In the previous post we looked at the first two steps to getting your classroom management off to a great start. Step 1 was and step 2 was. You can read the entire post here.
The last two steps are:
Step 3: Establish your class rules.
Our entire day is permeated with rules. Most of the time we don’t realise that they are there, but without these rules our routines would have no flow.
The following is a great example of why we set rules in place to enable our routines to flow.
Let’s say that you need to get to school by eight each morning. For you to arrive on time you set your alarm clock for 6AM every morning so that you can finish everything you need to do before moving on to that day’s activities. If you break your rule of getting up at 6AM it may not affect anyone else, but you will feel uneasy and stressed, and you will not have time to get everything done.
If you break your rule of getting up at 6AM you may also be forced to break other rules. You may drive faster than permitted, in which case you risk being fined. So without this simple rule your routine goes out the window!
The absence of rules creates a sense of insecurity. If you go to a place and are not sure of the customs and culture it can be very uncomfortable leaving you feeling awkward.
The problem in teaching is that we have all adopted the same rules that were used goodness knows how long ago but the rules aren’t linked to the culture and atmosphere we are trying to build in our classrooms.
Are the rules you have established a result of clear thought and planning or custom and tradition?
It is best not to have blanket rules in the classroom, but rather rules as a response to what is happening with your routine which is clearly linked to your goals.
Which leads us to our last step:
Step 4: Develop your feedback system.
Your rules are only as good as your feedback system. There are 3 forms of feedback. Recognition, praise and criticism. There is not time to go into how to best leverage feedback in your classroom; I will cover this in detail in the near future. For now you just need to know that there is no point to having rules if the students can break them and not have a consequence. You also need to understand that some forms of feedback are not as effective for some students as others. You can read more about that in the earlier blog posts here and here.
All the best for a great start to 2011. Leave a comment below letting me and other teachers reading this blog your ideas to getting off to a great start.