Established routines can greatly enhance your classroom management.
Students respond to an outline of appropriate behavior. It is the teachers’ responsibility to outline this standard of behavior and to enforce this standard with consistency. The consistency element benefits both the student and the teacher.
Routines also serve as a time-saving device for teachers. Like any successful business, the automation of a routine creates an efficiency. For example, when you visit McDonalds the entire order and deliver process is a highly defined routine. The structure is basic enough for high school students all around the world to serve food in under 60 seconds. Similarly, students appreciate easy to follow classroom rules. After an established standard of excellence is defined routines make it possible for students to follow through on their promised behaviour.
Like the McDonalds example above, well established routines eliminate confusion at any point in a lesson. Students always know what is expected because there is consistency from day to day. Without clear and concise instructions that establish fine-tuned routines, classrooms can easily turn into chaos.
What can lead to unmanageable situations? Vague instructions can create confusion in the students. They are unclear of what the teacher wants often because the teacher is unclear about what she wants. The best students will behave well no matter what, but some students will invariably take advantage of the vague instructions. These students will use the time to chat, or waste time. Of course what comes next is increased frustration on the part of the teacher and repeated instructions.
Why do many teachers avoid creating routines despite the classroom management benefits? The reason is often laziness. It takes time and effort to create and establish routines. It also takes great discipline to stick to the protocol on a daily basis.
By implementing clearly defined routines, you will have a much more efficient and manageable classroom that leaves no room for misbehaving. Once routines are implemented, when you say something like “put away your materials” at the end of a lesson, there will be no confusion and disorder. Students will inherently know what is expected of them in this situation because it is always the same. Also by implementing routines, students will know what to do without you even having to say anything. For instance, they will know that when they enter the classroom they need to come in quietly and sit at their desks. This is why routines are such an integral part of successful classroom management.
Students are definitely capable of following set routines. It is all about specifics, consistency and practice. Once routines have been clearly defined, and practiced, students will know what is expected of them and will start to complete the routines as second nature.
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