Your classroom management plan
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Your classroom management plan

Hi I’m Rob Plevin from Needs Focused
Teaching and in this video I’m going to be talking about something of crucial
importance – your classroom management plan. What it is, why you need it and how
to put it together. So what is a classroom management plan? Well basically
it’s the foundation of an organized, well behaved classroom. It details your rules
and expectations for appropriate behavior together with the routines and
procedures that will help students meet those expectations. And finally it
covers your responses – the consequences you will use for students who don’t
manage to meet those expectations. Its purpose is to provide consistency and
structure in your classroom and in your teaching; it’s to help you prevent and
prepare for behavior problems for any and all eventualities in terms of
student behavior and also its purpose is to pass accountability to students to
enable them to take responsibility for their own learning and for their own
behaviour. Done right this can save you thousands of hours over the course
of your career it can help your students learn and achieve much more than ever
before. So let’s have a quick look at how to do it . So, do you need one? Well that
depends… If your students already know what’s expected of them from lesson to
lesson and day to day, and if your classroom runs smoothly… without you
having to intervene with students who aren’t behaving appropriately… and if
you’re able to adapt to any and all behaviour problems which you come up
against in your classroom… then perhaps not. But I don’t know many teachers who
are in that situation. The point of this is that a well-thought-out classroom
management plan is of benefit to you as well as your students firstly because it
enables you to teach with cool calm confidence; that calm confidence that
comes from knowing exactly what to do no matter what happens in your class;
and secondly it takes you from being very reactive to being more responsive
and I’ll explain what I mean by that. So you know those times when your most
difficult students start to challenge your authority and you don’t know what
to do? You struggle. You can feel the situation getting worse and worse but
you’re just left floundering… What consequence do I use? What do I do if it
gets any worse? And you can see it escalating and you get that sense that
feeling of being out of control. Well in this state, without a plan, we
react. We just blindly react and we’re a model of inconsistency in that state so
we actually encourage more problems. We encourage students to push harder and
press further. So this inconsistent approach comes
around through not having a plan and once you get to that state, once students
start to see that you haven’t got a plan and that you’re not this calm, confident
consistent leader then your reputation spreads and that’s what I mean by
encouraging more misbehaviour. You get students arriving at your lesson ready
to push your buttons because they know they can get away with it. Young people
need clear firm boundaries and they need to know what will happen if they cross
those boundaries. And they needed a teacher who’s a leader – who can lead them
calmly and confidently and that’s what a classroom management plan can can bring
about. So let’s have a look at your classroom
management plan. There are actually four components to this although I left
the top one off. The first bit is that bit that should be going on all the time
in your classroom – the preventive strategies, our Needs Focused preventive
strategies. So that’s things like clear communication, positive praise,
relationships… those kinds of things need to be in place as part of your classroom
management plan. But what we’re dealing with here are your rules, your routines to
help students meet those rules and expectations… and the responses that
you’ll put in place for students that don’t manage to follow those rules and
routines. Of course routines are actually one of our preventive
strategies but we’re dealing with it here separately as part of our classroom
management plan. We’ll start with rules and I think the best way I can
explain this is by showing you an example of bad practice so here’s a list
of lists of rules that I wouldn’t advise using. These are mr. Plevin’s rules… don’t
call out, don’t leave without permission don’t use equipment without permission,
do not use bad language, do not leave bags on the floor, do not ignore the
teacher do not bla bla bla bla bla moan moan moan. Okay – all very, very negative. That’s
the first thing we can see about this and you’ll know from some of my other
videos and books that the heart of the Needs Focused approach is about creating
positive relationships with your students, it’s about creating a positive
classroom environment and it’s very hard to do that if you’re moaning at them all
the time. The other thing is that there’s a lot of
rules here and once you get past four or five your students really don’t pay
attention anymore. It’s very hard for them to remember past four or five rules
and it’s very hard for you to enforce past four or five rules; it just becomes
a long long moan and lecture. So they’re the first two things wrong with this and
the third one is that we’re using vague terms throughout this things like
respect/respectfully – respect others. Those kind of vague terms mean different
things to different people so unless I clarify what is meant by ‘respectfully’
what’s meant by ‘quietly’, what’s meant by ‘appropriately’…
then perhaps some of my students won’t give me the kind of behaviour that I’m
expecting and wanting so it’s okay to use those terms as long as you’ve
explained exactly what they mean. So just to recap, these are ‘bad’ rules
because there’s too many of them, they are very negative and we’re using vague
terms which perhaps haven’t been explained beforehand. What we’re trying
to do is create a positive environment while ensuring that our students follow
our rules and our routines so it’s best to focus on the behaviour you want to see
rather than behaving you don’t want to see. Let’s now have a look at a set of
rules that might work a little bit better. Right so here’s Mr. P’s ‘better’ rules. I’ll
read through these quickly and then we’ll go through the process in a bit
more detail… one follow instructions first time, two take part in activities
and complete set tasks, three use materials correctly and safely, four use
polite language and five face the teacher when he or she is talking. Now
this particular set of rules or slight adaptations of them have served me
really really well in my classroom over the years in a whole manner of different
settings so how do you come up with rules? How do you actually phrase them?
Well first of all try and think in terms of conveying those positive expectations
that you want in terms of appropriate behaviour and in terms of creating that
learning environment. And remember what we said about the the bad set of rules
– we had too many there so we’re keeping it to four or five succinct rules.
We’re phrasing them positively – none of these are phrased in the, in the negative
sense they’re all positive actions that we want our students to take so we’ll
focus on the things we want them to do rather than those we don’t want them to
do. And any vague terms such as use materials ‘correctly’ and ‘safely’ they will
be explained to my students. We can’t really get away with not using those vague
terms completely but it’s fine as long as you explain what they mean. So in
terms of, say a science lab, I’ll explain exactly what is meant by ‘correctly’ in
in terms of using particular scientific equipment or in the computer lab in
terms of using technical equipment. Now, when it comes to introducing these rules
to students that’s where we sometimes hit a bit of a brick wall because as
you’ll know our students are very suspicious of anything which they feel
is controlling in any way so they they’ll question it if you come in too
hard with your rules. So there’s a couple of things you can do to to get over this hurdle and the first is the way you
introduce these rules to your students. So when you sit them all down quietly
and you start to talk about these rules it’s a good idea to say something
along the lines of “my job is to help you succeed. My job is to help create a
classroom where you feel safe, where you won’t be ridiculed or threatened, where
there’ll be no bullying going on and where the conditions are such that you
can learn new things. And that is why we’ve got these rules.” So it really helps
first and foremost in the way you introduce those rules – make it all about them, let
them see that you’re doing this to help them. It’s not about you having a nice
tidy classroom and an easy job it’s about creating conditions where they can
succeed; you want to help them. And the second thing you can do is you can give
a reason or a number of reasons behind each of these rules. I’ll give you a few
now for example. People tend to listen more if they understand the reasoning
behind certain actions so this first rule ‘follow instructions
first time’ – I could ask my students ‘why do you think we have this rule?’ or I
could say something along the lines of ‘well you know we need to have instructions, we
have rules and guidelines to help the world run smoothly. For example how
would it be if you were on the football pitch or the hockey pitch and you didn’t
follow the rules or you didn’t follow what the referee said? It’s going to be
chaos. So we need to be able to follow
instructions and it’s best if you can do it first time and then we don’t get into
one of those long conversations where I give you loads of warnings and you
eventually get into trouble.” Number two, taking part in activities and complete
set tasks “now I know that you all work at different rates so I want to give you
a personalized work target or task each lesson. I want you to succeed, I want
you to learn so I’m doing this for your benefit. It’s up to you to take part and
it’s up to you to complete that task in the allotted time.” Number three using
materials correctly and safely – ‘We have this rule so that things don’t get
broken or so that people don’t get hurt I don’t want to be giving you or your
parents a bill at the end of a science lesson for a load of glassware that’s
been broken so we need to know how to use things correctly and safely.” Number
four, using polite language. “This is a life skill. You’re not here in school
just to learn how to do facts and figures you’re here to learn how to
behave appropriately and we’re giving you skills that you can take out into
the outside world. I wouldn’t want you going into a restaurant, for example, and
not knowing how to behave or how to speak politely to either staff or or
other guests.” And number fiv,e face the teacher when he or she is talking. “This
is another life skill, it shows respect when you face somebody. when they’re
talking and it also shows that you’re listening. It’s very hard for you
to speak to your next-door neighbor if you’re looking at the teacher when
they’re talking.” So there are a few ways I could explain the reasons for my rules
or, like I say, I could ask their opinion; I could ask my students why we have
these rules. The more you can get them to buy into them the more chance there is
that they’re going to follow them. So that covers our rules, we’re
going to cover routines in a moment. The final part of our classroom
management plan is consequences and responses but I cover those elsewhere in
other videos either online or in my various packages and you’ll also find
some in my various books on Amazon so I’m not going to do consequences and
responses here but in the next little bit we’re going to look at routines. So routines as part of our classroom
management plan are a wonderful way of automating your
classroom, automating your classroom management. The reason so many teachers
feel they have no control in the classroom is perhaps because they’re so
concerned with sorting out problems after they’ve happened – so they’re trying
to find ways to solve problems as they happen in the classroom. What routines do
is they give you a way of preventing most of the problems you’re likely to
encounter and they do that by giving your students a set of clearly defined tracks
or a clear roadmap to follow so that they know exactly how to behave in any
specific situation or circumstance. So for example at the end of the lesson,
before I put a routine in place it was chaos. The bell would go and people would
still be packing up and some would be running out the door and there’d be bags
all over the floor and I’d be shouting at them to come back and I’d be
repeating instructions again and again and again. Just total chaos.
Even if I got them to start tidying up five minutes before the bell some people
would be doing one thing while others were doing something else. Some didn’t
know what they were doing so they’re wandering around the classroom and I’m
constantly having to shout and shout out all these instructions. But with a routine in
place, my students know exactly what they have to do at the end of the lesson. So
in this case five minutes before the end of the lesson I’ll direct my students to
put all their equipment where they got it, to put their textbooks on the shelf
and their exercise books on my desk, to clear the floor and their work area and
then to sit in silence facing the front and wait to be dismissed. Now that’s
great I’ve got a routine that they can all follow at the end of the lesson but the
magic in this is how you teach a routine. So I’ve identified at the end of the
lesson is a very scruffy time of my lesson – it’s one of
those transition periods in a lesson where things go wrong.
That’s when things go wrong isn’t it? The transition periods from task to task,
doing something differently – the start of the lesson, a change in activity or the
end of the lesson; that’s when things tend to go wrong. So I’ve identified that
I need a routine for that particular time and what I will do is I will teach
this routine to my students so they know exactly what is expected of them at each
of these points. When we say ‘put all the equipment where you got it’
it goes on clearly-defined shelves in labeled areas; it goes away. Putting text
books on the shelf – again it goes to a clearly defined area. Exercise books on
my desk – in a nice neat pile, and I will demonstrate exactly what I want at each
of these points. So, for example, if I tell students to put their exercise books on
my desk some will get thrown there some will get laid neatly at one end of the
desk and some will go to the other but what I want is a nice neat pile in the center
of the desk. So I’ll clearly define and explain that. I’ll show them what I want and I’ll
demonstrate it and then I’ll get them to practice it. “This is how I want you to
put books on your debt on my desk.” Clearing the floor and getting their
work area tidy – I’ll show them what I want, what is meant
by a clear floor. “This is how it needs to be at the end of the lesson…” Otherwise my
interpretation of a clear floor might be very different to this and there’s an
opportunity for an argument – they can say it’s clean while I say isn’t
clean. So we’ll agree on what is meant and what
is required at each of these points. Once I’ve explained all that and once they’ve
practiced it and they know exactly what this means, this routine will get printed
out and it will go on the wall at the front or the side of my classroom and
then the next time it’s the end of the lesson, five minutes before the end of
the lesson I’ll just say to my students “Okay, we need to follow the ‘end of lesson’
routine. There it is.” And they now know exactly what they have to do before that
bell goes at the end of the lesson and I’ve got a nice tidy classroom, with all my
equipment away and my students are ready to leave.
That’s how you teach a routine; that’s how you establish your routine in your
classroom and the beauty of this is that you can establish as many of these
as you want. So for all those transitions and hot spots – start of lesson, end of
lesson, watching a video, going to the library, going to the toilet, lining up
for lunch, getting new equipment out, all these different
activities and transitions all have their own specific routine. And the way you
introduce them is one at a time. Don’t try and do loads of routines at once
because that will confuse them. Establish one routine, get it practiced until it’s
a habit, laminate it, put it on the wall and then introduce a new routine. Okay we’re
now going to look at a routine for the ‘start of lesson’ and then ‘putting
equipment away’, ‘getting equipment out’ and you work through all your transitions
and hot spots that way. Before you know it, in a matter of weeks, you’ve
automated your entire classroom management. So that’s our classroom
management plan – we’ve got our preventive strategies, we’ve got our rules and our
expectations, we’ve got our routines and we’ve got our responses and our
consequences if students don’t follow those routines. I hope you enjoyed that

About James Carlton

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9 thoughts on “Your classroom management plan

  1. What I had last year worked well, however, my class this year is very different in some ways, so I find myself constantly adjusting this year. It’s a bit exhausting.

  2. Your videos and book "Take Control of the Noisy Class" help me tremendously! Am very happy to watch a new video! Thank you soooo much! Greetings from Germany!

  3. Thanks for helping me to improve my teaching and the handling of classroom management problems! Greetings from Switzerland 💕

  4. I’m so grateful and thankful for your content and for you sharing your knowledge and experiences with the world. I was so excited when I saw you posted a new video on YouTube!!! Can’t wait to watch the next one:-))

  5. What to do when you have provoked misbehaviour due to inconsistency? I am a first year teacher. Can it be fixed after the first months?

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