On January 10, 2011, Rwanda’s schools re-opened their doors. Long holiday breaks tend to alienate students from their normal school routines and studies. When students get back to school, they tend to forget the many laid down procedures because of their long absence from school.
The first few weeks of the term tend to be punctuated with a myriad of indiscipline cases as students try to settle down. If appropriate measures are not taken by schools, then most of the students get either suspended or expelled during their “settling down phase.”
To avoid this chaotic start, teachers can implement simple ways that are instrumental in promoting greater learning as listed below.
Begin class on time When the bell rings, make students understand that they must quietly be seated in their respective places.
Set up procedures for beginning your class You should have a set routine or activity that automatically occupies the first four or five minutes of your class.
Set up procedures for dismissing a class
Let all students stay in their seats and be quiet before they are dismissed. This prevents problems that may develop as students rush out of class.
There are some nonverbal cues that you can use like making eye contacts, moving in that direction and pointing towards a student’s work. Tell the offender the correct procedure or rule in a clear, assertive and non-hostile manner.
Make class transitions quick and orderly
Give all directions before any movement begins or before materials are passed out. Students should know where they are expected to go and what they are expected to do when they get there.
When teaching, direct all your talk to the class not to the chalkboardMake eye contact with students as you talk. It is usually unwise to turn your back to the class for long periods. You cannot control the class if you cannot see what the students are doing.
Be polite to students and reinforce their politeness
Communicate to the class that you expect their cooperation. Never use sarcasm when communicating your desires to students.
Be firm and consistent. If a rule is broken, warn students only once, then follow through with consequences. Do not let yourself be talked out of a position you have taken, and do not back down on the consequences of breaking a rule.
Be helpful, not hurtful
Show students that you want to support their best behaviour and help them develop self discipline.
You should enter your classroom everyday with well planned lessons that involve all students in activities that have specific clear cut goals.
By so following the above, general learning will be optimized.
The author is the Director of Studies at Nu Vision High