First, I would like to point out that the bottom line for classroom management is to keep the students engaged and on task. When students are engaged in the classroom and not bored, behavior o discipline issues are less likely to occur.
Some teachers like to have their rules posted on the classroom walls or because of school policy they are required to do so. Now, it gets very easy to write the rules beginning with a “Don’t ….”; however, it has been proved that when rules are presented in a positive way, it promotes a more positive atmosphere: “Listen and pay attention to others” or “Keep the classroom clean”.
Now, there is a difference between a rule and a procedure. Students should be taught the difference and teachers should demonstrate what a expected procedure is. For example, when entering the room for the first class, the procedure will be:
- Greet the teacher and classmates
- Put all the needed material on the desk
- Put the backpack in the locker or under the chair
- Take a sit
A procedure for leaving the classroom is also important:
- Pick up all belongings
- Put all used material back where it was
- Keep desk clean
- Pick up all the garbage from the floor and throw it into the garbage
You can think of other procedures, too.
Teachers should reinforce every procedure with the students the first week of the year. This will promote good behavior and you will not lose your time repeating them every day.
Rules, on the other hand, are the attitudes you expect your students to have to maintain a proper learning environment. These attitudes and set of rules must be discussed with the students so they commit to what they say during the year.
- Keep your rules and procedures consistent. If you are inconsistent, students will learn quickly that it is not important to follow them.
- Limit your rules list to no more than five, if possible.
- Prepare consequences for not respecting the rules or procedures according to school policies and make sure your students understand them from the beginning of the year.
- Avoid threatening the students. If there is going to be a consequence for misbehavior, stick to it.
- Give the students the opportunity to make mistakes and apologize. Making mistakes should also be an opportunity for learning values. They should be warn the first time though that there will not be another chance for them to disrupt class again.