If you haven’t already, I strongly suggest you read Classroom Management techniques Part 1.
7. A musical device
One of the teachers at my school has a small old-school bike horn which she plays when she wants the class’s attention. She uses it at the end of the countdown, but it could be used without. Obviously it adds to the noise, but the noise is distinctive so the kids know that when they hear it they are to stop what they are doing.
8. Dexterity Check
Teacher says “dexterity check” and the students clap five times twice, three times twice, say ‘whoop, whoop’ clap. Once they’ve finished, the students are only allowed to move their lungs and their hearts while the teacher says what she/he wants to say (in other words there is absolute silence). When the teacher has finished saying what he/she wants to say, she says ‘check dexterity.’ At that command the kids go backwards through the chant: clap, whoop, whoop, clap 3 times twice, clap five times twice. Feeling a bit confused? Here’s a guy teaching a group of students how to perform a dexterity check. Obviously this technique would be a bit too hard for youngest kids and some of the older kids (year 8 ) think they are too cool for it. There’s also the issue of time, the routine takes a day to set up and a lot longer to get But the class whose teacher used it thinks it is one of the better classroom management techniques out there.
9. c3 b4 me (see three before me)
This technique is used as a way to avoid getting 100 of the same questions and is a great for kids to manage themselves. Basically it encourages the kids to see three people/books/information sources before asking the teacher for help. For example in maths, we have a bunch of text books, a couple of computers at the back of the classroom etc. that students could check in with before asking the teacher. The students can also ask a neighbour for help.
I used this one when I was teaching in Korea. Basically I would say attention and the students would say it back until I was satisfied that all the students attention was focused on me. This technique was useful for me in a very large class (Think 40 students) where the kids didn’t speak english so I needed a one-word command that could grab the kids attention. Obviously it adds to the noise and excitement, but is effective in large crowds, especially large crowds of English Language Learners.
11. Alternative learning pathways
Avoid having kids off-task by letting them choose the task! At the start of the learning unit the kids are given a print out of pre-test results which show their strengths, gaps, achieved and not achieved areas of the curriculum. They also get a print out of activities from books etc. which will support the various learning objectives. The kids are then directed to highlight the areas that they need help with and find activities to support them. Based on my observation students value this sort of learning because they can choose their pathway (so they have control) and also they aren’t going over material they already know so aren’t bored. Lessons should regularly open with a ‘plenary’ where kids are asked what they have been learning about and at the end there is a closing plenary. The teacher will also pull aside groups in order to concentrate on problem areas. The students also need to see the teacher if they get more than two wrong on an exercise. I wouldn’t recommend this technique for under year 7 and even then there are some year 7s who have struggled with this sort of learning.
This list isn’t exhaustive and I obviously wouldn’t recommend trying to do too many of them at once, however I wouldn’t rely solely on one technique. My advice to trainee teachers would be to have two or three that you consistently use so the students don’t get too confused.
What techniques do you use to manage behaviour in your classroom?