How to Manage Classroom Proactively

Contributed by:
Jonathan James
Proactive Classroom Management Strategies:
1. Organizing a productive classroom
2. Establishing positive relationships with all students in the class
3. Positive greetings at the door to correct and establish a positive climate
4. Classroom rules/expectations and procedures are visible and known by every student
5. Transitions are managed well
6. Independent seatwork is managed and used when needed
7. Communicating competently w/ students
8. Teach, model, and reinforce prosocial skills

2. The 2 Most Important Variables for
▫ Time devoted to instruction (TDI)
 How much actual time throughout the day is devoted to
learning activities?
 Direct instruction, small group activities, independent
▫ Academic engaged time (AET)
 The extent to which students are engaged or paying
attention to the instruction
 Learning does not occur if the student is not paying
attention (NO DUH!)
3. The Numbers:
Increasing TDI or AET
• 5 hours of possible instruction per day (300 minutes)
• Engage in efforts to increase TDI and/or AET
▫ Increase by:
 5 minutes per day = +25 minutes per week; +15.8 hours
for year
 10 minutes per day = +50 minutes per week; +30.6 hours
for year
 15 minutes per day = +75 minutes per week; +46.4 hours
for year
 30 minutes per day = +150 minutes per week; +92.8
hours for year
4. Why is it more difficult to manage the
Behavior of a Group than an Individual?
• More of them and only one of you
• Difficult to please everyone at once
▫ Diverse motivations, interests, and skill
• Peer contagion
• People do things in the context of groups
that they would never do alone
5. 16 Proactive Classroom Management Strategies
1. Organizing a productive classroom
2. Establishing positive relationships 9. Teacher proximity
with all students in the class 10. Motivation system to reward
3. Positive greetings at the door to desirable behavior
precorrect and establish a positive 11. Goal setting and
performance feedback
4. Classroom rules/expectations and
procedures are visible and known 12. Visual schedule of classroom
by every student activities
5. Transitions are managed well 13. Effective cuing systems to
6. Independent seatwork is managed release and regain attention
and used when needed
14. 5 to 1 ratio of
7. Communicating competently w/
students positive:negative
8. Teach, model, and reinforce interactions
prosocial skills 15. Smiling and being nice
16. Providing numerous
opportunities to respond
6. #1 Proactive Classroom
Management Tactics
1. Organizing a productive classroom
▫ All students can see instruction without having to
strain or engage in effort
▫ Students do not face traffic areas (distractibility)
▫ Problem students are not seated next to one
▫ Easy to walk without disruption
▫ Seating rows with paired desks instead of tables
 Reduces disruptive behavior (Whedall et al., 1981)
 Increases academic productivity (Bennett & Blundell, 1983)
7. #3 Proactive Classroom
Management Tactics
• Classroom rules and procedures
▫ Establish clear rules/expectations
▫ Rules/expectations stated in the positive
▫ No more than 3 to 5 rules/expectations
▫ Review rules/expectations on a weekly basis
▫ Reinforce rule abiding behaviors
▫ Response cost rule violating behaviors
8. #5 Proactive Classroom
Management Tactics
• Positive greetings at the door to establish a
positive classroom atmosphere and precorrect
problem behavior
▫ Positive verbal or non-verbal interactions with
students as they walk into the room
▫ Precorrect individual student or all students
9. #6 Proactive Classroom
Management Tactics
• Managing independent seatwork
▫ Independent seatwork is associated with lower
rates of engagement and student achievement
than teacher-led activities
▫ Clear expectations
▫ Have backup assignment/activity for those who
finish early
▫ Peer-assisted assignment correcting
10. #7 Proactive Classroom
Management Tactics
• Communicating competently w/ students
▫ Praise, encouraging feedback, empathy statements and smiling
▫ Delivering effective praise:
 Contingency
 Specificity
 Sincerity
▫ Delivering effective reprimands or corrective statements
 Brevity
 Non-emotional
 Non-threatening, soft voice
 Proximity
11. #8 Proactive Classroom
Management Tactics
• Teach and model behavioral expectations and
prosocial skills (SW-PBS)
▫ Set aside time to teach prosocial skills for
success in the classroom
 Sharing, listening, waiting turns, question asking
 Provide examples/non-examples
▫ Catch’em being good
 aka – behavior specific praise
12. #9 Proactive Classroom
Management Tactics
• Teacher proximity
▫ Teacher movement throughout the classroom
increases academic engagement
▫ Proximity reduces challenging behaviors in
 “Teach like the floor is on fire”
 Can’t stand in the same spot for long before your feet
get burned
13. #10 Proactive Classroom
Management Tactics
• Motivation System
▫ System of delivering rewards or contingent
access to desired activities or privileges based on
▫ Allows students to receive payoff for
maintaining on-task behavior
▫ Helps students who are not inherently good at or
motivated to do academic tasks
14. #11 Proactive Classroom
Management Tactics
• Goal setting and performance feedback
▫ Establish a reasonably ambitious behavioral goal
for each student
▫ Deliver periodic feedback to the students based
on their progress toward goal attainment
▫ Reward the individual students and/or entire
class for meeting preset goal
15. #12 Proactive Classroom
Management Tactics
• Visual schedule posted of daily activities
▫ Students know what to expect
▫ Students know when to expect which activities
▫ Students know how much time will be devoted
to each activity
▫ Students can better self-manage their behavior
and time
16. #13 Proactive Classroom
Management Tactics
• Effective cueing systems to release and regain
▫ Develop signals that release and regain attention
 Avoid shouting or using the light switch
▫ Utilize students themselves as a way to prompt
and regain attention from other students
 “If you can hear me raise your hand.”
 Clap three times…snap three times
17. #14 Proactive Classroom
Management Tactics
• 5 to 1 ratio of positive to negative interactions
▫ Positive interactions consist of words, gestures
(thumbs up), or physical contact (pat on the
shoulder, high five) that have a positive quality to
them and are delivered contingent on desirable
 Helps students learn expected behaviors and teachers
build stronger relationships with students
▫ Reprimands or corrective statements work better in
the context of a positive, reinforcing environment
18. #15 Proactive Classroom Management
Tactics Smiling and being (Mirror Neurons!)
• Neurons that fire when another person acts; thus, the neuron
"mirrors" the behavior of the other
▫ Students learn via modeling from educators and peers
▫ Students will treat us how we treat them (if we’re mean-they’re
mean; if we’re nice-they’re nice)
19. Mirror Neurons –
the power of smiling
• Randomized trial looking at
performance under smiling versus no
smiling conditions:
▫ Those in the smile group perceived
the world in a better light: To them,
 boring material was more interesting,
 neutral images looked more positive,
 even bland drinks seemed tastier
• PLUS, people who smile more live
an average of 7 years longer than
those who smile less
20. #16 Proactive Classroom Management Tactics
Providing numerous opportunities to respond
• Classrooms in which teachers provide students
with numerous opportunities to respond, are
associated with higher student engagement
which is incompatible with problem behavior
• Must pass the dead man’s test
▫ If a dead man can be as successful in a classroom
as a live student, then there aren’t enough
opportunities for students to respond and interact
with the learning content
21. De-escalation Strategies
• Do not intimidate the student (get on the student’s level)
▫ Your eye’s below the student’s
• Use a calm voice
• Fewer words the better
• Non-threatening body posture
▫ Do not stand over the student
▫ Stand to the side
• Caring statements
▫ Empathy, perspective-taking, encouragement
• Give the student a way out
▫ Alternative activity, “Not now, later,” “why don’t you take a break
and get some water”
• Avoiding shaming, ridiculing, and/or embarrassing the student