At the school I'm working at, one of the teachers is coming to the end of her career. She gave me a quick distillation of how she's learnt to keep control in a classroom.
There are 3 golden rules:
- Move around
As you move around the classroom, you spread your influence and it's easier to stop children switching off. Moving your questions around, i.e. not always asking the same children, keeps everyone involved.
- Vary your delivery
Whispers, sharp yelps, different visual cues all keep children on their toes and focused on what's coming next.
- Balance criticism and praise
If you have to reprimand a child make sure you come back to them later, and find something good to say about what they've said, how they're behaving. It stops children making a virtue of being naughty.
Gold dust, really. What she missed out, I think, was to say how much her enthusiasm for what she teaches engages the children, but then she's modest like that.