Skip to main content

3 Proven Classroom Management Tips

Learn three proven classroom management tips from education consultant Grace Dearborn in this Howcast video.


What are some proven classroom management tips? I think if you asked like 100 different veteran teachers, you'd get 100 different answers. There are so many good tips for classroom management, but let me give you my top three.

The number one thing is teaching your procedures. The more your procedures are taught, the same way that content is taught - give a vision of the whole, break it down into parts, teach the parts, connecting to the whole, check for understanding - the more we're teaching our procedures in that way, not just our content, the more smoothly our classrooms are going to run.

My second tip is don't over-explain to your students your reasons why, because all the students, when confronted with an adult authority figure who is holding their ground, they'll all blurt out at some point, "But why?" and their asking that question isn't a real question. They're just in right brain, emotive, blurt mode. But when we explain to them, if we give them an explanation for why we're saying no or why we give a particular decision, they'll just counter our decision or our reason. Then we have to counter their reason, and they counter our reason, and we counter their reason, and now we're lost in the land of reasons. And once you get into the land of reasons, it's pretty hard to get back out. So let me suggest to you that as classroom teachers, we rarely have to explain to students our reasons why. And in those few and far between times when we really do have to explain, we rarely, or maybe never, have to explain in the moment. Delay your explanations until later. This is a really cornerstone classroom management tip. Delay your explanations until later. And while that might seem harsh or uncaring, it really isn't. I can care deeply for a student's desire to know what my reasons are without telling them, right? If the student, I say, "No," and they're upset, "I see that you're really upset about this. I'll tell you what. In ten minutes, when I've got everybody in groups, come up and we'll talk about it," expressing my compassion for their desire to know what my reason is, but still delaying that reason until later. And most of the time, that student isn't going to come up to you for that explanation. And it's not because they forget or that they're intimidated by you. It's just that they were in emotive, blurt mode. And if we give them a moment to calm down, they usually realize they already know why, so they don't bother to come up to us for that explanation.

My third tip is don't keep offering the same consequence or the same reminder over and over and over again. The number one thing I see when I am in a classroom where a teacher is struggling with negative behaviors with students is them offering the same choice to the student or the same consequence to the student over and over and over. "Johnny, stop that, or I'm going to move you to the back of the room." Then a few seconds later, "Johnny, I mean it. Stop that. I'm going to move you, Johnny. I am going to move you if you don't stop that." But you're not really going to move him. You're just going to tell him again to stop, and he knows that, and he knows he can keep doing that behavior over and over and over again, until eventually you go, "Johnny, out!" Right? And then that was maybe too harsh a consequence for what Johnny was actually doing. So my tip is move through your consequences quickly and escalate the consequences to deescalate the confrontation. "Johnny, stop doing that, or you'll have to move to the back of the room." If Johnny doesn't stop, "Johnny, move to the back of the room. Now you have a new choice. You can sit in the back of the room, work by yourself for a few minutes productively, and then you can come back to your group, or you can stay in the back of the room for the rest of the lesson. I'll come and check on you in a minute." If Johnny is distracting in the back of the room, "Johnny, you can stop being distracting in the back of the room, or you can step outside and have a private conversation with me. What do you want to do?" Johnny continues, "Johnny, step outside." Move through the consequences. Don't keep offering the same consequence over and over and over again. So those are some tips that I think will help in the classroom.

Popular Categories