Saturday, January 30, 2010

Classroom Management

Classroom management is one of the most important aspects of a teacher’s career. It is the main cause of teacher burn-out and job dissatisfaction (Everston & Weinstein, 2006, as cited in Eggen & Kauchak, 2010, p.353), which establishes its importance as an aspect of teaching that must be addressed. Classroom Management is the cause of great concern for all teachers, in particular novice teachers. To be an effective teacher it is vital that one’s ability to keep a classroom that is “orderly and focused on learning, in which students feel physically and emotionally safe and where the daily routines, learning activities, and standards for appropriate behaviour are all designed to promote learning” (Eggen & Kauchak, 2010, p. 352) is well developed.

Classroom management can be described as the actions teachers take to create an environment that supports and facilitates both academic and social-emotional learning (Everston and Weinstein as cited in Eggen & Kauchak, 2010, p. 4). Its complexity as a task is undeniable, due to the unpredictable nature of the classroom and its dynamic structure, yet its goals are most certainly achievable. For the effective teacher reaching these goals is a vital concern.

These primary goals as recognised by (Eggen & Kauchak, 2010) are:


Classroom Management and the Effective Teacher
Image of Classroom Management (Components of the ITC Classroom Management Program).
It is a teachers aim to help her students develop socially and emotionally. This can be achieved by creating an environment that promotes safety and positive attitudes. Student’s who feel safe and accepted are more motivated to learn in turn reducing the chances of disruption.


Students who feel they have a sense of ownership of rules and responsibilities in the classroom are more likely to obey the rules because the rules makes sense instead of obeying the rules because of the treat of punishment for breaking them (Eggen & Kauchak, 2010). As students develop socially and emotionally, so does their sense of responsibility. By allowing students to be involved in the development of classroom rules and procedures allows them to take ownership of these rules, promoting this development.


One of the most important aspects of classroom management is being able to effectively use time in the classroom to achieve academic learning. Maximising time available consists of avoiding disruptions and the establishment, implementation and consistent use of well developed and understood routines and procedures. An example of this is how better discipline can be expected when books and papers are passed out and collected efficiently (Edwards & Watts, 2004)

To reach these goals and create a productive learning environment an effective teacher will commit to extensive planning of tasks and lessons.
An effective teacher will plan for the following;

• Developmental differences in students learning
• Delivery of clear instruction
• Classroom organization (including organization of materials, lessons, routines and transition from lesson to lesson)
• Allowing establishment, implementation and consistent use of rules and procedures
• Being mindful of how they will begin the school year

An effective teacher would also consider the following when planning for their class
Physical Factors
• Adequate and suitable lighting in the classroom, including natural light
• Positioning of seating that promotes a sense of belonginess and equality
• Having a clean and organised classroom
• Allows for each individual students space
• Mindful of temperature
Psychological Factors
• Establishment of positive class rules that include students input
• Ensuring the learning environment is safe, secure and accessible
• Develop relationships with students and parents that promotes trust, respect and confidentiality
• Ensure students feel they belong
Pedagogical Factors
• Create lessons that are fun, exciting, meaningful and relatable to students
• Have a thorough understanding of what is being taught and why it is important
• Plan lessons, ensure they are structured but also allow room for discussion
• Display students work to promote belongingness and self worth
• Be a role model for students
Social Factors
• Encouragement of group activity and student participation
• Provide positive feedback to students and encouragement
• Offer positive rewards to promote motivation and good behaviour
• Encourage extra-curricular activities
• Awareness of student’s friendship groups and student’s hierarchy.
• Awareness of level and means of student’s social networking. Eg – bullying over the internet through social networking sites such as myspace and facebook.

Secondly teachers will communicate with parents and care-givers. This is vitally important as students’ home environments can have a powerful effect on both learning and classroom management, so parents need to be involved in their children’s academic life as much as possible (Eggen & Kauchak, 2010). A strong and positive parent-teacher relationship has many benefits for the teacher, students and parents.

Students are more likely to complete homework and assignment, it increases attendance rates, promotes positive attitudes and behaviours, it allows parents to feel they are involved in their child’s learning and allows them to still feel they have some control and input on their child’s development. As a teacher, this relationship can help ensure that the learning is being continued from the classroom into the home environment. The teacher-parent relationship can be seen as a team, working towards the further development of a child academically, emotionally and socially.

Successful classroom management can go a long way towards preventing discipline problems. It is far better to prevent discipline problems than to solve them when they occur (Edwards & Watts, 2004). While it is ideal to always prevent disruptions, it is unrealistic to think that a teacher would be able to prevent all problems, no matter how much planning they implement or how well established their relationship with parents and students are. The effective teacher will be able to intervene when misbehaviour occurs.

(Eggen & Kauchak, 2010) and Kounin (1970) (as cited in Brophy, 1999, p. 47) listed behaviours of the effective manager to include;

Withitness - see video below
Overlapping - This can be described as a teachers ability to multi-task. It like withitness, looks at a teachers ability to teach and prevent misbehaviour at the same time
Signal contiguity and momentum in lessons - A teacher must be prepared to accept that sometimes the unexpected or unplanned will happen, and she must be able to go with the flow and keep the lesson moving on. Her ability to move on from one topic to the next is important, the transitions must be smooth and quick to avoid misbehaviour.
Challenge and variety in assignments - Students need to be motivated to learn and providing them with assignments based on their zones of proximal development, can be slightly challenging as well as rewarding. Variety is also important, as to appeal to all students in the class. Variety is important for assessment, as some students excel at different styles of assessment for example, essays compared to oral examinations. Variety also allows students to work individually or in groups, use different mediums for presentation and methods for research. It helps prepare them for real life activities.
Preserve student dignity - Teachers should never use put-downs, hurtful, embarrassing or criticising mannerisms too students. This can have a negative impact on their self-esteem, confidence and self-worth.
Be consistent - Consistency is central to cognitive learning theory - people want their expeirences to make sense (Eggen & Kauchak, 2010). Students should be able to make sense of the teachers actions, for example one student who is punished for the same action as another student who is not punished is not demonstrating consistency.
Follow through - as a teacher if you make a commitment to your students in the classroom it) is important to follow through on that commitment. For example, consequences for broken rules should always be applied.
Keep interventions brief - The less time spent on interventions means more time spent on learning.
Avoid Arguments - Arguments can create students to resent the teacher, and can lead to major incident. An effective teacher will always strive to avoid arguments in the classroom and rather talk to the student after class as to not disturb the lesson

Kounin showed that effective managers succeed not so much because they are good at handling disruption when it occurs, but because they are good at preventing disruption from occurring in the first place (Brophy, 1999). Both Kounin and Eggen recognised withitness as a vital behaviour of the effective manager.

These principles are essential for intervention in the classroom, using them will ensure that the intervention is acknowledged and accepted by students.

There are two main ways a teacher can intervene in her classroom. Firstly Cognitive Interventions can be utilised. These interventions are based on the premise that understanding is the core of cognitive approaches (Eggen & Kauchak, 2010). If the intervention makes sense the students is more likely to accept the intervention.
Three cognitive intervention strategies are:

1. Verbal-non verbal congruence
Teachers verbal messages need to match the messages their body language is sending to enable students to understand what they are trying to communicate.
2. I-messages
I-messages are powerful tools that when used correctly can generate the receiver to understand the feelings and effects their behaviour has on the sender.
3. Logical consequences
These are consequences that relate directly to the action, punishment to fit the crime. Students are able to create a link between their actions and the consequences that follow (Eggen & Kauchak, 2010).

Finally the second intervention method is behavioural interventions, which if all else has failed can be effective.
The following are behavioural intervention strategies:
1. Praise desired behaviour
2. Ignore inappropriate behaviour
3. Use indirect cues
4. Use desists
5. Apply consequences

In the classroom of tomorrow, classroom management is made even harder for the novice teacher as technology now causes greater distractions from the lessons than ever before. Technology such as iphone’s or ipods and social networking sites such as facebook and twitter play an important role in young people’s lives. Ensuring that the use of this technology is kept out of the classroom, unless being used for learning is now a new reality for the teacher of tomorrow.
Being able to effectively manage a classroom will mean teachers will have to display a higher level of withitness, as the opportunity for distractions and disruptions grows with the advancement of technology. Classroom management examines the classroom from a holistic perspective, every conversation and action that occurs in the class, why it is happening and the teacher’s ability to be aware of all that is occurring, often simultaneously.

Classroom management is a skill that takes time and practice to development. There are many various theories and styles of classroom management that once examined can help any teacher develop their own personal style. Good classroom management methods are essential for any teacher, without these skills it would become almost impossible to achieve the maximum potential for academic success.



Eggen, P. and Kauchak, D. (2010). Educational Psychology: Windows on Classrooms. New Jersey: Pearson.

Brophy, J. (1999). Perspectives of Classroom Management. In H. J. Freiberg (Ed.), Beyond Behaviourism: Changing the Classroom Management paradigm (pp. 47). Needham Heights, MA: Allyn and Bacon

Edwards, C.H. and Watts, V. (2004). Classroom Discipline and Management an Australasian Perspective. Milton, QLD: John Wiley & Sons Australia, Ltd.

1 comment:

  1. It should be noted that discipline is only one of the many parts that make up what is effective classroom management. Discipline problems can come from many different sources for students. Edwards & Watts (2004) recognised these sources as:
    • Deprivation of attention and love
    • Excessive control
    • Family restructuring
    • Abuses of various types
    • Damage to self-concept

    There are many different theories and models for dealing with discipline problems, which can provide teachers with guidance and examples for their own discipline models. The discipline models can be divided into three categories; these are Management theories, Non-directive intervention theories and Leadership theories.
    Models of discipline can be divided into these three groups, and depending on what you believe about teaching and discipline will determine which group you will relate with and feel most comfortable incorporating.

    Edwards, C.H. and Watts, V. (2004). Classroom Discipline and Management an Australasian Perspective. Milton, QLD: John Wiley & Sons Australia, Ltd.