Classroom Management Techniques and Tips
Below are some helpful techniques and tips to help faculty manage their classes. While this list is comprehensive, it is not exhaustive.
Begin to establish an effective environment on the first day of class
First impressions are extremely important in setting the tone for the rest of the semester, so plan your first class carefully:
- Introduce yourself. Explicitly state the way you would like to be addressed.
- Consider offering an icebreaker to relax students and encourage interaction.
- Teach something; immediately begin to engage students in the course.
- Clearly state your expectations of student behavior and the consequences of disrupting class in the syllabus.
- Discuss the classroom rules, behavior expectations, and the consequences of disruptive and disrespectful behaviors. In addition to verbally expressing the rules and consequences, clearly state them in the course syllabus. Refer to the rules from time to time as a reminder for all students.
- Expect some students to come in late. They’re getting lost, too!
- Consider setting community rules (e.g., regarding phones, laptops, talking, sleeping, eating, late arrivals, and early departures) with the students; they will appreciate the democratic approach.
- Start learning names right away; anonymity discourages student engagement. Using props (name cards, photos, index cards), taking attendance (but remember that BCC policy prohibits grading attendance), and handing back papers and homework can help you to connect a name with a face.
Interact with students regularly
Consistent interaction will help ensure rapport and reduce classroom management issues:
Greet students as they enter the classroom
Chat with them for a few moments—Consider opening class with a brief casual conversation about a current event or something interesting from the homework
Intersperse lecture with discussion, group work, or video segments to encourage involvement and help students connect the content with real-world events and issues
Ask questions (giving plenty of wait time) and respond to student comments
Make eye contact with as many students as possible during class.
Hold your students accountable
How can you ensure that students come to class with course assignments prepared and readings completed? The more assignments are structured to be authentic, public, and facilitative of peer interaction, the more likely students will be to complete them.
If you stay at the front of the room the whole time, students know they can pursue other activities without you noticing. If possible, move around the room as you conduct class, standing close to students who are talking or texting—the closer you get, the less likely they are to continue that behavior.
Nip minor disruptions in the bud
One way to do this is to ask the student who is engaging in off-task behavior a content-based question to get her engaged in the lesson.
Although many teachers believe this projects confidence, it actually looks more like weakness and in most cases, makes students lose respect for you.
Talk privately with the disruptive student
This can make a big difference. Again, in an even tone, describe the behavior you’re noticing, explain why it is a problem, and tell the student you’d like them to stop. In many cases, this is all that’s needed to change behavior.
Confront inappropriate language
If a student makes an inappropriate comment—racist, sexist, or otherwise offensive—letting it go without intervention can seem like a tacit endorsement of those views. And whether the slight is intentional or not, the impact is the same. Letting such comments pass unchallenged can seriously harm students’ trust in you and their sense of belonging in the class and the university. Responding directly to microagressions and other inappropriate language may feel uncomfortable, but our discomfort as instructors has less impact than discomfort experienced by marginalized students.
Online/Remote Classroom Participation Considerations
What is Netiquette?
Netiquette is the term used for online etiquette or Internet etiquette. It refers to the guidelines for communicating online in acceptable or respectful ways.
Why is netiquette important?
Following netiquette helps enhance relationships with people you care about while also protecting your professional reputation. Practicing online etiquette can even reduce cyberbullying.6 Proper online information-sharing strategies are important to protecting other people’s privacy and safeguarding your sensitive information.
What is the golden rule of netiquette?
“Do not do or say online what you would not do or say offline.”7 Before posting a comment or publishing a status update, ask yourself if you would feel comfortable saying the same thing face-to-face to everyone who will see it. If not, don’t post it. The same rule applies to images. If you wouldn’t print it out and pass it out to others, don’t share it on your online platforms either.
Why is etiquette important in online meetings?
Using Internet etiquette during online meetings enables you to stay professional. It also allows you to respect the other meeting attendants while providing a setting in which the meeting can run as smoothly as possible.
Zoom Meeting Netiquette
When meeting with colleagues online, following a few general guidelines can help keep your interactions professional. Proper online etiquette for video meetings include:
Checking your device’s audio and video before the meeting to ensure that they work
Creating a background that is uncluttered so it isn’t disruptive, or selecting a background offered by the video meeting platform
Choosing a professional screen name (your first and last name is a good option; avoid nicknames or any screen name that could be offensive or unprofessional)
Joining the meeting on time
Muting yourself when you’re not speaking
Not talking over other meeting participants
Basic Netiquette Expectations in the Classroom
Use Respectful Language.
Share With Discretion.
Don’t Exclude Others.
Respect People’s Privacy.
Fact Check Before Reposting.
Respond to Emails and Texts/Chats Promptly
Update Online Information
Flaherty, C. “How not to lose control of a class.” Inside HigherEd; May 2015. Available at: https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2015/05/26/seasoned-educators-weigh-not-losing-control-class
Knepp, K.A. “Understanding student and faculty incivility in higher education.” Journal of Effective Teaching 12, 2012. Available at: http://www.uncw.edu/jet/articles/Vol12_1/Knepp.pdf
McKeachie, W. J. and Svinicki, M. (2013) McKeachie’s teaching tips : Strategies, research, and theory for college and university teachers. (14th ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.