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Learning means taking a risk.

"Just because something doesn't do what you planned it to do doesn't mean it's useless"
- Thomas Edison.

Good classroom management is all about planning, understanding your learners and taking some risks if things don't go as planned.

If you are new to training, this might be an area you are worried about and imagine the worst of the class going out of control. Well don't panic, you are dealing with adult learners who are generally easily brought back on track. If your session is ever out of control, give the class and yourself an immediate 5 minute break that consists of getting some fresh air. Never battle on because it isn't time for a break yet. Take a walk around the block and reflect back and ask yourself the following questions:

  1. What is the predominant learning preference of the learners?
  2. Is my delivery style meeting their learning preference?
  3. Am I using all EIGHT multiple intelligences? (sending them for a walk around the block might be the missing link!)
  4. Do I need to split some people up because they are disruptive?
  5. Is the contents delivered at their level?
  6. How long have they been sitting down for?
  7. How long have I been talking for?
  8. Am I following the learning cycle or did I miss a step?
  9. Was the break time over due?
  10. Is the class room set up appropriate for their learning?

From the above list you should have identified what went wrong. Make changes immediately and don't beat yourself up over it. It happens. However, over time, you will learn how to identify the symptoms a lot quicker and you can change direction while teaching.  As a new trainer you are first of all so concerned that you have to deliver the contents and that your students have to learn, that classroom management is put to the side. You will find that the second and third time around you are getting so familiar with your delivery that the expression "teach people not contents" will start making a lot of sense.

Lets analyse how you can make changes.

What is the predominant learning preference of the learners? It could be that 80% of the class are visual learners and you will need to provide more visual aids, write more on the whiteboard, allow them to draw pictures or graphs etc.
Is my delivery style meeting their learning preference? You might be a strong Audio learner and therefore have been talking for the last 30 minutes without any student interaction or participation. The concentration span of an adult learner is between the 10-20 minutes, so change your delivery style often.
Am I using all EIGHT multiple intelligences? Have you used some music, have you catered for the Naturalist? That's why you ask them to go for a walk outside as this is the most difficult intelligence to incorporate in most lessons, or did we simply forget about it? Also think about the interpersonal intelligence. Have you provided time for self reflection?
Do I need to split some people up because they are disruptive? Students that continuously talk with each other can be very disruptive to you and the rest of the class. There are a lot of techniques you can use whereby you control who sits where, but to the students it will look like a random selection that they might not be happy with. It could also be that all the kinesthetic learners are seated together and creating mayhem for you.
Is the contents delivered at their level? Check their understanding so far. When they are back from their break do a revision quiz and check what has been understood and what has not. Go back over the material that has not been understood. Use a different delivery style and lower the level of your teaching. Nothing wrong with going back to basics, using props, diagrams, metaphors, stories etc.
How long have they been sitting down for? Since the concentration span is only 10-20 minutes you need to provide stage changes on a continuous basis. Teaching from the other side of the class room is a very useful tool.Or simply saying," stand up (silence and wait for them all the stand up) give 2 people a high five and sit down".
How long have I been talking for? If you like talking, you might have to train yourself to say "shut up". You need to involve the learners, you need to give them the opportunity to speak. Think about VARK and the multiple intelligences. They need to be catered for all the time.
Am I following the learning cycle or did I miss a step? Missing a step in the learning cycle is a major cause of class room management issues. Very often trainers forget to reflect/recap on a regular basis. They move from one topic to the next without checking the students understanding. If you missed a step, do it now and make it look as if it was always part of your master plan.
Was the break time over due? Sometimes we get so involved in teaching , we forget about the break especially if the group was learning at a slower pace than planned and you really would like to finish teaching this topic before going on a break. Think about it, are they learning anything if they are desperate for a caffeine or nicotine fix. That is all they will be thinking about while you finish teaching.  Just give them that break and continue after the break.
Is the class room set up appropriate for their learning? Don't have a group discussion if the room is set up classroom style etc. Make a change to your room set up and see if it works better for this particular group