It is extremely important to keep control and manage your class to be able to teach effectively. However, learning how to reduce misbehavior in the classroom can be quite complicated. Consistency is key. You should have a plan of action for those who overstep the boundaries. Build relationships with the students that help them to learn while managing their emotions. Positive relationships help students grow emotionally and allow them to make decisions responsibly when it comes to their interactions in the classroom. More importantly, you should keep students engaged and focused.
How to Reduce Misbehavior in the Classroom
1. Plan blocks of time.
Students learn better in a structured environment where the time to disengage is limited. Large blocks of time where students are not engaged can lead to misbehavior. To see how much learning has taken place, allocate time for active teaching, engaging interaction, time for students to work on their own or in groups, and time to go over the learning with tests, quizzes and questions. Plan out each block of time constructively and ensure that a routine is achieved. Use a timer to help students, and yourself, keep track of the amount of time that they will spend on a task.
2. Plan for disruptions.
It is likely that there will be disruptions during a lesson. As a teacher, you need to have some flexibility in dealing with these. Help students overcome lost time by planning ahead. Set aside an area where resources are laid out for students to use as needed. Give information as to where to find more information online or in the library on the topics being discussed. Where there are disruptions in the lessons due to disengagement or misbehavior, assign extra work for after school to catch up what was missed or advise that the work will be re-tasked.
3. Engage with your students.
Get to know your students’ background, interests, challenges, and personalities. Diffuse conflict as it occurs using dialogue, re-tasking, or removing a student from the situation for a short period of time. Taking the student aside for a personal discussion may be helpful in some situations. If none of these work, you can refer the student to department heads, principals, or guidance counselors. This should, however, not become a habit especially with the same student, as it undermines the student-teacher relationship and the learning that should be taking place.
4. Have a good environment conducive to learning.
Make sure that you are able to adequately supervise all activities. Setup the classroom to ensure there is an easy flow of traffic to and from seats to avoid unnecessary distraction. Ensure that you are able to arrange the various activities planned in the classroom with minimal disruption.
5. Respect your students.
Respect is often reciprocal. If you treat all your students equitably and rule out discrimination in your classroom on all levels, you will earn the respect of your students. Students are more likely to learn from teachers they respect than from ones that they consider unreasonable or unfair. Students who feel they are unfairly treated are also more likely to lash out, causing problems in the classroom. As a teacher, you also need to be flexible because children come from different backgrounds and may not fit into the same boxes as other students. You may have to change your general approach to reach these students and gain their respect.
6. Avoid zero-tolerance discipline.
The main focus in the classroom should be teaching students and allowing them to actively participate and learn. Punishing misbehavior should only be done to maintain order and preserve the ability to learn for all students. Speak to the students when setting up classroom rules and try and avoid overly complex and long lists of what not to do. Usually, five simple rules should be enough to get across what is required of the students while in the classroom. These rules should specifically target the negative behaviors that disrupt engagement and learning.
When looking at how to handle misbehavior in the classroom, we need to first look at ways to reduce the possibility of misbehavior by keeping students engaged. The punishment for misbehavior should only be a last ditch effort to keep control and allow the rest of the students to learn and engage effectively.