Teaching Tip # 12 – Management with Proximity

Management with the use of proximity.

Redirection Without Vocalization


One of the simplest forms of management is the use of proximity – using the distance between you and your students to remind or redirect behavior in the classroom.

Proximity can be very effective when managing simple mistakes students make in the classroom. For example, if a student is talking during a short period of direct instruction, walking near the student or placing a hand on the student’s desk may be all the reminder that is necessary for that student to refocus.

It is important to note that some students have the experience or culture necessary for this strategy to work. However, other students may not. Because of this, it is important to teach (and often times reteach) your intentions with this strategy. Teaching students your expectations when using this strategy will go a long way in avoiding cultural misunderstandings.

Proximity management is an effective and positive way to redirect or remind for appropriate behavior. Often, it can be used in such a way that the only student who realizes they are being redirected, is the student needing redirection. It is simple, quick, and doesn’t take any time away from the learning of other students in the class.

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