Proximity Control in the Classroom: Meaning & Strategy

Instructor: Sarah Garrett

Sarah has taught secondary English and holds a master's degree in Curriculum & Instruction

Classroom management is essential to creating an effective learning environment. In this lesson, we will discuss the classroom management strategy of proximity control, including how to use it and what its positive effects are.

Meaning of Proximity Control

The proximity control classroom management strategy simply refers to standing in close proximity to any student that causes, or is about to cause, a class disruption. This could mean anything from standing close to a talkative student to walking around the room while students work in groups to make sure they are on task and not disrupting others. This strategy keeps the teacher from having to call out students verbally - usually just moving to close proximity will adjust a student's behavior without the teacher having to say anything. This is a great strategy to use at any grade level.

Using Proximity Control Effectively

Proximity control is predominantly used to prevent disruptive behavior. Let's pretend you are standing at the board teaching and notice a student beginning to be off task. To use proximity control, you would slowly move away from the board and toward that student. Students generally get uncomfortable when a teacher is standing in close proximity to them, so standing close will generally correct the behavior without you having to get into a verbal altercation with the student.

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