How to Create Effective Learning Environments

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Classroom management systems (and especially positive behavior support) promote an orderly learning environment for students. They enhance students' academic skills and competencies, as well as their social and emotional development.

Teachers should have the following goals in mind:

  • Develop caring, supportive relationships with and among students.
  • Organize and implement instruction in ways that optimize students' access to learning.
  • Use group management methods that encourage student engagement with academic tasks.
  • Promote the development of student social skills and self-regulation.
  • Use appropriate interventions to assist students who have behavior problems.

Effective classroom management systems work best using these six practices:

  1. Post, teach, review, monitor, and reinforce expectations.
  2. Actively engage students in observable ways.
  3. Identify the behaviors that are an integral part of the instructional agenda, more specifically: what behaviors are required for goals to be reached; what does a particular learning activity implicate about student roles, and how will the teacher prepare students to enact these roles successfully.
  4. Maximize structure and predictability.
  5. Use a continuum of strategies to acknowledge appropriate behavior.
  6. Use a continuum of strategies to respond to inappropriate behavior.

Effective classroom management systems work best by avoiding these eight practices:

  1. Do not use vague rules
  2. Do not have rules that you are unwilling to enforce.
  3. Do not ignore student behaviors that violate school or classroom rules (they will not go away).
  4. Do not engage in ambiguous or inconsistent treatment of misbehavior.
  5. Do not use overly harsh or embarrassing punishments or punishments delivered without accompanying support.
  6. Do not use corporate punishment.
  7. Avoid out of school suspension whenever possible.
  8. Do not try to solve problems alone if you have serious concerns about a student. Refer to your school psychologist or special education professional.

Classroom management systems should be evaluated by their ability to

  • Promote self regulation of behavior.
  • Reduce the incidence of misbehavior.
  • Maximize student productivity.

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