The Essential Skills for Classroom Management

The Essential Skills for Classroom Management provide for safe, supportive, and well-ordered learning environments which promote high standards of achievement and responsible behaviour in all students. This framework was designed to assist in reinforcing the expectations, principles and standards developed in the ELC Behaviour Management Policy by outlining the expected strategies required for effective classroom management.

This framework provides students with clear expectations, direction (redirection) and acknowledgement.


The Balance Model is made up of three sets of information:

1. The strategies teachers use to teach their expectations to students.

2. How teachers acknowledge students when they are behaving appropriately.

3. How teachers correct students when they behave inappropriately. When a classroom is ‘in balance’ it has:

  • clearly articulated their expectations for students
  • established evenness (balance) in use of verbal and non-verbal language to acknowledge appropriate behaviour and correct inappropriate behaviour.

‘The Balance Model of Behaviour Management’.



This skill is all about making rules. As the teacher you are required to convey and demonstrate the boundaries or rule. Strategies to assist in developing and implementing expectation include:

  • Have a maximum of three to four short and simple rules written as positive actions g., Listen when others speak.
  • Include the students in the development of the classroom The students are more likely to respect and abide by the rules if they feel they have contributed to the development of them.
  • Display the rules/expectations where they are highly visible and can be viewed from all areas of the classroom.
  • Be an optimist and focus on the Promote the expected behaviours NOT the unexpected behaviours.
  • Discuss rules and associated consequences for breaking the rules openly with all members of the class.
  • Most importantly model the behaviour you expect from your

GIVING INSTRUCTIONS – Telling students what to

This skill involves being able to give clear concise instructions to tell the students what to do and when. The most important aspect of this skill is being able to tell if all your students are focused before giving them the instruction. Here is a list of strategies to assist in gaining student attention:

  • Use a combination of verbal and non-verbal cues to gain student
  • Wait and scan – skill 3
  • Be concise and keep instructions to a bare
  • Follow the instruction with a short pause and scan the
  • Separate the instruction from the ‘content’ talk
  • Rephrase the question
  • Use ‘thanks’ not ‘please’.
  • Use ‘now’ if the student/s are unlikely to comply
  • Give instructions in a firm and calm voice

WAITING AND SCANNING – Stopping to assess what is

The waiting and scanning skill involves stopping to wait and look at your students for 5-10 seconds after you have given an instruction to assess what is happening. It is vital that you do not view this skill as ‘wasting time’ as if you do not wait and scan the students will be more likely to ignore your instruction.

The wait and scan process takes place after giving an instruction. You need to wait quietly for 5-10 seconds while maintaining eye contact to gain or keep the students attention. After you have their attention, continue with your next instruction or prompt them to follow your instructions. The wait and scan strategy promotes periods of quiet focus and can assist independent focused work. It is also a great time for you to reflect, calm down or think ahead. You can also extend on this strategy to include a verbal descriptive encourager (skill 6) to redirect behaviour when necessary.

CUEING WITH PARALLEL ACKNOWLEDGEMENT – Praising a particular student to prompt

This skill encompasses acknowledging or praising a students on task behaviour so that other students who may be off task will mirror that student’s behaviour. Here are some key strategies to assist the effectiveness of the skill:

  • Choose a student to praise in proximity of the student whose behaviour you want to
  • Acknowledge the student using a descriptive statement of encouragement (Skill 6) in a loud enough voice for others to hear.
  • Follow up with a low-key acknowledgement to the student who has corrected their

BODY LANGUAGE ENCOURAGING – Smiling, nodding, gesturing, and moving

This skill involves using your proximity, body language, gestures, and facial expressions to remain on task. Teachers MUST constantly move around the room and interact with students. This increases the teacher’s level of monitoring as well as reduced inappropriate or unexpected behaviour.

How to use your body to encourage on task behaviour:

  • After setting a task, immediately move around the room non-verbally signally to students who are off task that they should be Make sure you walk near all students in the class so that students do not feel they are being singled out.
  • Touch the work of students’ who are off
  • After completing one rotation of the room pause maintaining minimal teacher talk and walk slowly but directly towards the off-task Then stand next to the student so that your proximity will redirect the student. Avoid standing too close to the student as this may make them feel intimidated and this could prompt hostility or an adverse reaction.
  • Smile and make eye contact with students to acknowledge appropriate This will assist in making students feel noticed, valued, and welcomed.
  • Make discreet movements such as nodding or hand signals when appropriate to acknowledge on task behaviour and redirect off task behaviour.


Praising good behaviour is the essence of this skill. This skill “encourages student to become more aware of their competence by describing exactly what you see or hear”. When using this skill, it is important to pay particular attention to the timing of its use as well as the tone of voice used.

  • Describe EXACTLY what you see and/or hear from the student that you want to see more frequently from other students.
  • It is important to use a respectful measured tone of voice rather than an exaggerated voice otherwise it can come across as
  • Use descriptive praises sooner rather than later, as time passes so does its
  • This can be done privately or It’s important to know your students, some student might not appreciate having the attention drawn to them and this could result in an adverse reaction or hostility.
  • Use this skill Students respond better to positive reinforcement than negative reinforcement.
  • AVOID generic or conditional praise. An example of a generic praise is “Good job!” it does not describe the student’s behaviour while an example of conditional praise is “Well done, why didn’t you do this before?” this too does not describe what the student has been successful at doing.

SELECTIVE ATTENDING – Not obviously reacting to certain

Selective attending involves giving minimal attention to SAFE off task or inappropriate behaviour.

  1. Only use this skill when the off-task student is not distracting or disrupting other
  2. Always keep this student in your vision and plan that they student will become on task, and you will use a descriptive encourager (Skill 6).
  3. Attend to the off-task student if:
    • Seriously disrupt
    • The inappropriate behaviour as remained over an extended

REDIRECTING TO THE LEARNING – Prompting on-task behaviour

This skill involves either verbally or non-verbally redirecting a student displaying off task or inappropriate behaviour in a respectful manner.

It is important to redirect student to the learning not their behaviour. Here are some ways you could redirect students to the learning:

  1. A verbal redirection could be:
    • Asking a question about the set
    • Offering
    • Give specific instruction about the behaviour you would like the student to
  • Give a choice (see skill 9).
  1. A non-verbal redirection could involve implementing Skill 5, Body Language Encouraging such as using your proximity to the student to redirect to the learning.
  2. Giving a choice – Describing the student’s options and likely consequences of their

This skill involves respectfully confronting the off-task student and outlining the student’s choices

and likely consequences associated with their choice.

It is vital that you carefully consider the choice you give the student as it need to have the aim of redirecting the student back to their learning. You also need to give the student the appropriate amount of time to process their choices and respond.

Try to seek choices first that may have a positive option for example peer tutoring in class. When giving the student the choice it is important that the student does not feel threatened or that they are being punished. One strategy you can implement to avoid this is, after you have explained

to the student the choices and associate consequences pause briefly before turning your attention slightly away to prevent a ‘standoff’ situation. Lastly always use and maintain a firm, calm, and restrained voice.

FOLLOWING THROUGH – Doing what you said you

Follow through means doing what you said. When all the other skills have failed or not been effective, it is important to behave with confidence and follow through with the consequence. “The certainty of the consequence is more important than the severity.” Execute confidence when following through:

  • Use appropriate body language and a calm voice
  • Provide wait time for the student to
  • Repeat and rephase what you expect the student to do and what their choices and consequences are.
  • Consider removing the class and not the individual student if safety is a
  • Always ask for help from your Head of School if you become flustered or believe things are getting out of control.


Praise is a very powerful tool. It must be specific and often. Rule of thumb is give verbal and non verbal praise at least 15 times in an hour lesson. This can be the whole class and individual.


A logical consequence is an action that naturally and automatically results from a behaviour. This is not a punishment and is not designed to embarrass a student. Where possible avoid making a big deal about the consequence.

Logical consequences are a reinforcement that creates an environment where students feel safe to take responsibility for their actions.


  1. Show some empathy when enforcing
  2. Keep consequences short and to the
  3. Consistency is Everyone needs to learn the same behaviour for it to be effective.
  4. Remain calm and avoid raising your voice while enforcing
  5. The consequence should not affect the student’s success in the long term. Once a consequence is over, move on and do not continue to bring up the inappropriate
  6. Give yourself some time before implementing a logical consequence to make sure you’veread the situation correctly and be prepared to apologise if you misread the situation.
  1. Teach students positive behaviours. Teach them how to correct their own mistakes so they can independently fix the consequences that follow inappropriate actions.
  2. Implement a consequence as soon as possible. Try not to wait for the next day to give them the consequence.
  3. Read students behaviours and with students that are struggling with their emotions, try using redirection, discussion, and empathy before consequence.
  4. Avoid arguing when giving consequences. Stay firm and explain why certain actions will result in specific consequences.
  5. When applying a consequence think about what your students need to learn to prevent similar behaviour in the future.
  6. Make sure students understand why their actions resulted in consequences. Be clear and concise with your explanations.
  7. Give yourself a minute to think before giving a logical consequence. Make sure you have everything planned out.
  8. Make sure you allow for student reflection and recovery after following through with a logical consequence.

At ELC detention and taking up lunch times for poor in class behaviour are last resorts. Detention is rarely acceptable for young students in the junior primary school. Usually, students who have the time to be regularly physically active are less likely to cause disruption in class. However, if the inappropriate behaviour occurs during play time or during recess, lunch, or physical activity then the logical consequence is to remove the student from the activity.

Students must NEVER be sent outside the classroom or locked out of the class. This is a Duty of Care. Please arrange a buddy class if removing the student from class is required.

Bad language or physical aggression between students or to staff are never acceptable and must be dealt with immediately. Please ensure you provide a note describing the issue to your Head of School if their intervention is required.

It is very important to read your students as they enter the classroom. Every teacher should greet their students at the door at the beginning of each lesson. If a student appears unsettled or in a “bad mood” do not let them continue with the lesson. Take the time to quietly talk to them and find out what the problem is and give them a strategy for “time out” if they need it. Inform other teachers that this student may need some space during the day.


Professional Standard 4 ‘Create and maintain supportive and safe learning environments’ of the Australian Professional Standards for Teacher states that a graduate teacher must:

  • Identify strategies to support inclusive student participation and engagement in classroom activities
  • Demonstrate the capacity to organise classroom activities and provide clear directions
  • Describe strategies that support students’ wellbeing and safety working within school and/or system, curriculum, and legislative requirements