Take Control of your Room!

By Russell Griffiths

A common theme among the people I meet when coaching is difficulty establishing behaviour expectations. If you build routine into the classroom then the learners will feel safer, know what is expected of them (and what they can expect of you) and react to the environment that you are setting.

One thing that I came across during observing my coachees was a distinct lack of routine and especially at the start of the session. So with my coachees we completed some peer observations on each other as well as looking at some of the various research into behaviour management and developed an agreed best practise start to the session, focussed on taking control of your room… After all it is your classroom and you are in charge!

Enter the classroom under your control

Meet them at the door with non-confrontational statements e.g. thank you for being on time, nice to see you’re ready to come in. Remind them of what you expect in the room, coats, hats, lanyards etc.

Informal chit-chat e.g. How did football go at the weekend? New coat or shoes?

Clear instruction

Use this time to tell them what is happening, e.g. I want you to come in and sit at your desk, pens out folders out and start the activity on your desk please. All of this before they’ve even entered the room.

Repeat this instruction so everyone is clear

Have the instruction on the board to reinforce what you want them to do.

Praise learners who are following every instruction

Prepare the room

Seating plan with differentiation… e.g. more advanced learners with lower levels, mixed ability English and maths, troublemakers split up.

Activity and equipment ready on desks for learners.

Instructions for starter on the board

Repeat and reinforce

Repeat instructions

Reinforce good behaviour

Address any issues with learners directly

Even remove from room to reinforce instructions one-one this will filter out issues

Last step

Any last students that are not ready to come in, no lanyard hat coat etc speak directly calmly honestly.

Explain the issue e.g. I need you in this room, I need you to be ready for our session today, I want you to be the best you possibly can be for the next hour.

Motivate and reward all learners every time. Make them feel good about themselves and reward good behaviour (praise, thanks, even a chocolate)


Enter the class under your terms

Prepare the environment

Repeat and reinforce

Motivate and praise

Good luck!


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