3 Tips from a Clinical Expert on Helping Educators Manage Student Behavior in the Classroom

Having spent many years as a school-based mental health professional, I’ve worked closely with educators on how they can best foster an environment where each student can thrive. I’ve compiled these best practices to help educators create trust, build routines, and set clear expectations with their students in their classrooms. 

Tip #1: Take a proactive approach to building connections with students
As a school social worker providing valuable insights into effective classroom management, I want to highlight the significance of a proactive approach to building connections with students. Establishing trust, respect, and understanding is the best way to establish effective communication and successful behavior management. Prioritizing these connections not only enhances the classroom atmosphere, but also sets the stage for a positive effect on the classroom. 

Building good rapport, this will positively influence behavior by fostering trust, respect, and strong connection between staff and students. This is important for every faculty member who interacts with students. From the Librarian to Clerk and even the Custodian on campus. This will help to cultivate an environment where students believe teachers and staff members care about them and understand them which makes students more inclined to exhibit positive behaviors and respect for those individuals. A supportive teacher-student relationship not only enhances the learning environment but also instills a sense of belonging and motivates students to demonstrate good behavior. Building strong rapport is foundational to positive relationships, and actions like taking the time to know students on a personal level can significantly contribute to this.

Tip #2: Create a predictable structure and routines in the classroom

Predictability, especially regarding clear expectations and standards, instills a sense of security in the classroom. A well-established routine and structure provides predictability and security, reducing anxiety and uncertainty for students. Consistent routines help children understand expectations and create a stable learning environment that contributes to improved behavior. Tools such as a visible schedule, explicit expectations, and positive reinforcement all play a crucial role. Publicly praising students reinforces expectations, while redirecting or reprimanding should be done privately to avoid power struggles. Nonverbal cues can also be effective in addressing unwanted behaviors without escalating issues in front of the whole class.

Top #3: Educators must prioritize their own well-being in order to bring their best selves to the classroom

Above all, educators must recognize and prioritize their own emotional well-being. This involves assessing one's emotional state daily, setting boundaries for a healthy work-life balance, and supporting colleagues when needed. Administrators who readily step in to support teachers exemplify the importance of a collaborative and caring environment. The concept of a safe calming space, not just for students but also for teachers, promotes the processing of challenging emotions and maintaining perspective. Being at our best in a supportive environment enhances overall performance, particularly when working with children.

Working with children and supporting schools is a true passion and I’m confident that the best way to foster effective classroom management is all about being proactive, building trust, solid routines with clear expectations and creating an environment where we all understand that the job isn’t easy and we need to look out for one another and ourselves at times. As we collectively embrace these insights, we pave the way for not only effective behavior management but also the holistic development and success of every student and the larger community.  

Downloadable Content

The State of Youth Mental Health & Our Schools

How schools are responding to the rising demand for student mental health services.

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