Establishing Clasroom Rules
Rules communicate the kind of atmosphere you wish to establish in the classroom. They set limits for students’ conduct, which allows students to learn effectively. Clearly stated rules posted in the classroom allow you to establish your expectations for how students will conduct themselves. These tips will help you establish and maintain good behavior among students as you teach.
This Week's Tips
Adhere to School Rules (Monday)
Familiarize yourself with the school rules. Check with a site administrator to find out what the school rules are and the consequences for breaking them. Also, check to see when the administrator wishes to be involved in conflicts that take place in the classroom or with parents. Find out the kinds of support the school offers for students who habitually break rules. Finally, make sure your own classroom rules do not conflict with the school rules.
Establish Classroom Rules (Tuesday)
Prepare a brief list of general rules to tell students what you expect from them. Before you create your rules, consider the kind of environment you wish to establish in your classroom. Brainstorm a list of your expectations for student conduct. Review the list for some general ideas of how you want students to conduct themselves. Then write five or six general rules for student conduct. Make sure your rules are consistent with the school rules.
Determine Consequences for Breaking Rules (Wednesday)
Determine appropriate consequences for infractions of the rules. Brainstorm a list of what will happen when a student does not follow a rule. Keep in mind that rules will probably be broken daily. You need to be prepared in advance, so you are not trying to decide what to do in the middle of an issue with a student. Additionally, students need to know in advance what will happen if they break a rule. Post the consequences prominently near the rules.
Communicate Rules, Consequences, and Rewards (Thursday)
Explain the rules to your students. Before the first day of school, post your classroom rules, consequences, and rewards prominently in the front of the classroom. On the first day of school, review the rules with your students. Be sure to explain the consequences that will occur when a rule is broken. Perhaps most important to the success of your program is the consistent use of praise and other rewards during the first weeks of school.
React When Rules Are Broken (Friday)
Control your reaction when rules are broken. A common reaction is for a student to ask, “What did I do?” Simply and calmly note the infraction but move on with a minimum of fuss. Don't give the student undue attention and power for their behavior. Wait until after class to discuss the incident and notify the student of the consequences of breaking the rule. This approach spares limited class time, avoids rewarding misbehavior with more attention, and yet follows up with consequences.