The 3 Proactive Classroom Management Strategies Every Teacher Should Know.

blog Dec 15, 2023

Want a calm lesson?
You need a calm start!

This is because the first 5 minutes is make or break.

A calm beginning significantly improves the likelihood of a smooth and productive lesson. Conversely, a disordered, loud, or chaotic start can have a ripple effect that shapes the rest of the time in that space. 

Luckily, there are plenty of things we can do to make sure things do get off to a smooth smart. One thing to always remember is that most (effective) classroom management should happen before there is any behaviour to address.


To establish the right tone from the outset, there are three crucial elements you should be focusing on:



When these aspects are well-managed, the chances of a lesson leaving you empowered rather than exhausted skyrocket. The beauty lies in the proactive nature of these strategies, addressing potential issues before they manifest and minimising the severity of those that do arise. 

Let’s dig deeper into the 3 Es of proactive classroom management…



 1. ENERGY: Setting the Right Vibe

Modelling the energy we want to see from students is paramount. If we enter a lesson in a frazzled state, rushing around and raising our voice, we inadvertently invite students to match that energy. Regulation, calmness, and control from the teacher offer co-regulation, mitigating challenging behaviours stemming from dysregulation.

So, on those challenging mornings when everything seems to be going wrong and you find yourself at the end of you tether, consider the following to turn things around and craft a calm atmosphere:


  • Take a deep breath before students come in.
  • Greet each student at the door individually, sending them in one by one to allow for a transition into a new space and pace.
  • Adopt a slower pace and quieter tone to model the desired behaviour.
  • Incorporate calming background music during transitions or as students enter.




2. ENVIRONMENT: Setting the Stage for Success

The physical environment plays a pivotal role in signalling expectations and fostering a conducive learning atmosphere. Much like with energy, modelling the desired environment helps prevent chaos and establishes a proactive approach to classroom management. 

Consider the following to ensure your environment sets you up for success:


  • Maintain tidy desks and chairs to create an organised and focused atmosphere.
  • Eliminate floor clutter for a visually clear space.
  • Have all necessary resources readily available.
  • Project clear instructions and expectations for upcoming activities.
  • Communicate expectations through the physical setup of the room.



3. ENGAGEMENT: Immediate, Clear, and Consistent Action

After setting the energy and priming the environment, the next step is engaging students from the moment they walk in. Immediate, purposeful activities capture attention and establish a routine that fosters consistency and clarity, reducing dysregulated behaviors. 

Consider the following actions:


  • Provide a quick and achievable pen-to-paper starter activity for all students.
  • Ensure clarity in setting up tasks to minimize confusion.
  • Use a visible timer to indicate the duration of activities.
  • Make this routine an expectation for students upon entering the classroom.



A final note

All of the neuroscience and research is pointing to a more trauma-informed and restorative approach to classroom management. When we think about what that looks like practically, THIS is it. It’s an approach that utilises all of the skills of the teacher to create an environment where students feel safe. This is not an airy-fairy concept. This is not a ‘soft’ approach. This is smart, strategic, and empowering for every single person in the classroom (the teacher, most of all!). 


Want to hear me talk through the 3 Es in greater detail? Listen to Episode 40 of The Unteachables Podcast: Want a Calm Lesson? You Need a Calm Start! The 3 Proactive Classroom Management Strategies Every Teacher Should Know!