Introduction to AERO's classroom management resources
Australian teachers and leaders want to make the biggest possible difference to students’ learning outcomes and see all students flourish and succeed. They care about students’ safety and learning, which means they care about their behaviour.
They know that engaging students through evidence-based, inclusive and culturally responsive practices is key, and that classroom management is a critical component of helping students thrive in their learning environments. Put simply, they want to know what works and how to put this into practice in their schools and classrooms.
The Australian Education Research Organisation (AERO) has developed a suite of foundational resources for beginning teachers, teachers working in new environments, or experienced teachers who want to refine or refresh specific elements of their classroom management practice. They can be used to individually reflect on and refine one’s own practice, or as shared resources to support mentoring and other collaborative and whole-school approaches to improving classroom management.
This user guide explains the resources and provides suggestions for their use.
Classroom management resource types
There are 3 types of foundational resources.
Classroom management explainers summarise the evidence for classroom management. They explain key principles and describe how they are enacted in practice. These explainers cover:
- positive teacher–student relationships
- high expectations for student behaviour
- teaching routines
- establishing and maintaining rules.
Classroom management practice guides provide step-by-step guidance for effectively implementing and refining evidence-based practices and developing responsiveness through reflexive practice. These guides cover:
- building positive connections with all students
- establishing and maintaining an entrance routine
- establishing and maintaining an exit routine
- gaining all students’ attention
- planning for classroom management
- responding to disengaged and disruptive behaviours
- setting behaviour expectations for completing learning tasks
- students gaining teacher attention
- students moving through the school.
Classroom management skill resources support teachers in implementing effective classroom management practices by refining necessary classroom management skills. These skills are:
How teachers and school leaders can use these resources
The foundational classroom management resources support a structured approach to engaging and refining professional practice for teachers and school leaders.
Read and consider the following summary of effective classroom management to select one skill, practice or evidence focus for development. This selection may be guided by a whole-school or individual focus for development.
Effective classroom management
Safe and supportive learning environments are developed through classroom management that:
- relationships and connections with all students
- high expectations for student behaviour by clearly communicating, explicitly teaching and regularly revising:
- rules that are clearly communicated, explicitly taught and regularly revised
- monitors students to provide assistance and ensure they meet expectations by:
- acknowledges and praises students demonstrating the expected behaviours
- responds to students not demonstrating the expected behaviours, starting with non-verbal corrections where appropriate
- acknowledges when students correct their behaviour.
Effective classroom management involves a complex skill set. AERO’s classroom management resources support teachers with focusing on one skill or one step of an effective practice at a time. This involves repeating a cycle involving 4 stages: rehearsal, practise, feedback and reflection.
To support each stage of this cycle, our classroom management skill resources define elements for success, and our classroom management practice guides provide checklists for effective practice.
Rehearsal is typically included in the early iterations of a cycle. Rehearsing without students present involves repeating and progressively improving aspects of a skill or step before practising with a class. Through repetition, aspects of effective practice can become automatic, requiring less effort when performed in front of a class. For this to occur, rehearsal should be authentic in every respect other than the absence of students. This includes:
- rehearsing in the same environment where the skill or step will be implemented – usually the classroom
- speaking aloud at the same pace and volume as you would during a lesson
- standing or moving as you would if students were present.
Developing a written script detailing what you’ll say can help you rehearse more efficiently and increase your confidence. It’s a good idea to record and review your rehearsal to help you identify areas for refinement.
Include practising the skill or step in the classroom with students in every iteration of the cycle. However, your practise should be more than simply executing the skill or step. It should be purposefully planned by selecting specific aspects of the skill or step to focus on refining, and specific student behaviours to attend to. This focused practising helps to efficiently refine classroom management expertise.
Include feedback in at least some iterations of the cycle. Communities of practice and critical friends can support you in using reflexive practice to develop responsiveness. Some aspects of your professional practice will be more noticeable to others than to you. By inviting a colleague or school leader to provide feedback on your execution of a skill or step, you’ll gain additional insights and an opportunity for focused, professional discussion.
You could ask them to observe your rehearsal or practising, or you could share a recording of yourself rehearsing or practising (making sure to follow school or employer policies regarding recording students).
Allow dedicated time to receive and discuss feedback. Feedback should be focused on how well your performance of a skill or step aligns with the elements for success or checklists provided in the resources, and should identify the highest priority area for you to refine. You should then plan further iterations of the cycle to address this priority area.
Include reflection in every iteration of the cycle. Structured reflection supports you in observing improvements and helps you to identify both your strengths and the areas where your practice needs further refinement. This should inform further iterations of the cycle.
School leaders play an integral role in creating and maintaining safe and supportive learning environments by fostering a shared understanding and consistent application of effective practice across the school.
AERO’s classroom management resources will support you to:
- review and refine whole-school evidence-based approaches to classroom management
- support teachers and education support staff in reflecting on and refining their classroom management practices and skills
- facilitate reflective conversations with teachers and education support staff.
Keywords: engagement, disruption, disruptive behaviour