In order to get students to follow your instructions and stay on task, you need to instruct them in specific ways that will achieve the results you want. Students need very structured and clear boundaries and guidelines in order for them to undoubtedly know what is expected of them. As soon as instructions become laidback, chaos will soon follow.
Here are five steps that are sure to help you keep your students focused and minimize disruptions:
- The first step is to state what you want them to do calmly and clearly. If they are misbehaving, clearly state what they are doing wrong and what they can do to fix it. Leave no room for misunderstanding and also explain to them why they should do what you are asking. Instead of focusing on the negative, tell them what they need to be doing and explain why they should be. For instance how finishing work in class will eliminate the need to complete it at home.
- If they don’t listen to you after step one, it’s time to move onto step two which is to explain the consequences of what will happen to them if they continue to misbehave. Remember to remain calm when speaking; tell them matter-of-factly that if they continue this behavior they will lose some of their break time or they’ll need to clean up their mess, etc. Make the consequence specific to their behavior so the student can easily make the connection between the behavior and the consequence.
- Once you’ve communicated the consequences, give them a time limit to fix their behavior and then move off to give them time to make the right choice. Since you’ve explained to them exactly what they are doing wrong, exactly what they must change to fix it, and exactly what will happen if they don’t, you are being completely fair and have also given them a clear cut choice to do the right thing. And, by walking away, you’ve taken the pressure off of them in front of their friends, making it easier for them to do the right thing.
- If and when they do the right thing, remember to acknowledge it. This will reinforce that they have made the right decision, gives them some positive attention, and will encourage them to do it in the future. If, however, they choose to carry on, this is the time to follow through on your promised consequence. Communicate to the student what’s happened, and that their continued defiance is the sole reason for the consequence. Continue to be calm, showing that you remain in control which will show any other rambunctious students that you follow through on your promises and that you are fair.
- If the student continues misbehaving after the consequence, repeat the procedure with tougher consequences. It is important to start off with small consequences so that you can increase them when necessary. By starting off small and moving to larger and larger consequences, the students will also see this as fair, as they’ve done more to warrant a larger consequence the second time around.
Now that you know the five steps toward minimizing disruptions in your classroom, you can put them into effect. The best part about this plan is that it adapts quite easily into your current classroom management, and once you start using it, you will be amazed at how quickly students react to this plan with improved behavior.
Want to learn many more invaluable classroom management tips? Candace Davies’ comprehensive eBook “101 Classroom Management Tips“ that can help you transform your classroom for the better.