Class Management Overview
SHAPE America Appropriate Practices
- 1.1.1 The teacher systematically plans for, develops and maintains a positive learning environment that allows students to feel safe (physically and emotionally), supported and unafraid to make mistakes.
- 1.1.2 The environment is supportive of all students and promotes developing a positive self-concept. Students are allowed to try, to fail, and to try again, free of criticism or harassment from the teacher or other students.
- 1.1.3 Programs are designed to guide students to take responsibility for their own behavior and learning. Emphasis is on intrinsic, rather than extrinsic, incentives.
- 1.1.4 Fair and consistent classroom-management practices encourage student responsibility for positive behavior. Students are included in the process of developing class rules/agreements.
Guidelines for Establishing Class Rules
- Student Centered – Facilitate the creation of the rules with students in the beginning of the semester. Ask them what they want and consider to be fair. You will generally end up with the same rules that you would make, however this method allows students take ownership of the rules. One creative way is to conduct an "Us/Not Us" list. Have the students come up with characteristics that want in the "Us" column and characteristics they don't want in the "Not Us" column. Full value contracts and Looks Like/Sounds Like are other options.
- Positive – State the behaviors you want to see in your students, rather than what you don't want to see. Saying “Don’t do X” does not tell the student what the appropriate behavior is.
- Give the "Why" – Explain the reasons behind each rule so that students understand why they are important.
- Limited – Instead of making a long list of rules, make the rules comprehensive. “Be respectful” is a great example. Think of how many rules can be covered in this one statement. Some other examples include: Be helpful to others; Be positive to others; Be responsible; Be honest; Resolve conflicts immediately; and Give 100% effort. Find a list of other important virtues at Edutopia and Values.com.
- Clear – Identify behaviors that are representative of each rule. See our example for sportspersonship below.
EXAMPLE OF CLEAR EXPECTATIONS - WHAT BEHAVIORS ARE INCLUDED IN SPORTSPERSONSHIP?
Positive Discipline Approaches
- Periodically review class rules and routines.
- Check in with students to help ensure their basic needs are being met.
- Use "entrance slips" to assess students mindsets as they enter class.
- Be empathetic to students (empathy vs sympathy video).
- Develop rapport and have positive interactions with the students.
- Catch students being good and let them know you did (and their parents).
- Restate your expectations during the lesson (prompting).
- Use non-verbal techniques such as physical proximity, eye contact, signaling, and wait time. Give the "look" when needed.
- Use daily rubrics or exits slips that focus on the behaviors your students are struggling with.
- Create tasks that are challenging, but achievable. When students are about 50% - 80% successful with a task they are not as likely to get bored or frustrated, which can often lead to off-task behavior.
- Plan enjoyable and thorough lessons, including transitions.
- Reward students/class for good behaviors. Types of reinforcers include: Social (verbal praise, a pat on the back, smile, etc.), Material (certificates, ribbons, stickers, etc.), Privileges (line leader, demonstrator, etc.), and Activity (playing an activity that the students enjoy). Survey your students to see their preferences and see these examples of healthy rewards: resource 1, resource 2, resource 3, resource 4, resource 5 (ignore the food suggestions for this one).
- While it is important to hold students accountable, be careful not to hold the whole class accountable for the actions of a few students. Doings so can have a negative effect on the class environment and student relationships.
- Give "hard-to-like" students a fresh start.
- Give students class jobs/roles.
- Ignore minor disruptions.
THINGS TO CONSIDER - "THE HIDDEN STUDENT"
There are many outside factors that affect student behavior (including brain development). The image to the left represents issues that my former 8th grade students were dealing with. After discussing issues in my personal life and my family history, students were given time to write down issues that they or someone they knew were going through. Their responses were then categorized and entered in a Word Cloud. This activity was personal to the class and allowed students to recognize the many issues their peers face. Read Assumptions - My Health, My Family, and Your Students for more information.
GUIDELINES FOR DISCIPLINARY ACTION (IF NEEDED)
- Be fair and consistent with all students (entertaining video on how students perceive fairness); although there are times when exceptions should be made.
- Follow through with what you say.
- Stay calm (tone of voice, body language, etc.) and address the behavior, not the person.
- Allow students to take a time out to reflect. They can return when they: are ready, have completed a task, have spoken with the teachers, etc.
- Be cautious of embarrassing or spotlighting students.
- Don't just focus on the negative, reinforce the positive behaviors you see in the student.
- Only discipline students engaged in inappropriate behavior. See this article on group punishment for more information.
- Walk and talks can be more effective than traditional disciplinary actions. See this article for more information.
DO NOT use physical activity as punishment. This may cause the student to have a negative association of physical activity.
Overview of Class Routines and Protocols
Establishing effective class routines maximizes time for practice opportunities and physical activity (active example 1, active example 2, active example 3). Practicing protocols early and revisiting throughout the year will increase the efficiency of your lessons. You can also take pictures of students performing the protocols and put them on posters for visual reminders. Below are some example protocols:
guidelines and examples for Stop/Start Signals
Using stop/start signals is an effective management technique that quickly draws the students’ attention to the teacher without using negative phrases such as “listen up” or “be quiet”. Here are some general guidelines:
Teaching common class formations
Teach your students the common student formations that you use in your lessons. Once learned, this technique will speed up transitions for the rest of the school year. Use the examples we provided or create your own!
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES AND ARTICLES
Overview - videos Highlighting Class Management Techniques
Below are videos filmed from one lesson that highlight various class management techniques (the lesson's focus was reviewing activities for an upcoming field day). It is important to note that these videos were filmed towards the end of the school year, showing that management instruction is an ongoing practice and not just a one shot deal in the beginning of the year. Strategies that are highlighted include:
Strategies that are not highlighted in the videos but were observed during the lesson include: addressing the behavior rather than the student, emphasizing safety for each task, using both genders for demonstrations, and more. Thank you to Rolando Davila and to the students at Madison Elementary for helping us create these videos.
videos - Entering the Class and the Introduction
These videos highlight the following strategies: having an instant activity routine as the students enter class, explaining the lesson's objectives, and thanking students for on-task behaviors.
VIDEOS - TASK PRESENTATION AND TIEBREAKERS
These videos highlight the following strategies: using students to demonstrate tasks, giving clear instructions and examples, recognizing students for on-task behavior, and establishing protocols for tiebreakers.
VIDEOS - Stop/Start Signals and Smooth Transitions
These videos highlight the following strategies: using stop/start signals, forming groups, using countdowns, and recognizing students for on-task behavior.
VIDEOS - Holding Students Accountable and Giving Them Responsibility
These videos highlight the following strategies: holding students accountable and giving students responsibility.
Resources Used for this Page
- Teaching Children Physical Education: Becoming a Master Teacher. Graham, G. (2008).
- Children Moving: A Reflective Approach to Teaching Physical Education. Graham, G., Holt/Hale, S., & Parker, M. (2007).
- Teaching Secondary Physical Education: Preparing Adolescents to Be Active for Life. Himberg, C., Hutchinson, G., & Roussell, J. (2003).