by Jonathon Denholm May 04, 2022 4 min read
Most teachers will agree that classroom management is one of the most challenging aspects of teaching children. If teachers need to spend the majority of the lesson correcting students’ behaviour due to poor instruction, it can be quite frustrating. To save you the trouble, CHAMPS is a great acronym that can be utilized to improve classroom management. The guideline involves effectively communicating with children and clearly outlining the expectations for each activity, so there is no room for any misunderstandings. This in turn, optimizes learning and leads to better academic outcomes.
CHAMPS is a proactive approach to classroom management. The acronym stands for Conversation, Help, Activity, Movement, Participation and Success. The teacher must address these different elements before starting any activities to ensure smoother lessons and effective learning.
You will notice there are no consequences or actions for handling poor behaviour. CHAMPS does not discipline children. It is simply a framework to ensure all instruction is successfully passed on to students.
The CHAMPS acronym has been trialled over the years and is a well-received solution to better classroom management by many teachers. By adopting this method, teachers spend less time modifying children's behaviour and more time teaching content. When expectations are clearly set, there is no room for behavioural problems. Another benefit is that students take responsibility for their own learning and work more independently. CHAMPS allows classroom management to remain consistent.
Let's dig in deeper as to what is meant by each letter in the acronym
Question: What is the voice level?
The first step refers to addressing what noise level is appropriate for this activity. Students in the older years simply may need to be told about your expectations, but for younger children, you may need to use something more visual for them to refer to. E.g. Implement a colour system (Red = you may talk in outside voices, yellow = group/partner work, green = normal conversation tone). Alternatively, you can create a number system such as 0= no talking, 1= whisper, 2= normal conversation, 3= group and partner work, and 4= outside voices.
Question: How can I get assistance?
Things can turn out to be a disaster if children are walking around the room looking for help with a task. It is important to explain to children how they should ask for help in this focus area. Should children ask the person next to them first? Are they allowed to walk to your desk for support? Asking students to raise their hands is the most common practice used in classrooms. Still, you can also try different options, such as asking children to place a sticky post-it note on the side of their table so the teacher can see so children don’t get tired waving their hand up if the teacher is occupied with another child.
Question: How am I supposed to be working?
Clearly outline what children must do during this activity. What is the task, objective and end product children have to meet? Give students a clear outline of how they need to work to finish this task. It can also be beneficial to show completed samples, so children have a rough idea of what you expect.
Question: Should I be moving around?
This step is so crucial in minimizing distractions for children to focus. Are children allowed to get up and have a drink of water? Can students move freely once they have finished their work? Be extremely clear about why children can move out of their seats and if they need permission to do so. Be mindful that if the students are all walking around once they have finished the activity, it will distract other children too!
Question: How can I participate?
Originally the P does stand for participation, but some teachers prefer to use it as post-activity
Participation refers to advising students on how they are to complete the activity. Guide them whether they will be working independently, in pairs or in groups. If the lesson is to work with others, are the children allowed to rearrange their desks? What behaviours should children display whilst they are busy finishing the set task?
For post-activity, make sure you have another task ready so early finishers can keep busy without distracting their peers. Clarify the task's instructions beforehand so that the students can work on it independently.
There are no questions for this step! If the CHAMPS method is followed, then it will automatically lead to them being successful.
Alternatively, many educators also refer to the 's' as supplies. Ensure students have all the materials ready for the activity before they begin, so there are no disruptions whilst working.
- Observe student behaviour and reflect on whether the acronym is having a more positive impact on children's learning. Self-evaluation will help determine any issues which may be lacking.
- Be prepared to spend more time at the beginning of the year making sure children understand the concepts. Things will flow much more efficiently for the rest of the year if students have a better understanding as practice makes perfect!
- It's important to remain consistent. If the expectations keep changing, children are bound to lose interest and not follow through.
- Having clear visuals displayed at the front of the room is crucial so children can recall the acronym. Check out our handy CHAMPS poster pack that will assist children in identifying each aspect
Therefore, CHAMPS is a valuable framework to use if you're looking to ensure expectations and instructions are delivered clearly in the classroom. It is not something that should be mixed with discipline as there are no consequences and rewards. Following this set of guidelines in the classroom will optimize learning and ensure students remain more focused as they know exactly what to do.