3 Strategies for Effective Classroom Management

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The Importance of Classroom Management

Classroom management is simply the process by which Guides and Prenda microschools create and maintain appropriate behavior of students in classroom settings.

As educators, we want all students to feel safe and cared for throughout the learning process across each of our microschools. We understand that empowered learning can only take place after children feel safe and once their basic needs are met.

That being said, our Guides play a decisive role in each student’s life, and it is crucial that they build and nurture caring relationships with their learners. Science has proven that it is nearly impossible to learn when a student is stuck in fight or flight mode. An effective way to create a productive and engaging flow to a learning environment is to build and maintain routines in your microschool.

In fact, the combination of strong and healthy relationships and positive and proactive classroom routines is the best method for preventing any discipline issues or problems that could disrupt a learning community. When students know what, when, and how to do something within their microschool, they can be autonomous and moral in their conduct, and teachers will rarely have to remind students what to do.

Strategies for Effective Classroom Management

Effective classroom management in microschools helps to establish an orderly and productive environment in the classroom while increasing meaningful academic learning. Classroom management also facilitates social and emotional growth.

Classroom management systems are most effective when they align with three basic principles:

  • They emphasize student expectations for behavior and learning.
  • They promote active learning and student involvement.
  • They identify important student behaviors for success.

Continue reading to discover our top three strategies to help you craft an effective classroom management system so that you can foster an empowered learning environment in your microschool.

A Prenda Guide being hugged by her microschool students.
A Prenda Guide being hugged by her microschool students.

‍Strategy 1: Think it Through

I remember the first time I was going to fly by myself…  

I spent countless hours walking myself through the process, saying things like, “First, I’m going to check my luggage. Then I’m going through security. After that, I’m going to get a coffee and sit at my gate until it’s time to get on the plane.” When it was time to travel, my thoughts became a reality.

This same thought process applies to your students.

Before you start the school year, or whenever you start to feel like your microschool has gotten out of routine, take some time and think through each moment of your learning schedule.

Ask yourself: How do I want my students to act without asking them to do so?

Don’t take the small things for granted. Think about how you want students to retrieve computers and how they should leave for the restroom. Write down your vision for what your microschool will look like and share it with your students.

*Put it into action — Take a notebook and make two columns. In one column, write out your daily schedule. In the other, write out your vision for how students will go about each routine. Just like my trip, the more time you spend thinking your routines through, the more likely they will become a reality!

‍Strategy 2: Develop Community Agreements

Students have roles and responsibilities when it comes to their learning community. We expect students to be active, engaged members of their microschool, so each student should be included in creating loving boundaries. We call these community agreements.

When creating community agreements, we encourage you to engage students in a dialogue around Prenda’s core values:

  • Dare greatly
  • Figure it out
  • Start with heart
  • Foundation of trust
  • Learning > comfort

Have students brainstorm, discuss, and listen. Once a consensus is made, write the agreement on a large piece of paper. Tell students that their discussion has led to a shared agreement about the well-being of their microschool, and ask them to commit to maintaining these agreements by signing their names at the bottom of the paper.

*Put it into action — Gather students in a circle. Ask them questions like, “What kinds of actions will we see in our microschool if we are starting with heart?” and “What kinds of actions should we not see?” Once students decide on these actions, shape it into a positive statement, write it down, and move on to the next value.

Strategy 3: Caringly Engage the Student when Needed

As with all things, Murphy's Law applies to your microschool! This means that no matter how much you prepare, practice, and execute, at some point, you will have challenges.

Remember that through every situation, nothing is more important than your relationship with each student. A lot is at stake, and we don’t want a student to retreat to their reptilian brain if they feel endangered. Consider the following tips when you need to step in:

  1. Approach the student personally: Walk over to the student, physically get down below his/her eye level, and speak calmly and respectfully.
  2. Foster a foundation of trust: You want to create a safe space for problem-solving and learning to take place. You can do this by acknowledging the student, validating their feelings, and helping them reach a state of calm if they have become emotionally triggered in any way.
  3. Restate the purpose of the activity: The next step is to accomplish the activity goal. For example, if the activity goal is for the student to get his/her laptop for Conquer Mode, but the student is pushing others to get to his/her laptop, remind them that the device needs to be in good working condition to start Conquer. Pushing could cause damage to laptops.
  4. Provide choices: If a student still resists, you can give them two choices to feel a sense of control over the situation.

You’re Ready to Take Action

You are now ready to get started on executing routines in your microschool to create an effective classroom management strategy! Be sure to come back to this article often. No matter how well you know the students, these three strategies will benefit you throughout your microschool year.