top of page
  • Writer's pictureVictoria Hewett

The Power of Reiteration: Strengthening Classroom Management


In January, I started working at a prep school, teaching years 3 to 8. Starting at a new school mid-year, I anticipated would be tricky and with the advice I’ve given trainees in mind, “make your expectations explicit from day one”, I started the same way.


But why?


I want my students to know what to expect in each lesson. - Studies such as those by Croce & Salter (2022) have shown that clear expectations correlate with better focus and academic outcomes whilst also supporting students with additional needs.

I want to establish routines to speed-up routine tasks.

- Research, including work from the EEF (2021), suggests that embedding effective routines until they become habitual can help free up cognitive resources, allowing students to focus more on learning.


I want my students feel safe and secure.

- Studies (Carroll et al. 2017) have shown that predictable environments help to create security, which supports engagement, progress and risk-taking.


I want to create a collaborative space for learning.

- Evidence indicates that collaborative learning environments can lead to increased student involvement, enhanced retention of knowledge, and advanced cognitive processes. However, this doesn’t happen automatically; it requires explicit instruction.

 

As a result, establishing clear expectations has been an essential part of my practice for a long time now, to create a supportive environment that makes learning (and teaching) enjoyable.

To do that, reiteration is key. So how do we go about it?

 

Tip 1: introduce students to your classroom expectations from day one and repeat them regularly


From the first day, establish your classroom expectations and revisit them often. Research has highlighted the fallacy of believing students will remember rules and expectations if they are mentioned at the start of the year or term.


Rather than displaying and talking through rules one-time, teachers and schools need to frequently give brief, targeted instruction on expectations throughout the year. Making time to practice and review these expectations, even briefly, is a vital habit that we ought to prioritise to ensure a well-managed classroom.


In the classroom, when I need to get the students’ attention while they’re working, I start by giving them a heads-up. I’ll say, ‘In two minutes, I’ll count down from three, and I’d like everyone to stop, put their pens down, and look this way.’ This gives them time to prepare and reduces any stress from an abrupt interruption. Then, a minute later, I remind them, ‘One more minute before we stop.’ Finally, I count down, ‘Three—stop your work; two—pens down; and one—eyes this way.’ If anyone continues working, I’ll either give them ‘the’ look or praise someone nearby who has followed the instructions.


Tip 2: model the desired behaviours yourself and acknowledge students that meet your expectations

 

In education, it’s essential to practice what we preach. So, if we expect punctuality and preparedness from our students, we must mirror that by beginning classes on time and being well-prepared ourselves. This approach not only upholds professionalism but also conveys the value of readiness and respect for time.

 

Research, including findings by Alberto and Troutman (2017), supports the notion that immediate and specific praise can significantly reinforce good behaviour. By promptly recognizing and highlighting a student’s positive actions, we not only encourage that individual but also set a clear standard for others to emulate.

 

In practice, I make it a point to commend those who quickly meet expectations, with comments like “this table is ready and listening” or “well done for being the first to…”. This positive reinforcement not only acknowledges but also promotes the desired behaviour, often motivating others to follow suit. Through consistent recognition, we can foster an environment of achievement and ambition.

 

Tip 3: implement a system that encourages peer recognition of positive behaviour for learning

 

This approach empowers students with self-management skills and fosters a sense of community. Research has consistently shown that when students are involved in monitoring their own and their peers’ behaviour, classroom dynamics improve, leading to a more effective learning atmosphere.

 

In my practice, I’ve used various techniques, such as:

 

  • Allowing students to nominate peers for learner profile attributes during assessments, which requires them to articulate their reasons.

  • Facilitating peer appreciation moments after discussions, where students can publicly recognize contributions by raising their hand and explaining their praise.

  • Introducing discreet methods for recognition, like nomination slips or digital forms on platforms like Google Classroom or Microsoft Teams, which need to be checked regularly.

 

These strategies I find, not only encourage accountability but also create a positive learning environment where good behaviour is consistently recognised and becomes the expected norm.

 

So, in conclusion, the power of reiteration in the classroom cannot be overstated. It is a cornerstone of establishing a structured, secure, and collaborative learning environment. By setting clear expectations, modelling desired behaviours, and fostering a culture of peer recognition, students are supported to thrive academically and socially. References Alberto, P., & Troutman, A. C. (2017). Applied Behaviour Analysis for Teachers. United States: Pearson.

Croce, K. M., & Salter, J. S. (2022). Beyond the Walls: Establishing Classroom Expectations in a Virtual Classroom. Available at https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/feduc.2022.816007. Accessed 20 May 2024.

Carroll, J., et al. (2017). SEN support: A rapid evidence assessment. Available at SEN support: A rapid evidence assessment — Coventry University. Accessed 20 May 2024.

Durrington Research School (2020). Creating a Supportive Environment. Available at https://researchschool.org.uk/durrington/news/creating-a-supportive-environment. Accessed 20 May 2024.

EEF (2021). Improving Behaviour in Schools. Available at: https://educationendowmentfoundation.org.uk/education-evidence/guidance-reports/behaviour. Accessed 20 May 2024.

12 views0 comments

Comments


bottom of page