Students absolutely dislike teachers whose only strategy for dealing with challenging students is punishment and shouting. However, when we are pushed to our limits and our instructions are ignored, it’s easy to dig ourselves into a hole in an attempt to regain control and re-establish authority by issuing unwarranted, excessive punishments.
The best way to avoid this situation altogether is to ensure that our instructions are given to ensure understanding and compliance—consistency in the classroom to manage the classroom.
The instructions you give to your students are an essential part of any effective behavior plan. However, only some teachers are heard while others are ignored. So what can you do to ensure that your instructions are followed? Perhaps the most important factor is how your instructions are delivered.
When you give your students instructions, they must be given in a calm, non-hostile manner, and they also must be clear and specific. Kids need boundaries, but those boundaries need to be calmly communicated and stated without emotion.
Shouting and ranting virtually guarantee more conflict. If we expect students to act responsibly, we need to model good communication and behavior to emulate. Your attitude must also be one of support and fairness because this is the foundation for effective classroom management and positive teacher-student relationships.
It also stands to reason that students will benefit from instructions that are easy to follow. Especially when we consider the large numbers of students who have ADD/ADHD or are on the autistic spectrum, these children definitely need unambiguous, precise instructions. For instructions to be easy to follow, they must be simple and fully explained before your students begin the task.
Over explaining a task to ensure that there are no grey areas. For instance, when students finish a task, you need to give them clear instructions about what they should be doing to keep themselves occupied while waiting for others to finish. This could include handing in their assignment and taking a worksheet to complete, reading silently, or starting work on that night’s homework. None of these options include bothering the other students who are still working. So when a student disobeys the instructions, they will understand that they are in the wrong.
To avoid having major disruptions and violent confrontations when your instructions are ignored, you need to deliver fair consequences calmly. Major disruptions and confrontations due to students ignoring instruction are easily avoidable when you have fair consequences. The consequence of the student’s behavior could turn a problem into a learning opportunity.
Having pre-arranged and consistent consequences will, together with your rules, form the basis of your behavior plan and will help you remain calm in challenging situations. Having pre-arranged consequences in place can also help you to avoid easily losing your temper. We only lose our tempers when we feel threatened or powerless. So, having pre-arranged consequences in place that both you and your students are aware of will help you keep control and remain calm in all situations.