This year I was fortunate enough to participate in the Incredible Years Teachers Programme that focused on strengthening teacher's classroom management strategies. The course panned out over a 6 month period. In that time the participants met for one day every 3 weeks or so. Each time we met new management strategies were introduced and there were open conversations reflecting on the how we were implementing the new strategies in our teaching practice.
I found this course extremely beneficial. I feel I have been given the tools and information that if used effectively will see me well throughout my teaching career. Being 'used effectively" are the operative words in the previous sentence. In the short time I have been trying to implement the strategies I found it's very easy to 'know' them but it's a totally different ball game to 'use' them, let alone use them effectively. I have had to be really intentional about using the strategies otherwise they don't happen. Something will happen in the class and I'll find myself reacting to the behaviour rather than responding thoughtfully and appropriately.
One strategy I have found most useful is selectively ignoring certain behaviours. To start with I found this so hard to do. Initially I'd be working with a group and one cheeky monkey would decide to start roaming around or call out something they thought was funny. I couldn't stop myself, I'd take my focus off the group I was with then reprimand the cheeky monkey for whatever they were/weren't doing. All that did however was take quality teaching time away from the group I was working with. The cheeky monkey would settle for about 5 minutes then we'd be repeating the process a while later.
Once I started selectively ignoring the cheeky monkey I found they would settle back down on their own accord as there was no attention given to them. I even taught my class to ignore certain behaviours from the repeat offender cheeky monkeys. As a result of doing this I had less disruptive lessons and I had more time wth my small groups.
That's just an example of one strategy I have found helpful, there are loads more. I would 100% recommend the Incredible Years Teachers Course to any teacher. There is something for everybody no matter how long you have been teaching. It's a great day out of the classroom every 3 weeks and if that's not reason enough the lunch they provide is amazing!