Characteristics of an Effective Classroom

How to tell if a classroom is well-managed

How can you tell if you have an effective and well-managed classroom? Following is a list of key indicators that you are in a classroom that would be the most conducive to learning.

Behavioral expectations are clear.

School children (14-18) raising hands in class
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Students need to understand their teacher's expectations for their behavior while in class. Clear and concise classroom rules and discipline plans should be posted in the room. Students should understand exactly what the consequences are for misbehavior. Further, teachers should enforce rules consistently and fairly.

Assignment and assessment expectations are clear.

Students need to understand their teacher's expectations for both school work and classroom behavior. Classroom rules and discipline plans should be clearly posted in the room. Further, students should be able to tell someone visiting the classroom exactly how their grades are determined. Assignments that are often repeated, like book reports, should have a standard rubric that students understand. Finally, grading should be completed quickly so that students have feedback from which they can review for quizzes and exams.

Daily housekeeping tasks are completed quickly.

Every day, teachers have to complete daily housekeeping tasks. Ineffective classroom managers allow these to become unorganized and take up too much time. It is key to have systems in place for things like daily role, tardies, restroom use, missing supplies, homework collection, and more. By creating these systems up front in a convenient and organized manner and ensuring that students follow them every day, teachers can spend more time on their daily lessons.

Students are engaged.

When you walk into a classroom and see the students engaged in what is going on, learning is taking place. Teachers who are able to have students involved and working have the best chance of success. One way to accomplish this is to help your students become more involved in decision making for their own educational experience. For example, have students help create the rubric for a large assignment with your guidance. Another way to give students more control is by giving them choice when they are completing assignments. For example, in a lesson on the 1960's, students could study the music, the art, the literature, politics, or the Vietnam War. They could then present their information through a variety of methods. Keeping students engaged is definitely a key factor in a well-managed classroom.

Learning is student-centered.

In an effective classroom setting, the focus of lessons is the student. In a classroom where the teacher does little more than stand in front of the class and talk, there is a much greater chance of losing student interest. Lessons should be developed with the students, their interests, and abilities in mind.

Instruction is varied.

Continuing with the last item, students are engaged to a much greater degree through varied instruction. Sticking to one method of delivery is monotonous and should be avoided. Instead, a mix of learning activities like whole group discussions, teacher-led discussions, and role playing exercises can help keep students involved in the curriculum while meeting the needs of those with different learning styles.

Learning is related to life.

In the best classrooms, students are able to see the connection between what they are learning about and real life. By making these connections, learning becomes much more personal and teachers have a much greater chance of keeping students engaged. Without connections, students often lose focus, complaining that they just don't see why they need to learn the topic being taught. Therefore, try to fit how what you are teaching relates to the student's world in your lessons every day.