The Ten Ps of Positive Classroom Management: UKEdChat magazine Guest Article by Robert Ward

The best classroom management techniques are subtle, pleasant, and pervasive. Rules and routines, as well as guidelines and guidance, are crucial; so teachers should always maintain a calm and confidence that inspires trust and earns mutual respect.

Because every child requires growth in social, emotional, soulful, and academic learning, teacher firmness is no more or less important than fairness, fascination, or facilitation. Nevertheless, do not underestimate the impact that security, structure, and stability have on every child.

As the adult in charge, do not hesitate to exercise your leadership to preserve a scholarly environment that all at once captures your students’ hearts, hopes, minds, and manners. Once you embrace the fact that all four fundamentals of child development are equally essential and inextricably intertwined, your students will rise to the occasion and meet your high expectations—precisely because you daily attend to their most vital needs.

Teachers of any level or subject area can use the following ten indispensable management methods to cultivate a classroom of cooperation, courtesy, and camaraderie and to gain for themselves the composure and capabilities every great leader embodies.

Management through Planning:

1. Proactive

In order to prevent small problems from intensifying or spreading, anticipate areas where disrespect, defiance, disruption, and distraction most likely occur. Even new teachers discover very quickly the occasions when student focus and decorum typically begin to erode. Therefore, be vigilant and build upon the reliable collection of strategies found here in order to circumvent the most common discipline issues and to keep occasional isolated incidents contained.

2. Procedures

All educators must have a set of clear procedures that outline their daily class functions. Model and scrupulously maintain protocols for the most efficient ways students enter and exit the room, pass out materials, participate in class discussions, work independently, and collaborate. Because these norms are the foundations upon which love, laughter, and learning flow in your classroom, lead by example and with authority.

Management through Positivity:

3. Positive Reinforcement

Employ consistent positive reinforcement so your students feel recognized for their considerate contributions to your orderly, engaging class. Make your praise personal by using the student’s name, precise by explicitly stating what the student is doing right, and pleasant by thanking the student aloud. Prove to your students you are on their sides by enthusiastically acknowledging them for their efforts and accomplishments, rather than always searching to catch them doing wrong.

Management through Presence:

4. Position

In your dutiful effort to be proactive, always position yourself where you can observe the greatest number of students. When kids know they are not being watched, they often seize upon opportunities for sloth or silliness. Therefore, purposely place yourself where you retain the best vantage point, especially when assisting a student at their desk. Besides, your students will soon realize that your eagle eye is not on the lookout for reasons to chide them but for further evidence to publicly celebrate their cooperation and commitment!

5. Proximity and Placement

Being close to students is the best way to prevent problems from occurring. Circulate through your classroom often as you offer help and encouragement. Proactively linger by those who tend towards mischief and mayhem. Student seat and partner designations are an art form that may take many revisions to master, so freely experiment with who sits where and with whom.

Management through Peace and Quiet:

6. Pantomime

Your leadership approach should not be constantly loud or overbearing. Instead, wordlessly convey caution or correction with gestures to keep learning and instruction flowing. Unobtrusively and serenely redirect students to focus, face forward, quiet down, continue writing or reading, and raise their hands—all without a sound.

7. Pausing

Abrupt moments of teacher silence, especially when stopping in mid-sentence, send an unambiguous message to the entire class that something is amiss and must immediately cease. Simply and with utter assurance, wait for the misbehaving students to self-correct, and then proceed as pleasantly as before.

Management through Prudence and Poise:

8. Pulling Back

Right when things begin to deviate from the norms you have set—and they will; these are kids, after all—slow down and quiet down. Pull back and structure each moment of what is beginning to get out of hand. Revisit all disregarded procedures, and actively supervise their proper execution step by step. Until your students have re-earned your trust, daily repeat this enforced precision, abundantly praising where deserved.

9. Picking Your Battles

When a student is intent on being recalcitrant, deescalate! It is perfectly acceptable to temporarily back off from those rare challenges that only undermine your authority and impede the learning of everyone around. Appropriately assuage or remove the unrelenting student, and deal with the issue when you can devote your full attention to its mutual resolution.

10. Patience

Be kind to your students, and be gentle to yourself. Children develop in myriad ways and at different junctures, so take things in stride and take the long view. If you are truly providing your students with a balance of firmness, fairness, fascination, and facilitation, each child will eventually respond to fully enjoy the wealth of benefits you generously offer.

Classroom management takes diligence and dexterity, but it should not be complex or all-consuming. Appropriate leadership is actually a means for every student to reap the rewards of learning, relationships, and self-expression. Once teachers win their students over to this positive, productive mindset, their classrooms will become places of willingness, wisdom, wonder and worth!

***

How do you cultivate a classroom of cooperation and courtesy? Please share your favorite positive management techniques in the comments section below.

This article originally appeared in UKEdChat magazine on page 20 of the September 2016 edition.

UK full page

This article is adapted from the strategies found in chapter 4: Establishing Firmness in Robert Ward’s book for teachers, The Firm, Fair, Fascinating Facilitator, published by Rowman and Littlefield.

Read more about Robert’s books for educators here.

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18 thoughts on “The Ten Ps of Positive Classroom Management: UKEdChat magazine Guest Article by Robert Ward

  1. You have hit the nail on the head! A couple of these I use but hadn’t ever thought of in quite this way. Example: Pulling back: When a student won’t take their hood off and looks up defiantly … “actually I want you to wear it.” And walk away. Said that yesterday. Pantomime. Me showing how *not* to come in from the restroom … walking with big uneven steps, swinging arms, waving a sweater. Making a goofy face.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. A sense of humor is key! Your examples made me smile. After 24 years in the classroom, I have seen it all- the good, the bad, and the ugly- but it always cracks me up when a defiant kid thinks their “badness” is oh-so original. Instead, I cultivate a classroom where creativity is better than cynicism and passion is better than petulance. It is week three of another school year, and my new students are humming along and getting along. It is going to be a great year!

      Like

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