In the Classroom: Creating a Positive Learning Environment

“To effectively manage a classroom is to effective manage people in a classroom setting. Flexibility falls flat without structure, but structures stay stiff without flexibility.”

In classroom management, the content, contexts, techniques, and results are diverse, just like the characteristics of adult learners. Last time we explored the diversity of the students, this time we will explore the intricacies of classroom environments.

Time and Space limits this entry to discussing classroom management in its entirety, but we already have some helpful resources and helpful literature out there.
These include, but are not limited to:

  1. 10 Effective Classroom Management Techniques Every Faculty Member Should Know by Maryellen Weimer
  2. The Key to Classroom Management by Robert J. Marzano and Jana S. Marzano
  3. Manage Disruptive Behaviour in the Classroom by Deb Peterson
  4. Classroom Management Tips for Regaining Control of the Classroom
    by Rick Sheridan

The classroom management techniques and strategies discussed in these articles range from preventative, proactive, and productive within the category of creating a positive learning environment (Edutopia lists 32 strategies to do this in their article here).

This entry will focus on the 4th article “Classroom Management Tips” that deal specifically for teachers who want/need to regain control of their classroom, which means, according to Dr. Sheridan, means regaining their students’ attention.

Sheridan lists nine possible ways:

  1. Use a distinctive sound (e.g. Bell)
  2. Use non-verbal signals (e.g. Eye Contact)
  3. Ignore mildly negative behaviours
  4. Discuss very negative behaviours in private
  5. Use humour (e.g. Consequences)
  6. Ensure collective discussion
  7. Implement participation rules
  8. Use variety (e.g. Small Groups)
  9. Stay professional (e.g. Get to know the students)

Often, these strategies emerge from previous teaching experience, from which others can benefit. For example, for teachers new to the classroom learning from these experiences help not only to avoid past mistakes, but also to manage more effectively. Furthermore, these strategies help any teacher create better first impressions within their classrooms, as well as with their students, on the first day of class (see Impression Management Theory by Erving Goffman in Sociology and Psyhcology).

Accordingly, effective relationship building can be considered one of the foundations of good classroom management and creating positive learning environments.

(See Weimer’s article – 10 Effective Classroom Management Techniques Every Faculty Member Should Know for more details.)

“Prevent before we treat; Prepare before we react; Produce before we expect.”

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