Minimizing Classroom Disruptions
Classroom disruptions steal quality instructional time from the school day. While you may be unable to control outside disruptions, you can implement strategies to better avoid disruptions inside your classroom during the class period. This week, we offer a series of tips on minimizing classroom disruptions to maximize time-on-task.
This Week's Tips
Communicate Daily Expectations for All Learners (Monday)
Set the tone for daily learning by announcing educational goals and performance objectives for students. Do not expect students to guess or infer their learning goals. Tell them daily what is to be learned and how they will demonstrate this learning. When teachers set high expectations, and provide support as needed, the opportunity for learning and academic success increases.
Establish and Maintain Classroom Policies (Tuesday)
At the onset, be firm in establishing a safe, consistent, and supportive learning environment. Pre-organization of schedules, established routines, and clearly-defined rules will structure and set the tone for learning. Be assertive in leading a conscientiously managed discussion to establish class rules and rewards. Keep students to a short list and explain the rationale. Be certain that students also know school policies regarding disciplinary procedures.
Use Non-Verbal Cues to Reduce Disruptions (Wednesday)
Maximize the use of non-verbal cues to re-direct students. When faced with an off-task student, employ a variety of non-verbal cues to curb the unwanted behaviors and redirect attention. Use strategies such as making eye contact, increasing your proximity to the student, or using hand signals. Giving a “hairy eyeball” look, standing beside a student, or mimicking the opening of a book with your hands allows a teacher to continue the flow of instruction and learning of the class without giving direct attention to the unwanted behaviors.
Alternate Teaching Modes to Minimize Disruptions (Thursday)
Differentiate instruction to accommodate the various learning styles of students. Students learn through many different styles of instruction. Plan well-structured lessons with a variety of learning experiences. Effective teaching varies teaching methods over three modalities: visual, auditory, and kinesthetic. Be careful not to get stuck in presenting lessons in your favored modality. Additionally, alternate between individual, small group, and whole group activities.
Engage Students to Avoid Classroom Disruptions (Friday)
Continuously monitor student learning and adjust to the needs of students. Regardless of teacher planning, students learn at different rates. Help students by providing immediate and constructive feedback. Be willing to offer additional support by tutoring, scheduling after-school review sessions, and conferencing with parents. The more successful students feel, the less likely that classroom disruptions will occur.