York English - Fuzhou

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As a new teacher, one of the hardest aspects of teaching in a younger classroom is dealing with behavior management. Some people can natural detect, diffuse, and deal with a problem within the classroom that pertains to the students. Others of us aren’t as naturally keen and are sometime reluctant to discipline. A good behavior management system is crucial and necessary for the overall classroom environment. There are four areas a teacher can turn to when trying to create a good behavior management system for their classroom.

Preventative Actions

One of the major areas is the use of preventative actions. Being aware of scenarios that could happen in the classroom and actively avoiding them through different methods will keep you from having to take time out of class to address certain situations. For instance, if there are students in you classroom that don’t work well together or mess around in class it would be imperative to set up a seating arrangement, if possible, in the classroom. Splitting disruptive students apart will not only help those students pay more attention in class but, it will be an asset to the students around them that could have distracted by their behavior. One of the most common, and effective, in my opinion, seating arrangements would be having the students sit boy, girl, boy, girl. This tends to keep the girls from talking to each other and the boys from messing around.
Another preventative action would be have clear instructions of where items should be throughout class. Making sure that disrupting items like books, where they can go ahead or mess with, are away while you are lecturing. Same with pencil boxes, water bottles, and any other school supplies that can be found in the child’s backpack. Students should have a routine or oral, and even written, instruction of where their items should be during class and what items are not allowed in class, such as cellphones or iWatches. By setting up the expectations of the classroom you can prevent students from messing around, dropping items, and being distracted by technology during class and have them focus on the lesson at hand.

Disciplinary Steps

Setting up the classroom and instructing students on what’s expected in the classroom won’t always be enough to ensure good behavior management.
In case of further disruptive behaviors you must have disciplinary steps in order in class, just in case. Setting up classroom rules and consequences with the class helps remind the students, and yourself, that there are repercussions to certain actions. These steps don’t have to be drastic or strict, but they do have to be compelling enough to deter students from breaking any rules or misbehaving. Setting up a motivational system, like the giving of stars or points to individual students or teams, can be helpful with discipline.
For younger students, seeing a visual representation of their misbehavior, such as the loss of a point or star, will support the severity of their actions. Most will try their hardest to make up for that lost point and refrain from repeating the same mistake again in the future. For older students, the threat of extra homework to those who aren’t participating or acting up in class will work.
The giving of extra homework needs to be checked and regulated by the teacher because if you assign extra work but don’t check it then the students won’t buy into the discipline system.
Making students who didn’t do their extra homework stay after class to finish or something to the extent will show not only that student but the others as well about the seriousness of what’s expected of them.

The last step should be a discussion with the parent or the Chinese teacher or staff about the student. A continually disrespectful student, whether the disrespect is directed at you or at other students, should be dealt with immediate and effectively. Letting parents know so they can help from their end and letting the school know if there are any other disciplinary actions that can be used could be useful in very difficult and extreme cases. Knowing these actions ahead of time for future reference is always good to know as a teacher, too.

Be Consistent

Regardless of what your disciplinary steps are you should be consistent as a teacher. Rules broken and the consequences apply to every student in the classroom. Even if your best student breaks a rule they must still reap the consequences of their actions. If students notice there is an inconsistency between certain students then you fall victim to resentment from certain students. This will only cause their behavior to become worse instead of better. Letting all students know from the beginning that there are no favorites and that everyone is subject to the same penalties will help ensure a consistent behavior management system. Doing these steps and guaranteeing a consistent disciplinary process will help improve the classroom atmosphere and make teaching the lesson a lot easier and stress free.


York English - Fuzhou

This school is holding interviews for teaching jobs now, apply today!

About the Author:

Nikki Goodridge
Nikki Goodridge is an English teacher at York School of Foreign Languages in Fuzhou, China.
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