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Top 10 Classroom Rules to Make Students Happy and Successful

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How many times a day do you shout yourself hoarse trying to keep your class from getting too rowdy? If the answer is ‘several’ then it might be advisable to lay down some ground rules in class. This will ensure the smooth conduct of the classroom activities. 

Classroom rules act as the first line of defence against misbehaviour in class. They ensure mutual respect between teachers and students. They help to establish an appropriate atmosphere for learning.

The school curriculum comprises a structure of the learning outcomes. But the class rules form the structure for the effective execution of that curriculum. Rules have a huge impact on the students’ involvement in lessons and activities. It also affects interpersonal relationships between the students and teachers, says Pamela Buckley and James Cooper (University of Houston).

Therefore, the rules should be simple and clear for the students to comprehend. Moreover, the rules should be well-defined so that students know the scope of the rules clearly. They should also be enforceable and reasonable. Keeping the rules displayed in class will serve as a gentle reminder of appropriate behaviour during classroom activities.

What are the rules for a successful classroom?

The rules may vary from class to class depending upon various factors such as class strength and age group. But here are a few general rules to follow in any class to maintain a routine and ensure discipline.

1.Politeness towards others:

Most educational institutions focus on the development of 21st-century skills from an early age, one of which is communication. But this communication needs to be polite. The classroom atmosphere should be calm even during activities such as discussions, debates, and group projects.

Raise your hand, keep your voice down. Sometimes, in a class, students are eager to ask or answer questions and start shouting or making noise. The habit of raising hands before interrupting the class need to be inculcated in the student. It is a mark of politeness. Students should also learn to talk in low voices in the absence of a teacher or while working on group activities.

2. Punctuality is the golden rule:

Classroom activities need to be conducted within a specific time. Lack of punctuality in students will lead to disruptions in class. This will lead to a delay in syllabus completion. 

Teachers should set a time limit for students to settle down at the beginning of the class. The time can be utilized as preparation for their lesson. This will give the students some respite after the previous class. It will also ensure there are no unnecessary interruptions during the rest of the class.

3. Keeping the classroom tidy:

It is important to have a clean environment for learning. So, impress it upon your students to keep their classrooms clean. Studies show that lack of cleanliness has a negative impact on the physical health of the student. It often becomes a hindrance to their learning ability.

Ensure that the students clean up their surroundings after lunch. Teach them to dispose of all plastic wrappers or pencil waste in the dustbin kept in the classroom. Make sure that the blackboard is clean before the beginning of every class. Students should also be discouraged from writing on wooden desks. They should also be taught to not to waste classroom resources such as chalk or marker ink.

4. Preparations for classes:

Inculcate the habit of pre-reading for a lesson in your students. Let them know what you will be teaching them in the next class. Suggest the preparatory activities they can do for this lesson. This will help them understand the lesson better as well as reduce your work.
The model of a flipped classroom learning is increasingly becoming popular among teachers in the higher grades. Here, the students are introduced to learning materials before the class. They deepen their understanding via discussion with peers and problem-solving activities facilitated by teachers. This approach to teaching is recommended for a better understanding of difficult concepts and motivates student participation in the class.

5. Engaging students’ attention:

Children are more prone to distractions than adults, and hence, it is difficult to keep them engaged throughout the period. Therefore, keep asking them relevant questions in between the lessons to keep them engaged. Try to integrate one small but interesting activity as a part of every lesson. This ensures that students do not feel bored. In the case of group projects, make sure their attention is focused on their projects.

The teachers may even use activity kits for hands-on-learning so that the students get a better idea of difficult concepts in a cost-effective way. NextLab provided by Next Education minimizes the abstractness of concepts and motivates students towards learning English, Maths, Science, and Robotics with the help of integrated activity kits.

6. Encouraging students to follow your directions effectively:

Encourage students to follow your instructions properly and promptly. It is one of the best ways to ensure that classroom activities run smoothly. The teachers should provide direct and specific instructions to the students to avoid any confusion.  Moreover, the instructions should be age-appropriate.

Make sure to give just one instruction at a time. You should also give them time to process the information and seek clarification in case they do not understand something. This is especially helpful when the students are doing hands-on-learning activities. In such cases, the teachers should write down the directions on the blackboard.

7. Reminding them to bring their own materials:

The teachers should regularly remind the students to bring their own materials for the lesson/activity. Thus will prevent them from developing the habit of borrowing materials all the time. Make sure to provide the materials required for the activities that are not easily available in the market.

8. Collaboration for working together and helping others:

Collaborative learning is an important 21st-century skill. It helps students in deepening their understanding of concepts. It also instills real-life skills such as higher-level thinking skills, oral communication, self-management and leadership skills in them.

Some collaborative learning activities include discussions, debates, think-or-write-in-pairs activities, case studies and lab assignments. They will help the students learn real-life skills. The teacher should monitor how effectively the students can handle group projects. They should give special attention when especially if there is disagreement about the execution of the project.

9. Keeping all classroom electronic-equipment safe:

Most classes now use gadgets such as multi-touch whiteboards and projectors. Enure that the students never use them without the supervision of a teacher. The students should also be discouraged to play inside the class so that they don’t accidentally break any equipment.

10. Above all, working hard and having fun!

As the old saying goes, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”. Thus, the teacher should also ensure that the students have a balanced routine of work and fun.

Additional Note— If your school employs a Learning Management System, keep your daily affairs in check using the system. You should also make sure that students aware of its functioning. 
Using learning management systems can save a lot of time for teachers. It makes it easy to assign and collect homework. It also maintains a record about the day’s agenda. This can enable personalized learning possible through advanced teaching aids and teacher-student-progress tracking.

Next LMS, created by Next Education, is a part of the NextLearningPlatform (NLP). It is a powerful tool that manages all the academic and administrative needs of your school. Next LMS eases collaboration between teachers and students through its LMS.  It allows students to submit their work online and even access their books in the digital classroom. 

The teacher as the guardian of class rules

It is the duty of the teacher to implement the class rules effectively. In the case of deliberate rule-breaking, the teacher can provide a warning, perhaps once or twice. If it continues, the student should not be given corporal punishment. Avoid subjecting a student to rewriting lines as well as it merely wastes time. While it is a punishment, it should also be constructive. You can give them an activity that will aid them in the long run.

However, if the misbehaviour continues, collaborate with the parents/guardians to resolve the issue. Parents need to be aware of the classroom environment of their children. This can be communicated to them via tools such as newsletters, social media posts and open-house days. The student may have some psychological reasons for the ongoing misdemeanour. So open communication with the parent is essential. 

Important Note: It is imperative that the rules are age-appropriate. For primary and pre-primary levels, visuals along with the rules help the students remember better. Short and crisp phrases, such as ‘Helping Hands’, ‘Listening Ears’ and ‘Quiet Voices’ are easier for a student to remember. For higher grades, the rules should be more detailed and focused on academic achievement. There can be subject-specific rules.

To conclude, remember the difference between establishing control over your classroom and trying to control your students. The purpose of class rules is to create a cohesive classroom procedure and bring forth learning outcomes. Do not misuse it to make students comply with your wishes. This is why it is good to let students provide you with feedback about the functioning of the class. Moreover, ensure that the students are happy with the rules in place. You should also make sure that the rules are flexible enough to cater to all kinds of students.

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