The word effective carries with it a certain assumption of prior planning or forethought. The very definition hints at its intentional nature: adequate to accomplish a purpose – producing the intended or expected result. 5 The most effective educators are those who head into the lesson with a clear and logical game plan. However, being strategic and planning the learning period in advance is but one of several tools teachers can use to make their classroom an effective learning environment. Let’s take a look at five such tools in a bit more detail!
As most teachers will already know, a classroom management plan refers to the wide variety of skills and techniques that teachers use to keep students organized, orderly, focused, attentive, on task, and academically productive during a class. 4 An effective management plan establishes a clear and direct set of rules and expectations for students to follow throughout the learning period. It should be noted that consistency and fairness are highly important. Students should be able to anticipate and understand the outcomes and/or consequences of a given action. Also, many a great plan has fallen short due to improper or ineffective structure. The specific structure of a plan can range from general to specific. On either side, though, it is necessary to devise a plan which suits the age group being instructed. For example, check out this sample of an elementary framework from well-known classroom management specialist Michael Linsin:
I recommend the four following rules:
With a working plan in place, it is often helpful to consider modern teaching techniques to supplement. As technology continues to link our society together, collaborative learning is more important than ever. Cloud-based applications, remote work options and digital connectedness continue to rise as we move further into the tech era. Each of these areas encourages collaboration and participation. As such, curriculum across the world is shifting in favor of encouraging student interaction in group settings. Whether your class is young, old or a mixture of ages, collaborative learning is known to help build trust, boost personal confidence and aid in overall social skill development. 3 Group work, as a technique, is one part of an overall learning environment. Perfecting the learning environment is a constantly changing and gradual process. Improving your learning environment starts with measuring outcomes.
Stand-out management consultant Peter Drucker once quipped, “What gets measured gets improved.” 7 This rings true for a number of aspects, education included. Establishing productive and insightful ways to measure your class’ progress can be tricky for the inexperienced. There is no need to fret though; begin by looking at analytics – or, the interpretation of the data provided by metrics – as a reliable tool to improve your lesson plans and the delivery of those plans. Opportunities for sparking positive change through classroom metrics are enormous! Click HERE to read more about analytics in the modern classroom!
Another key ingredient to the continuous learning culture is a common thought exercise known as a reflection. Some may call it a retrospective or a post-mortem. Regardless of the assigned label, teachers should focus on critically reviewing the state of their lesson planning and its delivery. Learning is a two-sided endeavor and the most effective teachers are those who constantly seek to hone their craft. Though this practice is anything but new, it remains relevant and well-researched. Check out this insightful, step-by-step guide to structuring a post-mortem HERE.
It’s no wonder that technology is a natural fit in the classroom. Our society’s growing digital capabilities make the learning process more efficient and manageable for students and teachers alike. This technology may come in the form of useful hardware such as interactive whiteboards, tablets, smart pens and so forth. Alongside innovative hardware, cloud-based software options such as student information systems (SIS) also aid in developing a more organized and effective classroom. Sycamore School is an all-in-one solution boasting a 300 + item feature list including gradebooks, communication portals, G-Suite integration and much more! Click HERE to learn more about what our industry-leading system can do for your school!