking the time to recognize a job well done, especially for your more challenging students who might need the extra boost. Doing so will help them understand the merits associated with good behavior, and encourage them to continue in the right direction.
3. Implement a Behavior Management Plan
Consider using a point system to reward good behavior, such as with a small prize at the end of the week or a class pizza party at the end of the month. Bring parents into the loop, as they might have effective strategies they've uncovered or be willing to implement an accompanying point system at home as well.
4. Use the Lesson to Affirm the Action
This could be accomplished through the content of the lesson, such as the literature content, that helps to drive a point home. Another way would be to include activities that build good behaviors and are educational.
An example would be to have the class work math problems together but they have to follow a certain set of rules while doing them. The rules could be fun/silly or certain rules that apply to an issue that you have in the classroom.
Whatever you do, be sure to remember to be patient with your students and with yourself. Your classroom environment checklist is a work in progress, so revisit it periodically to determine what is and what is not working, then adjust accordingly. Doing so will ensure you have the best school year yet!