ABOUT: Cynthia Mathews is Doctor of Curriculum and Instruction and Educational Leadership. She conducts professional development workshops and teaches English in secondary education. Mathews is author of Cynthia Mathews on Curriculum and Instruction, A Nice and Nippy Discourse (letters for school leaders), GramSlam (grammar lessons), Life Is How You Punctuate It 2! (punctuation practice) and Book of Imperatives (living life maxims accompanied by Book of Imperatives Workbook). During her leisure, Mathews Blogs on education topics and writes and produces education forums and general stage plays. Mathews lives in Dothan, Alabama, and may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mathews’ Strategies for Student Management and Success
Teaching can be rewarding if you understand how to approach it. You must remember to place ‘yourself’ in order before you can expect your students to follow your orders.
Student-followers happen when students admire you, when you have invaluable lessons to offer, when you have a style of delivering; only then will student-followers listen to learn:
Thus, as a teacher, you must have a plan to succeed. You must deliver your plan with dominance, with expertise, with professionalism, and, most importantly, with heart.
Below are 30-simply-stated-tips I, myself, have applied over the years and have been immensely successful using them: The strategies work and are as follows:
- Dress professionally. When you look like a leader students will treat you like a leader. In fact, seminal research stipulates professional dress correlates with student learning.
2. Decorate classroom for an inviting, learning environment. Most students appreciate a feel of “comeliness and color.” An appropriately decorated classroom promotes an unspoken trust between student and teacher.
3. Be prepared with materials ready. Make extra copies or ensure computers are working. Never not have enough of what is needed; it makes those left out feel overlooked. 😞
4. Treat every student as a human being. Regardless of appearance or ethnicity or complexion or gender, approach every student as a child of a Supreme Being. Making students feel special inspires them to learn.
5. Address student by name. A student feels special to hear her name, and practice enunciating the student’s name accurately.
6. Give student smiles. No one should learn without receiving a smile; therefore, if you see a student without a smile, give her one of yours.
7. Compliment student where appropriate. Remember that a compliment can last for years, and if you search for something nice to say, you will find beauty in every assignment and in every person. Acknowledge it.
8. Motivate student by offering opportunities for him to analyze positive quotes. This assignment will also help strengthen the student’s critical thinking skills.
9. Teach social skills that the student lacks. A morally developing student needs help with propriety; therefore, make a point to include in your lesson plans life skills that would be beneficial for the student.
10. Explain lessons and mention reasons the lessons will be helpful. Don’t just say it, explain it. This way, a student will understand.
11. Accept the assignment a student presents and provide precise, constructive feedback. A student must learn within her own being, and a teacher must enhance, not change, the student’s innate abilities.
12. Ignore few misbehaviors that appear minor. Yet, redirect the student with management strategies of proximity and withitness. Student will then witness that you as teacher are in control.
13. Remind the student of due assignments. Ask student to write himself a note and to place the note in his bookbinder so that he will be reminded of his assignments to complete.
14. Provide teacher constructed handouts rather than allow student to use regular paper. This idea sends a signal of seriousness.
15. Teach the student organization skills: Explain how to head paper, how to remain within red margin, how to write on front side of paper only, how to add whitespace for clarity. Orderliness will help the student feel better about his presentation skills and will provide him with confidence that he is completing his lesson attractively and as instructed.
16. “Chuck” a lesson to ensure completion of its whole. Serve portions as desired by the student.
17. Forego the “F.” Reward positive grades with helpful tips for improvement. If a student completes the work—correct or not correct—that is passing, not failing because the student tried his best.
18. Support student autonomy in completing daily assignments. Perhaps the student, himself, knows how to construct the lesson: Allow him.
19. Use Scantrons for major tests. Again, for “seriousness.”
20. Encourgae student to sit-up, pay attention: provide a helpful reason. “I want you to understand this lesson so you’ll perform well on the ACT / SAT, so please situp to learn, okay? Adding “okay” gives the student a chance to honor his response. 👩👩👧👧
21. Use a smiley sticker on any assignment that shows student-improvement. Nobody doesn’t like a smiley sticker, and recognition is vitally motivating for a student’s continuance.
22. Text student-parent a short, complimentary message about his child: “Charley completed every assignment today: Proud.👌🏽 Thank you for your good parenting assistance.”
23. Review Individualized Education Plans (IEP’s) to remain abreast of a student’s needs. Remember, you are accountable. Know the law.
24. Keep a folder of student assignments to show parents and curriculum specialists the progression of the student, and to make accommodations if necessary.
25. Remember the smart, well-behaved students, for they often get left behind in the “recognition” department. Showcase their works. Publicly thank them for their “excellence.” 🙌🏽
26. Ask a capable, reliable student to teach a lesson. Research stipulates a significant number of students learn better from classmates than they learn from teachers; moreover, a capable, benevolent student would appreciate helping others. It indicates he is “smart.” 😀
27. Allow a capable, reliable student to circulate the room to determine who needs one-on-one aid, and give permission for student to illustrate how a problem is solved as you monitor the situation.
28. Review classroom rules often and at every appropriate opportunity. The more students hear the rules, the more they will Remember and obey the rules.
29. Apply Depth Of Knowledge Questions to reonforce learning standards and skills. Allow 10-15 seconds for students to respond.
30. Generate an end of year money / trophy award program. Acknowledge important categories of learning, and make the event decorative with music and acceptance speeches. ⭐️
In essence, the above ideas will work if enforced with professionalism and “heart.” The goal is to teach, to guide, to motivate, to empower your students.
Be consistent with innovative teaching and learning strategies, and your students will prosper, and so will you. 👌🏽