Carefully designed classroom rules that are fairly implemented have a significant impact on student behavior and on student learning. So, explaining classroom rules are fundamental in order to ensure effective teaching and learning as well as set expectations to limit distractions within the environment. Classroom rules, therefore, have a dual purpose: they limit distracting behavior, but also direct student energy towards the learning process. A great way to establish the rules of the classroom is using explainer videos.
Establish the Rules
- Rules must be simple, short and to the point: phrase them in easily understood terms.
- Only have a few rules – students are less likely to remember a long list of rules!
- Be specific when devising rules – students need clarity about expectations.
- Rules must show students both what to do and what not to do.
When establishing classroom rules, make sure the rules are practical and that it works best for you and your students. You may even get students to also play a role in this process!
Along with technology, effective classroom management involves getting input, feedback and suggestions from students. Students may suggest classroom rules based on the needs of the group. They can do this in groups and then make an explainer video to reveal the purpose of each rule – to ensure that the rest of the students understand why certain rules are suggested. All concerned can then choose which rules are most appropriate, useful, and meaningful.
The most obvious consequence of not following classroom rules is that learning is hindered. However, it is important to let individuals take responsibility for their part in breaking classroom rules. Therefore, establish clear consequences for failure to abide by the rules.
Make Rules Known!
Share classroom rules with the students so that they know exactly what is expected of them. When students know the rules, they will also understand and accept the consequences of their actions.
1. Announce Classroom Rules
Introduce students to the classroom rules and expectations in a firm yet fun way. Make sure that students also understand the purpose of each rule, as it is imperative that classroom rules are concrete and meaningful.
Classroom rules must not be mere spoken words. If so, the rules will remain abstract. The clearer the rules and expectations are, the more likely students will understand and abide by them. It may be an excellent idea to familiarize students with classroom rules by showing them a video on the rules. Clearly defined rules can effectively be communicated by means of a short explainer video – that explains what, why, and how in a fun way.
2. Display Classroom Rules
Rules must also be displayed in big letters on posters. By visually displaying the rules, students have a clear framework of expectations as reference. Only when the rules are clear for all to see can one really expect students to follow the rules. (Then “I did not know” will not apply!)
3. Teach Classroom Rules
It is not enough to merely announce the rules and then to display them on a wall and assume that students will know and follow them! In order to be effective and manage the classroom, classroom rules need to be reinforced. So, teach the rules to the students by means of useful activities:
-An excellent practice is to get students to write the classroom rules down (e.g. in an exercise book where they can make personal reference to them). By doing so, the rules are embedded in their minds.
-The teacher can get students to make display posters. This activity has a dual purpose: it is a learning exercise that serves as a way of reinforcing the rules! It also results in the creation of wall displays for reference.
-An innovative reinforcement activity may be to ask students to make a video on the rules. Or, individuals may be asked to make a video that explains only one of the classroom rules in detail (i.e. explaining the purpose and importance of the rule and pointing out the overall consequence of not abiding by the rule).
Students need boundaries, so that they know what’s expected of them – so they know what to do as well as what not to do! Classroom rules are about establishing a respectful atmosphere appropriate to learning. It is the teacher’s responsibility to create that learning environment, by establishing classroom rules.