Inside this article...

  1. Create Collaborative Classroom Expectations
  2. Invite Wider Student Participation
  3. Vary Task Nature and Difficulty
  4. Implement Classroom Transition Routines
  5. Personalise Classroom Greetings
  6. Introduce Nonverbal Classroom Signals
  7. Closing thoughts
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6 Behaviour Management Techniques for Classroom Control

Feeling overwhelmed by how consistently behavioural problems in the classroom are hampering your ability to teach effectively? You’re not alone.

For educators, an uncontrolled, poorly behaved classroom means an environment conducive to learning simply does not exist. The teacher cannot “teach” their students.

We’re here to help with that. Coming from a platform supporting over 400,000 educators each year, this article outlines and describes six progressive behaviour management techniques in the classroom that will allow you to reassert control.

Create Collaborative Classroom Expectations

When classroom norms are established through collaboration, your students assume personal responsibility for their behaviour. This creates a strong self-governing system that acts as the structural underpinning of your behaviour management plan.

To do so effectively, contextualise the lesson among your students. For them, this discussion represents a communal endeavour in which everyone – including the teacher – is working together for the common good of the class. Then, once completed, strengthen this idea further by replacing the term “classroom rules” with “classroom norms“. This cultivates shared goal and personal responsibility ideals among your students, instead of previous negative feelings associated with one-sided policing.

During your classroom discussion, it is essential that you never dictate the conversation – your role in setting classroom expectations is mediatory.  This can be supported through physical tools like web charts and sticky notes, as well as collaborative EdTech platforms that offer interactive resources for idea sharing and presentation.

Class Charts‘ data-driven approach to behaviour and wellbeing monitoring supports the incorporation of classroom expectations.

Lastly, make sure to display the expectations in your classroom. This is the single most important aspect of collaborative norm-setting, not only because your “official” behavioural mandate serves as a legitimising tool, but because it reinforces your students’ role in its conception.

When students feel cheated or treated unjustly, they are more likely to exhibit disruptive behaviour. With collaborative classroom expectations – grounded in concepts of fairness and legitimacy – you can eliminate such perceptions and demonstrate to your students that their contributions to the learning process are highly valued.

Invite Wider Student Participation

When students fear answering incorrectly, or simply cannot engage with a task, non-participation becomes actively encouraged in the classroom. 

Take, for instance, the classic hands raised and response approach. Whilst useful for soliciting immediate input from your students, limiting answers to a select number of participants – and demanding that they answer publicly – comes with the risk of systematising learning disinterest among a large variety of learners.

  • Anxious Students: Nervous learners neither want to draw attention to themselves, nor answer incorrectly in front of others.
  • Indifferent Students: Apathetic learners are less likely to participate when they know other classmates will volunteer answers and the chances of being selected are low.
  • Confident Students: Eager learners face marginalisation when the teacher consistently, and perhaps unknowingly, overlooks them for an answer.

Effective classroom behaviour management strategies, then, are ones that encourage all students to participate.

For example, subtle classroom signals – such as thumbs up, down, or to the side of one’s chest – allow your students to discreetly confirm their understanding of a concept. This behaviour management tool, therefore, helps anxious and indifferent learners overcome barriers to participation. With individual whiteboards or response cards, broader engagement is encouraged, working to eliminate the stigma attached to making mistakes.

By implementing EdTech platforms into this behaviour management strategy, student motivation can be unearthed. Interactive activities, such as polls, surveys, message boards, and quizzes, are both novel and engaging ways to drive participation in the classroom, whilst gamification in education constitutes point-scoring, challenges, badges, and leaderboard scenarios that can nurture participation through excitement and light-hearted competition (and, should they wish to, allow players to participate anonymously).

Interactive real-time EdTech content is great for varying your lesson content and promoting student engagement.
LessonUp’s interactive real-time content encourages all learners to participate.

A positive classroom atmosphere is essential in curtailing disruptive behaviours. If you’re a teacher who relies on the hands-raised approach, it may be time to explore positive behaviour management techniques that prioritise the emotional wellbeing of your students.

Vary Task Nature and Difficulty

When tasks are built around student interest, lesson monotony is prevented. This will improve classroom engagement among your cohort.

In order to do so effectively, create a suitable lesson structure that incorporates your students’ needs into the classroom content. Here’s one way how:

  1. Introduction: Provide an introductory hook, such as a brainteaser or a short activity that draws lesson themes into focus, to create a base for engaged learning.
  2. Core: Progress towards the main topic with a few simple activities that promote learning and offer variety, such as writing, group work, music, movement, and debates. Through variation of these tasks, your students’ interest in the learning material is maintained.
  3. Closing: End the lesson with a clear closing activity that reinforces the lesson objective and its wider relevance.

Where challenges arise with this structure, plan accordingly – a good behaviour management strategy is adaptive.

An example: if students typically return from breaks restless, replace the usual introduction with an active learning activity that eases them into the quieter routines of the classroom. This will limit the potential for disruptive and distracted behaviour.

For support with incorporating student interests into your teaching, various EdTech platforms pose different solutions. With Classroom management systems, tracking tools provide insights into your students’ extracurricular hobbies and academic progress, allowing you to tailor activities around their interests. Through E-learning authoring tools, educators can personalise content so that it aligns with curriculum objectives and class interests. Finally, educational games are a simple yet consistent behaviour management resource for enhancing learner enjoyment.

Interactive games are an effective tool for enhancing classroom engagement, and therefore behaviour management.
Socrative’s “Space Race” game incorporates fun into learning.

Oftentimes, lessons simply have to consist of one long task. We know how it goes. But that doesn’t mean you can’t look for opportunities to spice things up. Your students will thank you for it.

Implement Classroom Transition Routines

Organised transitions bring structure into your classroom by reducing the chaos and delays accompanying group movements during lessons.

With classroom transitions, they can be separated into two kinds: entry and in-class.

For entry transitions, it’s crucial that a consistent and purposeful activity – such as passing in homework, preparing materials, or completing a quick written task – is implemented. Once this routine becomes a settled pattern, common issues plaguing the beginning of a class, like wasted time and disorder, become less frequent.

Automating your classroom seating plan is an effective way to ensure that classroom transitions run smoothly.
Mega Seating Plan helps transitions by identifying certain group’s behavioural patterns.

With tight transitions, like tidying up the classroom, teach your students the appropriate group behaviour. For support in doing so, follow this repeatable framework:

  1. Capture Attention: Signal your students and tell them to stop what they’re doing and look at you for instruction.
  2. Prepare and Direct: Provide a short one-sentence explanation of what’s about to occur – “In a moment…” – and provide the directions for performing the activity.
  3. Transition Signal: Establish that the transition has begun with an identifiable signal. Avoid “Go” as the signal word – this can cue students to race.
  4. Observe and Redirect: Ensure student compliance, and make corrections where necessary.

Once you have established the transitional model, provide more opportunities for practice and use visual aids around the classroom to reinforce the expected behaviour.

Behaviour management strategies in the classroom can only be executed effectively when a sense of order is established. Ensure this is the case by adopting a proactive behaviour management approach that maintains classroom control through well-established rules and routines.

Transitions are susceptible to many issues. Here are 6 common problems that you may experience (and their solutions):

  • Students caught off guard? Use advance warning or display a timer to help them prepare.
  • Fast finishers? Have a routine task ready, like brain teasers, to keep them engaged.
  • Problematic student? Assign a clear role during the transition and try to understand the cause of their behaviour.
  • Taking too long? Introduce a class challenge with a reward for the quickest group. A countdown timer can also help.
  • Reluctance? Assess the difficulty of the transitional activity, and make adjustments where necessary.
  • Sensory Needs? Provide helpful tools, such as headphones or traditional objects like fidgets.

Personalise Classroom Greetings

When personalised greetings are used to welcome learners to a lesson, the student-teacher connection is strengthened and attention-seeking behaviours are reduced.

A personalised interaction with each student as they enter the classroom bolsters your connection with them and serves as a useful behaviour management tool.
Image by stockgiu on Freepik

To appropriately welcome your students, it is important that they are greeted with their name and a positive comment (this can either be spoken or non-verbal). For even more personability, you can also try communicating personalised questions and statements. (Where unsure on what sort of conversation to strike with each student, try utilising the academic and extracurricular monitoring embedded in Learning Management Systems. This will make selecting relevant conversational topics much easier.)

When communicating positive verbal greetings, it’s best to use any of these three types:

  • Relationship-based enquiry: Ask about personal interests or experiences, like “How did your swimming gala go?”
  • General Salutation: Use a friendly greeting, such as “Good morning, how are you?”
  • Behaviour Recognition: Acknowledge positive behaviour, for example: “Thanks for submitting your homework yesterday evening.”
EdTech platforms support the strengthening of teacher-student relationships with an enormous breadth of tracking features.
CENTURY builds teacher-student knowledge by tracking attainment and engagement.

Meanwhile, when employing non-verbal positive interactions, any hand or facial gestures should met accompanied with eye contact, and we would encourage developing personalised greetings for each of your students.

As larger class sizes and tight deadlines increasingly work to constrain your relationship with your students, it is important to explore alternate ways of engagement as part of a positive behaviour management plan. Personalised greetings are one such way, allowing your students to feel seen and therefore reducing their need to demand attention in your classroom.

Introduce Nonverbal Classroom Signals

How many times have you selected a student with their hand up, thinking they have a task-related question, only to hear, “Can I use the toilet”? Or asked why they haven’t started their work ten minutes into the lesson, only to get, “I don’t get it”?

With low level disruptions constituting the most frequent and stress-inducing barrier to teaching for educators, we would estimate a lot.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. With silent signals, your students express their needs with a specific nonverbal gesture.

To establish these signals in your classroom, follow these steps:

  1. Plan: Check with other teachers for existing signals and choose a few that are age-appropriate and relevant to your class. Look to prioritise a few – too many signals can be overwhelming and work against the intention of providing clarity.
  2. Discuss: Be open to student suggestions and explain why you’re using these signals – to minimise interruptions during class discussion and teacher instruction. Ideally, this should be completed at the start of a school year.
  3. Demonstrate: Name the signals, explain their purpose, and establish a visual model for each.
  4. Practice: Role-play various classroom situations with students using the appropriate gestures.
  5. Display: Put up visual reminders of each signal in the classroom, and revisit them later for potential adjustments.

Digital solutions can make silent communication even easier. Many EdTech classroom management systems support remote monitoring and controlling of your students’ screens, as well as the ability to message them privately. Hand-raising and reaction features also help students indicate an understanding or need.

Classroom Management systems allow teachers to remotely monitor and control their students' screens. offers lock, hand-raise, and chat features that support silent classroom communication.

Silent signals are a behaviour management tool for re-directing, reprimanding, enquiring, praising, and responding efficiently and silently in the classroom. They also equip your students to demonstrate their needs without requiring low level disruption. Use them!

Closing thoughts

A behaviour management strategy that aims to remove problematic behaviours entirely will fall short. A classroom is its own ecology full of interacting forces, and each student or teacher carries with them experiences and issues from the wider ecological system they inhabit.

What has instead been demonstrated in this article is how targeted interventions – centred around effective planning and student involvement – can transform a classroom environment so that the conditions for problematic behaviour are dramatically reduced.

EdTech Impact aims to meet school buyer needs by connecting them with the world’s leading EdTech companies. Additionally, we set industry standards through our quality framework, and offer regular news content to assist school leaders in making informed decisions about their purchases.

Updated on: 11 April 2024

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