Skills for engagement
Whether the teacher is adopting whole class, individual or group teaching strategies, part of their job is to maximise the time that all the individuals in the class are on task and paying attention. Involving all the children in the learning activities of a classroom involves developing the sensitivity to be able to ‘read’ how individual children are responding and to be able to anticipate the most effective way of maintaining interest or re engaging attention. This will differ from individual to individual and in different contexts.
For thought provoking reminders of the ways in which caring relationships, high expectations and positive attitudes can have a positive effect on behaviour and achievement, see:
- Porter, L. (2003) Young Children's Behaviour, London: Paul Chapman Publishing.
- Barnes, R. (1999) Positive Teaching, Positive Learning, London: Routledge.
- Merrett, F. (1993) Encouragement Works Best: Positive Approaches to Classroom Management, London: David Fulton.
Teachers with effective classroom management skills are able to anticipate and to see where help is needed. They are able to nip trouble in the bud. They are skilful at scanning the class whilst helping individuals and they position themselves accordingly. They are alert; they can pre-empt disturbance; and they can act fast. They can sense the way a class is responding and can act to maintain a positive atmosphere. However, these skills have to be learned and developed. For a book which shows teachers how to become expert non-verbal communicators and provides advice on conveying authority, gaining and maintaining student attention, dealing with challenges and preventing confrontation, see:
- Robertson, J. (1996) Effective Classroom Control (3rd ed), London: Hodder and Stoughton.
This edition has been updated to cover changes in legislation, and current issues such as dealing with physical contact between teacher and student and formulating whole school policy.
For practical and user-friendly books which combine a comprehensive overview of the theory and practice of classroom management, see:
- Porter, L. (2000) Behaviour in Schools: Theory and Practice for Teachers, Buckingham: Open University Press.
- Ayres, H. and Gray, F. (1998) Classroom Management: A Practical Approach for Primary and Secondary Teachers, London: David Fulton.