Children come in all shapes, sizes and behaviours. Teachers have a huge task at hand managing a classroom full of students. While there is no magic wand that can charm kids into good behaviour, there are some strategies which will make the life of teachers easy to a significant extent.
Establish Rules and Boundaries
You should set clear rules and boundaries for students. For instance, no talking during the ongoing class, walking in a queue when moving outside the class, and forth. Tell children to follow your instructions carefully. Maintain a firm, yet gentle tone. If children are not aware of rules, you can’t expect them to behave accordingly. They are at an age when need adults to reinforce good behaviour – parents at home and teachers at school.
Follow Countdown Method
Human brains work quickly in timeline-oriented situations. Next time you want children to listen to you, just start the countdown 1, 2, 3,...10. For example, you want to them to pack their bags when the school hours are over. There are chances some of them may not listen to you even if you say repeatedly. This is the time when you start counting. You will be surprised how students finish the task without you having to shout anymore!
Address Bad Behaviour Promptly
Let’s say; a student comes to you with a complaint of bullying by a group of fellow classmates. Your first response should be to assure the victim child that you are there for him and her and will address it immediately. Then, you should call the bully students and find out the cause of their behaviour. Explain to them why bullying is bad and what can be its implications if the school decides to take action. The chances are that they will understand. But, if they not, it is necessary to escalate the matter to principal and parents. Bad behaviour like bullying is unacceptable and it should be dealt with immediate attention. However, you are the best judge of the degree or duration of that behaviour and handle the issue accordingly.
Make Room for Humour
There is no doubt that children love their teachers, but they also have an image of them being strict and discipline-demanding. Well, both traits are necessary to maintain good behaviour in the class, but why not add a pinch of humour to it? This will make you more relatable and approachable with children. Laugh at your silly mistakes, put up humorous quotes in the classroom, tell jokes, plan a funny day every month, etc.
Reward Good Behaviour
It is very easy to rebuke bad behaviour, but the seldom good behaviour is appreciated. If any child in the class is always disciplined or well-behaved, praise him or her in front of the whole class. You can even get creative and give a certificate/badge of appreciation. This will motivate other children because they will want it too. Similarly, if a badly-behaved child is showing good progress in good behaviour, you should appreciate that also.
Behave As You Expect
Children learn by watching adults. If you want your students to say ‘thank you’ and ‘please’, make sure you show them by example. If you want them to talk politely, you need to do too. Be a role model of good behaviour for your students.
Escalate Matter to School Authorities and Parents
In extreme cases when the child refuses to follow the good behaviour path and repeats same mistakes time and again, the intervention of principal/school management as well as parents become necessary. If you think the child needs psychological counselling, don’t hesitate to recommend it to the parents. Sometimes, teachers see what parents can’t.
Lastly, remember that children are children. It is their age to fun and make mistakes. But, as long as they don’t push the boundaries so far, they are just fine. Observe their behaviour closely and raise the red flag only when required.