Classroom management and discipline is a product of consistency and developing a relationship with the students. Effective discipline is a product of classroom procedures and developing mutual respect between students and their teacher. We, as music teachers, however wear many hats. Often music teachers are invited to do clinics. We may teach a summer camp, substitute or guest teach. In these situations you cannot always predict how kids would behave. You have to adapt on the spot.
If you are teacher from a different subject, keep reading. Same classroom and management ideas can be applied to any class.
Four Tips to Improve Classroom behavior on The Spot and Improve Your Teaching On The Long Run
Practicing these four steps below is something that experienced teachers do natural as a part of their instruction. We all need regular refreshment of our practice. Which ones do you incorporate in yours
- Watch the intonation of your voice. Changing the volume you talk will get students’ attention. Getting suddenly louder or suddenly very soft will re-focus the class if they are getting off track. If a child is misbehaving, focus on your voice being firm.
Classroom Management and Discipline Challenge: Practice talking with different tempo and different dynamics of your voice in class. Notice how that affects the kids. Experiment on a class you feel comfortable with first. You will then be able to apply this idea to more challenging situations.
- Move around the room. If a child is getting louder, you can go close to him. You may also gently put your hand on the child’s desk or music stand (without touching the child) as you are giving instruction. This will give them the message that they are being watched.
- Change of pace will help students re-focus. That may mean changing the activity, having students move, or simply having the teacher change their own pace (sit down, move around the room). Many children get louder/misbehaved simply because they get bored and loose their focus. Having them look at different directions, listen to the teacher change their voice, as well as moving will get them to be focused for a longer time.
Example: I have a student-teacher who does a great job with that. He moves around the first part of class to keep students on task. In the middle when introducing a new topic, he suddenly sits down…the moment he changes his pace the kids get completely quiet and want to hear what he has to say. It is very interesting to watch!
- Instead of focusing your attention on the kids who are misbehaving, focus on the ones doing well! If a child is talking or loosing focus, find a child next to them who are being quiet and congratulate them for it. Often in a class I may find the one kids who is quiet and in good rest position. I may say “I’d like you to see ….and become as good as she is”. This re-directs students’ attention very quickly and they want to be “one of the good kids”.
For more tips on positive reinforcement see
Changing Behavior Habits with Students
So, which of the four strategies are you using in your teaching?