Classroom Management & Teaching Strategies for Middle School Teachers

What is Classroom Management?

Whether a seasoned teacher or a new teacher who has just passed their FTCE exams, their goal is to create a classroom space that helps students focus, learn, develop their skills, and socialize effectively. But what is classroom management? Classroom management refers to the tools and methods teachers implement to help keep their classrooms running smoothly so students can learn.

Some teachers have classrooms with as many as 30 students, sometimes even more. One of the most complex parts of a teacher's job is ensuring all those kids follow the rules, treat each other respectfully, engage in lessons, and complete their coursework. Teachers may also find it difficult to balance friendliness and fun in the classroom with a firm expectation that students follow the rules.

Classroom management strategies seek to address multiple behaviors. This could include students being disruptive by getting out of their seats or speaking out of turn. They can also be used to teach students how to respect their teacher and classmates, as well as focus on the lesson and assignment at hand.

There are many types of classroom management strategies. Some are visible to students and set in place as routine. For example, at the beginning of the year, teachers can let their students devise rules that must be followed in the classroom. These rules can be documented and placed somewhere for every student to see every day. Other classroom management strategies may not be as plain to students, such as modeling ideal behavior and correcting inappropriate behavior right away in private.

Good classroom management helps teachers and students alike. Teachers will be able to control their students effectively, so lessons are easier to get through. Teaching will be less stressful and more fun with an engaged and behaving class. Students will benefit from the respect they feel from teachers and students and will be more likely to make academic progress, earn good grades, and enjoy classes. Classroom management also helps teachers form meaningful and positive relationships with their students. With good classroom teaching strategies, teachers and students will have more fun during their classes, and teachers will be able to make learning and lessons enjoyable.

Importance of Classroom Management for Middle School

Middle school is a very transitional time for students. Students are in their preteen years. They are no longer small children and are growing into teenagers and young adults. Many of these students may start pushing the boundaries more, which can be exhausting for teachers. However, there are many classroom management strategies for middle schools that can help.

Teachers need to remember that middle school students are no longer little kids. More than likely, these students will want more independence. Finding the balance between providing students with more freedom and maintaining control of the classroom is crucial for teachers.

Without effective classroom management, students may act in a disruptive manner. This will make it hard for students to learn and complete their assignments. It can also prevent teachers from effectively fostering an environment of respect. If students are acting out, teachers won't be able to move through their lesson plans efficiently. It can also make the teacher's job more exhausting and frustrating. Teachers will struggle to keep their students on task, and students won't be able to make the academic progress that schools and parents want to see.

Classroom management strategies are ways teachers can structure their classes and interact with their students. These strategies help teachers build positive relationships with these students. Relationships are crucial in creating an environment of mutual respect and serve as the foundation of an efficient classroom. With good classroom management, students will treat each other and their teacher with respect, be able to focus on the lesson, and maybe even enjoy the class.

Middle School Classroom Management Plan

By outlining a specific classroom management plan, teachers equip themselves with the procedures and tools to ensure their classroom runs smoothly and students are set up for success. Every teacher's plan will look a little different, but teachers can collaborate to borrow strategies, language, and procedures that are effective.

When constructing a plan, teachers should ensure they use their allotted time efficiently, resources, and classroom space. They also should not try to control their student's behavior. Instead, they should set their students up for success by motivating and empowering them to make good decisions. Taking students' cultural differences into account is also an important factor when managing a classroom. Lastly, teachers need to ensure they can effectively teach their lessons and achieve the desired outcome according to the curriculum.

A middle school management plan should reflect the needs and strengths of middle school students. What works to manage an elementary classroom probably won't work in a middle school. Teachers need to stay adaptable and have many strategies up their sleeves to adjust to the needs of each class.

There are a few things teachers should consider when creating their management strategy. First, they should outline their specific objectives according to specific class behaviors. They also need to know their learning objectives. Once these are known, teachers can begin brainstorming how to customize teaching strategies so their specific kids are set up for success according to the learning objectives.

Teachers should also outline their discipline method and rewards system and make this apparent to their students. Students need to know and understand the consequences of their actions. If they misbehave, they know the disciplinary process. On the other hand, if they make a good decision, they know their reward.

Middle school students aren't small children anymore and might not resent the rules and restrictions as much if they have a hand in creating them. Teachers can let their students help create some of the classroom rules, as well as come up with some of the rewards. This empowers students and helps teachers understand what is important to their students so they can adapt accordingly.

Classroom Management Plan Example

As stated before, middle school students are in a transitory period and will often try to push boundaries. Teachers can keep this in mind and use this push for independence for their benefit. These students don't need to be babied or micro-managed. Instead, they should be empowered to make their own choices. Teachers just want to encourage the right decisions.

One classroom management plan strategy is to come up with classroom rules together. At the beginning of the year, the teacher can let the class participate in setting boundaries on classroom behavior, academic expectations, and treating others with respect. This engages the students and allows them to voice their opinion. They are less likely to break rules they helped create, which is a good exercise to demonstrate why misbehaving affects the entire class. This list of rules can then be displayed somewhere in the classroom.

Students can also help the teacher devise discipline procedures and reward systems. This allows students to know what to expect and helps the teacher find the rewards that will motivate students to make good decisions.

Rewards can be something tangible, like no homework for a weekend or a movie day, but they can also come in small, everyday encouragement. Teachers should praise students who behave or get something correct with verbal and non-verbal praise. This praise can validate a student, make them feel proud, and encourages them to keep doing well.

On the other hand, if a student is misbehaving, a teacher should always discipline them in private. Embarrassing the student will not help encourage them to make better choices. Behind closed doors, the student will feel less embarrassed and may be more communicative with the teacher.

Additionally, middle school students will respond better when they have options. However, teachers shouldn't give them too many options. Don't ask open-ended questions that can prompt unproductive suggestions. Instead, give students a few options. This way, students feel empowered to choose but are still kept on task.

Middle School Teaching Strategies

Classroom management strategies are an overall plan to keep a classroom running smoothly and to empower students to make the right choices. Teachers will also want to have a few teaching strategies in their arsenal. Teacher strategies help effectively deliver a lesson and engage students in the lecture and assignments.

Middle school students will want to feel involved and engaged. Many middle school teaching strategies focus on encouraging student participation. If students participate, they are more likely to pay attention and learn.

One example of a teaching strategy is assigning group projects. Group projects are typically more fun than working independently and also allow students to engage with their classmates. To keep students on task, teachers may want to give each student a job in the group to ensure everyone is participating.

Another teaching strategy is to turn lessons or quiz reviews into a game. This makes learning more fun, encourages students to participate, and helps them retain information.

Teachers should also switch up how they deliver lessons. If teachers always lecture with a PowerPoint presentation, students might get bored. By switching modes of delivery, students will stay engaged and are more likely to pay attention. Some examples of modes of delivery include:

  • Presentation
  • Movie
  • Book
  • Audiobook
  • Hands-on learning or learning by doing
  • Student Teaching

Throughout the school year, teachers will learn what works for each individual class. If students respond to one strategy more than another, teachers should focus on the ones that engage students. The main goal is to help students achieve their learning objectives. To do that, teachers need to customize their lessons for each class.

A good teaching strategy will keep students engaged in a lesson, leading to satisfactory academic performance. This is typically a trial and error process, and it's important teachers don't get disappointed when one teaching strategy doesn't work. What works for one class might not work for another, and that's okay. By being prepared to enact multiple teaching strategies, teachers can remain adaptable to the needs of each class.

Types of Teaching Strategies

In modern teaching, there are five main teaching styles: Authority, Demonstrator, Facilitator, Delegator, and Hybrid. Teachers can benefit from knowing the strengths and weaknesses of each style. Then they can decide what style best suits their subject matter, age level, and teaching style.

  1. Authority: The authoritative teacher typically demands all attention from them while they provide lectures or presentations. Students do not have much participation in the lecture and are expected to listen and take notes. This is an effective way to convey a lot of information in a short amount of time; however, it is not engaging and typically not a good style for younger students, like elementary and middle school students.
  2. Demonstrator: Like the authoritative teacher, the demonstrator teacher is the focal point of the classroom, and students are expected to pay attention. However, instead of delivering lectures, the demonstrator uses multimedia presentations and demonstrations to deliver a lesson. This is a bit more engaging than a simple lecture; however, it can still lose the interest of less-mature students.
  3. Facilitator: Instead of holding all the power, the facilitator leads students through their own self-learning and discovery. This is a great way to boost students' confidence and engagement and works very well in discovery-based subjects such as Science. However, the learning progress can be much harder to track since it's not as tangibly measured.
  4. Delegator: In this position, the teacher acts more as an observer and team member than a leader or authority figure. Teachers will allow students to work together to solve a problem or reach a common goal, using the teacher for help and feedback when needed. This promotes teamwork and problem-solving, but the teacher does give up the authority position.
  5. Hybrid: A hybrid classroom is typically the most productive and efficient, as it blends two or more styles. Teachers with a hybrid teaching style are much better at adapting to different classrooms, subjects, and lessons.

By considering these teaching strategies, teachers can discover what works best for them, their subject, and their students. Not every class will be able to stay engaged in a lecture-style lesson, but certain students may be disruptive in a delegator-style classroom, so teachers should stay flexible.

Classroom Management Styles

Classroom management strategies and teaching styles will need to be adapted to find the best solution for every individual classroom. Every class will have a different atmosphere, with students with different behaviors. One class might excel at group projects and teamwork, while another struggles to stay on task and requires a little more structure. Teachers might not be able to use the same strategy for the same lesson in different classes, and teaching students with disabilities might present different classroom challenges.

To appropriately adapt classroom management style from class to class, the teacher should consider the students they have. What are their behaviors like? What motivates them? What kind of lessons do they respond to the most? Answering these questions can help a teacher find a strategy the class will respond well to and help them reach their learning objectives.

Teachers should also keep in mind that there are many different types of learners. These can be grouped into four types:

  • Visual Learners
  • Auditory Learners
  • Kinesthetic Learners
  • Reading Learners

It might not be feasible to have every lesson check these boxes, but knowing the types of learners in a class can help the teacher find ways to engage them in the lesson and have them retain the information. We'll go into these types of learners in more detail.

Visual Learners

Visual learners learn best by seeing. They will probably respond well to multi-media presentations, such as PowerPoint, movies and videos, and demonstrations. Teachers can also reinforce rules and lessons to visual learners by hanging colorful, attention-grabbing posters throughout the classroom.

These students might struggle with understanding spoken directions. For example, if a teacher gives an assignment and tells the class what they're doing, a visual student might struggle to understand. By writing it on the board or handing out an assignment sheet, the teacher can help visual learners engage.

Auditory Learners

Auditory learners retain information and learn by actively listening. They might respond to lectures or presentations that have a large speaking portion. Students that are auditory learners might not respond well to written directions and will prefer spoken directions. To adapt to both auditory and visual learners, teachers might write down the directions but also speak them out loud to go over them with the class. These students might also struggle to focus while reading and may benefit from audiobooks or reading out loud.

Kinesthetic Learners

Also called tactile learners, kinesthetic learners learn best when they can move, touch things, and actively participate in an activity. These students will want to participate in the activity but not watch and listen. If they are required to sit still for too long, they will often get fidgety.

Teachers can appeal to kinesthetic learners by having students follow along in a lesson. They can draw a diagram, build a model, conduct an experiment, or whatever suits the lesson. Kinesthetic learners may also benefit from having fidget toys at their desks that they can touch and use to help stay engaged in lessons that don't have a tactile component.

Reading Learners

Reading learners retain information by reading it. These students typically excel in traditional classroom presentations where they can listen, read the presentation, and take notes. They'll study by reviewing their notes and reading in the textbook. These students will find it hard to follow along without an organized presentation that they can take notes and might find diagrams and demonstrations hard to understand.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What are four classroom management styles?

    The four main classroom management styles are authority, demonstrator, facilitator, and delegator. These four styles can also be blended for a more adaptable classroom.

  • How do you teach middle school effectively?

    Teaching middle school can be a challenge since many kids want independence and will push boundaries. Keeping students engaged in classroom management and the lesson will help teachers meet their learning objectives.

  • What are some classroom management strategies?

    Classroom management strategies include allowing students to help make the rules, providing frequent praise, disciplining in private, and modeling appropriate and respectful behavior.

  • What is the meaning of classroom management?

    Classroom management includes strategies teachers use to help their students behave appropriately, focus on the lesson, treat each other with respect, and ultimately reach their learning objectives.