There are some classroom management basics that work regardless of grade level (with a little tweaking in the presentation due to the different developmental levels).
Here is a brief list of behavior basics:
- Teach people first, subject second. This means that you work to build respectful, caring relationships with your students while maintaining a position of authority. Learn names as quickly as possible. Greet students every day when they arrive. Provide a means of “visiting” with students without using educational time.
- Praise work (product) and effort vs. ability and intelligence. This helps students develop their own self-labels and allows them to risk error in order to learn
- Prepare well. Organization, variety, and purposeful use of time are essential. Kids know when they are learning and when they are wasting time. If educational time is not used well, their instinct will be to entertain themselves and that often results in misbehavior.
- Show enthusiasm for learning.
- Use mobility, proximity, and facial expression (raised questioning eyebrows can work wonders) to prevent misbehavior and when redirecting behavior; talk less. Address specific student behavior as quietly, privately, and briefly as possible.
- Know your triggers and disengage emotionally when your buttons are pushed. Act purposefully rather than reflexively.
- Be what you want them to be; teach behavior by modeling. You can't be perfect, so when you mess up, continue to model by acknowledging your error, apologizing, and doing better next time.
Tips provided by Kate Ortiz, a retired teacher
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