CPD Workshop: Positive classroom management

Written by: Steve Burnage | Published:
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Image: Adobe Stock

In this regular series, Steve Burnage talks us through CPD workshop ideas that can be adapted for your school. This time he looks at positive classroom management

To deliver this 45-minute CPD training in your school, follow the outline below and download the free slides by clicking the button on this page.

Slides 1 & 2: Welcome and outcomes

This article provides a 45-minute interactive training outline suitable for a staff meeting, small group CPD or individual study. The outline is below while the PowerPoint slides are free to download (see weblink above).

Slides 3 & 4: Classroom management

We all have different perceptions of what good classroom management can mean. This activity encourages participants to reflect on their own practice and learn from the good practice of others before moving on to definitions on the next slide. Effective classroom management is:

  • Effective behaviour management – behaviour needs to be focused on learning.
  • Being prepared for your classes – good classroom management comes from being over-prepared for what might happen rather than hoping that issues will not arise.
  • Motivating your students – provide your learners with clear choices for what they learn and how they learn and they will be motivated to learn.
  • Providing a safe, comfortable learning environment – we all learn better if we feel safe, comfortable and secure in our learning environments (Maslow’s hierarchy of need).
  • Building students’ self esteem – linked to motivation, adopting a “can-do” approach in class and using focused praise go a long way to supporting the positive esteem of our learners.
  • Being creative and imaginative in daily lessons – by keeping lessons active and interesting we appeal to all learners, but especially those who struggle to sit still or concentrate.

Slide 5: Principles for success

In order to successfully manage our classes, there are a number of key steps that we can all take:

  • Deal with disruptive behaviours and minimise off-task, non-disruptive behaviours. It is not just those students that we notice because of their behaviour who may be off task, effective classroom managers will also notice those that are off-task but quiet about it.
  • Teach students to manage their behaviour. Learner behaviour is learned behaviour (which can be unlearned).
  • Students learn to be on-task and engaged in the learning activities – just as students learn how to behave, they also learn how to learn (or not). Active learning strategies are good techniques that keep learners engaged. Remember, it is more natural to be off-task than on-task!

Slide 6: Tips for classroom control

  1. Direct your instruction so that students know what is going to happen.
  2. Make sure your classroom is comfortable/safe.
  3. Over plan your lessons to ensure you fill the period with learning activities.
  4. Show confidence in your teaching.
  5. Learn student names as quickly as possible.
  6. Focus your attention on the entire class.
  7. Monitor groups of students to check progress.
  8. Do not talk over student chatter and use silence.
  9. Use your softer voice so students really have to listen to what you are saying.
  10. Move around the room so students have to pay attention more readily.
  11. Give students non-verbal cues.
  12. Low-profile intervention for disruptions.

Slide 7: Transition vs allocated time

“Allocated time” is when students are engaged in learning activities. “Transition time” are the moments between learning activities. Consider the transition time used to get students assembled and attentive, assign reading, give directions, etc. We need to increase the variety of learning activities but decrease transition time. On-task behaviours can be dependent on how smoothly and efficiently we move from one learning activity to another.

Slide 8: With-it-ness

“With-it-ness” is not about being “hip” or “cool”. It refers to a teacher’s awareness of what is going on in the classroom. A teacher has with-it-ness if, when discipline problems occur, they:

  • Take action to suppress the misbehaviour of those students who instigated the problem.
  • Decisively handle poor behaviour before it gets out of hand or is modelled by others.
  • Make sure all students learn what is unacceptable about that behaviour.
  • Deal with instances without disrupting the learning activity.

Slide 9: Proximity and body language

Teachers with “with-it-ness” also use non-verbal techniques to better manage learning and behaviour. This might include: eye contact, facial expressions, gestures and physical proximity to students. The way you carry yourself will communicate that you are in calm control of the class and mean to be taken seriously. Consider also using the whole class space while teaching and avoid turning your back to the class.

Slide 10: Clear expectations

We need to be clear in our expectations – we cannot just expect students “to know”. We need to:

  • Verbalise descriptions of behaviours and never value judgements about individuals.
  • Verbalise feelings but remain in control.
  • Avoid sarcasm.
  • Praise work and behaviour, but not the students.
  • Speak only to students if they are ready to listen.

Slide 11: Classroom rules for conduct

Discuss: What are your classroom rules? Why do you have them? What would make them work better? Consider the following rules:

  • We need formalised statements with general guidelines for the types of behaviours that are required and the types that are prohibited.
  • Use only a few rules (that are easy to recall).
  • Maximise on-task behaviours and minimise off-task (especially disruptive) behaviours.
  • Establish rules that secure the safety and comfort of the learning environment.

Slide 12: A ‘business-like’ atmosphere

We are creating a “business-like” atmosphere in our classrooms that enables us to better manage student learning and progress:

  1. Take advantage of the new school year or term to set the stage for cooperation.
  2. Be particularly prepared and organised.
  3. Minimise transition time.
  4. Utilise a communication style that establishes a non-threatening, comfortable environment.
  5. Clearly establish expectations for conduct.

Slide 13: Beginning a new year

The start of a new term is a great time to clearly establish your procedures and expectations. Be firm, fair and consistent in everything you do.

Slide 14: Room organisation

  • Make sure all students can see and hear clearly (and you can see them clearly).
  • Arrangement is determined by learning activity (lecture, class discussion, small group work, etc).
  • Allow room and access for proximity control.
  • Consider class procedures and learning activities and arrange the room accordingly.


  • Steve Burnage has experience leading challenging inner city and urban secondary schools. Bite Sized Training offers a range of 45-minute CPD sessions. The materials are produced by Steve through www.simplyinset.co.uk. Read Steve’s previous articles for SecEd at http://bit.ly/2u1KW9e


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