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Discipline without Punishment: Classroom Management

Classroom management

I began my professional journey decades back as a school teacher at All Saints School, Ajmer. It gave me a lot of experience in handling students, developed my confidence and honed my communication skills too—I am reaping the benefits of that first job in early 90’s till today as an Academician, Coach and Trainer. 

One very important aspect that every teacher needs to acknowledge and practice is: classroom management. I have seen that it comes easily to some teachers, while others struggle with it endlessly. Why? I have been conducting sessions on the topic for a very reputed school for their teachers. So, let me share some success mantras for efficient and effective classroom management for the benefit of all those reading this piece.

Classroom management is a very systematic process wherein a teacher needs to design, then develop and then deliver it flawlessly so that transfer of learning happens between the teacher and taught. The important aspect here is: how sincere a teacher are you? Are you satisfied with being a good teacher, or a great one? The more devoted and passionate you are about teaching, the more thought, time, and energy you will expend to make each class meaningful, interesting, and engaging for the students. And there are so many ways of ensuring this—I discuss it in my training sessions, and encourage peer learning as well.

I always share in my teachers training sessions that if you want to inspire students, assess your teacher personality. Now what is that? You could be bouncer teacher, the enforcer teacher, the micromanager teacher…there are at least 8 different ones that I have deciphered. A self- assessment helps you identify your own personality type as per the profession. The connect between the teacher personality and classroom management is that it helps maintain order and discipline in class, in case you possess the positive traits like that of a principle-centered teacher personality. Then, you become like a role model for the students and they automatically listen to you, are more focused, share their ideas with you, and are inspired to follow in your footsteps. The right teacher personality impacts your relationship with students, which in turn influences the environment of the classroom. Would classroom management be difficult then? Think about it.

Additionally, I feel all teachers in the contemporary world believe that discipline needs to ensured in the class, without resorting to punishment. Right? So, how can that be attained. I am writing this part more for the benefit of those who have just joined the noble profession, although many experienced ones can also take notes. Some of the classroom management strategies I have tried and tested are: First, use positive reinforcement—praise and acknowledge the students for the smallest of their achievements, especially the quiet, introvert ones. Second, give students the autonomy to decide how they want to learn. Oops! Did I just step on your toes? Let me explain with an example. If you are a social science teacher, and have just finished teaching about the Houses of Parliament, give the students a choice to do an assignment in which they share the newly acquired knowledge either by organizing a Youth Parliament, or conducting an MUN (Model United Nations), performing a role play, writing an essay, carrying out a survey on the topic, or giving a presentation in front of other classmates. The students would be happy and excited since they would be ‘learning by doing’ and would get empowered in the process. But do not give unlimited choices to the students—which could be confusing and time-consuming too. Third, always clarify the 3R’s—rules, routines, and rewards to students. It sets clear expectations, and students will respect you more if you model a similar behaviour by following the 3Rs.

I hope you learned something new today by reading this short gist of my sessions on Classroom Management. I feel great when I share whatever knowledge I possess with all of you. In case you have a particular problem you face in school, comment below and we shall tackle it together. 

Keep learning, keep growing.

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