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Proximity To Students

Proximity to Students

Why should I do it:

  • The more distance between teacher and student will result in more behavior problems
  • Can be used to communicate care and concern
  • Can be a subtle re-direction technique
  • Lets the student know you are aware of them

When should I do it:

  • When a student gets off task
  • When you know a student has the ability to lose focus often
  • When a student is showing signs of disruption but hasn’t become problematic yet

How do I do it:

  • Pay attention to your natural movements and determine areas you can change your style to increase proximity to many students at once
  • When giving directions, maintain proximity to at risk students
  • Refrain from giving instructions the same way every time
  • Vary your teaching that will allow you to walk around the classroom
  • Place a student close to you in seating arrangements
  • “Proximity control can work to manage some behavior if it is used preventively or early. The main idea behind this technique is to put a teacher in close proximity to students who are showing signs of getting off task. If you know from prior experience that a particular group of students is likely to disrupt class, standing or sitting close to them while you lead an activity or give directions will quell a fair amount of the unwanted behavior.” 1

Resources & Support for technique:
(Items with footnotes link to external websites)


  1. Yale University. Classroom Management Suggestions. [].
  2. Jones, F. Dr. Fred Jones’s Tools for Teaching: Effective Room Arrangement. [].