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What is classroom management?

Effective classroom management is a vital skill for any teacher. We explore what it is, why it’s needed and provide guidance on how you can sharpen your classroom management skills from the comfort of home.

A teacher uses classroom management strategies

As a teacher, you need to juggle an awful lot day-to-day. In order to effectively fulfil your duties in a confident and assuring manner, being able to manage your classroom is essential. Classroom management is a critical skill and knowing exactly how it works can help to ensure success, which is why we have put together this all-you-need-to-know guide.

In this article, we will discuss what classroom management is, why you need effective classroom management, different strategies, and some recommendations for popular online courses to boost your learning.

So, what are you waiting for? Optimise your teaching time, expand your current skill set, and reach your career goals with FutureLearn.

What is classroom management?

Classroom management encompasses a variety of skills and techniques that teachers can use to create a high-performing learning environment. 

At its core, it aims to ensure classes run smoothly, disruptive behaviour from students is kept to a minimum, and teaching materials and activities promote learning. The ultimate goal is to ensure that both the students and the teacher get the most out of the classroom experience.

Good classroom management should aim to:

  • Create an organised and functional environment for the teacher and students
  • Establish opportunities for academic learning and personal growth
  • Reduce bad classroom behaviour and other disruptions
  • Be time-efficient and ensure learning time is always prioritised
  • Make sure students are focused, motivated, and productive
  • Promote an inclusive environment that caters for all ability levels.

It’s important to remember that achieving successful classroom management is an ongoing process. While the above is the core of what effective classroom management is all about, how you approach it can depend on several factors, which we will explore later in this article.

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Why do you need effective classroom management?

Effective classroom management is incredibly important because without it you will not be able to create a learning environment that has a positive classroom culture. 

Achieving effective classroom management also reduces the likelihood of suffering from work-related stress and anxiety, and you’ll probably find that it leads to greater work satisfaction. Let’s face it, we all want to be able to go to work every day with a smile.

Not only will it encourage your students to grow, but you’ll also start to perform better as a teacher, which will stand you in good stead when it comes to career progression and development. 

Simply put, effective classroom management is essential. Not only will it allow you to do your job properly, but it will also ensure your students fulfil their full potential. 

Different classroom management strategies

Classroom management strategies can look very different depending on several factors, such as:

  • Course subject
  • Age of students
  • Size of the classroom
  • Your personality as a teacher
  • The behaviour of your students.

However, when researching classroom management strategies, you’ll notice that there are some techniques you can use that will apply in pretty much all cases. In this section, we are going to take a look at some of those in more detail.

Create a solid lesson plan

A solid lesson plan forms the foundation of effective classroom management. Making sure expectations are clear will help to create a safe and productive learning environment for students. 

The lesson plan preparation should ideally be done before the start of term, so you’re able to enforce the plan and any rules immediately. However, you should be able to adapt your plan where necessary, as some unforeseen circumstances may mean you need to rethink certain parts of it.

Build positive relationships with your students

Building relationships with your students is vital. Good classroom management involves getting to know each individual’s strengths and weaknesses, while also working out their interests and ambitions. 

This will help to build trust, and not only benefits their academic learning but can also positively influence their personal development as well. At some point, we have all been a student, and from experience, we know that our favourite lessons often have to do with the teacher and the working relationship you have with them.

Be clear and develop reliable routines

Most students often like to know what’s expected of them so they can prepare accordingly and feel comfortable in a classroom environment. Classroom management strategies that make them feel safe and secure will likely have a positive impact on their motivation and productivity. 

It’s therefore the role of the teacher to ensure that your instructions are clear and you have reliable routines in place to limit disruption.

Stay calm and focused

How you behave will have a direct impact on your students, which is why you should always try to stay calm and focused. This will help to keep your students at ease and show disruptive members of the class that you can’t be easily rattled. 

When classrooms start misbehaving, it’s often because they have spotted a weakness and thrive on chaotic teaching. While teaching can be a very stressful job, good classroom management involves having the maturity and calmness to deal with challenging situations effectively.

Be consistent in your teaching style

You should always try to keep your teaching style consistent, so students know what to expect and are aware of the boundaries you set. If you teach in a completely different way every other week, this can not only be disruptive for the class but also makes the classroom harder to manage. 

While you should always be adaptable and flexible in your approach, having a clear way of doing things and handling situations makes life a lot easier for everyone. A blended learning approach is a tried and tested method.

Know when to have a laugh

The final point on our list of classroom management strategies is to ensure you keep your sense of humour and have fun. Students can often be challenging, so rather than reacting badly to certain situations and start pulling your hair out, make sure you retain your sense of humour and be more approachable. 

Telling the odd joke and having a laugh with your students never did anyone any harm, and is a good way of building relationships with them. Obviously, you don’t want to go too far the other way and turn your classroom into a stand-up gig, so maintaining a balance is always the best approach.

Classroom management training and online courses: Develop your skills further

If you’re still wondering what classroom management is and want to expand your current skill set, then there are plenty of classroom management courses online. 

Classroom management training will help to ensure that you’re fully prepared and able to teach to the best of your abilities. Not only will this be of benefit to you, but it will also mean that your students are able to perform to their full potential.

At FutureLearn, we offer a variety of exceptional classroom management courses online to help you in this endeavour. We’ve included some of these course links within the article, but here they are again for you to explore.

  1. Mindful Wellbeing for Teachers with Stress and Anxiety, by The University of Aberdeen
  2. Google Classroom: Share, Collect, and Manage Student Work Online, by The Tablet Academy
  3. Exploring Gender Equality in Education, by The British Council
  4. Digital Transformation in the Classroom, by The Norwegian University of Science and Technology 
  5. Impact of Technology: How To Lead Classroom Discussions, by The Raspberry Pi Foundation
  6. Promoting Democracy in the Classroom: A Practical Guide for Teachers, by Manchester Metropolitan University
  7. TESOL Strategies: Supporting ESL Students in Mainstream Classrooms, by The University of Glasgow
  8. Social Learning and Collaboration in School: Learning to thrive through play, by The Lego Foundation
  9. Testing Times in the Classroom: Challenges of 21st Century Education, by The University of Essex
  10. Google For Education: Staying Organised and Improving Communication, by The Tablet Academy.

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