Disruptive student behaviour is a threat to learning, especially in the learn to swim environment where teachers have a small window of time to teach such an important life skill. Laurie has put together 5 tips for class control to help teachers establish a productive learning environment.
1. Establish Class Focus
Do not try to teach the lesson or instruct a new skill before every child has their focus on you. Teachers will have to establish class focus at the start and throughout the duration of the lesson while they progress from skill to skill. It’s very important the teachers learn the student names. Use light and shade in your voice to maintain interest while you speak.
2. Communicate clearly
Remember be simple and clear with your instruction. Do not use long sentences or give too many directions at once. Use nonverbal cues including facial expressions, body language and hand signals to assist with your verbal directions.
3. Use positive language
Teachers should put the emphasis on what they want the children to do instead of what they don’t want them to do. For example, walk around the pool instead of do not run around the pool. Or, stand and look at me, instead of stop jumping underwater when I’m talking. Use positive praise and acknowledge good work when you see it.
4. Be Organised
Make sure you have planned your lesson. This will make you more confident in your delivery and allow you to keep your class on track. Effective planning will also help you to deliver progressive learning experiences while challenging the class. Importantly, lesson planning helps maintain the interest of the class and avoids teachers reverting to a basic lesson experience. Ensure your lesson starts and finishes on time. This will encourage people to be punctual to your class.
5. Be fair and consistent
Establish class rules and expectations and follow through with consequences. Make sure that parents and students understand the class rules and what the consequence is for inappropriate behaviour. Avoid getting angry, yelling and using unnecessary threats. Instead, be alert and move around the group checking for and praising good behaviour. This praising of good behaviour will encourage others to follow suit.