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88 percent of students age 13-17 have access to a cellphone, 11 percent of students age 4-17 are diagnosed with ADHD and an increasing number of children are dealing with adult-sized amounts of stress.

Distraction in the classroom is a growing concern.  Proximity control is one solution.

This powerful classroom management technique is used by teachers to curb distractions and modify student behavior.  As a teacher walks over to the distracted student, whether exhibiting problem behavior or just simply off task, the student becomes aware of the teacher’s presence and the implicit standard of attention and self-control the teacher demands of them.

Below are 5 tips on how to successfully execute proximity control in your modern classroom.


  1. Stay Mobile – A teacher on the move can actively check in with students or groups that are off task and need refocusing.
  2. Give Them Space – Wait for the behavior to change then move on. A quick stop shows that you trust in the student’s ability to regulate their own emotions and behaviors.
  3. Keep Teaching – Staying on point with the lesson plan is crucial in proximity control. It reinforces your respect for others and your authority in the classroom.  Other students in the class have given their attention and they deserve your attention in return.
  4. Check in with Everyone – Proximity control doesn’t just have to be a behavior management strategy. You can use it as an opportunity to assess and connect with students who need a nudge to take them from good to great.
  5. Give Them Control – Once the behavior has been modified, hand them your device. Technology gets students actively engaged and asking them to interact or collaborate on ideas you are presenting, brings their focus back to where it needs to be.
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