7 ways to maximise learning time in the classroom

Time is precious when it comes to teaching and learning. With big class sizes the norm in most state-funded schools, teachers are having to make every second with each of their pupils count. Minimising wasteful time to maximise learning opportunities in the classroom is more crucial than ever. Losing teaching time, even as little as 5 minutes per day, due to inefficiencies can have a negative impact on learners, especially those who are struggling.

If you are a teacher looking to maximise pupil learning time, here are 8 strategies to help you minimise downtime and give your pupils the extra teaching minutes that matter.

1 – Reduce distractions

Pupil arguments, unexpected classroom visitors and a whole range of distractions can take up valuable teaching time. While it would be impossible to eliminate every single distraction, keeping a journal, evaluating interruptions, and formulating plans to minimise them, should help to reduce distractions significantly.

2 – Sequence lessons intelligently

If the sequence of subjects are intelligently planned to cause the minimum distraction during transition time, you can gain back some valuable time. Ensuring the correct materials are on hand, and that pupils are ready to learn will help with the quick and seamless switching of subjects.

3 – Differentiate support

Different children learn in different ways. Understanding your classroom demographic and differentiating support needs means every child is more likely to get maximum learning time.

4 – Be prepared

Effective planning and preparation are key to maximising pupil learning time. Always over-plan and you’ll always have something to use if pupils get through the planned material quickly. Also, practise your routines to minimise time lost in explaining instructions.

5 – Stick to routines

Hand-in-hand with being prepared, having routines for passing round lesson materials and collecting work will make efficient use of time and minimise any confusion and disruption. With well-established routines and consistent lesson structures learning time won’t be wasted.

6 – Create efficient procedures

Efficiency in the classroom is essential to the running of a well-oiled machine. Simple techniques, such as writing task instructions on the board, having a routine for getting into groups, and pre-sharpening classroom pencils will bring more teaching minutes through time efficiency savings.

7 – Manage poor behaviour

Maintaining control in the classroom is essential if you are to avoid spending time managing pupils’ behaviour rather than teaching them. Continual development of effective behavioural management skills where learning is valued and you as a teacher are respected is essential in limiting time lost to managing poor behaviour.

Follow the school behaviour policy where it is good. Otherwise use the least intrusive methods for behaviour management. Just saying a child’s name can be enough for them to know you have clocked their behaviour. Always work at your behaviour management methods so you have an armoury of techniques – not every approach will work with every child.

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