Fast Methods to Stop Classroom Management Problems


teacher classroom management blog


5 Fast Strategies to Stop
Classroom Management Problems
Before They Start


We have been getting the same classroom management questions over and over again at the Live Expert Help area of our web site ( Many of you have been asking how to get young people to behave in class and group settings. Many of the counselors have passed along requests from teachers who want to know how to stop the non-stop discipline problems that disrupt the learning process.

K-12 Keynote Speaker Ruth Herman WellsI'm the director of Youth Change Workshops, Ruth Herman Wells, M.S. I've spent my whole career amassing the best classroom management methods that exist. I'm going to share five of my favorites here, along with a couple bonus methods.

Kids are not born instinctively knowing how to talk one at a time, keep their hands to themselves and stay quiet when others are talking. In fact, most– if not all– of the behaviors that adults want to see in their class or group setting, must be taught. Years ago, a teacher, for example, could count on most families to train their offspring to talk one at a time, keep their hands to themselves, etc. Now, many of you may find that many of your students appear to have little preparation from home on how to behave appropriately in the classroom. That's part of why classroom management has been getting harder and harder.

Although perhaps it should be the parents' job to train their offspring to have basic behavior management and self-control skills, it's quite clear that many families cannot or will not provide this essential training. So, to get the discipline and order you want in your classroom, school or site, you will have to provide that training.

You must be thorough, covering everything from attendance and punctuality to when to talk and what to wear to school. Plus, remember that stating expectations is never enough. You must drill skills into habits, and don't forget to defuse the apathy and adjust negative attitudes so students are sufficiently motivated and disposed to perform the behaviors that you want. You must cover all three areas: skills, motivation and attitude. We call this essential preparation to be a student School Skills Training.

Below you will find a handful of School Skills Training strategies from our thousands of behavior and classroom management methods that train youngsters to behave appropriately and develop motivation and a positive attitude. If you want more than this sampling of methods, sign up for an upcoming live workshop. Scholarships are available. You can also take our courses online or click over to our website,, to see thousands more behavior and classroom management methods to prevent or manage student misconduct and apathy.

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5 Fast Strategies to Stop
Classroom Management Problems
Before They Start


1. Finish What You Started

classroom management methodsGetting students to finish their work can be a year-long battle. Win the war on task completion by helping students see the value in finishing their work. Our Poster #323 provides a quick way to give you a motivational technique to help students understand why it is critical that they finish class assignments. You don't need to buy the poster, you can simply say the phrase pictured, although the poster offers a constant reminder instead of a transitory one. Of course, it takes more than one intervention to motivate students, but you can find hundreds of additional methods on our site.

BONUS METHOD: Motivating students to care about finishing their work is a necessary first step but you will also have to teach task completion skills. Be sure to teach: How to hear assignments, how to remember assignments, when to start assignments, how to remember to bring homework back to school, and so on. There are actually a lot of skills that must be taught if you want students to be able to complete their work once they have become more motivated to do so.


2. Take Out Talk-Outs

Your students may feel that they can talk out at will, and say whatever they want whenever they want, even though you have set a different standard for your classroom. To convincingly teach children and youth that talk-outs are a problem, reverse roles. Have a young person assume the job of teacher, for example, and then have that youth attempt to complete an easy task such as teaching the class to remember a five digit number– but the task will be tough to accomplish amidst many talk-outs. Offer the role play teacher a big prize for successfully completing the task, but coach the other students to talk out at will. The role-play teacher will be unable to successfully complete the task. Ask the class to suggest a rule regarding the amount of talk-outs.

BONUS METHOD: Students do not magically know how many times to talk out in your class or group. Plus, many of them lack the skills to discern it on their own– so be sure to have every group or class set a standard. It is unfair to expect youngsters to adhere to a standard that is unquantified.


3. How Do You Get Help Around Here?

Students don't start the school year magically knowing how to ask for help. This frequent event can become an on-going classroom nightmare when students don't know how to appropriately perform this basic classroom skill. Some students may believe that it's okay to act out when they're frustrated or want help. Turn that around with this fun intervention. Ask the students to devise "The Top 10 Ways the Teacher Can't Tell You Need Help." Elicit answers like: you glare, you mutter, and you run out of the room.


4. Who is Supposed to Be in Charge?

Some young people act like they are in charge. To provide clarification, ask the group to name all the qualifications that teachers, counselors, coaches– or whatever your job is– are supposed to have. List their responses on the board, eliciting answers like "a college degree" and "a teaching license." After the list is complete, have the group determine who has those qualifications, the adult or a student.


5. Pay Attention to This

Most teachers expect students to pay attention–classroom management strategies without ever teaching exactly how to do that, or why students should even comply with that expectation. Start by motivating students to see the importance of establishing and maintaining focus. To do so, have your students list all the jobs and businesses that they may wish to do. Write their responses in a column on the board. Ask your group to determine the potential consequences of inattention in those occupations. Write those answers in a second column. Encourage the group to craft amusing and dramatic answers that will convince students of the importance of staying focused. For example, have your students identify exactly what is likely to happen if a surgeon or truck driver is inattentive.

BONUS METHOD: To teach your students that being in the bathroom instead of the classroom has consequences, view the image shown at right. You can use the text shown on Poster #226 as verbiage. To view the poster enlarged, click on the image.


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About Ruth Herman Wells

Author/Trainer Ruth Herman Wells, M.S. is the director of Youth Change Professional Development Workshops. In 2011, Ruth was rated as a Top 10 U.S. K-12 educational and motivational speaker by Speakerwiki and Speakermix. She is the author of several book series, a columnist, adjunct professor for two universities, and a popular keynote speaker and workshop presenter. Ruth's dozens of books includes Temper and Tantrum Tamers and Turn On the Turned-Off Student.